Breaking News: Outlander S4 will premiere in November 2018 with 13 episodes based on Drums of Autumn and adapted for television. The television series has been renewed for S5 and S6 with 12 episodes each season. S5 is expected to be adapted from Fiery Cross and S6 from A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I will be doing a read-a-long for FC in 2019 after S4 ends.
Brianna and Lizzie make it to Wilmington. The girl has been sick with fever multiple times. The next stop is Cross Creek. Lizzie learns Jamie Fraser will be at his Aunt’s at River Run for a trial. Roger arrives mere days after Brianna in North Carolina and reaches Wilmington on her heels. He finds her. She is happy and upset. They are handfasted in the Scottish tradition and consummate their marriage multiple times in a shed. Brianna learns a truth. Feeling betrayed she storms back to her rented room. Roger vows to return to her. He leaves to secure a gemstone. Lizzie thinks MacKenzie raped Brianna.
Inside the Chapter:
Wilmington, the Colony of North Carolina, September 1, 1769
Brianna and Lizzie are in North Carolina waiting for Lizzie to improve from another attack of illness. Poor frail Lizzie is fevered and weak. They were riding from Charleston when the illness struck again. Brianna was terrified her companion would die in the wilderness but pressed on to Wilmington the next day when the fever temporarily broke. Brianna needs to find her mother to help with Lizzie and for herself. Taking care of Lizzie helped Brianna appreciate her size and strength. Nursing is tough work. Brianna decides it must be malaria-causing the fevers. Mosquitoes were a plague upon them once the land was in sight. Brianna could feel her mother’s presence as she cared for the ailing girl (p666, Nook). Quinine and other derivatives were the chief medicines to combat malarial fever since WWII; Claire would use Jesuit bark (cinchona bark) in the 18th century.
When they arrived in Wilmington, the landlady at the inn called for an apothecary when she saw how ill Lizzie was (p667, Nook). The man left with fright and warnings. Brianna didn’t exactly know how to care Lizzie but knew bloodletting wasn’t the answer. She reflected on how the bugs stayed away from her, and she had vaccinations for many diseases, including malaria before she went through the stones. She wondered how many other diseases were prevalent in the sweltering city and caused by bug bites.
Exhausted, she was too tired to change out of the many days worn clothing. She knew she had to find her mother as quickly as possible to help Lizzie. The small maidservant could die from another round of fever. She planned to sell the horses and take a boat upriver to Cross Creek in search of Aunt Jocasta’s home, River Run. The thought of meeting more family gave Brianna a thrill. Certainly, she would be able to tell Brianna how to find Jamie and Claire. Finally, she undressed and lay naked on the quilt on the floor, drifting quickly to sleep.
The next morning Lizzie remained weak but fever free. Brianna pays the landlady extra money to keep an eye on the sick girl while she goes out to tend to the business at hand. Brianna managed to sell the horses and obtained the name of a man who took people upriver to Cross Creek by boat. When she returned to her room, Lizzie was dressed and eating. She is much better. Lizzie had been doing the washing and ironing. Brianna worries the girl will overexert herself and become ill again. When the girl explains the discovery, she’d had Brianna listens (p670, Nook). This MacNeil knows her father, mother, and Jocasta Cameron. Lizzie explains what the man said about Claire (p671, Nook). It turns out Jamie is in Cross Creek because of an upcoming trial he must attend. Brianna starts calculating the time needed to get upriver, so she doesn’t miss Jamie.
Roger arrived in Edenton just ten days after Brianna arrived in South Carolina. She must be in Wilmington by now, and he is determined to find her. Roger details his journey to Wilmington (p672, Nook). He knew she was here. She had to be. It was the most logical place to secure a guide to go into the mountains to Fraser’s Ridge. He learns there are twenty-three taverns where she could have taken a room or maybe in a private residence he thinks. By the time he had reached the fifth tavern people had begun sharing their sightings of her (p673, Nook). Roger was considerably worried for Brianna after hearing the stories. He was also hungry, thirsty, and lacking funds. He decided on a place to spend a couple of pennies on dinner, and maybe, just maybe he would be allowed to sleep in the stable. He saw a newspaper office and wanted to throw a rock through the window. That damned notice is what got both into this situation.
Entering the Blue Bull, he sees Brianna sitting by the hearth (p674, Nook). Roger tries to make her come with him. A seaman from the cargo boat yells at Roger (MacKenzie) to let her be. Brianna finally tells the protective man she knows Roger. The man reluctantly backs off. Lizzie freaks out that Brianna may go with him. Brianna assures her it’s okay and she’ll be back later. Once outside, she wants to know why he’s there. He takes her to a shelter. Again, she demands to know what he’s doing there (p675, Nook). He kisses her, hard and tells her it will be alright. She is horrified that he is there (p675, Nook). Around and around they go. She has the temper of both her parents.
Instead of throttling her back, he grabbed a handful of hair and kissed her as hard as he could, she fought him, at first. Then gave in ending in tears and sobs (p676, Nook). There it is, she didn’t tell him she was going because she loved him. Now they tumble on the ground like wrestlers. He let go of her hair, she took her arm off his neck, but Roger couldn’t stop touching her neck. He makes her say it (p677, Nook). She lay in his arms weeping. They are dirty, bruised, and he is most certainly hungry. They will find a way back to the twentieth century, somehow.
She is happy to see him regardless of not wanting him to follow her. He asks how long she’d been planning the trip, though he probably knew the answer based on the changes in her letters. Six months past when she went to Jamaica instead of to Scotland to see him. Of course, she had asked him to come with her, but he refused. She kept dreaming about her fathers, Frank and Jamie. There was one dream that stood out (p678, Nook). That dream is what caused her to go to Jamaica. Since the trail of Jamie and Claire was lost after 1766, she figured she would give it a shot. Maybe they had gone to Jamaica first. She began to search cargo ships since The Indies were a trade spot. She found the Artemis with a Captain James Fraser that “sold five tons of bat guano in Montego Bay on April 2, 1767.” She explains further finding the solution to Jamie being a Captain of a ship with known crippling seasickness (p680, Nook). She didn’t find the freed slave, but she did find the death notice dated 1776. They are there early enough to warn her parents. Roger understands at this moment why parents or a spouse would beat them (p681, Nook).
He was angry. He thought she found someone else because of her letters. He wanted to beat her because she made him think he’d lost her. She apologizes. How did he find out she’d left anyway? He tells her about the boxes arriving and the last-minute conference that had kept him in Oxford longer than expected. She realizes he followed her even though he thought she’d found someone else (p682, Nook). He touched her under her loosened shirt. Did she mean it? The unspoken words of her body tell him she did mean it. Then her words urged him (p682, Nook). He takes her to the nearby shed.
For a moment, Brianna thinks about Lizzie. Roger didn’t know who that was and didn’t care either. He had her in a safe, private place behind the inn. Before they go further, they are handfasted as is a Highland’s custom because a minister will be difficult to find on short notice. Roger will not lie with her unless they are married (p683, Nook). The handfasting allows for marriage for a year and a day before a final decision is made to wed or being married in the church legally. They are wed in a shed behind the Blue Bull tavern.
They explore each other in the dark of the shed. She reaches down, and humor invades the exploration (p684, Nook). She quivered in his arms, but not from laughter. She was naked, and the feel of her amazed him. He remarks how he’s never been able to kiss a girl without stooping down. Brianna’s nervous humor invades again. He couldn’t stop kissing and touching her to get undressed. She helped him out of his breeks and shocked him by reaching down to grasp him. His senses were filled with the tastes on her lips, the smell of her body and hair. He asks her to let go of him for a moment; she has a bit too strong of a grip. When she moves to her knees, he is stunned (p686, Nook). His coherency and blood leave his brain in quick order. She asks if she’s doing it right. He thinks so. This is the first time anyone has done this to him. So yeah, he thinks so. He likes it well enough. Before he completely loses himself, he disengages, pulls her to her feet, and lays her down on the straw.
He has only tried giving oral to a woman once, but she smelled of Sunday church flowers. Brianna did not. She drove him to abject lust. Instead, he kisses her on her lower belly (p687, Nook). He gets to his work enjoying the myriad of sensations and tastes. He felt a quiver move through her into him. He asks if he is doing it right (p687, Nook). He wonders how exactly she KNOWS he’s doing it right. She laughs. They work through the awkwardness of her eagerness. Finally, she relaxes into him. He tells her he loves her. She simply puts her hand on his face and opens to him. At the point of no return, he takes it slowly, she urges him forth. She asks if he is big. He thinks average and asks if he’s hurting her a lot. She needs stillness for a minute. She reaches down his back touching his behind. She gives him the go-ahead (p689, Nook). I call this maneuver the pull and pray technique. She declares her love for him.
After they recover, tangled together they talk (p689, Nook). He is astonished she learned so much from a book. He tells her it’s terrible books go around telling young women how to do sexual things. How else would she learn if not for books? Roger must check his Victorian Presbyterian thoughts on female knowledge. He tells her there’s more to it than what books can say. She’s eager for him to show her more.
When she woke from a light sleep thinking about how they fit together, how he had made love to her three times through the night, how she was sore and happy (p691, Nook). What a beautiful piece of writing. Roger apologizes for them not having a proper wedding and proper bridal chamber to consummate their marriage. She assures him it was very good for her. She reaches for him, but he needs a rest. She’s not the only one who might be sore.
She tells him she’s never been so happy and if they never get back to their own time, it is okay as long as they’re together. He tells her he thinks there’s another way and explains his trip through the stones and the diamond Fiona gave him. Gemstones might help to steer the traveler. He recited a poem from the grimoire (p692, Nook). Brianna thinks the poem is bonkers, but Roger points out insanity doesn’t mean it isn’t correct. The poem has old Celtic ritual and witchcraft within it. Roger doesn’t think the blood sacrifice is needed, but the metal and gems might be necessary. He asks Brianna what she wore when she went through. The bracelet he gave her and the pearls.
They discuss the possibilities of traveling through the stones and how the gemstones assist travel. They need to get a hold of some to help with their eventual travel back to their own time. The thing is, it is difficult to find gemstones outside of a large city, and the expense is too much as well. Roger has an idea where he can get one, but he must leave immediately to have a chance at it. Brianna cannot wait for Roger there, because she found Jamie Fraser. Roger wants her to wait instead of going to Cross Creek without him, but with Lizzie being sick she needs to find her mother as soon as possible. He agrees but asks her to wear a dress instead of her breeks. She doesn’t want him stealing the stone, but he says it’s no big deal since the man likely stole it from someone else. The dispute was ended by one more role in the hay.
Roger speaks sometime later saying he thinks he married his great-aunt six times removed. It had just dawned on him that they are related way back through the MacKenzie bloodline. The method of birth control they used throughout the night caused him to think of Geillis Duncan becoming pregnant. Brianna figures they are sixth or seventh cousins or something near that. Brianna doesn’t care if it’s nothing near incest. Roger couldn’t give up the thought though (pp696, Nook). When Brianna learns Roger hadn’t been to Lallybroch, she wants to know how he found her. Then she becomes angry realizing he had found the blasted newspaper article and never told her. She is in a rare fury. He tries to explain when he found it and why he hadn’t told her. He doesn’t think they can change the past (p698, Nook). He couldn’t stand the idea of her being hurt. She felt betrayed that he kept it from her. It was not his place to choose whether she knew about the death notice. This reminds me of Claire yelling at Jamie sometimes. Roger digs a deeper hole for himself (p698, Nook).
She is Fraser angry now. She pulls on her breeks while cursing under her breath. She yells at him, tells him to get hanged I he wants to and that she is going to save her parents with or without him (p699, Nook). That is a terrible way to end things. It’s not as if communication is simple in that era. Lizzie isn’t sleeping when Brianna returns in a flurry of emotion. Brianna says she’s fine, but from outside the window, Roger Mac can be heard (p699, Nook). Lizzie was frozen for a moment. She could see the change in Brianna’s expression. She looked as if she had the blood fury like soldiers had. She was a Highland she-devil. She asked in Gaelic if Brianna was okay. Brianna told her to go to sleep.
Lizzie simply lay awake worried what Brianna might do. Then she realizes Brianna is shaking and she feels guilty for allowing her to be hurt. Brianna finally fell asleep. Unable to sleep, Lizzie slipped from the bed, opened the shudders, and began to tidy things up. She picks up Brianna’s discarded clothing (p701, Nook). She thinks Roger assaulted Brianna. She smelled Brianna’s clothing, and it wreaked of a man. As she washed Brianna’s clothing with lye soap, the water turns to red. She’s sure Roger took Brianna’s virginity and thought it by rape.
Oh, the boy has Lizzie got this wrong, but she has so little information to go by it’s a logical conclusion. Roger and Brianna fighting is no good thing with separate tasks ahead of them. Where do you think Roger is getting the stone? The seaman had called Roger, MacKenzie. This is the name he is going by in the eighteenth century. It is the name Lizzie knows the dark man by too. Will Brianna tell anyone she’s wedded by handfasting? Will she get to Cross Creek and meet Jamie in time? Four sexual encounters in a night, pull and pray or no, could she be with child? Will Roger get the gemstone? Will he return to her? As the last point, I love how Diana wrote the whole scene surrounding their coupling. Roger is a man of honor. He wants all of her forever.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 41-42 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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