“Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”
Brianna and Lizzie get safely upriver to Cross Creek, though the girl had yet again become ill. Brianna borrows a mule to scout out Cross Creek. She meets Jamie. He’s dubious at first. Then filled with utmost joy. To River Run, he takes her and Lizzie. Fergus is victorious at his trial. Jamie takes Brianna to Fraser’s Ridge. Claire is shocked and happy. Jamie takes Brianna hunting. They become more comfortable with each other. Jamie is fretful. Memories are shared between Claire and Jamie in the moonlight.
Inside the Chapters:
Brianna is aggravated that Lizzie is ill again. Brianna woke after that night with Roger to cleaned clothes, a tidied space, and Lizzie fevered. She is restless knowing she only has eight days to get to Cross Creek or she could miss Jamie Fraser. Lizzie might be ready to travel in a couple of days thought a frustrated Brianna. She went down to the taproom to get tea for the sick girl and a man with roaming hands tried to grab her behind. Squeezing through the crowded tables she notices a gold ring at a gambling table. The light hit it just right and she knew the engraving pattern within. She stopped and approached the man who held it. She pretended to rub it for luck and she was right, she did know the ring. “From F. to C. with love. Always.,” it read. She was eager to find out where he, the Irishman got it from. She was worried for her mother. She planned to see him the following day in the daylight for safety. He agrees and tells her to go to the Gloriana. Yes, you remembered it correctly, it is Captain Stephen Bonnet. The man who Jamie and Claire saved from execution when he was found hidden in their wagon. The man who later stole from them when they were headed upriver to Auntie Jo’s. This cannot be a good thing Brianna ran into him.
The kind Dutch woman is in awe of the amount of food Brianna ate. She had not eaten in a couple of days. She accepted a second helping of food. Lizzie’s fever had returned two days upriver. Brianna thought she might die. They had made it to Cross Creek, tomorrow she would find Jamie Fraser. She felt the ring in her secret pocket. Knowing her mother was alive was all that mattered. The Dutchwoman was the sister of one of the men she traveled with upriver. She would take care of Lizzie while Brianna borrowed the mule for a trip into Cross Creek to find the courthouse and to gain familiarity with the city. She didn’t want to take any chances she might miss Jamie Fraser. She had not noticed anything on the second half of their journey. Her mind had been occupied with Lizzie and painful thoughts of her own. Now that she was riding, she could see the countryside and how it changed.
She wonders how it will be to meet him, Jamie Fraser. Would he be happy to see her? What might he say? She could hear the echoes of Laoghaire calling him a liar and a cheat. She rode into town. Most people were inside to escape the heat of the day. She made note of landmarks, like the sawmill and a tavern. She feels hollow after searching for money in her pocket and finding something else. She stops at the tavern and gets a beer. The landlord asks if she’s come for the trial. Brianna asks whose trial it is. Fergus Fraser is accused of attacking an officer of the Crown. The tavern owner is sure he’ll be acquitted since Jamie Fraser came down from Fraser’s Ridge to be at the trial. He is there at the tavern and should return in a minute. Brianna leapt up and ran out the door. She spies Jamie peeing against a tree. When he turned toward her from the tree, he tensed seeing her standing there thinking she was a man at first. She was wearing breeks of course. When she saw him face on, she knew without a doubt who he was though smaller, his face was her face. He speaks to her (p708, Nook). Imagine him hearing those words, “I’m your daughter.” He became flushed red, a sight she found recognizable. He stopped and looked her over more closely (p710, Nook). He reaches out to touch her stunned by her being fully grown. He thought of her as a wee bairn from the pictures (p711, Nook). Such emotion gripped them both. She had no idea how to address Jamie. Frank was her daddy and always would be. He tells her to call him Da (p712, Nook). To be hugged by the father she had only known existed for a couple of years. I LOVE THIS SCENE TO MY CORE. Jamie is meant to be a father. He’s meant to be her father. He’s right Claire will be mad with joy. What do you love about it?
Everything was a blur from here on out. They had retrieved Lizzie from the Dutch woman’s home. As they rode toward River Run, Jamie told Brianna about the house he’s building for Claire and the glass in the back is meant as a surprise for her mother. He’s putting windows in the big house for her. It seemed a long ride down the dusty roads, but she slept with her head on his shoulder and his arm holding her close. River Run was a big house and she met Aunt Jocasta tall with a face like hers, but eyes that looked beyond her. Everything seemed to happen like magic. So many hands to help and make jobs quick. The haze of hands and faces of black slaves were in Brianna’s mind. They bathed, dried, and dressed her in a fresh cotton gown. There was food, tea, and her father’s joy-filled eyes upon her. There was a pretty blond girl who seemed familiar somehow. Her name was Marsali. Lizzie too was cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket with hot tea in hand. Barely coherent Brianna hears the names of Farquard Campbell and Fergus before strong hands of her father lifted her and took her to bed.
Fergus Fraser looked like a French noble on his way to the guillotine to Brianna (p713, Nook). That’s because he is French, and his name is Claudel. Jamie renamed him. Marsali is worried about the treatment Fergus may have gotten while in jail. There was a crowd filling the courthouse, not a seat to be had. There were soldiers guarding the doors and one seated by the Justice’s bench. The man caught Jamie’s eye with a malevolent air of satisfaction. Jamie kept his poker face seeming indifferent. The Justice arrived, and the proceedings began. Brianna thinks she has a handle on the people present, Phaedre, Marsali, Young Ian, and Fergus.
The Justice calls for the charges to be read (p715, Nook). Hugh took the stand and described the events of that day. Apparently, he was wickedly lashed by the tongue in French. The Justice gives Fergus the opportunity to speak (p715, Nook). After this exciting testimony by Fergus, the Justice asks if James Fraser is present. Jamie is sworn and answers all questions regarding the land deal he had with Governor Tryon. Brianna intently watched the proceedings and noticed the officer who leered at Jamie earlier was looking at Hugh. There was a nod of the head. As the Justice was about to acquit Fergus, Hugh stands up and objects based on no proof of the land grant deal (p717, Nook). With evidence in hand, the Justice acquits Fergus.
Before stepping down, Jamie asks the Justice if Berowne’s charge fully described the attack? The Justice read the original complaint and had a light bulb moment (p718, Nook). After concluding the trial, they went to Jocasta’s house for a celebration feast. As they discussed the trial, it’s revealed Marsali had been the one to assault the officer. She kicked him in the face when he tried to take her from her horse. The officer took Germaine from her and she had to get off the horse. It was Murchison wanting to make trouble for Jamie that set the farce of a complaint in motion. Jocasta was annoyed that Farquard Campbell, the usual Justice in the area was taken off the trial. Jamie explains why (p719, Nook). Jamie is always a step ahead of Murchison. Jamie looks at Brianna asking her if she thinks him to be rich. It’s not something that had entered her mind. He explains to Brianna the state of life on Fraser’s Ridge (p720, Nook).
Back at the Ridge, Claire is going through her jarred stores making sure none were moldy. this makes her think of having a penicillin plantation. If she were lucky she could isolate the Penicillium mold of the hundreds that grow on stale bread. Would any spores survive, or would she recognize it if they did? She’d had no success in over a year, but she would keep trying. She found it impossible to keep vermin out of the pantry (p720, Nook). Though she could lock all the edibles in the hutch Jamie built, the stale bread samples required air. Nayawenne came to mind as she thinks about how every plant could cure illness if only it was known what it was. She regretted not being taught more by her friend, but not as bitterly as the loss of Nayawenne from the earth. She knew she needed to keep trying to grow the elusive penicillium. Much of the year she couldn’t leave samples out because of the vermin, but in winter the air was too cold to allow for spore growth. She would try again in the spring.
The new house was taking shape up on the hill. It would be done by spring (p721, Nook). Clarence the Mule shrieked with ecstasy. Claire hastily cleans up the bottles and corks. She hoped it was Jamie returning with Fergus and Marsali. She worried that Jamie’s confidence about the trial hadn’t come to fruition. After placing the last of the bottles in the cupboard, she went to the door. She saw no one. She saw nothing but evidence someone had come through. She wished she hadn’t left her knife on the table. Someone was there. Jamie spoke behind her (p722, Nook). Bree knocked her off her feet with a bone-crushing hug (p722, Nook). Of course, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Poor Jamie left out again with a modern-day reference. Claire must have almost had kittens to see Brianna. I love how we are reintroduced to Marsali as a high-spirited young woman. Fergus with his French contempt is priceless. The character of Murchison is like a fever blister. He pops up when you least expect it. We meet Jocasta and the household staff through the eyes of Brianna. she accomplished her quest. She found her father, her Da. What happened to Brianna that she had painful worries? I wonder what Roger is up to.
Part Ten Impaired Relations
Jamie wakes Brianna in the pre-dawn morning asking her to come hunting with him. She dressed and went to the privy. The sky seemed dreamlike in quality. She could almost touch the stars. It was very early she thought as dark and quiet as it was. She gulped the fresh air as she returned to the confines of the cabin. Jamie was ready with hunting gear in tow. She watched him kiss her mother as she slept in bed. She felt like a voyeur (p725, Nook). She waited for him to come outside. With a nod of his head, she followed on the path. The quiet broke to sounds of birdsong, screeches, and other noises. Daylight rose with subtlety. They sat together eating apples and bread. Wiping her hands on her coat, she felt the presence of the conker in her pocket, a touchstone, a link to another life for the one who planted it. Were her links to the past severed for good? She followed Jamie uphill. At the top of the steep climb, she felt she could float away (p726, Nook).
The climbing became easier as she found the “rhythm of the ground.” They reached the place he meant to take her. There was a split rock that caused her to hesitate for a moment. It reminded her of THE stones. This caused Jamie momentary distress and he had to watch her safely climb through. He touched her to be sure she was still there. His timing was perfect (p727, Nook). That gives me shivers. I love to listen to the land and see what presents. Sometimes nothing shows up and sometimes... They sat for a long time watching as the sun came to full light. Jamie said a Gaelic prayer to the spirits. Brianna speaks first (p728, Nook). He learned to value the solitude. They sat and listened to nature speaking around them. She spoke of Roger and Jamie’s heart squeezed. She didn’t think Roger understood being alone. She mentioned not minding being alone had to do with her and Jamie (p729, Nook).
Jamie thinks she had doubts about Wakefield (ahem MacKenzie), Brianna had told them about her search, the death notice, her journey, (damn Laoghaire) and this Wakefield. He knows she didn’t tell them everything though. Why and the hell did Brianna use the name Wakefield when she knew Roger was using MacKenzie? Jamie’s mind was troubled with the thought of Frank (p729, Nook). Brianna brought him from his thoughts by pointing out two does. The does step out without fear of them. Jamie was content being along with his daughter.
Brianna asked what they are hunting for. They had seen many animals throughout the day. He replied bees and she wonders how bees are hunted. It turns out by finding certain types of flowers and watch what direction the honeybees go. They finally found what they were looking for in the late afternoon (p731, Nook). After sharing a meal, he showed her how to load and shoot the musket. She needed a little practice to get used the feel of the musket. She was a good shot. Jamie asks how she learned to shoot (p732, Nook). She moved the conversation back to the bees. He will blow smoke into the hive to stun the bees. He’ll then wrap the hive in his plaid. He’ll nail it to a piece of wood and in the morning the bees will go out looking for flowers. He said they’ll be content in the new place.
They sat in silence again until Brianna asked if Claire would worry about them. He shook his head no. He asked her about men going to the moon. She told him they will go to the moon. He was curious (p733, Nook). Brianna continues her description of the Apollo mission. (p733, Nook). He makes a joke about the moon sounding like Scotland. She can tell he misses it. It was time to get the hive and get back to the cabin.
The night was warm enough to sleep with the window covering rolled up. Jamie had been smiling since returning from Cross Creek, but that night he wasn’t sleeping even though he’d been up before dawn. Claire reminded herself to stay away from the side of the garden where the bees would be irritable. The moonlight wasn’t keeping him awake, but something was (p735, Nook). She didn’t belong there just like Louis camel did not belong at Versailles either. Claire reiterates a child cannot be lost and asks if he remembers Faith (p736, Nook). A bonding moment through love and tragedy.
They have Brianna, but it is a fleeting experience. They believe she must go back to her time. They grieve for something that hasn’t happened yet. What about Roger? I am aggravated they are not calling him MacKenzie. Brianna knows he was using his birth name in the 18th century.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 43-44 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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