Of Plans and Pirates Ep 119

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 8-9

Week 5

Of Promises and Pirates

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Summary:

Jamie hates boats. Aunt Jocasta fancies Cameron men. Fergus fancies himself a landowner. Marsali prepares for the birth in Jamaica. Young Ian is not a scholar. Claire receives a tremendous anniversary gift. Jamie worried for Young Ian’s future. They prepare to meet Aunt Jocasta. Claire reminisces. Pirates board. Bonnet lacks honor. Rollo is injured. Claire tries to swallow her pride and joy. The gems are gone. They survive the robbery. Tomorrow isn’t solid, but home is where the heart is.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 8 ? Man of Worth

Jamie hates boats. Selling the Ruby afforded them to keep the horses and wagon. Duncan set off with the heavier goods by land with Myers as a guide. The rest were aboard the Sally and with Captain Freeman to Cross Creek. Sally Ann was not a large boat. The quarters are cramped, and it floated mere inches above the water line.  The waters of the Cape Fear are described as peaty brown.  Nonetheless, Claire is happy to be away from the Governor and his offer. Claire reminds us of Jamie’s severe seasickness. It’s his one true physical weakness. She offers the acupuncture needles. He declines and asks her to distract him with conversation instead. She asks about Aunt Jocasta. Jamie hasn’t seen her since he was two. Jamie can’t give a decent description of her. His mind wanders, wondering if Troklus needs help with the steerage of the boat. Though elderly, he seemed to know what he was doing without aid. Jamie doesn’t like feeling useless and unable. He then gives the background he knows of Jocasta. She married Cameron of Erracht before his mother and father married. That husband died, and she married his cousin Black Hugh Cameron of Aberfeldy. When he died, she married Hector Mor Cameron of Loch Eilean. As Claire points out, she had quite a taste for Camerons. Jamie recalls the Camerons to be wordsmiths, specifically the one who was part of the Rising. They were still in the harbor, working to clear it. She recalls how she last slept upon Jamie’s knee in a taproom during final preparations. He begins to massage her neck while telling the story of the Camerons. He moves to sit behind her (DOA, p132, Nook). Cameron had prepared himself for the disaster of Culloden. He escaped the battle, made it home, loaded all he could in a coach and fled to Edinburgh for a ship bound for North Carolina. They made it out of the Crown’s pursuit. When Hector died, he was 73. Jocasta had not seen it necessary wed again, yet (DOA, p133, Nook). (6:00)

By Celtus – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

The river travel was slow going. Young Ian let his annoyance known before going to speak to the Captain. Jamie tries to wink at Claire lewdly, but since he cannot wink?Young Ian butts back into the sexually charged conversation (DOA, p133, Nook). His teenage energy is driving Jamie bonkers. It was also very hot and sticky. Claire and Fergus talk. Fergus is thrilled at the idea of 50 acres to homestead. Claire is dubious about Fergus’ ability to farm with only one hand and his background. He’s keen to have a house built so he can send for Marsali and the baby. He left her in the protection of friends and his patron saint in Jamaica to birth their first child.  Claire wants to know if they will call the baby Dismas after the saint (DOA, p135, Nook).  She asks why he’s not in Jamaica. He doesn’t believe he would be of any help in Jamaica, with childbirth being woman’s work. At Fergus pondering the dangers in this new place, and Jamie needing his help, they pass a corpse of a man hung on a stake. This is how pirates were dealt with if they couldn’t be taken for hanging in the city. (11:00)

The next sighting of interest is an alligator gliding into the water. The Governor had given Jamie the book, The Natural History of North Carolina. Fergus launches into a Lawrence Stern story (DOA, p138, Nook).  Leave it Fergus to discuss copulation in such a way. Poor Young Ian is stunned. (13:00)

Cape Fear is a tidal river; the tide surge moved them along faster giving the freedman relief from the pole and reduced anxiety over the slow pace. Everyone relaxed into the rhythm of the boat moving swiftly. Jamie presents Claire with a present (DOA, p140, Nook). Claire is thrilled with the luxurious doctor’s kit. Instruments, bottles, microscope. She’s in clinical heaven. Turns out this amazing box and the clinical notebook was owned by a Dr. Daniel Rawlings. He never came back for them like he was supposed to. The woman he lodged with went to the sheriff, the justice, and the constable. No one could find him.  He disappeared the year prior. Claire remembers the doctor’s bag she left in the 20th century (DOA, p142, Nook). Jamie found the box at the goldsmith’s shop. He intended to buy her something else; then he saw this.  Claire thinks he was trying to make up for having to send money to Laoghaire (DOA, p.143, Nook).  He’s a romantic and Claire has no idea what day it is. It’s not been a year since she’s been back. (19:00)

Claire notices the plantations and the greenery as they ride the tidal surge. When the tidal surge ran out, they stopped and ate by the river, but slept on the boat because of the water moccasins (agkistrodon piscivorous), that like to snuggle with campers on the shore. In the morning, Claire awoke with Jamie drowsy and aroused behind her (DOA, p144, Nook). He means to take his time of it when they finally can get sexy time. Claire spent her time going over the clinical casebook, while Jamie tried to give Young Ian a Latin lessons. It wasn’t going at all well. Young Ian was adept at mathematics, but not at languages like his uncle, who spoke several languages. Claire was thankful Dr. Rawlings preferred English to Latin in his clinical writings.  As she reads, she gives a proper diagnosis to a patient entry (DOA, p146, Nook). Jamie continues his frustrating lessons with Young Ian, while Claire reads further. The lessons reach a loud end with Jamie yelling at Young Ian and him back (DOA, p147, Nook). Claire peeks around the corner and is swiftly brought into the conversation by Jamie (DOA, p148, Nook). Jamie is concerned for Young Ian’s future. He should be at the university. Young Ian says his father was fighting in France at his age. Jamie recounts joining Ian Murray four years later when he was outlawed. This would have been after his flogging by Black Jack Randall. They fought in Flanders with a Scottish regiment (DOA, p149, Nook). Young Ian has never been told tales of his father’s time in France. He thinks his mother babies him. Though admittedly she’d skelp him if he went home at that moment. Jamie goes on to explain what his parents would want for him (DOA, p151, Nook). As always Young Ian pushes back and wants to know if Jamie did what his parents wanted him to do. Jamie puts him in his place while letting the boy off the hook (DOA, p151, Nook). Jamie takes his turn at the pole, but unlike Troklus or anyone else, he wouldn’t take off his shirt. Instead, he takes off his breeks then ties his shirt between his legs. Jamie will not show the scars on his back openly. He flashes Claire a smile, hands her his breeks, and recites a poem (DOA, p151, Nook). A wee bawdy and getting the lessons across to young Ian.

By Cody Pope – Wikipedia:User:Cody.pope, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Jamie is a man of worth in his choices and actions. He wants what’s best for his nephew, but the boy has wanderlust and adventure is where his heart leads. He is also the baby in his family; his mother wants to hold him more tightly because of it. He terrifies her. Claire is well pleased to have Dr. Rawlings medical box and journal. She can treat more effectively and efficiently with the tools of her trade. We are seeing how their paths with form, by Fergus speaking of the land grant and Jamie providing this useful box. (31:00)

Chapter 9 ? Two-Thirds a Ghost

Everything in the opening paragraphs of chapter 9 describes the landscape and processes as the alchemy of water and trapped sun with the heat soaking into the ground and water. Jamie comes alongside her. His brief touch causes sweat to erupt. The air is thick with moisture. Claire thinks it smells wonderful though, of all the green things and sun-warmed wood (DOA, p152, Nook). Rollo settles down next to them while Young Ian is learning how to cheat at cards. Jamie knows Ian is a young man and knows his own business, even if it might cause trouble or send him the devil’s way. Claire thinks he listens to Jamie, but he’s still with them and not in Scotland as he was meant to be Jamie reminds her. Near the narrowing river, an opossum with babies on her back appears, Jamie and Rollo both wonder if they can catch her.  Claire hands Jamie roasted peanuts to try. He likes them. He’s amazed at how easily crops grow here. Claire isn’t sure and reminds him of events to come (DOA, p155, Nook). Claire tries to convey it might be their fight if they stay in that region. The war is coming. She reflects on Jamie’s age with thankfulness. He’s still in his prime, but no longer young. He may be tempered now not to run off into every battle that presents. North Carolina is big, and perhaps they could find a place that could remain untouched by future events. Jamie cautiously thinks of Claire as a planter’s lady (DOA, p156, Nook). Jamie worries he hasn’t given Claire enough material goods. Brianna is enough for her. This is Brianna’s country in her time. She’s an American. Jamie is willing to fight if he can make it a better and safer place for her. Claire left the heirloom pearls with Brianna. All she needs is the silver wedding band (DOA, p157, Nook). I love how they return to the simple truths between them. The inscription inside her ring is part of the love song by Catullus. These moments continue to strengthen and bond them. He wants so much for her, and she needs so little. She only needs him.  I couldn’t put my finger on why I dislike the ring in the TV show so much. As I podcast prep chapter 9 of Drums of Autumn the reason for my dislike hit me. The Catullus inscription reminds us of their connectedness and foundation. It’s a reminder of their beginnings. There’s no specific promise the ring or their relationship hangs upon, except their vows, what they are to each other. Therefore, this is why I dislike the ring in the show. It’s not only unattractive to me; it holds brokenness as it’s lasting meaning. Lallybroch was barely his to give her when they married. He was an outlaw and only laird in name. It was a promise of a home he couldn’t return. Then once he signed it over to Young Jamie because of the Rising, the ring becomes a broken promise. He had no home or place to give her. He was no longer a laird. The key was to someone else’s door. The inscribed Celtic ring from the book never alters with the passage of time or events. I know others see it as special because it’s all Jamie had to give her.  (39:00)

As they rest for the night, Claire contemplates the Highland notions of hospitality and kinship, the family line, and what Jocasta MacKenzie Cameron Cameron Cameron would be like. Jocasta was the baby of the five siblings. Claire, of course, had known Dougal and Colum quite well. She thinks Jocasta will be tall and maybe red-haired. Claire ponders what Jamie will say when asked about the last time he saw Dougal or Colum. Remember Jamie had killed Dougal in her defense before Culloden. Colum had died of his disease just before. She joined Jamie in sleep after remembering his ease of sleeping anywhere. (40:00)

Claire wakes to them being boarded by pirates. Rollo tried to bite one of them. He was injured. Claire told one of the masked men she wanted to help the dog. He waved her on with his pistol. Rollo was conscious and whining. Claire found him to have a strong pulse. He’s not seriously injured. Ian even has to hold him back from going after the pirates once more.  The leader of the pirates is none other than Stephen Bonnet (DOA, p161, Nook). Claire is hearing bottles breaking leaps up to go after her medicine box (DOA, p162, Nook). After being drug back on deck, the robber she’d hit pulled at her rings. She was reluctant, but Bonnet told her she must. She took off Frank’s gold ring, but Jamie’s silver ring was more difficult to release from her finger. Instead of handing them over, Claire decides to swallow the rings. Ouch! Going down and coming out will not feel pleasant. Jamie crushes Claire to the deck to protect her. Bonnet stops the other man from mortally harming either of them. Bonnet’s version of debt repayment is a skewed and honorless one (DOA, p154, Nook). Bonnie came for the gems he’d heard about, and he also claimed one of her rings off the deck. Everyone scrambled to get things back in order after the men left. Claire likely had a concussion, as well as a few other cuts and bruises. Jamie is angry and according to Ian enough to do physical violence, though he doubted he would raise a hand to Claire. Claire made the situation worse by trying to swallow the rings and clubbing the robber on the head for messing with the doctor’s box. She tended to Rollo with Ian’s help. Her throat was sore; she had no idea which ring she maintained possession of.  In an unusual move, Jamie took off his shirt to help the freedman use a pole to move the boat. When they were sufficiently moving, Eutroclus took the pole from Jamie. (45:45)

By Sarah and Jason – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_5435, CC BY-SA 2.0

Jamie turns his attention to a nervous Claire. He means to help her dislodge the ring (DOA, p167, Nook). Every time I read this passage my guts roil, and I get nauseated.  His method worked, though Claire is none too happy with him (DOA, p168, Nook). Stephen Bonnet has Frank’s ring. The deck is back in order, and Claire holds a cup of applejack near her face. She’s unable to drink anything just yet but finds it comforting nonetheless. They had gone from potential riches to rags, and the only goods that remained were a bag of beans and her medicine box. Claire felt powerless like she was falling down a well having their circumstances and even future altered so swiftly and unexpectedly at the hands of Bonnet. Jamie must feel even worse. He was responsible for so many. He’d sent Laoghaire money, and she was far better off than they were now. What would Jamie do to Bonnet for this injustice? Jamie had allowed Bonnet to escape. He had helped him. Was Jamie concerned over the countless others that might be harmed by Bonnet being loose? Jamie thinks himself a fool, though Claire tries to say he was kind and is not to blame. Someone had told Bonnet of the gems they were trying to sell. Likely one of Lillington’s servants. He apologizes for Claire losing her other ring. She tries to say it’s okay but can’t (DOA, p171, Nook). They stood without talking, the rain waiting to break over them. Her hand looked frail and pale without the ring, in Jamie’s larger hand. Her hand the same as it ever was an instrument of healing, but different somehow without it. She lifted her ringed right hand and pressed it against her heart to reassure Jamie.  The rain began (DOA, p171, Nook). (51:30)

Claire is momentarily comforted by what she still has. The safety and comfort of the silver ring and Jamie. How might she feel in the future? Remember back to the attack by the soldiers after they were wed and she had to kill a man. She felt okay at the time but later felt that Jamie didn’t protect her. That he put her in a bad position. Will the loss of Frank’s ring be brought up again? What else might it mean to her? She’s an honorable and loyal woman. She never took Frank’s ring off when she married Jamie. He mattered to her. She never took Jamie’s ring off when she returned to Frank pregnant with Brianna. They represented all that was dear to her upon the instruments of her work. How with this effect Jamie in the future? What will he do to Bonnet? How will they arrive at Jocasta’s? Will she accept them seeming like beggars? Will the loss of the gems and their lowered circumstances press Jamie to accept the Governor’s offer of land even knowing what it means? These are pivotal chapters indeed. The title of this chapter leads me to think Stephen Bonnet is the one who’s two-thirds a ghost. He should be dead.

What’s Coming up? Chapter 10 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. Join the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday nights at 6 pm PT/9pm ET using the hashtag #ADoO. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

Featured Image – By Ltshears – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0. Click on other photos for attribution.

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

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Ep 118 What an Offer

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 6-7

Week 4

“Oh, What an Offer”

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Summary:

They arrive in Wilmington smelling of peaches. They require a boat to get to Cross Creek. A man tries to show Claire his wares. Jamie meets a cousin. To a dinner party, they go. Claire distracts. A ruby necklace shines. Jamie receives an intriguing offer.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 6 – I Encounter a Hernia June 1767

Jamie hates boats. For expediency sake, it’s the preferred mode of travel to Cross Creek where Jamie’s family, the Cameron’s reside. Hector Cameron is his Uncle by marriage to his Aunt Jocasta. Claire tries to assure him that rivers don’t have waves like the ocean. She also still carries the acupuncture needles if he does become motion sick. They had been traveling their way from Charleston north to Wilmington. They’d come across a peach orchard on an abandoned homestead, they heartily ate and sold what they gathered to earn money along the way (DOA, p98, Nook, 3:00).  Claire is tasked with getting provisions, while Jamie and Duncan must sell the wagon and horses to secure boat services. Young Ian sends Rollo along as an added security measure.

Fergus is eyeing the goods Claire picked up, except for the item of lace and ribbon. Claire is certain it’s necessary, so they can look presentable when they arrive at the Cameron’s. Fergus gets on board with the idea and states Claire needs a ribbon color too (DOA, p99, Nook). Jamie and Rollo return. Rollo, like Jamie, can’t go unnoticed (DOA, p100, Nook). A very tall man named John Quincy Myers. He’s seeking a healer and wondering if Claire might be one (DOA, p101, Nook). They talk about what he might need. He’s not ill precisely, but he seems to have grown a third testicle (DOA, p102, Nook). Enter Jamie to the conversation (DOA, p102, Nook, 8:15). The men are evaluating each other like two dogs sniffing each other’s backsides. This assessment included Fergus, Young Ian, and Rollo. He can help them get to River Run but turns out hector died the Winter before (DOA, p103, Nook). He turns his attention back to his testicles; Claire is sure she knows what it is without seeing it. It’s an inguinal hernia (9:00).  Claire explains she could repair it, but he would need to be unconscious for her to do so. There’s no way for her to do it. He takes in her words then says he know the right person to sail them upriver. Jamie’s response to this whole episode is patently Jamie (DOA, p. 104, Nook).

In another twist of goodness, Jamie found a potential gem buyer. They’re heading to a party where the Governor William Tryon and other influential people will be. It turns out the Governor’s wife’s Secretary is a cousin to Jamie. Now they have to look the part. With an advance from cousin Edwin on the gem sale, Claire goes shopping for an out of date but a decent gown. The seamstress was unimpressed with Claire’s fashion tastes (DOA, p106, Nook). Jamie swoops in with a bauble for her bare chest.  He’d also bathed, had his coat brushed and rented beautiful buttons for the occasion (15:00). Claire’s a fine distraction for the evening’s dinner plans. There will be movers and shakers at this dinner party.

Chapter 7 – Great Prospects Fraught with Peril

At the dinner, Claire was unnerved by the sturgeon staring at her from the plate (DOA, p109, Nook). Claire is not too happy with the companions near her or the conversation, Mr. Stanhope and Phillip Wylie.  Then the topic of taxation erupts at the table, including the repeal of the Stamp Act.  Claire dives in to make amusing conversation, momentarily diffusing the situation. She inquires what the current tax rate is, and the dandy Wylie fills her in (DOA, p111, Nook, 19:00). Claire’s cleverly trying to find out about local business, the printing business. Perhaps Jamie can get his Bonnie out of storage in Edinburgh. The Committee of Safety is brought up as well as discussion of Jamie’s political leanings. Alarms were going off in Claire’s head. Jamie was seated between the host and the Governor. Jamie’s family connections become the topic of conversation. Dinner parties were the social networking of the time. FaceBook, but in person. The ruby around Claire’s neck was getting attention from the Baron. Claire thinks of Geillis and her good taste in gems. Remember this came from the cache Geillis had with her to travel in the cave at Abandawe. Claire accomplished the task of being a distraction. 

After the dinner, she escaped to the room they’d been given. Defrocked and naked, she sat in the dark of the open window, enjoying the breeze. The ruby still hung about her neck. She notices it’s as warm as her temperature. She could hear the conversation as the guests waited below for their carriages. She caught pieces of the Wylie’s and Stanhope talking (DOA, p115, Nook, 24:00). Now holding the stone, it felt even warmer than her temperature. It seemed almost alive to her. All the guests had left, but Jamie hadn’t come to their room. She decided to put her dress back on and go looking for him. He and the Governor were talking. She stayed outside the room listening, staying as quiet as possible. The Governor is pitching Jamie an interesting offer for settlement (DOA, p117, Nook). They discuss the details of who he might recruit to settle land (DOA, p119, Nook).  The issue of him being a Papist (DOA, p120, Nook). That blasted oath they all had to take after Culloden. They conclude their meeting. Claire makes her way as quickly as she can back to the room. She’s fascinated with the offer and Jamie’s ability to run a settlement. To regain what he lost in Scotland. Remember Lallybroch is his nephew Jamie’s property now.  Claire is pondering all it could mean to find men to help settle any given land. Her biggest fear was Jamie’s gravestone in Scotland (DOA, p122, Nook). Jamie returned noting how light on her feet Claire is. As she helps him undress she notices the odors about him, brandy, cigar, and nicotiana (flowering tobacco) from his walking in the garden. She surmises he’s in an excited mood to go for a stroll at this hour.

He mutters about the amount of clothing in the heat, thinking the natives are smarter for wearing a loincloth and apron. Claire is not so sure if it would play out well in reality (DOA, p122, Nook). The Baron agreed to purchase the stone for 300 pounds sterling. Jamie thanks Claire for being such a wonderful distraction at dinner keeping Stanhope, Wylie, and the Baron occupied so he could speak with the Governor. Jamie’s protectiveness rises as he recounts Stanhope’s eyes were falling into Claire’s bosom (33:45). 

The idea of discretion came up and well; Claire thinks Scots are not a discreet bunch. The conversation turns to Jamie’s grandfather Old Simon. The meeting with the Governor must have brought the memories to the surface. The Jacobites, Culloden, or Stuart are not things Jamie ever speaks of (DOA, p.123, Nook). Then she asked about THE OATH he swore (DOA, p123, Nook, 35:00). Heavy words. Heavy oath. Imagine the emotional damage uttering such an oath could being regardless of saying it under duress or freely. The gravity of words and what holds the meaning to die for is discussed. “What about- ‘I love you’? Aye, That’ll do.”

Claire is disturbed and unable to sleep. Her mind restless, even after sex and release. She envied his sleep. She looked at him then tried counting sheep (DOA, p125, Nook). Jamie asks her what the trouble is. She tries to feign being fine, but he can hear her thinking (DOA, p125, Nook, 32:15). They discuss the Governor’s offer. Why had it been made? He wants to understand both sides of the bargain before he agrees. Why ask Jamie. He’s a Jacobite, lacks wealth, and is a Papist. Jamie in a newcomer with wealthy family ties, but no loyalties of his own yet. He’s a soldier too. The Governor knows this. There have been difficulties in the backcountry with men calling themselves the Regulators (DOA, p127, Nook). Jamie could be placed in the backwoods as an experienced soldier who might be of service and help to the Governor if the Regulators cause further trouble. He would be purchased for 100 pounds and some acreage. Claire claims the Governor is sneaky and practically Scottish. He could use the knowledge of Jamie being a Catholic to rescind the lands if he wanted to in the future.

As dawn approaches the smell of mud, river water, and faint pine fill the room. Time for some sleep.

Claire’s mind calms momentarily. She is terrified he’ll die if he goes to Scotland. That damned gravestone is a relentless reminder of Jamie’s mortality. Jamie has much to think over. It’s quite the offer albeit with grand strings attached from the Governor. What about his Aunt? Surely, she’ll have something to ask of him. So much for Claire and Jamie trying to play under the radar. Certainly, they will be topic of much conversation among the who’s who in North Carolina.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 8-9 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. Join the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday nights at 6 pm PT/9pm ET using the hashtag #ADoO. 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

All images are Wiki Commons. Click on picture for attribution link. Featured image.

Follow A Dram of Outlander

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

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Listen to this podcast!

Summer of 1969 Ep 117

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 3-5

Week 3

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Summary:

Brianna takes an unexpected early morning call. Roger plans a visit. Brianna sends confusing signals. There’s a sweet airport reunion. After his week-long conference, off to the Scottish festival they go. Brianna struggles with the past, grief, and healing. A kilted Roger performs to an appreciative crowd. Brianna’s wounds are exposed. Roger passes Uncle Joe’s assessment. The Apollo 11 mission prevails. “Yeah, it’s like that,” for the both of them.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 3 – The Minister’s Cat – Boston, June 1969

Roger calls Brianna from Scotland and gets the time difference wrong. She is dead asleep and wakes with a humorous start. They haven’t seen each other in some time, and Roger is nervous and unsure of her because she hasn’t answered his letter. There’s a conference he can attend the following month, and does she want to see him? He nervously talks, worrying she’ll reject him. They speak over each other. Of course, she wants to see him. He laughs as their words collide once more. He understands her now, warming her through. She acknowledges he’s the only other person who can understand her. She’d been dreaming about Jamie when he called her. She was trying to catch up to him while they hiked in the mountains. She’d used to do that with Frank. Roger brings up bagging Munros* in Scotland and explains the hobby of hiking mountains over 3000 feet. His laugh brings the memory of his parting kiss last upon her lips. Roger and Brianna like to play games with each other. She guessed he was in Inverness, Scotland and not in England because his accent was thicker when there. He playfully rolled his r’s for her (DOA, p66, Nook). She wished he was there now. Bree admitting wanting him catches Roger off guard. She tries to explain why she didn’t write, but he says there’ll be time to discuss it when he’s there in a month. He’s happy she said he could visit. She’s happy remembering her hand upon his chest. 

Now sleepless, she goes to the kitchen for a glass of milk. While peering into the refrigerator, the contents become the standing stones in her mind’s eye. She shivers. She knows why she didn’t write, yet she has no idea how to explain it to Roger. He was part of the devastation and loss of learning about Jamie Fraser and her mother leaving. Though her mother wasn’t dead, there was nothing to do but grieve the loss. She was utterly lonely without her mother. Brianna’s Catholic upbringing shows as she hears an ambulance and crosses herself. She says a small prayer for those who need it. She also prays daily for her mother and father. Even though Uncle Joe Abernathy knew everything that happened, only Roger could hear the stones too. The experience had marked them after Claire had gone. She needed to heal and rebuild her life, away from Scotland and stone circles. When Roger was present, she couldn’t forget any of it, not even for a moment. Had he cared and protected her only because her mother had asked him too? She doesn’t want a future based on crushing obligation. Was she presumptuous he wanted a future with her? She thinks if she left and came back again to him, they could do it right at their choosing. If they were to take the relationship further, it would need to be their choice. Bree sits down to her mathematics work, soothing and controlled (DOA, p.69, Nook). Like in Voyager we see the image of a spider weaving. Above all, she was glad she’d said yes to his visit.

The following month she’s at the airport with her friend Gayle to pick Roger up. Gayle sounds vapid and unworldly, but able to fill conversational spaces. She thinks England and Scotland are the same. Brianna clears up the misconception of England versus the United Kingdom and Scotland. Nosy Gayle wants to know if Bree and Roger have had sex yet. Bree is aghast at the question but tells her no. At this moment, Roger appears. Gayle is impressed by him, while Bree stiffens at the sight (DOA, p70, Nook). He does sound a bit like a pirate, doesn’t he? Bree’s body reacts at the sight of him; perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to have him come after all. He sees her and lights the room; she runs to him without thinking. He meets her halfway, nearly picking her up from the ground and squeezing her hard. Can you hear the music playing in the background? I do. It’s funny how Brianna thinks she hasn’t already chosen him. He kisses her. She doesn’t want his whisky flavored lips to stop. Breathlessly, they stop. Gayle breaks into the reunion scene (DOA, p.71, Nook). Gayle fauns over Roger’s accent. Brianna finally remembers to introduce her friend. Roger plays along rolling his r’s in a most undignified fashion. Bree is not amused. He explains that in addition to the conference; he’s playing at a Scottish Festival to earn money while he’s in town (DOA, p.71, Nook). He sometimes does Scottish folk singing at ceilidhs* and highland games*. Funny that Gayle knows about kilts, but is unaware Scotland is a separate country. Bree is once again not amused. Gayle remarks about the big box, it’s Roger’s bodhran*, a Scottish drum. She also offers to drive Roger to the festival, which Bree quashes. Gayle again presses her about them having sex and thinks Bree is crazy if she doesn’t. It’s 1969. I think young adults have always been the same, no matter what outward social mores would say.

As Brianna drives Roger to the Scottish Festival, they play The Minister’s Cat*. Roger says it’s a Scottish game, but it’s a Victorian parlor game. They play for a while (DOA, p.73, Nook). These two are a brainy and vocabulary laden duo. They reach the turn for the festival; Roger is apologetic at how far it is from Boston. Brianna says it isn’t far. She scoffs at the 150-mile drive (DOA, p.73, Nook). The conversation takes a turn while using The Minister’s Cat as a conversational pathway. She becomes aloof and thoughtful. Roger decides tea is the answer, but Bree hates tea. She’s no English woman indeed. Roger reflects upon Brianna. She looks like her heritage but seems MORE.  She begins to explain what she’s thinking. Roger is thinking of all the ways he likes her. She tells him how great he was after her mother left and wanted to know if he’s been back to Craigh na Dun. He hasn’t been back. Is he scared of it (DOA, p.75, Nook)? She points out how much he helped regardless of being scared. She tells him though she’s not spoken of her parents in half a year, she can’t be around him without talking about her parents immediately. She blushes (like Jamie) when she talks to him. She also says, she had a crush on him and didn’t know he was just nice to her for her mother. He assures her he wasn’t just nice. She wasn’t sure what to do (DOA, p.75, Nook). He kisses her after asking permission. Always a gentleman. He’s a combo of Frank and Jamie. After parking, Roger suddenly realizes where he brought her and is horrified. A Scottish festival with all the trappings would remind her of Jamie.

Chapter 4 ? A Blast from the Past

Roger finds the dressing area to be luxurious in comparison to what he’s used to in Scotland. This leads him to husband thinking. Would he be financially able to equal the level of comfort Brianna is used to? She is driving a brand-new Mustang. In 1969, that vehicle MSRP was from $2740-4798 for the various models. The average American made $5900 in 1969. It was a pricey car. He is not stupid for wondering what income level she expected. He also had an envelope for her. He’s hesitant to give it to her based on their earlier conversation and her reaction to seeing the 78th Fraser Highlanders’* pipe-band in the flesh, made him worry about her. Incidentally, the 78th Fraser Highlanders’ pipe-band did not come into existence until 1982. Diana’s timey-wimey writing! The Fraser motto* is Je suis prest! (I am ready!). He’s worried about her as he’s getting ready for two performances and mulling over what he’ll do based on the audience. He’s donning his kilt while she is off entertaining herself. He decides to go full Scots in his kilt and eschews the underwear (DOA, p.78, Nook). On his way out, he asked for luck from his father. The appearance of him made Brianna sit up and take notice. Her mother was right about a man in a kilt. It makes them sexy indeed. She asks him if he’s hungry and goes over the available food options (DOA, p.79, Nook). He’s sorry for bringing her since it’s been such a shock, but she’s okay with it. She thinks the festival is so Scottish. Roger decides it is, “the Scots’ age-old talent for survival-the ability to adapt to anything and make a profit from it.” He hugs her, noticing she smells like fresh grass. Claire smells like herbs and green things when Jamie hugs her. He points out she’s Scots too, but she doesn’t want to eat haggis*. Roger thinks the food vendors are quite unusual. Apparently, the festival changes and the vendors stay the same. The vendor asks about his kilt to a bland-faced response (DOA, p.80, Nook). Brianna gives her version of an over the top Scottish accent. They look around at all the merchandise. Brianna asks why he’s using MacKenzie*. He explains Wakefield is his adopted father’s name; his family name is MacKenzie. Roger Jeremiah MacKenzie is his given name. Jerry was his father. His nickname was Jemmy when he was young. He explains why Jeremiah was the best family name to choose from (DOA, p.81, Nook). Their conversation veers to Claire explaining sex in Brianna’s health courses in school. Yes, one can get pregnant the first time or while having sex only once. She explains to Roger the word health is a euphemism for sex in America. Roger is thankful his sporran is holding down the kilt fort with this frank conversation. She backwardly asks if he’s had sex and a steady girlfriend (DOA, p.83, Nook). She’s no steady boyfriend. He kisses her fingers. Roger don’t be a too shy man.

It was time for him to perform, he hands her the envelope. His voice is lovely, to her and the crowd. He’s very good. He sings a variety of songs from the always popular choices to those of war. The song about Prestonpans, “Hey Johnnie Cope”* struck Bree as she realizes her mother and Jamie were both at that battle. She had an epiphany about herself and Roger (DOA, p.85, Nook). Roger shifted from the music of the ’45 with a piece from 1715 rising*. Brianna took this as her opportunity to open the envelope. It’s pictures of Claire and Frank happily married. It’s their wedding day. Roger is singing another Jacobite piece as she discovers the details of these wedding photos. Roger’s set ends with “The Bonnie Banks o’Loch Lomond*,” Brianna is overtaken with emotion looking at her mother so sure and happy on her wedding day to Frank.  This is one of the issues she has loving Roger. What if she changes her mind? What if she finds someone else like her mother did?

A bit later without discussing her departure from his performance, he needs to leave her for a bit during the calling of the clans*. This is where all the clans present are called and accounted for. They wandered the festival spending the afternoon together. Pay attention to the description of the people and families at this festival for the later gathering in the book. As the Clans were called during the torchlight ceremony, Brianna pondered the existence of clans today (DOA, p.89, Nook).

Chapter 5 ? Two Hundred Years from Yesterday

Snapped back into reality, it’s Roger’s final day in Boston. The moon landing is anticipated as several people gather at Joe Abernathy’s house. Uncle Joe is frustrated over the TV not working, so he asks Bree to figure it out after she introduces, the boyfriend, Roger to him. Joe and Roger have a chat over some Lagavulin* whisky Claire gifted him with before she left. Joe jumps right in since Claire and Frank are both gone. He wants to know what Roger’s intentions are (DOA, p.92, Nook). Thankfully the television interrupts for a moment before Joe dives in for more (DOA, p.93, Nook). Ultimately he sees Roger is in love with Brianna, that it isn’t a fling to him. “It’s like that.” They all anxiously await the Apollo 11* landing. Bree is pressed against Roger. In the safety of people, they can have close contact.

Roger thinks of the drive back from the festival, their conversation, the long drive back with Roger at the wheel, and unable to figure the way back to her apartment, took her to his hotel room, where he inhabited the floor. When dawn broke, he sat in the chair wrapped in her sweater, the scent about him. He simply watched her sleep. “Yeah, it was like that.” Apollo 11 landed, the rest of the room gripped by the television. “It was a fine day to be an American.” Roger felt it was two hundred years from where they were yesterday at the festival (DOA, p.95, Nook).

Interesting Links*:

What’s Coming up? Chapters 6-7 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. Join the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday nights at 6pm PT/9pm ET using the hashtag #ADoO. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.

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

All images are Wiki Commons. Hover over picture for attribution and click for link. Featured Image: By Hinnerk R Hinnerk Rümenapf – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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