Claire was sent to the longhouse. She examined Roger. Jamie wanted to keep some facts to themselves. Roger baptized a baby. Young Ian was adopted into the tribe to replace the man Roger had killed. He was named Wolf’s Brother and joined Works with Her Hands’ family. With sadness Roger, Claire, and Jamie left the village toward River Run. Roger learned the baby might not be his. Jamie and Claire left Roger to decide. Stephen Bonnet was arrested. Brianna implored Lord John to arrange a meeting. The mother bear roared. Lord John was injured. Bonnet made a fiery escape and asked Brianna to go with him.
Inside the Chapters:
The Office of a Priest
An exhausted, Claire was taken to the longhouse. The air smelled of smoke and burnt things. There was singing; she wondered if it was for the dead woman. She exclaimed when she saw Jamie and Roger. Roger embraced her. He was thin and stank but seemed healthy to her. I love how Claire clinically assessed him immediately. This demonstrated how much she cared for him. He asked after Brianna immediately. She noticed his injured foot, but Jamie interrupted and asked how Claire was. Oddly he told her his arm needed to be looked at because it hurt. As Claire points out, he would never say he was in pain in front of Roger. She looked him over and didn’t think his arm was broken (p963, Nook). What do you think of Jamie’s idea? Claire went back to Roger to look at his foot. She blurted out Brianna was pregnant. Roger was stunned to learn Bree was in advanced pregnancy (p964, Nook). Claire thought Bree wanted to give Roger an escape plan since she believed the baby was Bonnet’s but moreover that she believed Jamie wouldn’t see it as a marriage without a priest, church, and contract. Claire reassured Roger of Brianna’s health and well-being. Brianna had wanted to go with Claire and Jamie to find Roger; this was a great relief to him. Jamie admitted it was a misunderstanding.
Claire inspected Roger’s foot and was alarmed at the infection. Roger explained it was infected off and on. Roger only wanted answers. Brianna had not set Jamie and Young Ian upon him to turn him away; it was Jamie’s idea (p966, Nook). In Jamie’s mind, a person can only die once, so it was safe to bring Claire with him on this dangerous trip. If the past couldn’t be changed, Jamie assumed correctly. Roger explained that was precisely why he didn’t tell Brianna about the notice (p967, Nook). Claire wholeheartedly disagreed with this idea of protection, just like Brianna had. Claire lambasted Roger for not telling Bree and trying to prevent her from going into the past. Jamie would rather have not met Brianna than for her to go through all she had since entering the 18th century. Roger had an epiphany. Brianna could not go back through the stones now. She was too far pregnant. Claire had tried to send her back early on, but Brianna wouldn’t go without Roger. Jamie felt responsible for Brianna being stuck in his timeline (p968, Nook).
Suddenly a group of Mohawks entered the longhouse. An older woman handed Roger the cradleboard. The woman knew he was the son of a priest and wants him to baptize Father Alexandre and his lover’s baby. Roger wasn’t sure at first, then Jamie reminded him any man could perform the duties of a priest in the time of need. Roger paled but decided to perform the baptism in French.
“Écoutez les paroles de notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, en obéissant à la parole de notre Seigneur Jésus et sûre de sa présence avec nous, nous baptisons ceux qu’il a appelés à être les siens.Qui est votre Seigneur, votre Sauveur? Voulez-vous placer votre foi en Lui? Promets-tu de dire à cet enfant la bonne nouvelle de l’Évangile, et tout ce que le Christ commande, et par ta communion fraternelle, de renforcer ses liens familiaux avec la famille de Dieu?” Then Roger turned to Jamie and Claire, the baby passed between them. Roger finished sprinkling water on the baby’s head and said, “Je vous baptise, Alexandra, au nom du Père et du Fils et du Saint-Esprit, Amen.”
The group of Christian Mohawk left the village and Roger wondered if he was going to be next to die. Claire shared what she learned from staying in Tewaktenyonh’s house the prior night (p970, Nook). Young Ian had not been seen since the chaos of the night before. It was the following afternoon before there was a visitor to the longhouse. It was Young Ian. He was there to say goodbye to Jamie and Claire. His hair had been plucked into a Mohawk style, his ear pierced, and his face tattooed. The adoption ceremony was to be in the evening (p972, Nook). Oh, my crushed heart. The ceremony included his whiteness being scrubbed away with sand and given a new name (Wolf’s Brother). Jamie surprised the Mohawk by placing his plaid over Young Ian’s shoulder. Are any of you crying? Imagine Jamie writing to Jenny about her son.
They left the next morning after Jamie silently hugged and kissed Ian goodbye. The trio was quiet throughout the day and set up camp that evening. Roger spoke, asking Claire about the circle in the Indies. She was too tired to explain, so she simply said yes. Then he went on to tell Claire there was another stone circle eight days travel from Fraser’s Ridge. There would still not be enough time to get back to River Run, collect Brianna, and get back to the stone circle for them to go back to the 20th century. Jamie brought up that Roger didn’t have to stay. He could go back to his own time. Tempers and words flared (p975, Nook). Roger fired back showing the gemstone he stole from Bonnet not knowing Bonnet stole it from Claire and Jamie who had taken it from Geillis. Roger explained to them what happened (p976, Nook). Jamie mounted his horse and told Claire to come with him. Roger told her to go and he would come if he could. Claire and Jamie rode away leaving Roger with a gemstone in his hand and a decision to make.
Young Ian made a huge sacrifice but made it for love and obligation. Jamie had great anger toward Roger and treated him badly. How could a man hearing such shocking news be able to know how he felt about it? I don’t like the big deal that’s made of a child not being of one’s blood. Jamie adopted Fergus (Claudel) and loved Laoghaire’s daughters as his own. Both Claire and Roger had been adopted, and Frank had raised Brianna as his blood daughter. Roger had been through hell during the many months since Jamie had given him to the tribe, you would think Jamie having been a captive would certainly understand the difficulties Roger faced. He seemed to have little compassion for Roger and blamed him for losing Young Ian. What compelled Jamie to act in such a way?
Three-Thirds of a Ghost
River Run, April 1770
Lord John dropped the bomb on Brianna that Stephen Bonnet was captured. Lord John sent the nearby servant to bed to keep listening ears away. He wanted to go to bed himself, but the information could not hold any longer. Bonnet had been caught in Cross Creek and charged with smuggling tea and brandy, but charges were added when his identity was discovered. Lord John searched Brianna’s face for signs of swooning. She was steady though pale. Bonnet was to hang the following week. Lord John was impressed by how much the baby had grown in two months since their engagement. The baby moved pressing out toward him, and he worried about the stress of knowing could cause her to go into preterm labor. His worry escalated, and he thought to get a servant, but Brianna merely said thank you. The calmness she expressed relieved Lord John to the state of her health. Brianna wants to see him. Lord John misunderstood thinking she wanted to watch the execution. He protested. She only wanted to talk to him. John choked on his drink. She went on to tell him of her outrageous plan to see Bonnet and the utter scandal it would cause. Well, Brianna knows how to take a conversation from zero to redline in one moment. I don’t think there’s enough booze to keep Lord John from shock from Brianna’s boldness.
He asked her why she wanted to speak to Bonnet. She handed him a piece of paper written by her father (p981, Nook). Bottom line, Brianna wanted to be free whether or not Roger returned. Forgiveness was at the heart of her need to see him (p982, Nook). Before retiring to bed, he asked if he could feel the baby move. He was delighted to feel the baby press against his hand.
Lord John took Brianna to the garrison. Bonnet was being held in the basement of the warehouse. The soldier on duty, Hodgepile was bribed to allow them in. The name was known to Brianna from Ronnie Sinclair’s description. They gained entrance, Hodgepile was startled seeing Brianna. They passed the contents of the warehouse leaving Brianna with a sense of confinement. Hodgepile instructed her to be careful with the lantern. Fire would be especially dangerous. Once down in the basement, the dampness took over. She was determined not to panic. Lord John encouraged her. She entered the room on her own. Bonnet was chained to her relief. Brianna spoke (p985, Nook). Brianna vomited and then gathered herself. She told him her name (p985, Nook). His manner almost made her laugh. He told her the jewels had been stolen after he sold one to buy a ship. She wondered if Roger stole the two. The timing fit she thought. He reminded her she got the ring back (p986, Nook). She wanted nothing from him but had come to give him something. She told him the baby was his. What in the hell caused her to think this was a good idea and there was only a chance the baby was his anyway. She hoped the knowledge would give him ease knowing he left something behind after he died.
Enter Sergeant Murchison. He threatened her. Brianna reacted and swung the lantern at his head. Stephen Bonnet grabbed her before she could hit him again. He wasn’t chained after all. It also looked like Murchison had killed Lord John who was sprawled on the floor in the hall. Murchison again threatened to shoot Brianna, but the cramped quarters made it impossible (p988, Nook). In the dimness of her mind, she heard her name. Bonnet was shouting at her to stop. The building was going to blow, and they had to get out. She blocked the door until he explained everything. She refused to let him leave Murchison to die, so he slit his throat to be done with it. Brianna was contracting with Braxton Hicks though, not contractions that cause labor. She, of course, did not know this fact. Bonnet ran out, and she stopped to check Lord John for a pulse. She found one weak and irregular. She calculated the risk of being in the basement if the upstairs caught fire and convinced herself it was safe while she tried to puzzle out how to save Lord John. She was about to administer first aid to Lord John when Bonnet returned yelling for her to run. She believed it was safe and he should go away (p993, Nook). She agreed to leave, but Bonnet had to carry Lord John to safety. He picked up Lord John, and she followed as quickly as she could. Can you imagine being seven months pregnant and running for your life from a building about to blow up? They made it out of the building to the wharf. The building was burning brightly. Bonnet asked her to go with him to his ship. She declined. He asked her if it was true that the baby was his while peering into her face. He reached into his mouth and pulled a gem from his cheek. He put it in her hand to help pay for the baby’s upkeep. He left, and she pondered shooting him as he ran off. She heard Jamie’s voice in her head and put the gun down. She opened her hand and found the black diamond staring back at her.
What was Brianna thinking? The woman has her mother’s penchant for rashness and not caring whether she created a scandal. Each read I have a difficult time figuring out WHY she would tell Bonnet the baby was unequivocally his. HOW did that propel her forgiving him? WHAT will happen now that he has escaped and believed he is the baby’s father? For all her engineer brain thinking, she certainly does not stop to think about the what-ifs and how they might impact the future.
Links of Interest: The anthropology blog post I talked about in the podcast.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 63-65 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
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The intro and outro music segments are taken from a piece by Damiano Baldoni at URL on Free Music Archive. Curator: ccCommunity. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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