It’s All in the Name

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 43-44

Week 23

“It’s All in the Name”


There’s a stranger inquiring about Jamie’s whisky. Worry increased over Roger not showing up yet. The small distillery was Marsali’s responsibility. Wee Germaine is a full-throttle toddler. A mysterious button was found by way of choking. Brianna was a hot commodity. The winter preparations were underway. Lizzie saw a familiar man at the mill. Lizzie shared the misinterpreted event. Bree’s secret is revealed. Jamie and Young Ian went out to stop a visitor from reaching the Ridge.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 43

Whisky in the Jar

Claire is most displeased with how Ronnie Sinclair was looking at Brianna. Claire is ordering casks. Ronnie tells Claire he’s hearing the word that someone is asking around about a Jamie Fraser. Brianna reacts sharply. It wasn’t Roger; it was Hodgepile. Jamie has already put the word out that they are looking for a Roger Wakefield. Being mid-October Brianna is growing worried and anxious. She saw him in a couple of months. This Hodgepile was asking after the whisky. Hodgepile was pretending to be a fur trader, but it was obvious to the man he was talking to this wasn’t the case. Claire told Sinclair she would tell Jamie one of Murchison’s men was asking after him.

Claire left with Brianna and hoped their remoteness would be the protection Jamie thought it would be. She could not imagine soldiers coming deep into the mountains to get one low output illegal distillery.  Lizzie and Ian were outside collecting kindling from the trash. Lizzie surprised Claire by asking a question. The girl spoke sparingly. She asked if inquiries were being made after her father who should be a bondsman of someone in the southern colonies. Brianna rushed off to tell Sinclair about Lizzie’s father. When she returned she is upset, Young Ian is concerned Sinclair did something to her. It turns out he was drawing naked women on pieces of wood when Brianna interrupted him. Claire had a gentle response to the information because she understood loneliness (p741, Nook).

Claire’s mind wandered back to Brianna and what would happen to her if Roger didn’t return. Then horrified she wondered if Roger had chosen not to return. With Brianna refusing to talk about the argument she and Roger had, Claire, is worried about the months passing.

Jamie showed off his small whisky distillery to Brianna. It was placed near Fergus and Marsali, so she could oversee and work the operation. They had a bigger share than the other farmers who supplied the raw barley and helped with distribution. Meanwhile, young Germaine was trying to eat a cockroach to his mother’s dismay. Young Ian pipes in about eating them with the Indians and they’re not so bad, though smoked locusts are better. They finish spreading the unspoiled raw barley. Next thing Germaine is choking on something, Brianna did the Heimlich maneuver in the nick of time. Marsali takes him to their cabin for supper and bed. The offending item looked like a button, but they couldn’t figure out who’s button it was. On their way back to their cabin, they ask after the Lindsay’s to see if the button was from Kenny’s coat. His wife said it wasn’t. Mrs. Lindsay eyeing Brianna asked if they were going to the gathering this year. Seems everyone wants to make a match for Brianna since her intended had not returned. Jamie is concerned about the button because of the information they received from Sinclair. What if it was a stranger who knew about the illegal still? They walked back to their cabin as the sun went down. They approached Claire picking beans from the garden, hair golden bright from the descending sun (p748, Nook). Brianna’s heart squeezed knowing as Jamie watched Claire with bees returning around her.

Jamie, Lindsey, and Duncan were tasting the batch of whisky and settling on a price per cask. After performing an inventory in his head, Jamie agreed to send a dozen casks to the upcoming Gathering. In the book, Diana calls it Mount Helicon, in real life, the games are held at Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. Duncan would take the casks to the Gathering to sell or trade for the many items Claire and Jamie could use. Brianna is concerned the alcohol will go to the Indians who are known for not being able to hold their drink. Claire explained to Brianna that alcoholism doesn’t exist at the time, the only weakness of character. Jamie asked Duncan to find out about Hodgepile at the Gathering. Brianna asked him to inquire about Roger Wakefield too. ARGH! Seriously she knew he was going by MacKenzie. This frustrates me to no end. Claire added Joseph Weymss, Lizzie’s father to the list too. Kenny Lindsey asked about the name Bree (p750, Nook).

With the shortage of eligible women, Brianna is a hot commodity, pregnant or not. It means she’s fertile and will make a good wife. There are the issues of Roger not returning, the mysterious Hodgepile asking after the whisky, and the whereabouts of Lizzie’s father. Lizzie and Young Ian seem to be getting cozy. We get to meet toddler Germaine in all his feistiness and learn Marsali is heading up the distillery.  Ridge life doesn’t seem like a good fit for Fergus being a one-handed and a pickpocket by trade.

Chapter 44

Three-Cornered Conversation

October 1769

Jamie chopped wood while Young Ian went to the mill where there were three eligible Woolam daughters. Jamie thought to flirt with virtuous Quaker lassies a fair better than bold Indian lassies. It bothered Jamie knowing Indian women took men to bed at their choosing. He sent Lizzie along to the mill to get some color in her cheeks. As he stacked wood, he thought about how much he enjoyed chopping it. It was a satisfying pursuit one could quantify as the work went on. His mind wandered to Brianna and her keen sense of smell. She wrinkled her nose and said “phew” when he was sweating and fragrant. This expression and face was that of his own mother (p752, Nook). I have noticed these echoes of those who came before in my children.

He took off his shirt without a worry for who might see him and resumed chopping wood, His thoughts deepened. He loved the Murray kids, especially Young Ian. But, Brianna was his flesh and blood. The gift he and Claire had given each other. Like other times, Frank Randall came to mind (p753, Nook). Jamie gave Frank the respect he deserved. Even Jamie understood the importance of Frank. The sacrificial love he had to raise Brianna as his own and love her. To stay with Claire, who no longer loved him the way she did before meeting Jamie. Jamie had jealous and envious thoughts over Frank, but there were only respect and no hate.

By reflex, he let go of the ax into the clearing mid-swing to avoid hitting his foot as the handle broke. He crossed himself in thanksgiving as he reached for the ax head. He noticed the wilted plants because the rain lacked recently. The well was half dug, but firewood was more important to the wellbeing of the families just now. Claire and Brianna came out of the cabin with baskets in hands to go foraging. Jamie warned them about Indians hunting not too far from there. Claire assured him they wouldn’t go far. Though reluctant, Jamie thought the Indians were peacefully preparing for winter just as they were. There would be no concern if he knew which tribe the Indians came from since they were friends with Nacognaweto’s people.

Brianna looked at his bare chest for a moment and placed her hand on his bare shoulder as she kissed him goodbye. She gave no sign of recognition, question, or concern for the scars she saw or felt. Claire must have told her about Black Jack and the days before the Rising. Claire explained what food was available for snacking on and what was for dinner. He took Claire’s hand in his and kissed her knuckles before she kissed him goodbye on the mouth. Off they went as Jamie watched thankfully for their kisses on his face.

He sat on the wood stump and worked to repair the ax handle. He thought about the scent of food he smelled earlier coming from the Woolam’s cabin and of the winter to come. The Indians told him it would be harder than the last. How would hunting be during a heavy snow-laden winter? If he could kill another bear, they would eat the whole winter, and the skin would go to good use as well. He imagined Claire’s pale skin against the glossy black of the bearskin.

His mind circled back to earlier thoughts. What had Claire told Brianna? How much did she know? He and Brianna were not fully accustomed to each other and sometimes used Claire as a go-between. He thought how much he would like some privacy with Claire. It was growing tiresome and too cold for their romps in the wild, or the herb shed. If Young Ian got back soon, they could notch some of the logs. Brianna needed a cabin of her own to share with Lizzie.

Lizzie came up behind him, obviously, she had something to say, but her shyness around him made it difficult. Young Ian stood near her to offer support. It turned out she recognized a man at the mill, she’d seen him before with Brianna in Wilmington. Oh no. Here it goes. His name was MacKenzie she said. He seemed educated and maybe a Highlander. Jamie asked her questions (p758, Nook). So little miss Lizzie told what she knew, but she had it quite wrong. Jamie now thought it was rape by the MacKenzie man that not only took Brianna’s virginity but got her with a child.  Jamie was angry and sick over it. He hadn’t known she was with child, but he ventured Claire had known. Lizzie told them Brianna had no cycle for two months. When she saw the man, she had to speak up in case he came to claim Brianna as his. Under the law, a man could claim a woman to be his wife under common law and use the pregnancy as evidence. Jamie’s parents had used this tactic to get married.

Lizzie and Young Ian had taken MacKenzie’s horse to prevent him from getting to the main part of the settlement quickly. Jamie and Young Ian talked about Brianna’s demeanor as of late (p761, Nook). This cannot be good. Jamie asked Young Ian to fetch his pistols and for Lizzie to lie to Claire about where they’ve gone. Lizzie watched Jamie, and Young Ian leave. Jamie had a serious menace about him (p761, Nook).

I could go on about how aggravated I am about this plot device. Of course, Lizzie would know him as MacKenzie because that’s the name he used when he found Brianna. Again, why oh why did Brianna use Wakefield to describe him? The situation is about to spiral out of control. A father’s rage. A cousin’s anger. It cannot possibly go well.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 45-46 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to 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 from the Outlander America website.

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Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition Ep 136

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 41-42

Week 22

“Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”


Brianna and Lizzie get safely upriver to Cross Creek, though the girl had yet again become ill. Brianna borrows a mule to scout out Cross Creek. She meets Jamie. He’s dubious at first. Then filled with utmost joy. To River Run, he takes her and Lizzie. Fergus is victorious at his trial. Jamie takes Brianna to Fraser’s Ridge. Claire is shocked and happy. Jamie takes Brianna hunting. They become more comfortable with each other. Jamie is fretful. Memories are shared between Claire and Jamie in the moonlight.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 41

Journey’s End

Brianna is aggravated that Lizzie is ill again. Brianna woke after that night with Roger to cleaned clothes, a tidied space, and Lizzie fevered. She is restless knowing she only has eight days to get to Cross Creek or she could miss Jamie Fraser. Lizzie might be ready to travel in a couple of days thought a frustrated Brianna. She went down to the taproom to get tea for the sick girl and a man with roaming hands tried to grab her behind. Squeezing through the crowded tables she notices a gold ring at a gambling table. The light hit it just right and she knew the engraving pattern within. She stopped and approached the man who held it. She pretended to rub it for luck and she was right, she did know the ring. “From F. to C. with love. Always.,” it read. She was eager to find out where he, the Irishman got it from. She was worried for her mother. She planned to see him the following day in the daylight for safety. He agrees and tells her to go to the Gloriana. Yes, you remembered it correctly, it is Captain Stephen Bonnet. The man who Jamie and Claire saved from execution when he was found hidden in their wagon. The man who later stole from them when they were headed upriver to Auntie Jo’s. This cannot be a good thing Brianna ran into him.

The kind Dutch woman is in awe of the amount of food Brianna ate. She had not eaten in a couple of days. She accepted a second helping of food. Lizzie’s fever had returned two days upriver. Brianna thought she might die. They had made it to Cross Creek, tomorrow she would find Jamie Fraser. She felt the ring in her secret pocket. Knowing her mother was alive was all that mattered. The Dutchwoman was the sister of one of the men she traveled with upriver. She would take care of Lizzie while Brianna borrowed the mule for a trip into Cross Creek to find the courthouse and to gain familiarity with the city. She didn’t want to take any chances she might miss Jamie Fraser. She had not noticed anything on the second half of their journey. Her mind had been occupied with Lizzie and painful thoughts of her own. Now that she was riding, she could see the countryside and how it changed.

She wonders how it will be to meet him, Jamie Fraser. Would he be happy to see her? What might he say? She could hear the echoes of Laoghaire calling him a liar and a cheat. She rode into town. Most people were inside to escape the heat of the day. She made note of landmarks, like the sawmill and a tavern. She feels hollow after searching for money in her pocket and finding something else. She stops at the tavern and gets a beer. The landlord asks if she’s come for the trial. Brianna asks whose trial it is. Fergus Fraser is accused of attacking an officer of the Crown. The tavern owner is sure he’ll be acquitted since Jamie Fraser came down from Fraser’s Ridge to be at the trial. He is there at the tavern and should return in a minute. Brianna leapt up and ran out the door. She spies Jamie peeing against a tree. When he turned toward her from the tree, he tensed seeing her standing there thinking she was a man at first. She was wearing breeks of course. When she saw him face on, she knew without a doubt who he was though smaller, his face was her face. He speaks to her (p708, Nook). Imagine him hearing those words, “I’m your daughter.” He became flushed red, a sight she found recognizable. He stopped and looked her over more closely (p710, Nook). He reaches out to touch her stunned by her being fully grown. He thought of her as a wee bairn from the pictures (p711, Nook). Such emotion gripped them both. She had no idea how to address Jamie.  Frank was her daddy and always would be. He tells her to call him Da (p712, Nook). To be hugged by the father she had only known existed for a couple of years. I LOVE THIS SCENE TO MY CORE. Jamie is meant to be a father. He’s meant to be her father. He’s right Claire will be mad with joy. What do you love about it?

Everything was a blur from here on out. They had retrieved Lizzie from the Dutch woman’s home. As they rode toward River Run, Jamie told Brianna about the house he’s building for Claire and the glass in the back is meant as a surprise for her mother. He’s putting windows in the big house for her. It seemed a long ride down the dusty roads, but she slept with her head on his shoulder and his arm holding her close. River Run was a big house and she met Aunt Jocasta tall with a face like hers, but eyes that looked beyond her. Everything seemed to happen like magic. So many hands to help and make jobs quick. The haze of hands and faces of black slaves were in Brianna’s mind. They bathed, dried, and dressed her in a fresh cotton gown. There was food, tea, and her father’s joy-filled eyes upon her. There was a pretty blond girl who seemed familiar somehow. Her name was Marsali. Lizzie too was cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket with hot tea in hand. Barely coherent Brianna hears the names of Farquard Campbell and Fergus before strong hands of her father lifted her and took her to bed.

Fergus Fraser looked like a French noble on his way to the guillotine to Brianna (p713, Nook). That’s because he is French, and his name is Claudel. Jamie renamed him. Marsali is worried about the treatment Fergus may have gotten while in jail. There was a crowd filling the courthouse, not a seat to be had. There were soldiers guarding the doors and one seated by the Justice’s bench. The man caught Jamie’s eye with a malevolent air of satisfaction. Jamie kept his poker face seeming indifferent. The Justice arrived, and the proceedings began. Brianna thinks she has a handle on the people present, Phaedre, Marsali, Young Ian, and Fergus.

The Justice calls for the charges to be read (p715, Nook). Hugh took the stand and described the events of that day. Apparently, he was wickedly lashed by the tongue in French. The Justice gives Fergus the opportunity to speak (p715, Nook). After this exciting testimony by Fergus, the Justice asks if James Fraser is present. Jamie is sworn and answers all questions regarding the land deal he had with Governor Tryon. Brianna intently watched the proceedings and noticed the officer who leered at Jamie earlier was looking at Hugh. There was a nod of the head. As the Justice was about to acquit Fergus, Hugh stands up and objects based on no proof of the land grant deal (p717, Nook). With evidence in hand, the Justice acquits Fergus.

Before stepping down, Jamie asks the Justice if Berowne’s charge fully described the attack?  The Justice read the original complaint and had a light bulb moment (p718, Nook). After concluding the trial, they went to Jocasta’s house for a celebration feast. As they discussed the trial, it’s revealed Marsali had been the one to assault the officer. She kicked him in the face when he tried to take her from her horse. The officer took Germaine from her and she had to get off the horse. It was Murchison wanting to make trouble for Jamie that set the farce of a complaint in motion. Jocasta was annoyed that Farquard Campbell, the usual Justice in the area was taken off the trial. Jamie explains why (p719, Nook). Jamie is always a step ahead of Murchison. Jamie looks at Brianna asking her if she thinks him to be rich. It’s not something that had entered her mind. He explains to Brianna the state of life on Fraser’s Ridge (p720, Nook).

Back at the Ridge, Claire is going through her jarred stores making sure none were moldy. this makes her think of having a penicillin plantation. If she were lucky she could isolate the Penicillium mold of the hundreds that grow on stale bread.  Would any spores survive, or would she recognize it if they did? She’d had no success in over a year, but she would keep trying. She found it impossible to keep vermin out of the pantry (p720, Nook). Though she could lock all the edibles in the hutch Jamie built, the stale bread samples required air. Nayawenne came to mind as she thinks about how every plant could cure illness if only it was known what it was. She regretted not being taught more by her friend, but not as bitterly as the loss of Nayawenne from the earth. She knew she needed to keep trying to grow the elusive penicillium. Much of the year she couldn’t leave samples out because of the vermin, but in winter the air was too cold to allow for spore growth. She would try again in the spring.

The new house was taking shape up on the hill. It would be done by spring (p721, Nook). Clarence the Mule shrieked with ecstasy. Claire hastily cleans up the bottles and corks. She hoped it was Jamie returning with Fergus and Marsali.  She worried that Jamie’s confidence about the trial hadn’t come to fruition.  After placing the last of the bottles in the cupboard, she went to the door. She saw no one. She saw nothing but evidence someone had come through. She wished she hadn’t left her knife on the table. Someone was there. Jamie spoke behind her (p722, Nook). Bree knocked her off her feet with a bone-crushing hug (p722, Nook). Of course, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Poor Jamie left out again with a modern-day reference. Claire must have almost had kittens to see Brianna. I love how we are reintroduced to Marsali as a high-spirited young woman. Fergus with his French contempt is priceless. The character of Murchison is like a fever blister. He pops up when you least expect it. We meet Jocasta and the household staff through the eyes of Brianna. she accomplished her quest. She found her father, her Da. What happened to Brianna that she had painful worries? I wonder what Roger is up to.  

Chapter 42

Part Ten Impaired Relations


Jamie wakes Brianna in the pre-dawn morning asking her to come hunting with him. She dressed and went to the privy. The sky seemed dreamlike in quality. She could almost touch the stars. It was very early she thought as dark and quiet as it was. She gulped the fresh air as she returned to the confines of the cabin. Jamie was ready with hunting gear in tow. She watched him kiss her mother as she slept in bed. She felt like a voyeur (p725, Nook). She waited for him to come outside. With a nod of his head, she followed on the path. The quiet broke to sounds of birdsong, screeches, and other noises. Daylight rose with subtlety. They sat together eating apples and bread. Wiping her hands on her coat, she felt the presence of the conker in her pocket, a touchstone, a link to another life for the one who planted it. Were her links to the past severed for good?  She followed Jamie uphill. At the top of the steep climb, she felt she could float away (p726, Nook).

The climbing became easier as she found the “rhythm of the ground.” They reached the place he meant to take her. There was a split rock that caused her to hesitate for a moment. It reminded her of THE stones. This caused Jamie momentary distress and he had to watch her safely climb through. He touched her to be sure she was still there. His timing was perfect (p727, Nook). That gives me shivers. I love to listen to the land and see what presents. Sometimes nothing shows up and sometimes... They sat for a long time watching as the sun came to full light. Jamie said a Gaelic prayer to the spirits. Brianna speaks first (p728, Nook). He learned to value the solitude. They sat and listened to nature speaking around them. She spoke of Roger and Jamie’s heart squeezed. She didn’t think Roger understood being alone. She mentioned not minding being alone had to do with her and Jamie (p729, Nook).

Jamie thinks she had doubts about Wakefield (ahem MacKenzie), Brianna had told them about her search, the death notice, her journey, (damn Laoghaire) and this Wakefield. He knows she didn’t tell them everything though. Why and the hell did Brianna use the name Wakefield when she knew Roger was using MacKenzie?  Jamie’s mind was troubled with the thought of Frank (p729, Nook). Brianna brought him from his thoughts by pointing out two does. The does step out without fear of them. Jamie was content being along with his daughter.

Brianna asked what they are hunting for. They had seen many animals throughout the day. He replied bees and she wonders how bees are hunted. It turns out by finding certain types of flowers and watch what direction the honeybees go. They finally found what they were looking for in the late afternoon (p731, Nook). After sharing a meal, he showed her how to load and shoot the musket. She needed a little practice to get used the feel of the musket. She was a good shot. Jamie asks how she learned to shoot (p732, Nook). She moved the conversation back to the bees. He will blow smoke into the hive to stun the bees. He’ll then wrap the hive in his plaid. He’ll nail it to a piece of wood and in the morning the bees will go out looking for flowers. He said they’ll be content in the new place.

They sat in silence again until Brianna asked if Claire would worry about them. He shook his head no. He asked her about men going to the moon. She told him they will go to the moon. He was curious (p733, Nook). Brianna continues her description of the Apollo mission. (p733, Nook).  He makes a joke about the moon sounding like Scotland. She can tell he misses it. It was time to get the hive and get back to the cabin.

The night was warm enough to sleep with the window covering rolled up. Jamie had been smiling since returning from Cross Creek, but that night he wasn’t sleeping even though he’d been up before dawn. Claire reminded herself to stay away from the side of the garden where the bees would be irritable. The moonlight wasn’t keeping him awake, but something was (p735, Nook). She didn’t belong there just like Louis camel did not belong at Versailles either. Claire reiterates a child cannot be lost and asks if he remembers Faith (p736, Nook).  A bonding moment through love and tragedy.

They have Brianna, but it is a fleeting experience. They believe she must go back to her time. They grieve for something that hasn’t happened yet. What about Roger? I am aggravated they are not calling him MacKenzie. Brianna knows he was using his birth name in the 18th century.     

What’s Coming up? Chapters 43-44 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

How can you participate? Send your comments to 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

All images are from 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!

Facebook,  InstagramTwitterTumblrGoogle+

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Virgin Sacrifice Ep 135

Drums of Autumn

Chapter 40

Week 21

“Virgin Sacrifice”


Breaking News: Outlander S4 will premiere in November 2018 with 13 episodes based on Drums of Autumn and adapted for television. The television series has been renewed for S5 and S6 with 12 episodes each season. S5 is expected to be adapted from Fiery Cross and S6 from A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I will be doing a read-a-long for FC in 2019 after S4 ends.


Brianna and Lizzie make it to Wilmington. The girl has been sick with fever multiple times. The next stop is Cross Creek. Lizzie learns Jamie Fraser will be at his Aunt’s at River Run for a trial. Roger arrives mere days after Brianna in North Carolina and reaches Wilmington on her heels. He finds her. She is happy and upset. They are handfasted in the Scottish tradition and consummate their marriage multiple times in a shed. Brianna learns a truth. Feeling betrayed she storms back to her rented room. Roger vows to return to her. He leaves to secure a gemstone. Lizzie thinks MacKenzie raped Brianna.

Inside the Chapter:

Chapter 40

Virgin Sacrifice

Wilmington, the Colony of North Carolina, September 1, 1769

Brianna and Lizzie are in North Carolina waiting for Lizzie to improve from another attack of illness. Poor frail Lizzie is fevered and weak. They were riding from Charleston when the illness struck again. Brianna was terrified her companion would die in the wilderness but pressed on to Wilmington the next day when the fever temporarily broke. Brianna needs to find her mother to help with Lizzie and for herself. Taking care of Lizzie helped Brianna appreciate her size and strength. Nursing is tough work. Brianna decides it must be malaria-causing the fevers. Mosquitoes were a plague upon them once the land was in sight. Brianna could feel her mother’s presence as she cared for the ailing girl (p666, Nook).  Quinine and other derivatives were the chief medicines to combat malarial fever since WWII; Claire would use Jesuit bark (cinchona bark) in the 18th century.

When they arrived in Wilmington, the landlady at the inn called for an apothecary when she saw how ill Lizzie was (p667, Nook). The man left with fright and warnings. Brianna didn’t exactly know how to care Lizzie but knew bloodletting wasn’t the answer. She reflected on how the bugs stayed away from her, and she had vaccinations for many diseases, including malaria before she went through the stones. She wondered how many other diseases were prevalent in the sweltering city and caused by bug bites.

Exhausted, she was too tired to change out of the many days worn clothing. She knew she had to find her mother as quickly as possible to help Lizzie. The small maidservant could die from another round of fever. She planned to sell the horses and take a boat upriver to Cross Creek in search of Aunt Jocasta’s home, River Run. The thought of meeting more family gave Brianna a thrill. Certainly, she would be able to tell Brianna how to find Jamie and Claire. Finally, she undressed and lay naked on the quilt on the floor, drifting quickly to sleep.

The next morning Lizzie remained weak but fever free. Brianna pays the landlady extra money to keep an eye on the sick girl while she goes out to tend to the business at hand. Brianna managed to sell the horses and obtained the name of a man who took people upriver to Cross Creek by boat. When she returned to her room, Lizzie was dressed and eating. She is much better. Lizzie had been doing the washing and ironing. Brianna worries the girl will overexert herself and become ill again. When the girl explains the discovery, she’d had Brianna listens (p670, Nook). This MacNeil knows her father, mother, and Jocasta Cameron. Lizzie explains what the man said about Claire (p671, Nook). It turns out Jamie is in Cross Creek because of an upcoming trial he must attend. Brianna starts calculating the time needed to get upriver, so she doesn’t miss Jamie.

Roger arrived in Edenton just ten days after Brianna arrived in South Carolina. She must be in Wilmington by now, and he is determined to find her.  Roger details his journey to Wilmington (p672, Nook). He knew she was here. She had to be. It was the most logical place to secure a guide to go into the mountains to Fraser’s Ridge. He learns there are twenty-three taverns where she could have taken a room or maybe in a private residence he thinks. By the time he had reached the fifth tavern people had begun sharing their sightings of her (p673, Nook). Roger was considerably worried for Brianna after hearing the stories. He was also hungry, thirsty, and lacking funds. He decided on a place to spend a couple of pennies on dinner, and maybe, just maybe he would be allowed to sleep in the stable. He saw a newspaper office and wanted to throw a rock through the window. That damned notice is what got both into this situation.

Entering the Blue Bull, he sees Brianna sitting by the hearth (p674, Nook). Roger tries to make her come with him. A seaman from the cargo boat yells at Roger (MacKenzie) to let her be. Brianna finally tells the protective man she knows Roger. The man reluctantly backs off. Lizzie freaks out that Brianna may go with him. Brianna assures her it’s okay and she’ll be back later. Once outside, she wants to know why he’s there. He takes her to a shelter. Again, she demands to know what he’s doing there (p675, Nook). He kisses her, hard and tells her it will be alright. She is horrified that he is there (p675, Nook). Around and around they go. She has the temper of both her parents.

Instead of throttling her back, he grabbed a handful of hair and kissed her as hard as he could, she fought him, at first. Then gave in ending in tears and sobs (p676, Nook). There it is, she didn’t tell him she was going because she loved him. Now they tumble on the ground like wrestlers.  He let go of her hair, she took her arm off his neck, but Roger couldn’t stop touching her neck. He makes her say it (p677, Nook). She lay in his arms weeping. They are dirty, bruised, and he is most certainly hungry. They will find a way back to the twentieth century, somehow.

She is happy to see him regardless of not wanting him to follow her. He asks how long she’d been planning the trip, though he probably knew the answer based on the changes in her letters. Six months past when she went to Jamaica instead of to Scotland to see him. Of course, she had asked him to come with her, but he refused. She kept dreaming about her fathers, Frank and Jamie. There was one dream that stood out (p678, Nook). That dream is what caused her to go to Jamaica. Since the trail of Jamie and Claire was lost after 1766, she figured she would give it a shot. Maybe they had gone to Jamaica first. She began to search cargo ships since The Indies were a trade spot. She found the Artemis with a Captain James Fraser that “sold five tons of bat guano in Montego Bay on April 2, 1767.” She explains further finding the solution to Jamie being a Captain of a ship with known crippling seasickness (p680, Nook). She didn’t find the freed slave, but she did find the death notice dated 1776. They are there early enough to warn her parents. Roger understands at this moment why parents or a spouse would beat them (p681, Nook).

He was angry. He thought she found someone else because of her letters. He wanted to beat her because she made him think he’d lost her. She apologizes. How did he find out she’d left anyway? He tells her about the boxes arriving and the last-minute conference that had kept him in Oxford longer than expected.  She realizes he followed her even though he thought she’d found someone else (p682, Nook). He touched her under her loosened shirt. Did she mean it? The unspoken words of her body tell him she did mean it. Then her words urged him (p682, Nook).  He takes her to the nearby shed.

For a moment, Brianna thinks about Lizzie. Roger didn’t know who that was and didn’t care either. He had her in a safe, private place behind the inn. Before they go further, they are handfasted as is a Highland’s custom because a minister will be difficult to find on short notice. Roger will not lie with her unless they are married (p683, Nook). The handfasting allows for marriage for a year and a day before a final decision is made to wed or being married in the church legally. They are wed in a shed behind the Blue Bull tavern.

They explore each other in the dark of the shed. She reaches down, and humor invades the exploration (p684, Nook). She quivered in his arms, but not from laughter. She was naked, and the feel of her amazed him. He remarks how he’s never been able to kiss a girl without stooping down. Brianna’s nervous humor invades again. He couldn’t stop kissing and touching her to get undressed. She helped him out of his breeks and shocked him by reaching down to grasp him. His senses were filled with the tastes on her lips, the smell of her body and hair. He asks her to let go of him for a moment; she has a bit too strong of a grip. When she moves to her knees, he is stunned (p686, Nook). His coherency and blood leave his brain in quick order. She asks if she’s doing it right. He thinks so. This is the first time anyone has done this to him. So yeah, he thinks so. He likes it well enough. Before he completely loses himself, he disengages, pulls her to her feet, and lays her down on the straw.

He has only tried giving oral to a woman once, but she smelled of Sunday church flowers. Brianna did not. She drove him to abject lust. Instead, he kisses her on her lower belly (p687, Nook). He gets to his work enjoying the myriad of sensations and tastes. He felt a quiver move through her into him. He asks if he is doing it right (p687, Nook). He wonders how exactly she KNOWS he’s doing it right. She laughs. They work through the awkwardness of her eagerness.  Finally, she relaxes into him. He tells her he loves her. She simply puts her hand on his face and opens to him. At the point of no return, he takes it slowly, she urges him forth. She asks if he is big. He thinks average and asks if he’s hurting her a lot. She needs stillness for a minute. She reaches down his back touching his behind. She gives him the go-ahead (p689, Nook). I call this maneuver the pull and pray technique.  She declares her love for him.

After they recover, tangled together they talk (p689, Nook). He is astonished she learned so much from a book. He tells her it’s terrible books go around telling young women how to do sexual things. How else would she learn if not for books? Roger must check his Victorian Presbyterian thoughts on female knowledge. He tells her there’s more to it than what books can say. She’s eager for him to show her more.

When she woke from a light sleep thinking about how they fit together, how he had made love to her three times through the night, how she was sore and happy (p691, Nook). What a beautiful piece of writing.  Roger apologizes for them not having a proper wedding and proper bridal chamber to consummate their marriage. She assures him it was very good for her. She reaches for him, but he needs a rest. She’s not the only one who might be sore.

She tells him she’s never been so happy and if they never get back to their own time, it is okay as long as they’re together. He tells her he thinks there’s another way and explains his trip through the stones and the diamond Fiona gave him. Gemstones might help to steer the traveler. He recited a poem from the grimoire (p692, Nook). Brianna thinks the poem is bonkers, but Roger points out insanity doesn’t mean it isn’t correct. The poem has old Celtic ritual and witchcraft within it. Roger doesn’t think the blood sacrifice is needed, but the metal and gems might be necessary. He asks Brianna what she wore when she went through. The bracelet he gave her and the pearls.

They discuss the possibilities of traveling through the stones and how the gemstones assist travel. They need to get a hold of some to help with their eventual travel back to their own time. The thing is, it is difficult to find gemstones outside of a large city, and the expense is too much as well. Roger has an idea where he can get one, but he must leave immediately to have a chance at it. Brianna cannot wait for Roger there, because she found Jamie Fraser. Roger wants her to wait instead of going to Cross Creek without him, but with Lizzie being sick she needs to find her mother as soon as possible. He agrees but asks her to wear a dress instead of her breeks.  She doesn’t want him stealing the stone, but he says it’s no big deal since the man likely stole it from someone else. The dispute was ended by one more role in the hay.

Roger speaks sometime later saying he thinks he married his great-aunt six times removed. It had just dawned on him that they are related way back through the MacKenzie bloodline. The method of birth control they used throughout the night caused him to think of Geillis Duncan becoming pregnant. Brianna figures they are sixth or seventh cousins or something near that. Brianna doesn’t care if it’s nothing near incest. Roger couldn’t give up the thought though (pp696, Nook). When Brianna learns Roger hadn’t been to Lallybroch, she wants to know how he found her. Then she becomes angry realizing he had found the blasted newspaper article and never told her. She is in a rare fury. He tries to explain when he found it and why he hadn’t told her. He doesn’t think they can change the past (p698, Nook). He couldn’t stand the idea of her being hurt. She felt betrayed that he kept it from her. It was not his place to choose whether she knew about the death notice. This reminds me of Claire yelling at Jamie sometimes.  Roger digs a deeper hole for himself (p698, Nook).

She is Fraser angry now. She pulls on her breeks while cursing under her breath. She yells at him, tells him to get hanged I he wants to and that she is going to save her parents with or without him (p699, Nook). That is a terrible way to end things. It’s not as if communication is simple in that era. Lizzie isn’t sleeping when Brianna returns in a flurry of emotion. Brianna says she’s fine, but from outside the window, Roger Mac can be heard (p699, Nook). Lizzie was frozen for a moment. She could see the change in Brianna’s expression. She looked as if she had the blood fury like soldiers had. She was a Highland she-devil. She asked in Gaelic if Brianna was okay. Brianna told her to go to sleep.

Lizzie simply lay awake worried what Brianna might do. Then she realizes Brianna is shaking and she feels guilty for allowing her to be hurt. Brianna finally fell asleep. Unable to sleep, Lizzie slipped from the bed, opened the shudders, and began to tidy things up. She picks up Brianna’s discarded clothing (p701, Nook). She thinks Roger assaulted Brianna. She smelled Brianna’s clothing, and it wreaked of a man. As she washed Brianna’s clothing with lye soap, the water turns to red. She’s sure Roger took Brianna’s virginity and thought it by rape.

Oh, the boy has Lizzie got this wrong, but she has so little information to go by it’s a logical conclusion. Roger and Brianna fighting is no good thing with separate tasks ahead of them. Where do you think Roger is getting the stone? The seaman had called Roger, MacKenzie. This is the name he is going by in the eighteenth century. It is the name Lizzie knows the dark man by too. Will Brianna tell anyone she’s wedded by handfasting? Will she get to Cross Creek and meet Jamie in time? Four sexual encounters in a night, pull and pray or no, could she be with child? Will Roger get the gemstone? Will he return to her? As the last point, I love how Diana wrote the whole scene surrounding their coupling. Roger is a man of honor. He wants all of her forever.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 41-42 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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