“All Roads Lead to The Gathering.”
Summary: Domesticity ruled the moment. Jamie and Claire drunkenly frolicked in the night. Roger and Brianna established married life. Duncan Innes came to the Ridge with a proposition. The family headed to the Gathering. The baby finally had a proper name. The Gathering hosted Scottish families from across the Colonies. A word from Young Ian was had. A Highland Regiment arrived. Lizzie got a welcomed surprise. Claire worked her pop-up clinic. Roger shared a private letter with Jamie. Jamie offered to return something special to Claire. Brianna clearly made her choice.
Inside the Chapters:
Domestic bliss filled the morning and Claire thought about the night before when Jamie had invited her outdoors the night before (p1045, Nook). They wandered into the woods to intimately share each other under the moon before drunkenly going back to bed for an hour. They silently shared the memory over parritch under the acknowledging eye of Brianna. The moment was broken when Clarence announced a visitor. Duncan Innes arrived to invite them all to the upcoming gathering at Mount Helicon. The clincher for Jamie was being told a priest would be there and the baby could be baptized. Then Duncan embarrassingly dropped a bomb on Jamie; he asked permission to marry Aunt Jocasta (p1047, Nook). Duncan was a man of propriety and thought it only right to seek Jamie’s blessing because he was the next of kin and her rightful heir. Jamie gave his blessing and said they would dance at the wedding.
The baby’s name had not been settled even though he was about five months old. The discussion went round and round as they traveled to the Gathering. Claire brought up Jeremiah and the nickname of Jemmy. This recalled the woman and her child from the Gloriana to Roger. He inquired to Claire if she remembered the name of his ancestor the changeling’s (William Buccleigh) wife. Claire obliged. The woman’s name was Morag Gunn. Her son’s name was Jemmy. Claire suddenly spoke of Geilie who had said they could travel through time to change things.
We have arrived at the Gathering an incredibly long and detailed set of storylines that carry on well into the next book. Claire reflected on the last Gathering she had attended at Castle Leoch nearly thirty years prior. Though the Clans and the old way of Highland life were dead in Scotland, the Clans gathered together in this place with pride. Looking for Jamie in the crowd, Claire spotted John Quincy Myers and called to him. He was there to sell his hides and trinkets. He was surprised on a trip up in the mountains to have seen Young Ian geared out like a Mohawk. Myers presented Claire with a small package from Young Ian. Myers left Claire assuring her he would see her later. Jamie returned, and they read the letter together. Young Ian had been married to Emily, and they were expecting a child. Rollo had also sired a great many puppies in the village. Jamie, of course, ridiculed Young Ian’s use of Latin.
Claire observed every Scottish family from the Colonies up to Pennsylvania must be there with more arriving all the time. Due to the difficulty of travel, families would stay about a week or so. The next day Jamie made his way to where Lizzie was sitting and offered her a great surprise. Fergus has Joseph Weymss, Lizzie’s father with him. Jamie had purchased Mr. Weymss indenture contract and intended to burn it in the fire that evening.
Day three and Claire was almost overwhelmed with the amount of news, gossip, and Gaelic in the air. Roger though absorbed every detail and sound as he wandered about the grounds listening. The night before he had borrowed a guitar and sang for a crowd. Jamie being no fan of music decided to take the baby for a game of dice (p1054, Nook).
Claire had opened a pop-up medical clinic. She gave dietary advice trying to get the people to eat foods filled with vitamin C. She even had Jamie eating the dangerous nightshade, tomato in front of people on purpose to persuade them it was safe to eat. Instead of making dietary inroads, the others regarded Jamie supernaturally and that Himself, of course, could survive having eaten such food. Claire treated skin a family with a skin condition when a Highland regiment marched into view. Brianna and baby came up behind and asked if they were friend or foe. Did the Crown think this was a political gathering? Claire advised Bree to take the baby up into the rocks if anything happened. All around the men stepped in front of the women and children. Two men rode toward Jamie. The man dismounted and introduced himself (p1057, Nook).
Roger had been waiting to get Jamie alone. He had a message for him. Jamie took the baby from Roger and invited him to speak. Roger explained he had to wait to go through the stones after Brianna left. Roger had stayed at the Manse, his family home while waiting. He found a letter and was not sure if he should tell Claire or Brianna about it. The letter was to his father the Reverend, and the seal of confession had been broken by the death of the writer and his father. Roger spoke the memorized letter to Jamie word for word (p1059, Nook). Roger knew the struggle of thought he had gone through carrying this knowledge. Frank could have chosen to keep the information to himself and not had the Reverend place the headstone that led Claire back to Jamie after Frank’s death followed by Brianna and Roger. With Brianna in the past having had a baby, Jamie’s bloodline would continue. Roger wondered if it was “interest on the debt owed?” Jamie finally spoke (p1063, Nook). Roger planned to tell Brianna but asked if he should tell Claire also. Jamie said under his pledge of honesty to Claire, Roger should tell her.
Day four and even more families had arrived. Each family had their campfire that filled the night’s darkness. Claire was reminded of the MacKenzie clan badge. She realized the burning mountain was a visage of a Gathering like this one representing togetherness. The motto, Luceo non uro (I shine, not burn) finally made sense to her too.
There was a large fire in the clearing families came to declare their presence including Jamie announcing, “The Frasers of the Ridge.” Claire sat with the sleeping baby in her arms. Jamie sat down behind her. They watched Roger and Brianna in intent conversation leading Jamie to wonder if they were going to change the baby’s name again (p1065, Nook). After formally choosing to be husband and wife, Brianna asked Roger to go declare “the MacKenzies are here.”
We DID IT! We finished the Drums of Autumn read-a-long. 34 episodes over most of a year. Thank you for sticking with me as we followed our (my favorite) book friends further into their adventures. We met new people along the way and saw the painful and painstaking process it took for Roger and Brianna to be together. Young Ian is in the hands of his new Mohawk family. Lord John has become a friend to Brianna and reestablished his friendship with Jamie. He and Claire still tolerate each other. Roger and Jamie have entered a tentative relationship. Jocasta is marrying Duncan Innes yet has no heir in Jamie or Brianna. Stephen Bonnet is on the loose. Claire and Jamie are building a life and home for themselves and others in the mountains. We learned how Frank was instrumental in Claire, Brianna, and Roger going into the 18th century. Claire hopes the coming war will stay away from the Ridge. Beware after season 4 airs on television we will be starting straightaway on a read-a-long of the immense Fiery Cross.
What’s Coming up? The Space Between novella.
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