American the Beautiful Ep 152

America the Beautiful

Season 4 Ep 401

Written by Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia

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Jamie, Claire, Marsali, Fergus, Young Ian, Lesley, and Hayes are in Wilmington, NC. There’s a hanging. Young Ian gets a dog. The Frasers are going to a party. They are broke and need to sell a gemstone for passage back to Scotland. A greedy pastor, flashbacks, and a stowaway complicate the burial. Assistance is given to an escaped convict. Jamie and Claire sleep rough. The Governor makes Jamie an offer. They decide to stay in America. On the way to River Run, there’s trouble.


With good there is bad. There are opportunities in the new world, but there is also cruelty and opportunistic savagery that takes place against others in the process.

Circles have significance from the broader to the personal, impact lives, and are here to make a point this season.

The Good:

  • There is so much excellent dialogue to provide warmth to devoted Outlander readers.
  • Jamie stands out as a good friend and leader.
  • Claire’s humor and emotional range are coming into view. She’s less a constipated shrew and more emotionally rounded.
  • The choice to highlight Young Ian’s trauma after being scared and sexually assaulted by Geillis “The Bakra” Abernathy.
  • Rollo is joining the crew.
  • Marsali and Fergus are expecting a child. SURPRISE. Apparently, she likes sex quite fine and having a child won’t stop that.
  • Jamie’s gift of the medicine box for their 24th anniversary is a deep home run. He’s sentimental and knows Claire is not the type to want baubles and fancy things.
  • Ed Speleers gives an excellent performance as Stephen Bonnet, at once likable, over the top schmoozer, maybe kind, and then morphing into a malevolent mercenary he returns to steal Claire’s rings and the gems he overheard them talking about when he was a stowaway. He even murders Lesley when he fights back.
  • Caitriona’s performance during the robbery is stunning. With minimal sound, her emotions, facial expressions, and body movements scream volumes.

The Bad:

Jamie’s wig with bangs is hands down is THE worst thing in this episode. Claire’s wig and the funky North Carolina CGI are next in line. Everyone else’s wigs are fantastic. I just don’t get it. It seems the hair team is trying to mimic Sam’s hair before he donned a wig. Someone, PLEASE give Jamie an all over shoulder length wig that can be properly plaited. The utter distraction makes for difficult viewing.

Who the hell is Lillington and how did they get an invite to a party? It was an abrupt non-sequitur without context while they’re riding to the kirkyard to bury Gavin. Unless you’re a book reader, this came out of left field.

The So-So:

The hanging of Gavin barely ticked the emotional box because there was so little character development of him and Lesley even though they were at Ardsmuir and worked for Jamie in Edinburgh. Except for Lesley’s heartfelt tavern singing, and the shocking nature of his death, they felt superfluous to a storytelling end

Why was Jamie so determined for them all to go back to Scotland? Claire mildly talking him into staying is a bit off-putting.

Fergus being so mild and mousy and seemingly lacking the wit and fire his younger counterpart displayed is a slight turn off as a viewer.

The Funny:

  • The snarky dinner party guest Judith Wylie being jealous of Claire and trash talking her to Claire’s “whatever” face.
  • Jamie’s “more trees” response to Claire.
  • Jamie’s response to sweet devastated Young Ian, “What it comes down to is your cock doesn’t have a conscience, but you have.”
  • Young Ian to Uncle Jamie, “I didna ken. She’ll be saying it in Scotland won’t she.”

The Obvious:

Claire’s voiceover in the opening scene of native peoples building a cairn circle around a standing stone, Hey there! Circles of ALL kinds (nooses, wedding rings, the movement of clock hands, and planetary orbits) are super-duper important. Especially stone circles in America.” (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink). Then Stephen Bonnet focusing on the rings and the importance of an eternal circle. Then Stephen attempting to take Claire’s wedding rings.

Bottom Line:

Overall, I liked this episode and look forward to what’s coming. A lot of ground was covered to move the story along nicely. I don’t envy the task of adapting such detailed and lengthy work. Outlander viewers are pretty darned smart and don’t need to be spoon-fed foreshadowing, hit in the face with themes or points the producers and writers want to be certain we don’t miss. I promise, if the writing is good, viewers with getting it.

Please share your thoughts and comments to 719-425-9444 or 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.

Visit Outlander Starz on social media, like or follow: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and the official website. All photos are the property of Starz/SONY PICTURES TELEVISION INC.

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All Roads Lead to The Gathering Ep 149

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 68-71

Week 34

“All Roads Lead to The Gathering.”

Summary: Domesticity ruled the moment. Jamie and Claire drunkenly frolicked in the night. Roger and Brianna established married life. Duncan Innes came to the Ridge with a proposition. The family headed to the Gathering. The baby finally had a proper name. The Gathering hosted Scottish families from across the Colonies. A word from Young Ian was had. A Highland Regiment arrived. Lizzie got a welcomed surprise. Claire worked her pop-up clinic. Roger shared a private letter with Jamie. Jamie offered to return something special to Claire. Brianna clearly made her choice.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 68

Domestic Bliss

August 1770

Domestic bliss filled the morning and Claire thought about the night before when Jamie had invited her outdoors the night before (p1045, Nook). They wandered into the woods to intimately share each other under the moon before drunkenly going back to bed for an hour. They silently shared the memory over parritch under the acknowledging eye of Brianna. The moment was broken when Clarence announced a visitor. Duncan Innes arrived to invite them all to the upcoming gathering at Mount Helicon. The clincher for Jamie was being told a priest would be there and the baby could be baptized. Then Duncan embarrassingly dropped a bomb on Jamie; he asked permission to marry Aunt Jocasta (p1047, Nook). Duncan was a man of propriety and thought it only right to seek Jamie’s blessing because he was the next of kin and her rightful heir. Jamie gave his blessing and said they would dance at the wedding.

Chapter 69


October 1770

The baby’s name had not been settled even though he was about five months old. The discussion went round and round as they traveled to the Gathering. Claire brought up Jeremiah and the nickname of Jemmy. This recalled the woman and her child from the Gloriana to Roger. He inquired to Claire if she remembered the name of his ancestor the changeling’s (William Buccleigh) wife. Claire obliged. The woman’s name was Morag Gunn. Her son’s name was Jemmy. Claire suddenly spoke of Geilie who had said they could travel through time to change things.

Chapter 70

The Gathering

We have arrived at the Gathering an incredibly long and detailed set of storylines that carry on well into the next book.  Claire reflected on the last Gathering she had attended at Castle Leoch nearly thirty years prior. Though the Clans and the old way of Highland life were dead in Scotland, the Clans gathered together in this place with pride. Looking for Jamie in the crowd, Claire spotted John Quincy Myers and called to him. He was there to sell his hides and trinkets. He was surprised on a trip up in the mountains to have seen Young Ian geared out like a Mohawk. Myers presented Claire with a small package from Young Ian.  Myers left Claire assuring her he would see her later. Jamie returned, and they read the letter together. Young Ian had been married to Emily, and they were expecting a child. Rollo had also sired a great many puppies in the village. Jamie, of course, ridiculed Young Ian’s use of Latin.

Claire observed every Scottish family from the Colonies up to Pennsylvania must be there with more arriving all the time. Due to the difficulty of travel, families would stay about a week or so. The next day Jamie made his way to where Lizzie was sitting and offered her a great surprise. Fergus has Joseph Weymss, Lizzie’s father with him. Jamie had purchased Mr. Weymss indenture contract and intended to burn it in the fire that evening.

Day three and Claire was almost overwhelmed with the amount of news, gossip, and Gaelic in the air. Roger though absorbed every detail and sound as he wandered about the grounds listening. The night before he had borrowed a guitar and sang for a crowd. Jamie being no fan of music decided to take the baby for a game of dice (p1054, Nook).

Claire had opened a pop-up medical clinic. She gave dietary advice trying to get the people to eat foods filled with vitamin C. She even had Jamie eating the dangerous nightshade, tomato in front of people on purpose to persuade them it was safe to eat. Instead of making dietary inroads, the others regarded Jamie supernaturally and that Himself, of course, could survive having eaten such food. Claire treated skin a family with a skin condition when a Highland regiment marched into view. Brianna and baby came up behind and asked if they were friend or foe. Did the Crown think this was a political gathering? Claire advised Bree to take the baby up into the rocks if anything happened. All around the men stepped in front of the women and children. Two men rode toward Jamie. The man dismounted and introduced himself (p1057, Nook).

Chapter 71

Circle’s Close

Roger had been waiting to get Jamie alone. He had a message for him. Jamie took the baby from Roger and invited him to speak. Roger explained he had to wait to go through the stones after Brianna left. Roger had stayed at the Manse, his family home while waiting. He found a letter and was not sure if he should tell Claire or Brianna about it. The letter was to his father the Reverend, and the seal of confession had been broken by the death of the writer and his father. Roger spoke the memorized letter to Jamie word for word (p1059, Nook). Roger knew the struggle of thought he had gone through carrying this knowledge. Frank could have chosen to keep the information to himself and not had the Reverend place the headstone that led Claire back to Jamie after Frank’s death followed by Brianna and Roger. With Brianna in the past having had a baby, Jamie’s bloodline would continue. Roger wondered if it was “interest on the debt owed?” Jamie finally spoke (p1063, Nook). Roger planned to tell Brianna but asked if he should tell Claire also. Jamie said under his pledge of honesty to Claire, Roger should tell her.

Day four and even more families had arrived. Each family had their campfire that filled the night’s darkness. Claire was reminded of the MacKenzie clan badge. She realized the burning mountain was a visage of a Gathering like this one representing togetherness. The motto, Luceo non uro (I shine, not burn) finally made sense to her too.

There was a large fire in the clearing families came to declare their presence including Jamie announcing, “The Frasers of the Ridge.” Claire sat with the sleeping baby in her arms. Jamie sat down behind her.  They watched Roger and Brianna in intent conversation leading Jamie to wonder if they were going to change the baby’s name again (p1065, Nook). After formally choosing to be husband and wife, Brianna asked Roger to go declare “the MacKenzies are here.”

We DID IT! We finished the Drums of Autumn read-a-long. 34 episodes over most of a year. Thank you for sticking with me as we followed our (my favorite) book friends further into their adventures. We met new people along the way and saw the painful and painstaking process it took for Roger and Brianna to be together. Young Ian is in the hands of his new Mohawk family. Lord John has become a friend to Brianna and reestablished his friendship with Jamie. He and Claire still tolerate each other. Roger and Jamie have entered a tentative relationship. Jocasta is marrying Duncan Innes yet has no heir in Jamie or Brianna. Stephen Bonnet is on the loose. Claire and Jamie are building a life and home for themselves and others in the mountains. We learned how Frank was instrumental in Claire, Brianna, and Roger going into the 18th century. Claire hopes the coming war will stay away from the Ridge. Beware after season 4 airs on television we will be starting straightaway on a read-a-long of the immense Fiery Cross.

What’s Coming up? The Space Between novella.

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


Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

Please share posts, join the discussions, and follow this website and social media sites listed below!

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To financially support the podcast, go to my Patreon page.

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

The intro and outro music segments are taken from a piece by Damiano Baldoni at URL on Free Music Archive. Curator: ccCommunity. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0:

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Cowards Need Not Apply Ep 148

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 66-67

Week 33

“Cowards Need Not Apply”


Summary: Claire was annoyed with the rascally rabbits. Roger made his return. He performed a blood vow upon the baby. Jamie declared Roger and Brianna husband and wife by handfast. Brianna was timid around Roger. Claire tended Roger’s wounded foot. Roger convalesced at the partially completed big house. Brianna visited Roger daily. Claire released Roger from rest. Claire cautioned Roger to be careful. Jamie cautioned Roger not to be cowardly. Roger went to see Brianna. They talked and began to make their way back to each other.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 66

Child of My Blood

Claire was in the vegetable garden decrying the work of hungry and destructive rabbits. She found herself missing Young Ian and his dog. She was trying to get the new planting in before the weather turned cold. She needed a way to keep the rabbits from the nutrient dense and flavorful cabbages. She decided Jamie should urinate, like a mountain lion, around the garden would keep the hungry bunnies away. She headed toward the herb shed and noticed movement. She thought it was Jamie, but it was a man dark of hair and beard, in tattered clothing looking worse for wear. It was Roger MacKenzie Wakefield. He was happy Claire was the person he met first (p1019, Nook). The others were in the cabin. Jamie and Brianna worked on the house plans, while the baby slept nearby. Lizzie was busy spinning by the window. With the opening of the door, Jamie swiftly and loudly reacted before recognizing who it was who had entered. Brianna looked around wildly as she soothed the woken baby.

Jamie stood with the stillness of battle readiness next to Brianna as she nursed the baby. Roger’s own countenance echoed that of Jamie. They appeared to mirror each other to Claire’s shock. They were Vikings, the pair of them with Brianna rounding out the trio with flames in her eyes. Roger asked Jamie to cut his wrist (1021, Nook). In that one act, Roger adopted the baby as his. He asked what the baby was named, but none was given yet. Claire saw how different Brianna and Roger were to each other. It had been nine-plus months since they became handfast. Roger wanted to know if Brianna was his wife (p1022, Nook). Brianna wanted to know why he came back. Maybe for obligation and wanting, but he couldn’t tell her exactly. She asked him about the stone circle. It took him a long time to find it again. She explained to Roger what she wanted from a marriage (p1023, Nook). They were handfasted on September 2 of the prior year, for two and a half more months they would remain so then they could choose to stay together or not (p1023, Nook). The last remark or rather a threat caused a row between the two men after they went outside (p1024, Nook). As ever Claire attributed it to testosterone poisoning (p1024, Nook). Claire if it were only so easy to take care of testosterone poisoning.

Life on the Ridge was uncomfortable with the personalities and situations at play. The baby’s nightly colic caused Jamie to work on the new house with fervor. Roger helped with the other chores though his injured foot made it difficult. He refused treatment, but Claire insisted he must allow her to assess it. There were no signs of blood infection or gangrene. There were pockets of infection that built up and had been partially draining when he walked. She decided what to do and needed Bree’s help. Lizzie offered in her place out of remorsefulness and trying to make amends any way she could for her part in Roger’s trial. Claire bid Lizzie the task of taking the baby outside for some fresh air. Claire explained the procedure of draining, disinfecting, and debridement to Roger. She had Brianna hold onto his hands tightly. By the time she had disinfected the wound, Roger’s head was in Brianna’s lap, and her arms were tight around his shoulders. Claire went to the shed for a minute to get the rotting meat she had prepped a couple of days before. She placed the maggots into the wounds to eat away any dead tissue that remained. Claire had learned this type of debridement from her friend Nayawenne. She wrapped his foot and assured him the work of the maggots might tickle, but they wouldn’t hurt. If you would like to know more about Maggot Therapy, click here.

Claire went outside to wash the bowl. She met Jamie who was holding the baby. He had taken him from a crying Lizzie who was mourning the loss of Young Ian. This girl is gonna get #boycrazy soon. Jamie took Claire to show her of his progress on the big house. He thought Roger staying at the big house temporarily would be the best bet since beds were in short supply. They talked, and Claire told Jamie Brianna and Roger are getting to know each other again, and things seemed well between them.

Clever Claire had Brianna help her with Roger’s procedure. Brianna had to touch Roger and be near him. Why oh why did Jamie still think poorly of Roger? I haven’t puzzled that one out yet. Lizzie, damn that girl should feel all sorts of remorsefulness, though Jamie going full tilt “Operation Wakefield is a Rapist,” is all on his shoulders 100%.

Chapter 67

The Toss of a Coin

Roger was staying in the partially built big house while recovering from having Claire perform minor surgery on his foot. Brianna came to see him every day to bring food, water, and such. She had come without the baby and thought it was wonderful to have the rare alone time with her; she didn’t stay long because of the baby’s absence. Roger’s appetite had come back with ferocity. He gratefully ate what she had brought him in the basket. As he ate, Roger looked out over the land understanding and approving of Jamie selecting this site for the house (p1030, Nook). Roger pondered why he told her he didn’t know why he returned. He hadn’t known then (p1031, Nook). The jig was up. He figured out and appreciated Claire’s tactic in getting Brianna in proximity to and touching him when performing the wound surgery.

At the end of the week, Claire released him from recovery and cautioned him to not step on anything sharp. The baby had been crying all night, so no one got any sleep. Jamie planned on moving into the partially built house with Claire immediately. Roger took this moment to ask Claire’s advice about what to do based on Brianna’s behavior when he tried to touch her. Claire indelicately approached the subject (p1033, Nook). She told him to be careful. After Claire left, Jamie came bearing gifts of a razor and hot water. Roger was thankful as the beard itched terribly. Roger tried to make small talk as Jamie watched him shave. There was little use for a historian with a talent as a folk singer on an 18th-century mountain farm (p1035, Nook). Jamie lacked all subtlety in telling Roger Brianna, and the baby would be alone for the night. (Insert staring blue cat-like laser beams at Roger). Without being prompted, he gave Roger relationship advice (p1036, Nook).  That one sentence said it all, Brianna didn’t need a cowardly man. Jamie told him to go for it, tonight, there was no time like the present to convince her.

Roger initially heeded Jamie’s advice and went down to the cabin. He worked out ways to get her attention without scaring her. Then he thought to give up and to try again in the morning. Jamie and Claire thus even in the advice taking. He stayed and walked around the cabin a couple of more times. As if divine intervention, Brianna left the cabin to use the privy. He scared her saying her name. She was annoyed and told him to go away. He waited for her to return from the privy. At first, she chided him for walking on the foot before she told him to go back to bed (p1037, Nook). They are finally talking. #OnTheTrainToCommuncationStation She invited him into the cabin after the baby began to cry. She laid down to nurse and Roger sat on the nursing chair in front of the fire. The room was warm and had homey scents.

He watched and apologized for it. She didn’t care. To her surprise, Roger began to undress (p1039, Nook). She asked about the marks on his back. The scars had come from the Indians. He turned around. It had been dark when they were together the many months back, so this was the first time she was seeing him in the light. Which of them had changed more since that first and only night together? He sat down and wanted to know what it felt like to have the baby nurse. To show him what happened when the baby nursed, she popped the baby off and sprayed him with the fine streams of letdown milk. Yes, Roger like a squirt gun! Roger told her he wants her; she wanted him too. Roger took the sleeping baby into his arms and looked him over. Brianna thought he was trying to see the resemblance; he wasn’t. He wanted to have a proper look at the baby. Brianna brushed her hair while Roger examined the baby. He noticed how the foot reacted to his finger stroke. She explained the “Eau de baby” scent that babies have. It is intoxicating and helps keep parents from killing them. She’s not wrong. Babies are tough work. Brianna placed the baby back in the cradle.

Roger asked why Brianna stayed once she found out she was pregnant. She couldn’t leave without him. She allowed her gown to fall to the floor. He saw her in full nakedness. He delighted at seeing the colors upon her nether region. He wanted her. She wanted to know what Roger found holy. Their little family, nothing more.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 68-71 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. Featured Image.

The intro and outro music segments are taken from a piece by Damiano Baldoni at URL on Free Music Archive. Curator: ccCommunity. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0:

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

Please share posts, join the discussions, and follow this website and social media sites listed below!

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Listen to this podcast!

New Life Ep 147

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 63-65

Week 32

“New Life and Returning Home”


Summary: Brianna was angry about Jocasta’s will. Lord John had a plan if he needed to help. Brianna feared how things would be between her and Roger if he came back. Only two riders returned. Brianna forgave Jamie. Claire assessed John. Brianna went into labor. Jamie and Claire supported her. A healthy baby was born. The Fraser’s and Lord John left River Run. They happily returned to The Ridge. Roger was coming. He was bearded, committed, and ready.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 63


River Run, May 1770

Brianna was in a huff over Auntie Jo’s stubborn refusal to change her will. Lord John to Brianna, “Pot meet kettle.” John believed doing nothing was the answer (p997, Nook). John went on to explain if Jocasta died leaving the plantation to Brianna, he would buy her slaves and free them in Virginia, and she would return his money, thus fixing the problem. He slyly made another point along the way (p998, Nook). Brianna asked and inferred that Lord John could never care for a child who wasn’t his own, so how could Roger be expected to? He told her for the sake of the parent, and he’d been doing that very thing for some time. Brianna misinterpreted it to mean her he was caring for because of her father (p999, Nook). Upon deeper reflection, Brianna was worried about the intimacy between her and Roger (p999, Nook). I love the ease of their conversation and the sharp wit of Lord John. Brianna was raped, there is a level of worry whether or not she can sexually be with Roger. Could he accept her if he couldn’t touch her? Could she ask such a sacrifice of him? She knows healing can take place because of Jamie being able to have a full relationship with her mother. Brianna seems to hold onto the most negative outcome possibilities as a way to guard and prepare herself. 

Only two riders were seen by the servants, Brianna thought it must be Jamie and Claire.  So many thoughts were running through Brianna’s mind. “Was Roger not found? They found him, and he didn’t want to come back?”  She jokes to Lord John about him being her fallback. Lord John came up with other scenarios in which Young Ian and Roger rode separately from her parents. John proceeded to ask Brianna how far her remorse went for almost getting him killed (p1001, Nook). Out of the room, she flew to greet her father. Lord John was the wise and caring friend Brianna needed. Like Claire, Diana describes Brianna about nature, a storm cloud in this instance.

Cut to Claire as she examined Lord John (p1003, Nook). He asked after MacKenzie. She assured him Roger would be coming along later. Lord John is not convinced. Claire had faith in Roger returning. Without asking Claire opened John’s shirt to listen to his heart, lungs, and abdomen. Why would John be surprised by this gesture? She manhandles anyone needing medical attention. When she asked if he has moved his bowels, he downright refused to answer. John looked her over (p1003, Nook). I think he was admiring her and at the same time looking for anything to critique in a bitchy and catty way. Claire wanted to get a look at the trepanation site and was unusually delicate in the asking because she was curious (p1004, Nook). That line is quintessential Lord John. As Claire examined his head, she thanked him for helping Brianna while they were gone. John was pleased to have helped even if it cost him a hole in the head. John worried for the state of Brianna and Jamie’s relationship. Claire instructed him to look into the garden. All was well between the father and daughter. Claire thought Brianna would deliver soon and John professed his thankfulness at their return (p1004). At that, Claire returned the sapphire to John at Brianna’s request. “Jilted, by God!”.

Chapter 64

Bottom of the Ninth

Claire told Brianna labor is like a baseball game. It’s mostly boring with bouts of activity. I like to say it has phases. Most of the labor a woman has more rest periods than work periods until near pushing when the end of active labor requires more work and little rest to finish dilation and bring the baby down. Brianna mentioned beer and hot dogs in response. Jamie asked if he should fetch some small beer. He then asked about a hot dog. Claire explained it was sausage on a roll. Brianna didn’t want one. Jamie decided he should leave, but Brianna wouldn’t let him (p1005, Nook). Claire was gripped with worry, and her brain went haywire thinking of how she almost died when she lost Faith. By the way, that was a placental abruption that could not have been stopped or fixed at any time. She’d had a subchorionic hemorrhage in mid-second trimester that resulted in a full abruption in the sixth month of pregnancy. This problem had nothing to do with her ability to carry a baby or birth. They sometimes happen without injury or accident. Claire prepared in her mind for how she would handle various situations that might arise during labor.

Jamie was called into service to walk Brianna around the room like he would a horse with colic to help distract her and progress labor. Claire opened the windows and took a moment to inhale the freshness of the outdoors. The house was in full anticipation and readiness for the birth. Claire contemplated how little needed to be done to support normal birth and how little could be done if it went wrong. Brianna wanted to lie down after walking for a long time. The labor was getting more intense and organized. Claire didn’t think it would be much longer, though five minutes apart is usually early labor, and it could last another 5-12 hours on average. I love how Brianna clings to Jamie and calls him daddy. Brianna asked Jamie to tell her a story. He told her stories as she held onto him. Claire rubbed her back. They offered excellent labor support! Claire had Phaedre fill the room will candlelight to provide light since Brianna had started voluntarily pushing. Claire provided perineal massage with oiled fingers (not necessary, but usual for her training). The amniotic sac broke, and the waters splashed upon the bed and floor. The baby came down, and Claire felt the head with her fingers (p1010, Nook). Claire assessed the baby quickly, he was healthy and well. There was no sign of hemorrhage (p1010, Nook). WELL DONE! Claire waited to cut the cord until after the placenta which gave an opportunity for the baby to receive the blood back into him from the placenta. The house was abuzz. Jamie was crying with joy. Brianna was grinning and put him to breast right away. He latched without a problem and surprised Brianna with the force of it. Claire was crying too and realized it when she tasted tears when she smiled. The baby and Brianna were settled in, and Claire found Jamie (who had gone to tell Lord John of the birth). They kissed and afterward she noticed the marks on his hands from Brianna’s nails (p1012, Nook).

Jamie was trying to figure out if the baby resembled MacKenzie or Bonnet. Claire said it was impossible to tell right now and mentioned recessive genes. Jamie had no idea what she meant, she went on to explain the baby could be any color, and they wouldn’t know for sure who the father was and wondered aloud if it mattered (p1012, Nook). Jamie fell fast asleep, but Claire thought about why she said that phrase. It was something Frank always said (p1012, Nook). Peace swept over Claire, and she slept.

Chapter 65

Return to Fraser’s Ridge

Jamie, Claire, Brianna, nameless baby boy, and Lord John traveled together as far as they could. Lord John turned toward Virginia and William (p1013, Nook). The others kept on toward Fraser’s Ridge for another week. Though the cabin was in disarray, the garden was a mess, and everything unkempt, Claire was the most joyful she had ever been at a homecoming.

The baby not only didn’t have a first name, but his last name was also under question. They all called him a different nickname. Brianna was waiting for Roger to come before deciding what the baby would be called. Jamie was fed up with the waiting (p1014, Nook). Claire was cranky too since the baby had kept everyone up from crying due to a diaper rash. Claire was trying to fill out the baby’s birth certificate, she could fill in the date, approximate time, and who the attending doctor was, but no name as of yet. She and Jamie got sidetracked with names of Saints (p1015, Nook). Jamie goes on to tell her of the Saint against impotence. Claire hit another problem with the birth certificate; what last name should she put for Brianna? Fraser, Randall, or both? Claire decided to write both last names and to have faith Roger would come.

Roger was preparing himself to ride up the path to Fraser’s Ridge. He must have been a sight to see but didn’t think it mattered much. He passed through the clearing where he had met Jamie on that fateful day many months ago. The memory stabbed him, but nothing mattered because he was there.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 66-67 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

Join the A Dram of Outlander Community

Please share posts, join the discussions, and follow this website and social media sites listed below!

Facebook,  InstagramTwitterTumblrGoogle+

To financially support the podcast, go to my Patreon page.

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Forgiveness Ep 146

Drums of Autumn

Chapters 61-62

Week 31



Claire was sent to the longhouse. She examined Roger. Jamie wanted to keep some facts to themselves. Roger baptized a baby. Young Ian was adopted into the tribe to replace the man Roger had killed. He was named Wolf’s Brother and joined Works with Her Hands’ family. With sadness Roger, Claire, and Jamie left the village toward River Run. Roger learned the baby might not be his. Jamie and Claire left Roger to decide. Stephen Bonnet was arrested. Brianna implored Lord John to arrange a meeting. The mother bear roared. Lord John was injured. Bonnet made a fiery escape and asked Brianna to go with him.

Inside the Chapters:

Chapter 61

The Office of a Priest

An exhausted, Claire was taken to the longhouse. The air smelled of smoke and burnt things. There was singing; she wondered if it was for the dead woman. She exclaimed when she saw Jamie and Roger. Roger embraced her. He was thin and stank but seemed healthy to her. I love how Claire clinically assessed him immediately. This demonstrated how much she cared for him. He asked after Brianna immediately. She noticed his injured foot, but Jamie interrupted and asked how Claire was. Oddly he told her his arm needed to be looked at because it hurt. As Claire points out, he would never say he was in pain in front of Roger. She looked him over and didn’t think his arm was broken (p963, Nook). What do you think of Jamie’s idea? Claire went back to Roger to look at his foot. She blurted out Brianna was pregnant. Roger was stunned to learn Bree was in advanced pregnancy (p964, Nook). Claire thought Bree wanted to give Roger an escape plan since she believed the baby was Bonnet’s but moreover that she believed Jamie wouldn’t see it as a marriage without a priest, church, and contract. Claire reassured Roger of Brianna’s health and well-being. Brianna had wanted to go with Claire and Jamie to find Roger; this was a great relief to him. Jamie admitted it was a misunderstanding.

Claire inspected Roger’s foot and was alarmed at the infection. Roger explained it was infected off and on. Roger only wanted answers. Brianna had not set Jamie and Young Ian upon him to turn him away; it was Jamie’s idea (p966, Nook). In Jamie’s mind, a person can only die once, so it was safe to bring Claire with him on this dangerous trip. If the past couldn’t be changed, Jamie assumed correctly. Roger explained that was precisely why he didn’t tell Brianna about the notice (p967, Nook). Claire wholeheartedly disagreed with this idea of protection, just like Brianna had. Claire lambasted Roger for not telling Bree and trying to prevent her from going into the past. Jamie would rather have not met Brianna than for her to go through all she had since entering the 18th century. Roger had an epiphany. Brianna could not go back through the stones now. She was too far pregnant. Claire had tried to send her back early on, but Brianna wouldn’t go without Roger. Jamie felt responsible for Brianna being stuck in his timeline (p968, Nook).

Suddenly a group of Mohawks entered the longhouse. An older woman handed Roger the cradleboard. The woman knew he was the son of a priest and wants him to baptize Father Alexandre and his lover’s baby. Roger wasn’t sure at first, then Jamie reminded him any man could perform the duties of a priest in the time of need. Roger paled but decided to perform the baptism in French.

“Écoutez les paroles de notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, en obéissant à la parole de notre Seigneur Jésus et sûre de sa présence avec nous, nous baptisons ceux qu’il a appelés à être les siens.Qui est votre Seigneur, votre Sauveur? Voulez-vous placer votre foi en Lui? Promets-tu de dire à cet enfant la bonne nouvelle de l’Évangile, et tout ce que le Christ commande, et par ta communion fraternelle, de renforcer ses liens familiaux avec la famille de Dieu?” Then Roger turned to Jamie and Claire, the baby passed between them. Roger finished sprinkling water on the baby’s head and said, “Je vous baptise, Alexandra, au nom du Père et du Fils et du Saint-Esprit, Amen.”

The group of Christian Mohawk left the village and Roger wondered if he was going to be next to die. Claire shared what she learned from staying in Tewaktenyonh’s house the prior night (p970, Nook). Young Ian had not been seen since the chaos of the night before. It was the following afternoon before there was a visitor to the longhouse. It was Young Ian. He was there to say goodbye to Jamie and Claire. His hair had been plucked into a Mohawk style, his ear pierced, and his face tattooed.  The adoption ceremony was to be in the evening (p972, Nook). Oh, my crushed heart. The ceremony included his whiteness being scrubbed away with sand and given a new name (Wolf’s Brother). Jamie surprised the Mohawk by placing his plaid over Young Ian’s shoulder. Are any of you crying? Imagine Jamie writing to Jenny about her son.

They left the next morning after Jamie silently hugged and kissed Ian goodbye. The trio was quiet throughout the day and set up camp that evening. Roger spoke, asking Claire about the circle in the Indies. She was too tired to explain, so she simply said yes. Then he went on to tell Claire there was another stone circle eight days travel from Fraser’s Ridge. There would still not be enough time to get back to River Run, collect Brianna, and get back to the stone circle for them to go back to the 20th century. Jamie brought up that Roger didn’t have to stay. He could go back to his own time. Tempers and words flared (p975, Nook). Roger fired back showing the gemstone he stole from Bonnet not knowing Bonnet stole it from Claire and Jamie who had taken it from Geillis. Roger explained to them what happened (p976, Nook). Jamie mounted his horse and told Claire to come with him. Roger told her to go and he would come if he could. Claire and Jamie rode away leaving Roger with a gemstone in his hand and a decision to make.

Young Ian made a huge sacrifice but made it for love and obligation. Jamie had great anger toward Roger and treated him badly. How could a man hearing such shocking news be able to know how he felt about it? I don’t like the big deal that’s made of a child not being of one’s blood. Jamie adopted Fergus (Claudel) and loved Laoghaire’s daughters as his own. Both Claire and Roger had been adopted, and Frank had raised Brianna as his blood daughter. Roger had been through hell during the many months since Jamie had given him to the tribe, you would think Jamie having been a captive would certainly understand the difficulties Roger faced. He seemed to have little compassion for Roger and blamed him for losing Young Ian. What compelled Jamie to act in such a way?

Chapter 62

Three-Thirds of a Ghost

River Run, April 1770

Lord John dropped the bomb on Brianna that Stephen Bonnet was captured. Lord John sent the nearby servant to bed to keep listening ears away. He wanted to go to bed himself, but the information could not hold any longer. Bonnet had been caught in Cross Creek and charged with smuggling tea and brandy, but charges were added when his identity was discovered. Lord John searched Brianna’s face for signs of swooning. She was steady though pale. Bonnet was to hang the following week. Lord John was impressed by how much the baby had grown in two months since their engagement. The baby moved pressing out toward him, and he worried about the stress of knowing could cause her to go into preterm labor. His worry escalated, and he thought to get a servant, but Brianna merely said thank you. The calmness she expressed relieved Lord John to the state of her health. Brianna wants to see him. Lord John misunderstood thinking she wanted to watch the execution. He protested. She only wanted to talk to him. John choked on his drink. She went on to tell him of her outrageous plan to see Bonnet and the utter scandal it would cause. Well, Brianna knows how to take a conversation from zero to redline in one moment. I don’t think there’s enough booze to keep Lord John from shock from Brianna’s boldness.

He asked her why she wanted to speak to Bonnet. She handed him a piece of paper written by her father (p981, Nook). Bottom line, Brianna wanted to be free whether or not Roger returned. Forgiveness was at the heart of her need to see him (p982, Nook). Before retiring to bed, he asked if he could feel the baby move. He was delighted to feel the baby press against his hand.

Lord John took Brianna to the garrison. Bonnet was being held in the basement of the warehouse. The soldier on duty, Hodgepile was bribed to allow them in.  The name was known to Brianna from Ronnie Sinclair’s description. They gained entrance, Hodgepile was startled seeing Brianna.  They passed the contents of the warehouse leaving Brianna with a sense of confinement. Hodgepile instructed her to be careful with the lantern. Fire would be especially dangerous. Once down in the basement, the dampness took over. She was determined not to panic. Lord John encouraged her. She entered the room on her own. Bonnet was chained to her relief. Brianna spoke (p985, Nook). Brianna vomited and then gathered herself. She told him her name (p985, Nook). His manner almost made her laugh. He told her the jewels had been stolen after he sold one to buy a ship. She wondered if Roger stole the two. The timing fit she thought. He reminded her she got the ring back (p986, Nook). She wanted nothing from him but had come to give him something. She told him the baby was his. What in the hell caused her to think this was a good idea and there was only a chance the baby was his anyway. She hoped the knowledge would give him ease knowing he left something behind after he died.

Enter Sergeant Murchison. He threatened her. Brianna reacted and swung the lantern at his head. Stephen Bonnet grabbed her before she could hit him again. He wasn’t chained after all. It also looked like Murchison had killed Lord John who was sprawled on the floor in the hall. Murchison again threatened to shoot Brianna, but the cramped quarters made it impossible (p988, Nook). In the dimness of her mind, she heard her name. Bonnet was shouting at her to stop. The building was going to blow, and they had to get out. She blocked the door until he explained everything. She refused to let him leave Murchison to die, so he slit his throat to be done with it. Brianna was contracting with Braxton Hicks though, not contractions that cause labor. She, of course, did not know this fact. Bonnet ran out, and she stopped to check Lord John for a pulse. She found one weak and irregular. She calculated the risk of being in the basement if the upstairs caught fire and convinced herself it was safe while she tried to puzzle out how to save Lord John. She was about to administer first aid to Lord John when Bonnet returned yelling for her to run. She believed it was safe and he should go away (p993, Nook). She agreed to leave, but Bonnet had to carry Lord John to safety. He picked up Lord John, and she followed as quickly as she could. Can you imagine being seven months pregnant and running for your life from a building about to blow up? They made it out of the building to the wharf. The building was burning brightly. Bonnet asked her to go with him to his ship. She declined. He asked her if it was true that the baby was his while peering into her face. He reached into his mouth and pulled a gem from his cheek. He put it in her hand to help pay for the baby’s upkeep. He left, and she pondered shooting him as he ran off. She heard Jamie’s voice in her head and put the gun down. She opened her hand and found the black diamond staring back at her.

What was Brianna thinking? The woman has her mother’s penchant for rashness and not caring whether she created a scandal. Each read I have a difficult time figuring out WHY she would tell Bonnet the baby was unequivocally his. HOW did that propel her forgiving him? WHAT will happen now that he has escaped and believed he is the baby’s father? For all her engineer brain thinking, she certainly does not stop to think about the what-ifs and how they might impact the future.

Links of Interest: The anthropology blog post I talked about in the podcast.

What’s Coming up? Chapters 63-65 Drums of Autumn (DOA).

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

Featured Image By Ken Thomas – website of photographer), Public Domain attribution.

The intro and outro music segments are taken from a piece by Damiano Baldoni at URL on Free Music Archive. Curator: ccCommunity. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0:

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