With the help of Young Ian and his friend Emily, Jamie agreed to offer a ceilidh to be hosted by the Pretty Woman with a whisky tasting. Claire became acquainted with the Pretty Woman and her granddaughter. The conversation began with, Claire searching for the truth about the opal and soon revealed who the ghost was that saved her and his purpose in the past. The ceilidh was a hit, and no damage was done. Roger was likely going to be given to them in a few days. Brianna prevented a proposal from one of the male suitors. Brianna met a lord. An alliance was being forged. (1:20)
Inside the Chapters:
A Shattered Smile
Jamie was hot and heavy in negotiation with the sachem for Roger’s release for the past few days even though no one admitted Roger was at the village. Jamie believed Roger was in the village or nearby. They had whisky to exchange for him. The whisky was a challenging offer to make because of the mayhem it could cause when the men drank it. The upside is the alcohol could be used to trade by the Mohawk if they feared to drink it. Young Ian was proving a great intelligencer by sharing hearth in the village. It turns out Roger was a hot commodity among the young women, more than one wanted to take him to their longhouse cubicle (p904, Nook). Remember discord in the other Mohawk village surrounding the priest is what brought them to this village to get a ruling. A unified tribe was very important to them. Jamie and Claire discussed the opal as an alternative offering to the whisky. The response to the opal had been anger, and no one would touch Jamie while he held it. He wanted Claire to keep the gem for protection against harm (p906, Nook). Young Ian agreed with the opinion that something else was going on in the village that had nothing to do with them. There had been a disagreement in the council house the night before, and Emily, Ian’s interest wouldn’t tell him what it was (p906, Nook). Young Ian affirmed he and Emily liked each other. Emily had the idea to have a whisky sampling that night. Young Ian suggested a ceilidh to be hosted by the Pretty Woman and managed by Emily (p907, Nook). Claire asked Young Ian to ask Emily about the opal. Jamie and Claire wondered about who’s bed he was sleeping in. (6:15)
The ceilidh began after dark with high-level council members. Jamie and Young Ian sat with the sachem. Emily sat on the whisky barrel. The rest of the women present did not take part in the tasting, only Emily. Claire could feel Roger’s presence somewhere in the village and knew the burden of importance this gathering held. Claire marveled at the manner in which Works with Her Hands served the whisky. She took it in her mouth and spat three mouthfuls in a cup as a way of portioning out the whisky. Claire wondered how much was absorbed through the girl’s mouth. A young boy came in looking ill. Claire could tell immediately he had a dislocated shoulder. She approached the wary mother and boy (p908, Nook). Claire easily relocated the shoulder with the boy surprised at the immediate relief from pain. He handed back the gemstone. Claire became aware of the ceilidh once more. Young Ian was singing in Gaelic. The others joined in. Music transcended the language barrier. (9:25)
Claire felt Tewaktenyonh (the Pretty Woman) watching her. She turned, and their eyes met. The Pretty Woman sent a young woman to summon Claire to her (p910, Nook). The young woman translated between Claire and her grandmother. The Pretty Woman asked about the opal. Claire showed it to them, and gooseflesh rose on the elder woman’s arms at the sight of the stone. The young woman asked how Claire procured the stone. Claire told them it came to her in a dream. The old woman sang and rubbed tobacco over the fire. Claire could hear the men at the hearth in the distance and wondered if Roger could get hear them too. The scent of smoke and tobacco jarred memories in Claire. She thought of battlefields and high school football games. The old woman asked Claire to tell her about the dream (p912, Nook). The description disturbed the two women. The young woman translated the story that went back forty years of the man Claire saw in her dream. His manner of speech was unusual, but he spoke their tongue. He was brave, intense, and handsome. He only spoke of coming war and to kill all the white men, the French men (O’seronni) before it was too late. He told them of the British and French fighting each other in the future, and that was when they should strike to save their people. The man’s name was Tawineonawia (Otter Tooth), and he told them they were shortsighted and lazy. He would not tell Pretty Woman how far in the future he could see. He tried to convince the tribe, but to no avail. He became more erratic and would not stop returning with his message. Eventually, the men of the village decided to kill him because they believed he had an evil spirit within. He did not understand that he remained a stranger to the tribe and he was in danger. (14:40)
Claire noticed what was going on in the ceilidh, but her spine was prickling. Otter Tooth looked like the Mohawk, sounded like them, but he was a stranger with fillings in his teeth. He hadn’t understood because he believed they were his people and wanted to save them. They had meant to harm him and did. They tortured his bare body, and he ran away. The warriors from the village followed behind and after four days; they caught him (p917, Nook). The legend surrounding the opal was told to Claire (p918, Nook). Claire who had always tried to disbelieve the supernatural was certainly steeped in it. After they ate and drank, Claire left the longhouse. Jamie was waiting for her outside. He thought progress had been made and Young Ian was right to throw the ceilidh. Claire looked at the longhouses wondering where Roger was. It had been seven months. Winter was ending, and they could get back to River Run in time for the birth. Jamie asked Claire if she learned anything about the opal. Claire said she would tell him inside the longhouse. The tika-ba had been the man’s ticket back to the future if needed; it was now Claire’s legacy. (21:50)
Lord John Returns
River Run, March 1770
Phaedre brought a dress for Brianna to change into. A lord was coming for dinner, and Brianna had to hide her growing belly under heavy stays and flounce. Brianna wants to know who the lord is. She wants nothing to do with the whalebone stays (p920, Nook). This culture is completely foreign to Brianna and us. She allowed Phaedre to dress her even though she couldn’t breathe, and she worried about the baby. The lord in question was none other than Lord John Grey of Mount Josiah Plantation in Virginia (p922, Nook). She pondered this lord being a friend of her father’s. When Brianna went down for dinner, they were a few familiar faces, but no Lord John Grey. Brianna entered the room without the whalebone stays and showed off her burgeoning belly. The group was polite if not hiding the surprise at her improper dress. Lawyer Forbes entered the courting ring with a bang. He showed her four jewels and asked which she liked best. He was clever and would present her with one as an engagement ring if she gave her preference. Brianna’s head swam, and nausea spiked. Precious gems could guarantee her passage back through the stones. Brianna knew the game Forbes was playing at and declined to say which she preferred. She wondered if she could steal the stones and run away. She could hide in the mountains and wait to hear of her parents return or go straight to Wilmington and a ship. Forbes asked her again which she preferred, and she declined under the guise of having simple tastes. Jocasta wanted dinner to proceed even though Lord John hadn’t arrived. Just then Ulysses announced the visitor. He was to sit next to Brianna at dinner. (28:50)
Brianna was surprised by Lord John’s stature. Her mother had never described it only his jobs and attributes. He was slight, delicately boned with beautiful eyes, and near a half a foot shorter than her. He startled at the sight of her (of course she knows not why). He quickly turned on the charm and clever anecdotes, but he never mentioned her father. Brianna was tired of the well-meaning visitors; she wanted to be left alone. She realized they were Scots and could never leave her alone in her current situation (p926, Nook). Brianna woke to find herself on a sofa being tended to by many. Once they left her alone, she wanted to cry, but she couldn’t. She decided in her stubbornness that they were all coming back to her. That was that, and her half-Scottishness couldn’t believe anything else. (33:20)
Jocasta came in with Ulysses and Lord John, and of course, tea. Jocasta offered to call Dr. Fentiman, but Brianna vehemently declined. Lord John wished to speak to her since he was leaving in the morning. After leaving the tray, Jocasta and Ulysses left them to chat. Lord John inquired after her well-being (p927, Nook). Brianna told him Roger wasn’t on a ship. He kept talking and planned to travel to Wilmington to make more inquiries. Brianna told him he didn’t have to go (p929, Nook). She went on to ask him if he knows what hand-fasting was and if it was legal in the Colony of North Carolina. He didn’t know but would find out. Brianna believed she was married, but Jocasta did not, hence her many attempts to find her a husband. Brianna thought he was the latest candidate when he showed up. Lord John now understood why the odd company was assembled for dinner. John explained to Brianna what Judge Alderdyce’s mother had in mind (p930, Nook). Lord John saw Brianna as blunt as her mother and full of honor like her father. Brianna’s ire rose at the idea of her father’s honor (p931, Nook). At that, Lord John decided he would stay on at River Run and they would speak again. (41:20)
There’s so much whirling in my mind about the village, the negotiation, Young Ian’s burgeoning relationship with the young woman, Claire’s conversation with the Pretty Woman and all that was revealed. Claire was right that Otter Tooth had tried to save his people from the future. He was a traveler like her. He was her people too. Hopefully, in three days Roger would be in their hands and headed back to River Run in time for the birth. Lord John showing up at River Run has shocked Brianna thinking he was a suitor like the other men, but he was only trying to fulfill her father’s task of finding her young man. His humor, charm, and kindness drew her in. It looks like friendship and alliance is forming between them.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 59-60 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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