Betrayal and Blame Ep 142

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 51-53

Week 27

“Betrayal and Blame”

 

Summary:

Roger found himself a prisoner. He was concussed and battered. He forcibly traveled with the Tuscarora for more than a week. He escaped hoping they would not pursue him. He found a stone circle. He was recaptured. Brianna was at River Run until her parents returned. She was angry and distant from Jamie. She fell into the rhythm of River Run, and Aunt Jocasta loved her company. She and Claire had a difficult goodbye. Jamie offered his promise before they left to find Roger. Claire was reunited with a familiar face. Young Ian had a heart to heart with Claire. The Tuscarora pointed them north to a Mohawk village. Jamie and Claire finally made peace with each other and themselves. They reached Snake-Town and hoped to find Roger and secure his release. (1:45)

Inside the Chapters:

Part Eleven: Pas du Tout (not at all)

Chapter 51 Betrayal October 1769

Roger woke with vomit in his hair, thinking he was on the Gloriana. He was tied up, in pain, and vomited again. He was on the back of a horse, lying across it on his belly. His captors took him off the horse, and he fell face first into the leaves. He grappled with memory to figure out where he was and what had happened. The pain in his head and his body was excruciating. Then he remembered. Indians. Where was he though? His memories swirled. He remembered the Gloriana and Bonnet, then Brianna and the handfasting. A face like Brianna’s came into his mind, but it was fleeting when one of the Indian men grabbed him. Roger thought the Indian meant him harm and he fought. The man had meant to loosen Roger’s hands not hurt him. He was in the mountains with four Indian men. He drank from a nearby brook. His teeth were loose; there were cuts in his mouth and upon his chapped lips. A jolt of memory, Claire, Brianna, and Jamie Fraser. He had been at Fraser’s Ridge. The face of Jamie seared in his mind. He remembered it now. The meeting, the fight, and how Jamie and the other man had meant to kill him. He thought they had given him to the Indians, but to what end? As he stood and relieved himself, he couldn’t look at the men around the fire because it filled him with rage (p854, Nook). (4:00)

As he shared dinner with the Tuscarora, he tried to speak with them in various languages, but they responded to none of them. When it was time to sleep, they tied him with a noose around neck and feet. He had a little room to move before he would choke himself. He slept restlessly as his dreams were filled with violence. The next morning, they left the camp. Roger walked with a noose around his neck and wrists tied to the horse’s harness. He thought they headed north and couldn’t have traveled very far from Fraser’s Ridge. He memorized landmarks so he could come back this way after he escaped. Days were passing as if in a trance, so Roger made a small knot in his coat for each day. He was going back to Fraser’s Ridge no matter what it took. (4:59)

He found his opportunity to escape on day 8. He cut his hands free and ran. They called after him, but he didn’t stop. He saw them and kept going. He was terrified when he found cover. He had no idea what direction he had come. His foot was bleeding from a gash in it. He made a makeshift bandage. He found a place to rest. He slept. When Roger woke, he was hungry and thirsty. Surely, they didn’t follow him? He picked a direction and went. He cautiously listened for pursuit. Roger scrabbled around a rock face and in the clearing in front of him was another set of standing stones. He couldn’t hear them and tried to remember what the date could be. As close as he could figure it had to be near to just past Samhain. He didn’t know if this circle worked on the same dates as Craigh na Dun. He had the gems in his pocket, and if they were open, he could escape. He struggled with the thought of abandoning Brianna. Could he leave her behind? He decided if he wasn’t going to step through the stones then he had to go back to hidden safety or climb the cliff face. When he looked up, a face was looking down and a noose settled around his neck again. (6:25)

Poor Roger. He has a concussion, loose teeth, cuts, bruises, scrapes, and was a prisoner of the Tuscarora. Even though he escaped, he gashed his foot and was caught again. Even though his attempt was foiled, he found a stone circle. That might serve for future purposes.

Chapter 52 Desertion River Run, December 1769

Brianna stood outside of Hector Cameron’s tomb. The inscription read Semper Fidelis. Had he been a faithful man and to whom? She and Jamie hadn’t spoken to each other since that terrible day. Brianna had screamed at him in her final words of rage, and he had left the cabin and not returned that night. She wanted to follow him and comfort him even in her anger, but she blamed him for that too. Brianna hadn’t slept that night after wrangling her emotions into a tightly sealed box inside of her. In the early morning, Jamie had returned and called for Claire to come out. They brought her to River Run to be safe as they planned on going after Roger. It was winter and not safe for her to travel to the mountains or to stay at the Ridge on her own. She thought she might have had a chance at getting her mother to agree, but not with HIS stubbornness supporting her. She replayed the fight in her mind, his reproach of her (p864, Nook). She missed Frank and thought if he hadn’t died none of this would have happened (p865, Nook). She had kissed her mother goodbye and vowed to wait in the garden until she knew they were gone. She DIDN’T want to see HIM. He found her regardless of her desire (p866, Nook). (11:40)

February 1770

Brianna became accustomed to daily life at River Run. She even found ways to use her talents in drawing. It felt luxurious. A servant prepared the bath for her while she was still in bed. She should feel guilty about being waited on by slaves. She rolled over in bed and took inventory of her body to ensure she didn’t become a stranger to herself. The baby within her greeted her with a stretch and movement. She took off her flannel nightgown, feeling every part of her body. She lay back and heard the noises of the household waking up around her. The sound of Frank on the weekends or Jamie speaking outside the cabin to the horses used to make her feel safe and protected. She didn’t feel this way any longer. She was the protector now and didn’t need anyone to make her feel safe. It was her job.  She stood by the window looking out and listening to her body. She could almost hear the baby’s heartbeat and feel it separate from hers. No matter what happened, she would never be alone. (13:40)

Brianna is a Fraser through and through. Stubborn. Ill-tempered. She can hold a grudge with the best of them. How do you think the word desertion applies to this chapter? I am unsure and have many thoughts running through my mind.

Chapter 53 Blame

They arrived at Tennago a Tuscaroran village. Jamie barely spoke since they left Fraser’s Ridge. She felt guilty, worried, and pained. The issue of blame was on her mind. She thought Jamie blamed her for not telling him the truth about Bonnet. Claire blamed herself for it. On the journey to the village, they slept separately when they camped at night. They had brought whisky with them. A king’s ransom Claire thought. It had to be enough to trade for one Scotsman. Claire hoped Roger had been taken here, but Jamie had told Young Ian to be sure Roger would never come back. Claire had brought the amulet and opal. The amulet to return to someone and the opal to supplement trade if needed. Jamie also brought along every small belonging he might use to up the trade except for this father’s ring. The ring had been left with Brianna in case they didn’t return. Having the ring gave Brianna a travel insurance policy of sorts. She could get back to her own time if needed. (16:00)

Claire replayed the last moments she’d had with Brianna at River Run. Brianna trusted Claire to find Roger but was unsure about Jamie’s intention. Claire knew Jamie would do anything to find Roger and bring him back to her. His honor wouldn’t allow otherwise. His honor. These words brought words from Brianna (p871, Nook). It was time to leave as Young Ian called for Claire. Claire and Brianna had an emotional goodbye (p871, Nook). Claire urged Jamie to talk to Brianna. He needed to say goodbye. Jamie went and returned within a few minutes. They were all mounted and left River Run. (18:10)

It was night and Jamie was still with Nacognaweto. Young Ian came in with someone behind him. He had brought Pollyanne the ex-slave woman they had freed and taken to the Indians to live. She had a child on her arm. Young Ian translated, and Claire learned the Tuscarora had taken her in as their own. She took a husband, and the baby was born a few months earlier. Pollyanne was free and happy. Claire wanted Young Ian to ask who she should give Nayawenne’s amulet. Pollyanne said no one would want it (p873, Nook). Pollyanne wasn’t frightened by the amulet and the ghost of Nayawenne because of her past spiritual beliefs before becoming an Indian. Claire was comforted by the idea of Nayawenne walking with her. They talked until Jamie’s return surprised them. Pollyanne said her goodbyes and said something to Young Ian in a parting word (p874, Nook). Jamie and Claire barely missed preventing the death of the young woman in the sawmill. Jamie touched Claire, and she took his hand. It had been almost a month since they touched purposely. Murchison had a wife in England, and a pregnant mistress would not have been desirable. Jamie thought he might visit the Sergeant alone when they returned to River Run. Claire had a sharp response (p874, Nook). Jamie went on to share what he had learned about Roger. He was given to the Mohawk and was far to the north. Young Ian’s friend Onakara would be their guide. Jamie went to their assigned cubicle in the longhouse. Claire went to go after him, but Young Ian stopped her (p875, Nook). Quite the eye-opening conversation and shows a level of maturity by Young Ian to speak up.  (25:35)

On her way back to their cubicle Claire pondered what Young Ian said. He was right of course. Her guilt about the gold ring had kept her silent, not Brianna’s request (p877, Nook). I think Claire needs to apologize for her part in it. And yes, he could have come to her and sought her out.  Once in their cubicle she defrocked and climbed in next to him asking him to warm her. I do this very thing if I have been the distant partner. She wanted to comfort him with her body and presence. She didn’t care about herself in the wordless dark but became as needful and desperate for him, and he was for her. They were alone in the darkness surrounded by others. She could hear things like the hum of bees. This small cubicle was their singular space. It was then they talked for the first time in almost a month. She apologized. He didn’t blame Bonnet. He felt a failure as a man. He was jealous of a dead man (p878, Nook). He wants to know if Brianna could forgive him if he brings Roger back to her? Claire says she will. Then it dawned on Claire, Brianna’s words meant for Claire to bring Jamie back and not Roger. What do you think? (31:30)

The traveling north was difficult, and some days it was impossible. They finally arrived at the Mohawk village of Snake-town in mid-February. Brianna would be six months pregnant by now. Claire hoped Roger was here and they could leave quickly after negotiating his release so they could be back well before Brianna was due to deliver. Claire worried he wasn’t here or was dead.  Their guide refused to go into the village with them. Jamie paid him with a horse, a knife, and a flask of whisky. The rest of the whisky was buried for later retrieval. Claire asked if the Mohawk would understand what they wanted. Young Ian said the Tuscarora and the Mohawk languages were similar as were Spanish and Italian.  They likely had a bit of English as well. Off they went into the village. (33:10)

What’s Coming up? Chapters 54-56 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to contact@adramofoutlander.com or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

Any images are from Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link. Featured Image

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Truth and Consequences Ep 141

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 49-50

Week 26

“Truth and Consequences”

 

****Warning: This podcast contains discussion about abortion, rape, and hastening death****

Summary:

Claire contemplated offering and performing an abortion if Brianna wanted it. She and Jamie fought over the mere idea of it. Brianna wanted to keep the baby. Young Ian proposed to Brianna at the behest of Jamie. Brianna refused the offer. A fight ensued between her and Jamie. Later the truth came out after Brianna described Roger, sketched a likeness, and gave his true family name. The fair fight on the mountain was discussed. Jamie and Young Ian gave Roger to the Iroquois. Jamie accused Brianna of crying wolf. The gold ring was revealed. Bonnet was the rapist. Claire felt guilty. Jamie internally raged. Young Ian was stunned. Brianna was brutally honest.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 49

Choices – November 1769

Claire was going through her medicine box that used to belong to Daniel Rawlings. She was going through the contents contemplating offering Brianna an abortion. She said something aloud but didn’t expect a response. When Jamie answered the question, she jumped and sliced herself with the blade she was holding. She told Jamie she was going to use the blade to cut up the root, but he’d only seen her use the blades on people. He asked her what she was doing (p824, Nook). She went on to tell him about her patient Graham Menzies that she helped to die. He thought of Graham as a mercy killing and even duty to help him out of his misery. He reminded her of Dougal easing Rupert after Falkirk and hastening his death. Isn’t it the duty of a doctor who cannot heal a patient and save the man from pain?  Claire agreed and tried to explain why she wanted to offer the choice to Brianna (p825, Nook).  The conversation turned ugly as they discussed the various aspects of the situation (p826, Nook). So that was it, not the question of paternity, but that Brianna would have to stay in the 18th century. They argued more. The other truth was revealed that Jamie wanted nothing more than a child of his blood. More tension arose as he grabbed her bleeding hand and held it above her claiming her arrogance believing she had power over life and death. To Claire, it was about offering the choice. To Jamie, it was about murdering his grandchild. Claire believed it was no different than Jamie acting in a manner to protect another even if it meant a death occurred. Jamie left with only the word, please.

Claire was upset by the fight. She wondered if it would be safer to take Brianna to Cross Creek, but decided her daughter was safer with her. She thought about what Jamie’s “please” had meant (p829, Nook). Claire thought about the procedure and how she would do it. Claire saw Brianna’s horse in the penfold and went to offer her the choice.

Brianna had thought about it when she figured out she was pregnant. Claire explained it would have to be surgical with the gestation of the pregnancy. Brianna asked if Claire would have aborted her (p831, Nook). Brianna went on to tell her how she felt about the pregnancy (p831, Nook). Claire explained implantation and Brianna said at the moment of implantation she knew someone else was with her. Claire remembered Faith and how she was given two miracles though no longer part of her physically had never left her completely. Claire worried Brianna didn’t know how much she loved her. Brianna knew and had always known.

Brianna could not and would not abort the baby. Claire didn’t want to offer the option to Brianna but felt compelled given all the circumstances. Claire confuses me a bit in this situation, she had never been able to perform abortions in the twentieth century but could offer it to her child out of fear and concern for her future. This chapter is meant to show us the complexities involved in abortion. It is not black and white. It isn’t a question of whether or not the fetus is living for Claire; it is her being terrified Brianna will be stuck. To Jamie, who has killed countless men, a matter of unnecessary murder in taking the life of an unborn without exigent circumstances. To Brianna, she carries a baby, her baby, and she cannot choose to part with him or her. Women carry the joy and burden of being the ones who grow and birth the children. The burden is in the physical risk, and alteration women must undergo in the process of pregnancy and birth. The burden is in the cultural, religious, governmental, and individual mindset surrounding sexuality, marriage, and procreation. The burden is in not being able to hide it. The burden is in the responsibility and consequences being held entirely by women because we get pregnant, not men. Vilifying women is easy. It is easy for men to hold no burden. A man can have children by multiple women, and it is fine, a woman to have children by multiple men is a whore. Someone is having sex with the women who become pregnant. It has happened since time began, but only women are held to an untenable standard and punished. I loathe abortion for what it is and that women feel it is the only option. I never judge the person and only offer love. I judge our culture that perpetuates the need for women to have abortions because we are held in the crosshairs of the societies in which we live.

Chapter 50

In Which All is Revealed

There was still no word about Roger Wakefield. Brianna did not discuss him any longer, but it was obvious she thought about him. Claire took stock in the pantry to hide from the mood in the cabin. The winter preparations of foraging, preserving, and stocking had been done. The pantry was full and ready for the long months ahead. Young Ian popped in and asked for a mirror and comb. He had bathed, scrubbed his skin, and slicked his unruly hair back. He wore his best outfit too. Claire wondered where he was going. He planned to court someone and needed to look good. Claire asked if she knew the girl (p835, Nook). He was doing it to give the baby a name, save Brianna’s reputation, and no, he didn’t love her. It also was not his idea; it was Jamie’s plan. Claire didn’t like this one bit. Brianna returned, and she didn’t allow him to finish his proposal. She was angry and left the cabin in a whirl of skirts. Ian was thankful Brianna hadn’t hit him. The Fraser temper was about to strike (p836, Nook). Brianna refused to marry anyone, not even for the sake of the baby. Jamie took it to a whole other level (p838, Nook). Tempers were flaring higher with Jamie angry and she (Brianna) believed he wasn’t trying to protect her. He called her reckless. She called him a bastard (p838, Nook). Young Ian told Claire she needed to throw cold water on them or let them at it. Eventually, they would become hungry.

Jamie stormed off and took a horse to Fergus’s place. Brianna stomped back to the cabin. Claire silently cursed Roger Wakefield. Brianna went to look for eggs in the bushes and returned in better spirits. Jamie returned at dinner time sweaty and also in better spirits. Jamie and Brianna ignored each other. There were glares and limited dinner conversation. Claire instructed Jamie to apologize (p840, Nook). He went over to Brianna and apologized.  The walls were broken down, they talked and made up. She planned to wait for Roger. She knew he wasn’t dead. Jamie told her how far he had sent word looking for Roger. What else could he do? He had an idea to have Brianna draw a broadsheet with the likeness of Roger on it. Brianna began to describe Roger (p842, Nook). Brianna drew the sketch. Jamie and Young Ian acted oddly (p843, Nook). THE TRUTH IS ABOUT TO COME OUT. Claire fetched brandy. Brianna explained about Roger’s adoption and asked if they heard of a Roger MacKenzie. In fact, they had (p844, Nook). Jamie further explained what happened after Lizzie told him about it. Young Ian and Jamie told her it was a fair fight. She screamed at them (p845, Nook). Brianna felt ill. Young Ian assured her it could have been worse since they had meant to kill him after all. Brianna needed to hear the whole story, including what Roger had said during the altercation (p846, Nook). Jamie was under the misguided assumption that now she cried wolf and was never raped. He could not allow himself to kill a man when he wasn’t sure if it was rape (p847, Nook). Imagine being in the room while this was going on!

Claire realized what was happening and pulled the gold ring from her pocket (p848, Nook). Jamie stood rigid in the middle of the room. Young Ian could only say the name. Claire retreated into the corner knowing she betrayed Jamie and Roger by not telling Jamie about the name of the rapist. She had betrayed Brianna having assisted in damning Roger. Brianna looked into Jamie’s face and muttered cruelty (p848, Nook).

Well, how was that for a happy family meeting? Claire feels guilty for not telling Jamie that Brianna had slept with Roger then was raped later by Bonnet. Is she guilty? Brianna felt betrayed by Jamie and Young Ian’s sense of honor and duty. Who holds the bulk of the responsibility in this horrific mess? COMMUNICATION and assumption are at the heart of all of this. What are your thoughts? Jamie should never have acted out of assumption and partial knowledge. Brianna should have said she was raped after being handfasted to Roger and consummating their marriage. She still hadn’t divulged that wee detail. Claire should have said more. Brianna and Claire should have said Roger’s full name. Was Brianna right in being so angry and saying something so cruel? Can you picture yourself in that position?

What’s Coming up? Chapters 51-53 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to contact@adramofoutlander.com or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

Any images are from Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link. The featured image is used with permission and is by Alex Oliver.

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Thank you for sharing posts, joining the discussions, and following this website or pages listed below!

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Of Partial Truths, Protection, and Forgiveness Ep 140

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 47-48

Week 25

“Of Partial Truths, Protection, and Forgiveness”

 ****Warning: disturbing content and discussion of rape****

Summary: Jamie needed doctoring upon his return. Brianna told her news. Jamie and Brianna bonded.  Claire and Jamie walked and talked. Claire kept the rapist’s identity secret. Jamie lied and kept his secret about the man MacKenzie. A ghost from the past rose. Claire left to attend a birth. Jamie and Brianna attended a delivery in the stable. Brianna feared the future. Brianna asked difficult questions. Jamie showed her a valuable lesson. Jamie couldn’t make Brianna fully understand. Jamie surrendered and forgave. (2:00)

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 47

A Father’s Song

Claire is aggravated waiting for Jamie to return. She and Brianna were waiting to tell him Brianna is pregnant and maybe by a rapist. Claire had been pondering Jamie’s possible reactions since learning of the pregnancy and how it may have come to be. Though controlled at the moment, Brianna could let loose the Fraser temper when pushed too far. Up until then, Jamie and Brianna had been delicate with the other as they built a relationship, but this news needed to be dealt with head-on. When Jamie came in it was clear he had washed at the creek. This always seems to be the remedy in the books for returning home with something serious going on. Being clean may take the sting out of it. Jamie lied to Claire when she asked why he was out so late. He needed her to mend his hand that he damaged by dropping a stone on it. That fourth finger needed examining. Claire closed her eyes so she could see the finger in her mind through her hands and experience. She found the fracture.  Master Raymond teaching her how to still and see the inner workings of the body has proved to be a useful gift. It is an awareness that can be learned. I do this when I examine a baby at full term or during labor. What is the baby telling me? What is going on? What is her body telling me? It is part intuition and part sight. Jamie likens Claire looking like a priest seeing past the bread to the body of Christ. It was only a minor fracture. Claire thought Jamie was giving off an odd vibe. She knew he was hiding something. (4:05)

Brianna wondered if she should tell him or not. Claire told her she needed to tell him tonight. Claire splinted his finger and Brianna placed ointment on the abrasions. She is mending him after he pummeled the hell out of Roger. Jamie spoke to Brianna in Gaelic. He’d been giving her lessons. He asked her if she was pregnant, not having enough Gaelic she answered in English.  She apologized and didn’t think it could ever be okay (p789, Nook).  Brianna sobbed into Jamie’s shoulder. Claire went out to get milk from the shed into the quiet, cold darkness. She sent a question into the dark and heard back they had each other to get through the situation. Claire gathered everything for dinner as Jamie and Brianna sat together in front of the fire. She thought about some wise advice a monk had given her about the helpfulness of a meal. She heard Jamie talking to Brianna (p791, Nook). What a beautiful moment to hold close between father and daughter. Brianna informed him that he could not sing, but she didn’t want him to stop. He then told her she weighed as much as a full-grown deer, but he didn’t want her to get up. As they nuzzled close, Claire was thankful they were both hers. (9:20)

Brianna slept after dinner, but Claire felt terrible and out of sorts and didn’t want to deal with any other the things that had to be managed. She longed for peace. She longed to bed down with Jamie, but trouble was in the air with no peace to be had. Jamie acted like a caged animal while Claire cleaned up the dinner dishes. She wanted to talk to him but had promised Brianna she wouldn’t tell about Bonnet. Both restless, he asked Claire to walk with him. She felt his tension, the anger below the surface, and finally asked what he had done to his hands (p795, Nook). They talked without giving detail. Then Claire asked what he was thinking (p796, Nook). He kissed her hard then but couldn’t be with her. He couldn’t be with her after rehashing what transpired between him and Black Jack. She understood (p798, Nook). A gentle kiss and utter stillness enveloped them. Claire thought for a while and spoke again. Jamie asked if Roger would accept Brianna and the baby. Claire hoped so. She had liked him when she knew him from the twentieth century. She asked Jamie if he would accept the situation if it was her (p799, Nook). They went back to the house as Jamie hoped Roger was a better man than him or Frank. Then Jamie said if he weren’t he would beat him. Well then, there is that. Claire asked Jamie if he knew she loved him since she didn’t say it often (p802, Nook).  (23:20)

What a complicated chapter. It is difficult to unpack and process. Jamie is not divulging what he had done. Brianna is not saying who raped her. Claire is not sharing Bonnet’s name, or the ring Brianna had reclaimed.

Chapter 48

Away in a Manger

Brianna and Jamie were in the stable. I love the description of the stable being a refuge, the scents, a safe enclosure. There was a cow in labor. She had found Jamie laying down in the straw. Claire was at a birth and hadn’t returned, so Brianna brought dinner to Jamie. He shared the food with her, though she had already eaten. She remarked on the amount of pregnant or newly birthed animals in the stable and called it a maternity ward. She explained what it was to Jamie (p805, Nook). Then she thought about all the complications that could befall a woman in the 18th century while birthing and postpartum. Jamie assured her that Claire’s stubbornness wouldn’t allow any harm to come to her. There were definite risks to women in childbirth, from what I can find the stats due to difficult deliveries, pre-eclampsia, hemorrhage, and postpartum infection made up 4 or 5 out of 1,000 births (which is a staggering number) with upwards of 24 out of 100.000 women die today from childbirth-related complications (this is considered very high for the westernized world). I don’t know where Claire got her 50% rate stats from but given she knew how to decrease infection risk and how to control hemorrhage better than most, her patients were in excellent hands. (29:25)

Brianna asked after the laboring cow, Jamie thought she would be okay, but the cow may have been too young to breed yet. The white sow had many piglets feeding on her. Brianna felt reassured by the confidence the sow displayed (p807, Nook). Brianna worried for the cow, but of course, she was thinking about her predicament of being a first-time mother just like the cow. She couldn’t understand how Jamie could whisper sweet somethings to the cow knowing if things went wrong he’d have to butcher her after trying to save the calf.  Brianna had something to ask Jamie, so she stayed at the stable instead of going back to the cabin. She asked if he killed Black Jack Randall. Startled Jamie asked where she heard that name. She said Claire told her about Wentworth. Had Claire betrayed him by telling her? She tried to explain that Claire didn’t think Brianna would ever meet Jamie. What did she want to know? Did killing his rapist make it better for him? She wanted to kill her rapist. Had she killed a man before, Jamie asked. Her anger flared. She could kill him; she knew she could. She struggled with wanting to kill him and being haunted by the rape regardless of him being alive or dead. Jamie answered (p810, Nook). The problem was Jamie didn’t know whether he killed Black Jack Randall or not. He couldn’t remember. It was true he came to consciousness with Randall, dead, on top of him after the battle of Culloden. He showed her the scar on his thigh. He recounted the aftermath of Culloden and not caring about vengeance having looked upon the field of dead men. He believed he would die within hours of the wound he sustained. Purposeful forgetting or not, he didn’t know. He assured Brianna not many die from rape, he didn’t, and she wouldn’t either. But the nagging horrors Claire had spoken of clouded her mind. Jamie again told Brianna she would handle childbirth fine. She commented on her likeness to Jamie’s mother. Ellen died in childbirth. Brianna was certain she would die when she gave birth, and nothing could be done without hospital and drugs except try and save the baby. (34:20)

She blamed herself for the rape. She should have fought harder. She wasn’t brave enough. She had been scared and was more scared now. Maybe if she killed the man, she could forget. She wouldn’t forget Jamie said, but it would be okay. He would find her a husband, so the child has a name. Or perhaps she would marry the man who got her pregnant (p813, Nook). Jamie incited Brianna to fight with him, saying terrible things about her lying about the rape. She fought and struggled against Jamie as he held her wrists and dug a thumb in between her ribs. He taunted her into lashing out at him. He finally had her in a painful position on her knees. He told her he could break her neck and kill her if he wanted. He had her at his behest (p815, Nook). The whole point of this horrific exercise was to prove to her no amount of fighting would’ve stopped the man from raping her and using her as he wanted. He had tried to tell her it wasn’t her fault, so he showed her it wasn’t her fault. Then she believed him. She realized Jamie didn’t fight back either. He did it for her mother’s life without regret. Would she never forget? Never, but it would change over time. He told her she was strong and explained it through Jenny becoming the woman of the house when their mother died. The laboring cow caught Jamie’s attention. Brianna saw how alike Jamie and Claire were in one way, compassionate and ruthless at the same time. Claire knew how to balance living after holding life or death in her hands. Jamie was more brutal to himself than anyone else could be. Jamie stripped down as he awaited the delivery and prepared to assist if needed. It comforted Brianna knowing he was there to offer the good fight of protection. (39:50)

After the calving, Jamie carried a sleeping Brianna back to the cabin. He ached and was bruised from their fighting. He found pride in her strength. Even so, he wrestled with the old hurts. He had to face the ghosts to lay them back to rest. The voice took a while to return, but then it did (p819, Nook). Jamie surrendered and let go over and over and over. He recited the Lord’s Prayer. He surrendered and let go again and again (p820, Nook). The sounds of the night returned to him. He wished he could make Brianna understand that to forget is an act of forgiveness that must happen many times over. It was a matter of conscious constancy of practice. Maybe Roger could be her refuge as Claire had been his. If Wakefield didn’t return, he would find another way to protect Brianna and the child. He wrestled with what he did to MacKenzie. He believed he did it to protect his daughter. That was that, and down the hill, he went. (42:55)

What’s Coming up? Chapters 49-50 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

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The Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook

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