Oh Snowy Night Ep 126

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 20-21

Week 12

“Oh Snowy Night”

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Summary: The small cabin is completed. Visitors come bearing gifts. Claire makes a friend and receives a prophecy. Young Ian is on a hunting trip. Jamie goes to check the traps. Claire tends to the business of home. Jamie doesn’t return. Claire tracks him in the snow. Jamie has injured his back. Claire stays with him. They see a band of Mohawk. Young Ian and friends rescue Claire and Jamie. Back home they are safe and sound. Jamie has a vision.

(For the record, I realize I said the incorrect episode number and week.)

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 20:

The White Raven

October 1767

This chapter opens with Jamie and Young Ian building the cabin together. Jamie is reciting the translated version of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. Once they get to a difficult log placement, Jamie can no longer continue his recitation. Jamie wants Young Ian to be educated. Rollo alerts them to a visitor. It’s Nacognaweto, a friend of Young Ian’s, with three women in tow. They are dressed for visiting and were bearing gifts. Jamie declares it’s an ambassage and wants Claire in her finest (p372, Nook). The formal greeting ritual is performed by the men. Once it concludes the second woman acknowledges Claire (p373, Nook). Gabrielle is Nacognaweto’s wife. The elder woman, Nayawenne, is his grandmother. Claire looks her over, noticing the leather pouch hung around her neck. The younger of the three women is Berthe, Gabrielle’s daughter not by her husband it seems. The girl has the look of an American Indian and European. The introductions are complete; the girl opens the bundle she carried. There’s a variety of foods; Claire makes an exclamation about the return of Squanto. It’s about two months’ worth of food.  The bear meat was received well in the village; this is a small gift in return. The women giggle at Claire having heard the full exploits of the bear attack including Claire hitting Jamie with a fish. The old woman moves closer to Claire. She pats her all over talking to herself during the proceedings. Her reaction to Claire’s hair is pure sweetness (p375, Nook).

Jamie shows Nacognaweto the construction. The women chat. Claire learns Gabrielle is Nacognaweto’s second wife and him her second husband. Her first husband was a Frenchman and died ten years earlier. They live in a village called Anna Ooka, two days northwest of Fraser’s Ridge.  Claire and Nayawenne are having a conversation without words. Claire felt the unspoken conversation, though the woman said nothing to her. Across the clearing she sees Jamie offer a gift of brandy to Nacognaweto. It’s time to offer gifts. Claire gives an item to two of the women but has something different in mind for Nayawenne. She gives her four large ginseng roots.  The old woman hands Claire a small bag from her waist; it’s ginseng roots. This confirms she and Claire speak the same language. It takes a healer to know one. Claire asks about the amulet Nayawenne wears (p378, Nook). The woman hands Claire her amulet; the bag feels heavy and almost alive. Nayawenne offers to show Claire plants for use in the area. Claire’s impressed by the old woman’s spryness. The two younger women followed behind interpreting as needed. The old woman tells Gabrielle something astonishing about Claire (p377, Nook). The old woman is a shaman. She needed to meet Claire and give her the message. I wonder how long it will be for Claire to be in her full power. She’s almost 51. What do you think of the prophecy of illness to come that’s not Claire’s fault? I wonder what else Nayawenne knows.

Chapter 21:

Night on a Snowy Mountain

December 1767

It’s been a couple of months since the Indians visited Jamie and Claire. The snow arrived at the end of November. Life on the Ridge takes on the rhythms of winter (p379, Nook). They had few animals to care for and no sheep to have wool to spin and no cloth to weave or dye. Myer’s had brought a small bag of useful tools. Jamie and Young Ian had gotten a roof on the cabin before the first snow. Young Ian and Jamie spent time carving wood. He already had made a stool. Myer’s had also brought a bag of woman’s tools for sewing and mending clothing. Claire’s not a fan of sewing, but Jamie and Young Ian’s clothes are in constant need of repair. Jamie sits bolt upright in bed when a drop of water hits him in the ear. There’s a leak in the roof. Jamie refuses to wait until daylight to fix the shingle (p381, Nook). With Young Ian’s help on the inside, Jamie replaces the split shingle on the outside (p382, Nook).

Claire reflects on their meager but successful existence. They have enough food to last until spring. They spend time talking, telling stories, and Jamie even carved dishes and a chess set. Young Ian and Rollo spent time going to Anna Ooka and going on hunting trips with the men. Young Ian learned to speak the Indian language. Claire is happy Young Ian goes on the trips. Threes a crowd when you ache for a feather bed, a fire, and a lover without an audience. When alone Claire and Jamie could continue deepening their relationship and knowledge of each other (p382, Nook). Jamie often asks about Brianna. Claire shares a story about visiting Brianna’s school on Career Day (p383, Nook). It turns out her school visit became quite a scene (p383, Nook). It turns out Claire had taken the job the boy’s father desired. That’s our Claire, always making friends and influencing people. Brianna has the fire of the Frasers in her.

Interested in Brianna’s career path Jamie asks about her plans. He’s surprised to find out children in the future often change their minds many times before settling on a vocation (p384, Nook). Claire goes over a litany of 20th-century occupations. Jamie’s nipple distracts her from the telling. Claire thinks Brianna chose history for the love of Frank and after he died, she stayed in the program.  She has no idea she changed her major after she left for the 18th century. Jamie says she loyal. He wonders if she sticks with history if she finds them in her research. Claire doesn’t think so. They’d have to do something worthy of widespread news. And Brianna would have to be looking for them. Jamie points out something else about loyalty (p385, Nook). Then they turned to the language of their bodies intertwined. A slow, peaceful, “knife and sheath together.” The last thing Jamie says before they drift to sleep, “She’ll look.”

A couple of days later, Jamie takes advantage of the improved weather to hunt. Claire is worried about him going, but they do need meat. Claire tends to the cauldron on the fire. They have an ingenious way of using the boiling water (p386, Nook). She sits down to reads Daniel Rawling’s casebook and mends stockings. I would find it scary having Jamie go out alone in inclement weather. As time goes on and Jamie hasn’t returned, she openly worries. The daylight is dimming, and she’s on high alert. She goes about her work but is increasingly concerned. She now takes on a more clinical view of her tasks. The way she gets the firewood and plans every step of use until morning. She’s frightened now (p387, Nook). The dinner stew is ready to eat, and the cabin has an inviting aroma. Claire’s without appetite. It’s now dark. She forces herself to eat, she smoored the fire and tries to rest. Her mind is reeling. She worries he’s injured. She also knows he can live outdoors quite capable, and yet… (p389, Nook). She cannot stop thinking of the what if’s out there in the dark. She longed for him (pp389, Nook). That sums it up right there. He’s her world. Her everything.

She gets up, dresses, and prepares to go out searching for him. She knew the general direction he’d been planning to go. She hears him in her head reminding her how to track. She finds the snares and follows his footprints from one snare to the next. The fourth snare wasn’t empty, so he hadn’t gotten that far. She thinks he must be between snare three and four. Claire calls for him. Picks a direction and promptly loses her footing sliding down a hill. She finds him partially covered in leaves on his belly. She throws herself on him.

He groans loudly from pain. First, she assesses him for damage and injury. He tells her “back,” but she thinks he’s been shot. She looks for a wound (p393, Nook). He’s injured his back, it’s out, and he cannot move because of the pain. It should take only a couple of days to mend itself. Ahem. He’s lying face down on the frozen ground, and it’s snowing. Claire can’t think of what she can do to remedy the situation given the location Jamie crawled and ended up. She stops trying to figure out how to get him back to the cabin and alarms with a fresh concern. Hypothermia might already be setting in. Jamie could freeze to death. Claire goes into doctor mode alpha. She makes him stay awake and move whatever body parts he can. She has him moving and in a bad temper (p395, Nook). I’d say Claire’s in a bit of a bad temper too.

He tells her to cut hemlock branches to cover them. He’s warm, so she goes off to cut the branches. The task is difficult with her cold hands and the branches being fresh and spongy. Claire completes the job and snuggles in behind him. It’s her turn to shiver from “relief and fear.” As Jamie does, he tries to reassure Claire and tells her what happened (p397, Nook). She finds the area of pain. It runs from his back down his leg. She thinks it’s severe muscle spasms. She has none of the things to treat it. She offers acupuncture, but he declines (p398, Nook). To some people cooking is love, to Claire clinical care is love. Well, and sex is love (p399, Nook).

They lie together in quiet Claire asks what time it is. It’s just past solstice, so it’s one of the longest nights. It’s very late in the middle of the night. He explains to her they can sleep and be okay. The snow is insulative like a blanket. They have a serious and humor-filled moment during the discussion (p400, Nook). She tells him a Christmas story revolving around a tradition she, Frank and Briana had with A Christmas Carol.  During one Christmas the three of them were traveling to a relative’s home. They skidded off the road. They were holed up in the car until morning when they could be rescued. Frank told A Christmas Carol from memory until Brianna had fallen asleep. He and Claire finished the story while holding hands beneath the blankets. Frank had always loved her hands. Claire came to the last words of the story (p402, Nook). Claire isn’t cold-hearted. She loved Frank and still has a place of mourning for him. Jamie invites her to place her hands underneath his shirt and assures her he won’t let her freeze. The difference between Frank and Jamie is Jamie can hear of Frank and be okay. He can even be appreciative even when jealousy might rise for the time he did without Claire and Brianna. He understands Claire is made up of her experiences, including Frank. I think Frank wanted Jamie banished and refused to let him into their marriage. Claire doesn’t have to apologize for Frank or her life; she can simply be who she is with Jamie.

Claire and Jamie sleep until dawn nears. They hear voices. The men are speaking an Indian tongue, but it isn’t Tuscarora. Are these men safe or raiders? The situation could be dangerous. Their hiding place becomes less secure as snow melts and falls away. Jamie grips Claire hard. The Indians are across the grove. The men come closer to their shelter. Claire’s fear rises. There are several armed men in the party. Jamie and Claire are sweating with worry. They are upwind from the men, so their adrenaline scented sweat is not going to be detected. As the last man comes through the grove, another large chunk of snow falls from their makeshift shelter. The last man is a Jesuit priest. Claire thinks it’s safe to call them men as they are Christian. Jamie doesn’t believe these Indians are safe. The men pass without incident, but Jamie and Claire receive no help.

After the danger passes, Claire inquires about Jamie’s back. It’s not in good shape, and he has no idea how to get down the mountain. Then the matter of hungry bellies makes their needs known. He wants Claire to go to the cabin; there’s the small issue of Claire not knowing how to get back (p405, Nook). It turns out Jamie had shot an elk before hurting his back. He thinks anything dangerous is eating the elk. Claire thinks it’s crazy to leave him here on his own. She insists she’ll get supplies and return. She’s not leaving him alone. He agrees for her to come back if she returns with whisky.

She snuggles up to him kissing the hollow of his throat (p.406, Nook). He tries nibbling on her to see what will happen (p407, Nook). Then she goes into an explanation about vampires and their seductive qualities. He finds it completely disgusting. Claire wants him to nibble some more. Jamie changes his mind and would like her in the flesh, cold or not. In the process of getting busy, Claire gets the sense of being watched. She looks out of the shelter. He doesn’t want her to stop, but now she hears something (p408, Nook). Hallelujah, they’re rescued by Young Ian and some Tuscarora.

They come across the dead elk. The sight of its frozen form assures Claire she’d done the right thing going out in the night to find Jamie (p408, Nook). The Tuscarora would help Jamie get back to the cabin for a share of elk meat. After the animal is properly prepared, they set out with Jamie is dragged on a travois. Claire asks Young Ian about the other band of Indians who had a priest along. He and the Tuscarora were following them when they found Jamie and Claire. The Indians were Mohawk from the north. The young Mohawk men were looking for wives (p409, Nook). Jamie wants to know why Young Ian and the others were following them (p409, Nook). Nacognaweto is a smart man.

They return to the cabin by sunset and are joyously greeted by Clarence, the mule. He’s a very social creature. Everything looks normal. Claire wants to get into the cabin. They invite the Tuscarora men to stay, but they decline (p410, nook). It’s Christmas evening, and after a few drams of whisky, Claire and Jamie lay in their own bed listening to Young Ian snore (p410, Nook). So, it seems Jamie travels in his dreams. I think he astral projects. This is important to note. Tuck it in your cap or pin it in your mind.

This section tells us again of the very real dangers Claire and Jamie face settling in the mountains. This chapter is filled with figurative language, rising action, conflict, and resolution.  Diana Gabaldon’s use of bantering humor bring their relationship off the page into reality.

What’s Coming up? Chapter 22 and 23 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to contact@adramofoutlander.com or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Join the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday nights at 6 pm PT/9pm ET using the hashtag #ADoO. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

All images are Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link.

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Of Lust and Blessings Ep 125

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 18-19

Week 11

“Of Lust and Blessings”

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Roger attends Mass with Brianna and survives it. He proposes marriage. She turns him down. They argue. She explains herself. He’ll wait for her. They declare love for the other. Claire, Jamie, and Young Ian are living in the mountains. Jamie is taking the offer. They build small outbuildings. Provisions arrive. Duncan becomes Jamie’s agent. They receive a blessing from Jocasta. They, in turn, bless their hearth. Duncan leaves to procure settlers. The white pig is a jerk.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 18:

Unseemly Lust

After being raised by Reverend Wakefield in the Presbyterian church, Roger is trepidatious of going to the Christmas Eve Catholic Mass with Brianna. Brianna dons a small circle mantilla instead of a full-size mantilla or chapel veil after they enter the church. She tells Roger it follows the tradition of women not being objects of unseemly lust while in church (p341, Nook). If you click on the link about veils, there’s an FAQ that explains it more fully. By the way, I chose that site because Lily is someone I know. Brianna kisses Roger to the surprise of two parishioners (p342, Nook). Two women Roger has known his whole life are surprised to see Roger attending a Catholic service. To them, his intentions are apparent to set foot in such a place. He introduces Brianna to the elderly ladies. She seems unaware of the importance of his attending mass with her. Maybe. Brianna crosses herself after dipping her fingers in holy water. Roger remembers a hill-walking day with the Reverend (p343, Nook). The reverence and the beauty in the use of water to bless or to prepare for prayer. Roger finds himself unsettled during parts of the service before it moves into a service he has familiarity. He’s enthralled by Brianna’s hair (p345, Nook). As images of Brianna’s bare skin and snakelike hair in the hallway of the manse return to mind, he thinks that Saint Paul may have been on to something in respect to women’s hair and unseemly lust. He focuses on the priest giving communion. Brianna goes to partake in communion, and Roger realizes he’s praying in a wordless way of the heart. He yearns to be worthy of her, to love her right, and to care for her. He describes her face. It’s strong and changeable. Brianna sang “We Three Kings” as they walked home.

By sobolevnrm [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

They lightly talk about religion, and she hopes she hasn’t damned him for taking him to Mass. The fog thickens as they walked along the River Ness. Roger is feeling vulnerable without the comfort of the church, knows it’s time to ask her. Looking at her wide eyes, he senses secrets lurking. She reminds him of a kelpie (p347, Nook). He takes the plunge and asks her to marry him. She doesn’t respond the way he expects. He tries to play it off that it’s nothing. Saying his name, he turns to her with difficulty, not wanting to hear platitudes. She grabs his face and kisses him hard. This reminds me of how Jamie kisses Claire sometimes.  He pushes Brianna away, confused (p348, Nook). He’s angry at her suggesting she just wants to bed him. He yells at Brianna he could’ve had her anytime during the last summer. She slaps him. They have a row reminiscent of Claire and Jamie. Roger kisses her hard and long, while she fights him. Just to prove the point, he could’ve had his way with her had he wanted to (p348, Nook). She has confused and frustrated him to no end. His Scottish accent thickens when he’s upset (p349, Nook). I cannot understand why people think Roger is boring. He’s every bit as strong, protective, smart, devoted, and loving as Jamie. Then they get into the territory of her being a virgin and him not being one. He didn’t want to marry the women he’s bedded nor loved them. He loves Brianna and wants to marry her.  She thinks she loves him too. Claire loving Frank then falling in love with Jamie and breaking her promises and vows is something Brianna wants to avoid (p350, Nook). Knowing it’s more than a year they can be together, she worries she could meet someone else or he could. He wants to know if she loves him. She responds by opening his coat and putting her arms around him tightly. As Roger and Brianna kiss, the two women from Mass comment and walk by them. Roger tries to let go of Brianna, but he cannot (p352, Nook). He wants her body, mind, and spirit.

He gives her the present he bought. An engraved silver bracelet (p352, Nook).

Phew! That was uncomfortable and passionate. They needed to hammer it out. To get on the same page. Brianna is wise in not saying yes at this point. Her mother did break her vows to Frank even though she didn’t mean to do it. She did fall in love with someone else. Roger will wait the year out. They’re still working on communication and expectation. I wonder if being only children make it more difficult to speak up?

Chapter 19:

Part Seven: On the Mountain

Hearth Blessing

July 1767

Claire compares sleeping under the stars with a lover to sharing a cramped lean-to with a wet husband, a wet nephew, and a large wet dog. One is a bit more romantic than the other. Pungent male odor overpowers, and Claire needs air. She makes her way into the cold air. The rain stopped, but it was high humidity with everything covered in water. She is going to the creek to wash and fill the kettle. She describes the pre-dawn morning (p354, Nook). It sounds like one of two magical times of day, the other being twilight. At Jamie’s suggestion, they’d stayed on the mountain to take advantage of the decent weather. It would be snowing soon, and the two months would be enough time to get a small cabin built and dry meat they hunted. Claire is scared. She thought they’d return to Cross Creek for winter and come back in the spring. They are far away from any other settlers.It’s a dangerous prospect considering the lack of tools and supplies. Claire misses the safety and security River Run offers. Jamie is getting out from under Jocasta’s hospitality, and thumb is necessary to keep out of her Machiavellian web. Claire likens her to a blind spider. Diana Gabaldon uses this theme of spiders weaving and webs throughout the series. Being out of sight from Sergeant Murchison is also exceedingly wise. Given all of the reasons Claire can think of, she believes none of them, are the reason Jamie chose to stay. He needs the land to need him. A place to build and shape. He needs the burden and responsibility. He needs to lead something. He needs to have a mountain. Claire trusts him with her heart and life.

Myers went back to Cross Creek to give instructions to Duncan, assure Jocasta all is well, and gather all the stores the rest of their money would buy. He’d return before first snow if he could. Otherwise, he will come back in spring with the supplies. Young Ian is staying with Claire and Jamie. He’s needed to help build the shelter and with any other needed work. For now, they were managing on what Claire could gather. She splashes her face and swishes her mouth with the creek water (p358, Nook). Once the deer disappear, Claire sees a large cat. It gazes in her eyes after drinking its fill but leaves her alone after it cleans its ears. The cat is six feet long. Claire was terrified after the cat left. She shakes and can barely manage to fill the kettle. She trusts Jamie and this time stayed alive (p359, Nook). They are settling in the unspoiled wilds of North Carolina.

When Claire returns, Jamie is pacing out a shed. Young Ian had started a fire. The shed is going to be for curing and smoking meats as the Indians do. The second shed is for Claire’s herbs and plants. The first shed is built in two days, though the roof was crude, it is fit for sleeping the three of them and Rollo. As they lie together, Jamie critiques his workmanship. Claire tends to his splintered hands while he talks (p361, Nook).  He turns his attention to telling her his plans for a big house on the hill where the strawberries grow. It will have a surgery for Claire and a library for Jamie. He only owns one book at present, “The Natural History of North Carolina.” It will be a grand house.

Myers returned within the month bringing three pack-mules with many necessary items, and Duncan Innes. They now had two sheds and a pen built for the animals they might acquire. Currently, they only have a small white piglet as their total stock of animals. She slept in the shed with them. Jamie shows Duncan the layout of the land and tells his plans. Jocasta sent a feather bed along with pens and paper. Claire is thrilled. Young Ian and Myers return from successfully hunting squirrel and a wild turkey. They will eat well over the next several days. This shows how fertile the land and offerings are.

Jamie needs to write the Governor to accept the offer and give the details of the land he chose. They eat a nice meal, but Claire hopes Myers will stay to help fill their meat shed, so they don’t need to eat dried fish all winter. After dinner, Jamie wants to walk with Duncan so he can choose his plot of land in exchange for acting as Jamie’s agent. Duncan is stunned. He’s been penniless since Culloden. Every emotion runs through him, and he accepts. He’s to oversee finding settlers, particularly to find those transported from Ardsmuir. The second job is to help his Aunt Jocasta run her plantation.  He’s hesitant, but Jamie explains that Jocasta knows the business end, she simply needs a man to speak for her. Young Ian is going through the packs Myers brought; Aunt Jocasta sent a piece of iron as a hearth blessing. The gift moves Jamie.  It’s rooted in pagan tradition. It’s a blessing for protection and prosperity to put the iron on the entry door, in this case under the hearth. It is also Jocasta saying she blesses and accepts the new venture while forgiving Jamie for not returning. Two days later they bless the hearth (p367, Nook). I would love to participate in such a blessing. Outside the cabin, Duncan offers a blessing of his own (p368, Nook). This brings tears to my eyes to have Duncan offer something so beautiful in prayer to their home. He’s a good man who has found a family with Mac Dubh. He’s not alone.

Myers and Duncan left to attend the large Scots gathering at Mount Helicon. Jocasta and Farquard Campbell would be there. It’s the best place to start searching for the transported Ardsmuir men. Scots came from other colonies to attend. Jamie wrote Jocasta a letter but gives a message to Duncan to pass on to her (p369, Nook). Claire feels a sense of loss with Duncan leaving. He feels like a link to civilization. They are not alone. Young Ian is still there will Rollo, the pig, three horses, and two mules. Claire feels better thinking of what they’ve done so far. As soon as Claire is feeling encouraged, Young Ian tells her the pig ate all the nutmeal. That act could be a foreshadowing of hard times to come, or simply the pig’s devil may care attitude.

What’s Coming up? Chapter 20 and 21 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to contact@adramofoutlander.com or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Join the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday nights at 6 pm PT/9pm ET using the hashtag #ADoO. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

All images are Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link. Featured image.

Outlander Conventions

Follow A Dram of Outlander

Thank you for sharing posts, joining the discussions, and following this website or pages listed below!

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To financially support the podcast, go to my Patreon page.

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Listen to this podcast!

At the Abyss Ep 124

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 16-17

Week 10

“At the Abyss”

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Summary: Jamie surveys the land. Claire follows behind. They hike for miles until Jamie finds a suitable spot. Wild strawberries fill their bellies. They christen the land. Claire speaks her fears. Jamie’s confused then hears her heart. They are each the half to their whole. Their love is the first law of thermodynamics. A decision is made. Brianna joins Roger for Christmas. He’s about to lose his home forever. She soon will too. Brianna is conflicted. The past is a frightening place to search. Everyone needs a history. The fire burns between Roger and Brianna. He wants it all from her. He has a plan.  So does Brianna.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 16: The First Law of Thermodynamics

Claire wakes to a large grey jay pulling hairs from her head presumably to make a nest. As a point of reference, gray jays are not found in the southern US. They are largely found in the northwest US and western Canada due to their like of spruce trees. Claire finds this apropos since she thinks her hair looks like a bird’s nest when she wakes. Except for some soreness, she is unharmed by the pulled hairs. The Indians are gone, as is the bear’s head. She looks upon sleeping Jamie, and he seems like Adam, though a rather battered Adam well after the Fall (p308, Nook). She combs meditatively through her hair. There’s no place to be, no one to care for; it’s slow. Simply time and the nature surrounding her. There lacks confinement in this place of wild. She thinks it odd she felt at home in the hospital, and she is ls at home here in nature. Her duality. The hospital was a place of control and regimented precision. A place solely for her to practice healing.  Nature takes its path, but it is a place of life incarnate, a place she draws her healing from and through it. She finds herself chilled, nipples standing at attention. She is naked but hadn’t taken her clothes off before retiring. She’d encountered Jamie in the night, like a dream event (p309, Nook).  The post-battle arousal had hit Jamie. Claire took the brunt of it and had enjoyed it from what she remembers. (7:20)

The Indians left a portion of bear meat for their later use. They eat breakfast and quickly bathe in the creek before planning their travel direction for the day. Jamie points out the treaty line in the mountainscape ahead of them. Before leaving Wilmington, Jamie made certain he knew which lands were available for settling. He also confirmed his information with the Tuscarora they had met and dined with the night before. Together they ride. Jamie is shirtless with his torn shirt drying behind him on his saddle. Claire notices the scratches are not inflamed nor causing him any problems. He seems less troubled, lighter in the mood than when they started the journey. Their encounter with the Tuscarora hunters had been civil and comforting. One piece of the unknown has become a known entity. She thinks the trees and landscape play a part in his mood change. This is his place, unlike the coastal plain of River Run. When the forest becomes too dense to ride, they hobble the horses and climb on foot. This is untouched land (p311, Nook). They reach a ridge, Jamie walks with ease, she follows behind gathering interesting plants along the way. She doesn’t know what he wants in the land to settle upon. They walk, turn back when they cannot go further, and find a way down. The description is enthralling. I want to hike here. It’s seductive in texture, sound, and color. Claire calls it enchanting (p312, Nook). (11:05)

She catches a glimpse of white streak above one of Jamie’s temple. It brings her back to the cave, Abandawe where he was shot by Geillis. It’s a place she cannot forget. They continue to climb. She’s overwhelmed by the beauty (p313, Nook). When they stop for a rest by a spring, she finds wild strawberries. She gathers handfuls into her cloak. The strawberry juice stains went together with pine pitch, soot, leaf smudges, and dirt. She gorges herself on the tart berries. Jamie asks if she likes this place (p314, Nook). He’s thinking of taking the Governor’s offer. He thinks the strawberries are a sign this is the place they are to settle (p314, Nook).  The Frasers were also farmers. Culloden killed the clans. Any survivors fragmented. Jamie stood tall, warrior and farmer both (p315, Nook). He explains how strawberries are a rare plant (p315, Nook). Though I cannot find the definition Jamie gives, there are several ways the strawberry is considered important religiously and otherwise. Lastly, the fruit is shaped like a heart. Claire tears up. He wipes it away then drops his plaid and breeks. They are alone. They had been under threat the past days; now together, they are alone without the need to hold the wilderness away. Jamie claims this is the old way to give fertility to the fields. Claire sees no fields, yet, but she strips down to her nakedness too. They managed the fertility rites, blessing the land in his joy. (19:15)

Claire sees Jamie clearly for who he is. It terrifies her. She tries to keep it to herself, but he hears her thoughts as if she has spoken them aloud (p317, Nook). She must tell him the truth of her fear. Clinging to him, she speaks. He reminds her of his promise (p317, Nook). Her fear is he’ll die. She’s uncertain if she can survive without him again. He makes a joke. She hits him angrily. He doesn’t understand what she’s on about (p318, Nook). She stomps away. She steps on cockleburs. Limping carefully back to her clothing, she dresses. She fusses about, making nonsensical comments. Finally, she speaks up (p320, Nook). He understands her worry about him going to Scotland, but not why she thinks he’ll be going there. She’s exasperated explains that where he’ll get the settlers for the land. He returns the exasperation. He has no money to travel, the gems are gone, and the money he does have is borrowed (p320, Nook). He thinks of her words. He walks. He has a solution for the settlers he needs. The men he was in prison with were transported to the Colonies. Claire thinks if he can find them they won’t want to pick up and follow him. He reminds her she did this very thing. Claire relaxes, her fear easing, then she thinks of the huge task of tracking the men down. She asks after Aunt Jocasta’s offer. He explains why his answer is no (p321, Nook). She needs to know he won’t die and leave her (p321, Nook). “We are neither of us whole, alone. Do ye not know that Sassenach?” This line is why I believe this is a book about them as a couple more than the ultimate telling of his story, even though they end up in his time and we learn more about his history than hers. After she left him at Culloden, he was dead. She was in the future 200 years. Claire remembers the vast despairing pit she had to climb from after her return to the 20th century. They loved each other even while dead to the other during their separation (p322, Nook). This is the love I think we all strive for. This is unending devotion of the heart and spirit. Take a moment to breathe in the beauty of those words. People wonder why Outlander readers hold the books and characters so dear. If the naysayers would only read them, they would know we are not crazy. We are merely in love. “Nothing is lost, Sassenach; only changed.” “That’s the first law of thermodynamics.” “No, that’s faith.” (26:40)

Part Six: Je T’aime

Chapter 17: Home for the Holidays

Inverness, Scotland, December 23, 1969

Roger frets while waiting for Brianna to arrive. He wished Mrs. Graham and the Reverend could be here. He thinks of their advice when he thought he was in love as a teenager (p324, Nook).

December 24, 1969

Fiona is there giving him last minute reminders of the meal she prepared. She asks if he’s sure they don’t want to come along to Ernie’s mother’s house. Roger assures her they’ll be fine and to enjoy their holiday. She turns and kisses Roger right on the lips. Then wishes him a Happy Christmas before leaving with Ernie. Somehow Brianna and Roger make lunch without blowing up the manse. The house is nearly cleared out. Roger is relieved. There is a stack of books on the table. They’re Frank Randall’s books. All autographed. She takes the books and places them in a box for herself. Roger is going to miss the place. He grew up here. The church owns the manse. His dad lived there for more than fifty years. The new minister has his own home, so Ernie and Fiona are going to live there after the wedding. Brianna is concerned Roger’s home will be gone. Brianna is in a similar situation. She plans on putting her parent’s house on the market in the summer. Roger clues into her emotions surrounding packing up and losing her house for good. The house is too big for her to keep. He suggests she might get married. Maybe she thinks she’d live in the manse with him. There’s something for frankness. He blurts out asking if she wants children. She does. He does too. He wants to practice making babies with her just now. They kiss (p329, Nook). The nosy postman breaks the moment. It’s a letter for Brianna. The postman is snooping instead of putting the letter in the slot. He meddlingly wants to know if they’re alone. Well, a fictitious Uncle Angus is napping upstairs. Uncle Angus is a stuffed Scottie. They finally get the postman to leave. The letter is from the library at her university. A book she wants is not available. Roger says he could help her look for “him.” She knows how to research. She used to help Frank. Roger insists she needs tea even though she hates it. She also really hates whisky too. He doesn’t want to drink alone and wants her to join him. When she gets up to pour the hot water in the teapot, he tells her she has a right to know who Jamie Fraser was. He’s her father. To Brianna Frank Randall, daddy was her father (p332, Nook). Roger knows what it means to miss a father. He needed to make him real when he was young. He made stories up about him. The Reverend understood and started to tell him the real stories of his dad, Jerry MacKenzie. He told the little things. He made him real for Roger. Even though it made Roger miss him more, he was glad to know.

She lets him splash some whisky in her teacup. She asks after his mother (p333, Nook). Roger’s correct, everybody needs a history. She drank and held her cup out for more. She’s afraid to look for Jamie and her mother (p334, Nook). She wants to find her and them but worries Claire didn’t make it or died along the way, or any number of things. More whisky is poured into her cup. She felt guilty when she saw Frank’s signature in the books. Is it wrong for her to look? He thinks she should look, and he’ll help her, but she needs a nap just now. She makes it upstairs only to vomit in the bathroom. The whisky was a bit much. She sleeps. Roger works, checks on the soup, and cleans up from their tea. (36:20)

Roger is sad his home will be gone for good. That’s why it’s taken him so long to go through the Reverend’s things. The reason it’s getting done now is that Fiona plans to move in. He unpins the paper from the cork board. It’s his genealogy written in the Reverend’s hand. The generations of MacKenzies listed. He thinks he may change his name back to MacKenzie. The Reverend hadn’t known the story of the woman Roger gets his green eyes from. She’s nowhere on the list. William Buccleigh MacKenzie, the changeling, given to foster parents to raise is on the list. He was the illegitimate child of Dougal MacKenzie, Clan War Chief, and the witch, Geillis Duncan (Gillian Edgars, Geillis Abernathy). Geillis wasn’t a witch, but a dangerous woman. Did he inherit the ability to travel through the stones? He knows the fine line between curiosity and ambivalence in searching for those in the past. That’s the last box. The room now stands empty. (37:45)

He stops at the stairs. Brianna had bathed. She was in the hall in nothing but a towel. She didn’t see him. His heart thuds and hands sweat (p338, Nook). He’s mesmerized by her. She looks him straight in the eyes. He knows what she’ll feel like, what she’ll smell like. The towel falls from her hair (p38, Nook). They kiss. She presses against him; he can imagine how her breasts look by how they feel about him. Becoming off balance, they tumble to the floor (p339, Nook). He yearns to touch her. She urges him on, but he doesn’t want to bed her like this. He wants it to be good their first time. Better than this. The burning soup is the distraction they need. He runs to get it; she goes to get dressed.

In the kitchen, his guilt rises. He shouldn’t have acted how he did toward her. He’s concerned she’ll think he took advantage. She had wanted him to (p340, Nook). The soup is ruined. They’ll eat in a pub before church services; then she’ll say yes. When they come back to the manse, love will be a sacrament (p340, Nook). Roger is a traditionalist, a romantic, he’s a good man. He’s quite like Jamie. We haven’t seen his strength and grit yet, but I have no doubt we will. (43:15)

Jamie has made his decision. Claire is on board though concerned. Roger is hopefully in love with Brianna. She seems to share his feeling, but we don’t see her internal dialogue, only his. We cannot be sure of what is going on inside her head and heart. She’s torn about looking into the past. What if she finds her mother and its bad news? What about her love and devotion to Frank? What is Roger planning after the evening mass?

What’s Coming up? Chapter 18 and 19 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

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The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

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