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Book 9: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone

An apparent continuation of the last #Daily Lines:

#‎DailyLines‬ ‪#‎BookNine‬ ‪#‎GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone‬ ‪#‎Noitsnotfinished‬ ‪#‎Notforalongtimeyet‬ ‪#‎GoreadtheMethadoneList‬ ‪#‎BreeAndIan‬ ‪#‎AHuntingWeWillGo‬

Spoiler

#‎DailyLines‬ ‪#‎BookNine‬ ‪#‎GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone‬ ‪#‎Noitsnotfinished‬ ‪#‎Notforalongtimeyet‬ ‪#‎GoreadtheMethadoneList‬ ‪#‎BreeAndIan‬ ‪#‎AHuntingWeWillGo‬

As they rose higher and the timber opened out, the breeze rose and freshened, and Ian halted, beckoning her with a small movement of his fingers.

“D’ye hear them?” he breathed in her ear.

She did, and the hairs rippled pleasantly down her backbone. Small, harsh yelps, almost like a barking dog. And farther off, a sort of intermittent purr, something between a large cat and a small motor.

“Best take off your stockings and rub your legs wi’ dirt,” Ian whispered, motioning toward her woolen stockings. “Your hands and face as well.”

She nodded, set the gun against a tree, and scratched dry leaves away from a patch of soil, moist enough to rub on her skin. Ian, his own skin nearly the color of his buckskins, needed no such camouflage. He moved silently away while she was anointing her hands and face, and when she looked up, she couldn’t see him for a moment.

Then there was a series of sounds like a rusty door hinge swinging to and fro, and suddenly she saw him, standing stock still behind a [tree] some fifty feet away.

The forest seemed to go dead for an instant, the soft scratchings and leaf-murmurs ceasing. Then there was an angry gobble and she turned her head as slowly as she could, to see a tom turkey poke his pale blue head out of the grass and look sharp from side to side, wattles bright red and swinging, looking for the challenger.

She cut her eyes at Ian, his hands cupped at his mouth, but he didn’t move or make a sound. She held her breath and looked back at the turkey, who emitted another loud gobble—this one echoed by another tom at a distance. The turkey she was watching glanced back toward that sound, lifted his head and yelped, listened for a moment, and then ducked back into the grass. She glanced at Ian; he caught her movement and shook his head, very slightly.

They waited for the space of sixteen slow breaths—she counted—and then Ian gobbled again. The tom popped out of the grass and strode across a patch of open, leaf-packed ground, blood in his eye, breast feathers puffed and tail fanned out to a fare-thee-well. He paused for a moment to allow the woods to admire his magnificence, then commenced strutting slowly to and fro, uttering harsh, aggressive cries.

Moving only her eyeballs, she glanced back and forth between the strutting tom and Ian, who timed his movements to those of the strutting turkey, sliding the bow from his shoulder, freezing, bringing an arrow to hand, freezing, and finally nocking the arrow as the bird made its final turn.

Or what should have been its final turn. Ian bent his bow and in the same movement, released his arrow and uttered a startled, all-too-human yelp as a large, dark object dropped from the tree above him. He jerked back and the turkey barely missed landing on his head. She could see it now, a hen, feathers fluffed in fright, running with neck outstretched across the open ground toward the equally startled tom, who had deflated in shock.

By reflex, she seized her shotgun, brought it to bear and fired. She missed, and both turkeys disappeared into a patch of ferns, making noises that sounded like a small hammer striking a wood block.

The echoes died away and the leaves of the trees settled back into their murmur. She looked at her cousin, who glanced at his bow, then across the open ground to where his arrow was sticking absurdly out from between two rocks. He looked at her, and she burst into laughter.

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During Droughlander I am watching Lark Rise to Candleford.  There is a scene where a woman mistakenly thinks her husband has died.  She rushes straightaway to his bee hives to tell them that she will be now be looking after them.  

Quite a coincidence that I happened upon an illustration of this book title. 

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Diana had to post a new #Daily Lines on FB in parts for some technical reason with FB, but here these are in the order Diana intended it to be read:

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#‎DailyLines‬ ‪#‎GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone‬ ‪#‎BookNine‬ ‪#‎noitsnotoutyet‬ ‪#‎noIdontknowhen‬ ‪#‎sometimeafterIfinishwritingitprobably‬ ‪#‎TakingChances‬ ‪#‎ConversationsByADyingFire‬

Spoiler

 

We were silent for a time, and Roger’s head nodded; I thought he was nearly asleep, and was gathering my legs under me to rise and collect everyone for bed, when he lifted his head again.

“One thing…”

“Yes?”

“Have you met a man—ever—named William Buccleigh MacKenzie? Or maybe Buck MacKenzie?”

“No,” I said slowly. “Though the name sounds familiar. Who is he?”

Roger rubbed a hand over his face, and slowly down his throat, to the white scar left by a rope.

“Well…he’s the man who got me hanged, to begin with. But he’s also my five-times great-grandfather. Neither one of us knew that at the time,” he said, almost apologetically.

“I see,” I said, though I didn’t, quite. The name seemed familiar, though. “And so….?”

“He’s Geillis Duncan’s son by Dougal MacKenzie,” Roger said quietly.

“Jesus H… Oh, I beg your pardon. Are you still a minister?”

He smiled at that, though the marks of exhaustion carved runnels in his face.

“I don’t think it wears off,” he said. “But if ye were about to say ‘Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,’ I wouldn’t mind it. Appropriate to the situation, ye might say.”

And in a few words, he told me how Buck MacKenzie had ended in Scotland in 1980, only to travel back with Roger, in an effort to find Jem.

“There’s a great deal more to it than that,” he assured me. “But the end of it—for now—is that we left him in Scotland. In 1739. With…erm….”

“With _Geillis_?” My voice rose involuntarily and Mandy twitched and made small cranky noises. I patted her hastily and shifted her to a more comfortable position. “Did _you_ meet her?”

“Yes. Erm…interesting woman.” There was a mug on the ground beside him, still half full of beer; I could smell the yeast and bitter hops from where I sat. He picked it up and seemed to be debating whether to drink it or pour it over his head, but in the event, took a gulp and set it down.

“I—we—wanted him to come with us. Of course there was the risk, but we’d managed to find enough gemstones, I thought we could make it, all together. And…his wife is here.” He waved vaguely toward the distant forest. “In America, I mean. Now.”

“I…dimly recall that, from your genealogy.” Though experience had taught me the limits of belief in anything recorded on paper.

Roger nodded, drank more beer, and cleared his throat, hard. His voice was hoarse and cracking from tiredness.

“I take it you forgave him for—“ I gestured briefly at my own throat. I could see the shadow of the small scar I’d left on his when I did an emergency tracheotomy with a pen knife and the amber mouthpiece of a pipe.

“I loved him,” he said simply. A faint smile showed through the black stubble and the veil of tiredness. “How often do you get the chance to love someone who gave ye their blood, their life, and them never knowing who ye might be, or even if ye’d exist at all?”

“Well, you do take chances when you have children,” I said, and laid a hand gently on Jem’s head. It was warm, the hair unwashed but soft under my fingers. He and Mandy smelled like puppies, a sweet, thick animal scent, rich with innocence.

“Yes,” Roger said softly. “You do.”

 

Edited by theschnauzers.
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Another new #Daily Lines

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#‎DailyLines‬ ‪#‎GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone‬ ‪#‎BookNine‬ ‪#‎Later‬ ‪#‎MuchLater‬ ‪#‎IllTellYouWhenItsDone‬ ‪#‎DomesticEconomy‬

Spoiler

 

The day was overcast, with a cold wind, and Brianna pulled her mother’s shawl closer round her shoulders as she came under the shadow of the trees that hid the smokehouse. The MacKenzie family had arrived with little more than the clothes they stood up in, and while she had insured that everyone had a good warm cloak, they would be perilously close to nakedness beneath, come laundry day.

Joyful as the reunion with her parents was, there was no escaping the fact that four more mouths to feed—and bodies to clothe—was going to be a severe stress on an already strained domestic economy. Her parents had returned to the Ridge only a few weeks before the advent of the MacKenzies; they hadn’t even a roof of their own over their heads yet. And as for food…

She unlatched the door and breathed deep; the smokeshed’s warmth enfolded her, the thick smell of curing meat cut with a tang of blood and vinegar. Something was cooking in the pit on the far side of the little shed; the haunch of venison her mother had mentioned—that would be for the [ ]. Small curls of gray hickory smoke seeped out and wavered into nothingness around her ankles. Beyond the invisibly cooking meat, though…there was precious little in the smokeshed, bar a string of sausages, a line of dried trout and a single ham hung from a hook—the goal of her journey—and several small kegs that stood to one side.

Going to inspect these, she discovered that, rather than labels, the kegs had pictures chalked onto their tops: a frolicsome fish, a cheerful pig, and a line of skittering quail. She smiled, wondering who had drawn them.

“Miss?” A voice behind her startled her and she turned round to see Fanny, the young girl her parents had somehow acquired in Georgia. The girl looked apprehensive, and Brianna smiled at her.

“Hello. You don’t need to call me ‘Miss,’ you know—my name’s Brianna.”

“Yes, M—I mean…all right.” Fanny bobbed her head and blushed slightly, but gave Brianna back a shy smile. “Mrs. Fraser sent me to tell you there’s company for supper and will you bring a dozen of the dried fish, and some cream from the spring house, a bit of butter, and an onion from the old root cellar, too.” She lifted the empty basket over her arm. “She means to make a chowder, she says.”

“Sure.” She set the ham down on top of the keg of salted quails and took the basket. “Who’s the company?”

“Two men. One’s called Mr. [ ]; I didn’t hear the other’s name. I’d say they’re men of some thub--substance, though they’ve been traveling some time, from the dirt on them.”

“Really? Does Da—my father—know them, do you think?” Fanny had flushed again at her stumble on the word “substance,” and Bree thought that she looked like a little flower under her cap, the color just touching her cheek like the shadow inside a rose.

“I don’t know,” Fanny said. “Mr. Frath—Fraser,” she corrected herself, with a small frown, “isn’t home yet.”

Bree nodded, counting fish as she detached them from the line strung across the joists [ck] of the ceiling. She hadn’t seen her father all day; he’d been gone when she’d shepherded Jem and Mandy up to the house-site. Hunting, she supposed, and felt a qualm of guilt over the abortive turkey hunt of the day before.

 

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A new #Daily Lines:

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#DailyLines #GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone #BookNine #NoIdontknowhenitwillbeout #ProbablysixweeksafterIfinishwritingit #BriannaAndFanny #Rootcellar

Spoiler

 

The root cellar wasn’t a long walk from the smokeshed, but it was on the other side of the big clearing, and the wind, unobstructed by trees or buildings, rushed them from behind, blowing their skirts out before them and whipping Fanny’s cap off her head.

Brianna got a hand up and snatched the scrap of muslin as it whirled past. Her own hair, unbound, was flailing round her face, and so was Fanny’s. They looked at each other, half-blinded, and laughed. Then the first drops of rain began to fall, and they ran, gasping and shrieking for the shelter of the root cellar.

It was dug into the side of a hill, a rough wooden door framed in with stacked stone. The door stuck in its jamb, but Bree freed it with a mighty wrench and they fell inside, damp-spotted but safe from the downpour that now commenced outside.

“Here.” Still breathless, Brianna gave the cap to Fanny. “I don’t think it’ll keep the rain out, though.”

Fanny shook her head, sneezed, giggled, and sneezed again.

“Where’s yours?” she asked, sniffing as she tucked her windblown curls back under the cap.

“I don’t like caps much,” Bree said, and smiled when Fanny blinked. “But I might wear one for cooking or doing something splashy. I wear a slouch hat for hunting, sometimes, but otherwise, I just tie my hair back like the men do.”

“Oh,” Fanny said uncertainly. “I gueth—guess that’s why Mrs. Fraser—your mother, I mean—why she doesn’t wear them either?”

“Well, it’s a little different with Mama,” Bree said, running her fingers through her own long red hair to untangle it. “It’s part of her war with—“ she paused for a moment, wondering how much to say, but after all, if Fanny was now part of the family, she’d learn such things sooner or later. “—with people who think they have a right to tell her how to do things.”

Fanny’s eyes went round.

“Don’t they?”

“I’d like to see anybody try,” Bree said dryly, and having twisted her hair into an untidy bun, turned to survey the contents of the cellar.

 

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Guys...I'm 99.9% sure what the book is. Why must she torment us? :)

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#DailyLines #BookNine #GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone #nowherenearfinished #goreadPhilRickmanwhileyouwait #WhatsInTheBag ?

 

Spoiler

 

We’d eaten supper on our new front stoop, there being no table or benches for the kitchen as yet, but for the sake of ceremony, I had made molasses cookie dough early in the day and set it aside. Everyone trooped inside and unrolled their miscellaneous bedding—Jamie and I did have a bed, but the MacKenzies would all be sleeping on pallets before the fire—and sat down to watch with keen anticipation as I dropped the cookies onto my girdle and slid the cool black iron circle into the glowing warmth of the Dutch oven.

“How long, how long, how long, Grannie?” Mandy was behind me, standing on tiptoes to see. I turned and lifted her up, so she could see the girdle and cookies in the glowing shadows of the brick cubbyhole built into the wall of the huge hearth. The fire we had lighted at dawn had been fed all day, and the brick surround was radiating heat—and would, all night.

“See how the dough is in balls? And you can feel how hot it is—don’t _ever_ put your hand in the oven—but the heat will make those balls flatten out and then turn brown, and when they do, the cookies will be done. It takes about ten minutes,” I added, setting her down. “It’s a new oven, though, so I’ll have to keep checking.”

“Goody, goody, goody, goody!” She hopped up and down with delight, then threw herself into Brianna’s arms. “Mama! Read me a story ‘til da cookies are done?”

Bree’s eyebrows lifted and she glanced at Roger, who smiled and shrugged.

“Why not?” he said, and went to rootle through the pile of miscellaneous belongings stacked against the kitchen wall.

“Ye brought a book for the bairns? That’s braw,” Jamie said to Bree. “Where did ye get it?”

“Do they actually make books now for children Mandy’s age?” I asked, looking down at her. Bree had said she could read a bit already, but I’d never seen anything in an 18th century printshop that looked like it would be comprehensible—let alone appealing—to a three-year-old.

“Well, more or less,” Roger said, pulling Bree’s big canvas bag out of the pile. “That is, there were—are, I mean--a few books that are _intended_ for children. Though the only titles that come to mind at the moment are _Hymns for the Amusement of Children, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes_, and _Descriptions of Three Hundred Animals_.”

“What sorts of animals?” Jamie asked, looking interested.

“No idea,” Roger confessed. “I’ve not seen any of those books; just read the titles on a list in a scholarly journal.”

“Did you ever print any books for children, in Edinburgh?” I asked Jamie, who shook his head. “Well, what did you read when you were in school?”

“As a bairn? The Bible,” he said, as though this should be self-evident. “And the almanac. After we learnt the ABC, I mean. Later we did a bit of Latin.”

“I want _my_ book,” Mandy said firmly. “Gimme, Daddy. Please?” she added, seeing her mother’s mouth open. Bree shut her mouth and smiled, and Roger peered into the sack, then withdrew…

 

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Another #Daily lines for #Book 9:

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#DailyLines #BookNine #GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone #NoItIsntFinished #MaybeNextYear #WeWillSee #BlueWine

Spoiler

 

It was what her mother called a “blue wine” day. One where air and sky were one thing together and every breath intoxication. Brown leaves crackled with each step, the scent of them sharp as that of the pine needles higher up. They were climbing the mountain, guns in hand, and Brianna Fraser MacKenzie was one with the day.

Her father held back a hemlock branch for her and she ducked past to join him.

“[Gaelic for “sweet grass”],” he said, gesturing to the wide meadow that spread before them. “Recall any of the Gaidhlìg, do ye, lass?”

“You said something about the grass,” she said, scrabbling hastily through her mental closets. “But I don’t know [sweet].”

“Sweet Grass. It’s what we call this wee meadow. Good pasture, but too great a climb for most of the stock, and ye dinna want to leave them here for days untended, because o’ painters and bears.”

The whole of the meadow rippled, the ripened heads of millions of grass-stems in movement catching morning sun. Here and there, late butterflies cruised and at the far side of the grass, there was a sudden crash as some large ungulate vanished into the brush, leaving branches swaying in its wake.

“A certain amount of competition as well, I see,” she said, nodding toward the place where the animal had disappeared. She lifted an eyebrow, wanting to ask whether they should not pursue it, but assuming that her father had some good reason why not, since he made no move.

“Aye, some,” he said, and turned to the right, moving along the edge of the trees that rimmed the meadow. “But deer dinna feed the same way cattle or sheep do, at least not if the pasture’s good. That was an old buck,” he added off-handedly over his shoulder. “We dinna want to kill those in autumn, save for need; the meat’s not good so close to rut, and game’s not scarce.”

She raised both brows, but followed without comment. He turned his head and smiled at her.

“Where there’s one, there are likely more, this time o’ year. The does begin to gather into wee herds. It’s no quite rut yet, but the bucks are thinkin’ on it. He kens well enough where they are.” He nodded in the direction of the vanished deer. “We’ll follow him.”

She suppressed a smile, recalling some of her mother’s uncensored opinions on men and the functions of testosterone. He saw it, though, and gave her a half-rueful look of amusement, knowing what she was thinking, and the fact that he did sent a small sweet pang through her heart.

“Aye, well, your mother’s right about men,” he said with a shrug. “Keep it in mind, a nighean,” he added, more seriously. He turned then, lifting his face into the breeze. “They’re upwind of us, we won’t get near, save we climb up and come down on them from the far side.”

She nodded, and checked the priming on her gun. She was carrying the family fowling piece, while her father had his good rifle. She wouldn’t fire on any small game, though, while there was a chance of spooking deer nearby. She had so loved to hunt with him, before, and never thought such a day would come again.

It was a steep climb, and she found herself puffing, sweat starting to purl behind her ears in spite of the cool day. Her father climbed, as ever, like a mountain goat, without the slightest appearance of strain, but—to her chagrin—noticed her struggling and beckoned her aside, onto a small ledge.

“We’re in nay hurry, a nighean,” he said, smiling at her. “There’s water here.” He reached out, with an obvious tentativeness, and touched her flushed cheek, quickly taking back his hand.

“Sorry, lass,” he said, and smiled. “I’m no used yet to the notion that ye’re real.”

“I know what you mean,” she said softly, and swallowing, reached out and touched his face, warm and clean-shaven, slanted eyes deep blue as hers.

“Och,” he said under his breath, and gently brought her into his arms. She hugged him tight and they stood that way, not speaking, listening to the cry of ravens circling overhead and the trickling of water on rock.

 

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For the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, Diana posted a new #Daily Lines from Book 9:

 

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all our Canadian Friends!!

#DailyLines
#GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone #HappyCanadianThanksgiving !


 

Spoiler

 

There was a stone under my right buttock, but I didn’t want to move. The tiny heartbeat under my fingers was soft and stubborn, the fleeting jolts life and the space between, infinity, my connection to the endless night sky and the rising flame.

“Move your arse a bit, Sassenach,” said a voice in my ear. “I need to scratch my nose and ye’re sitting on my hand.” Jamie twitched his fingers under me, and I moved by reflex, turning my head toward him as I shifted and resettled, keeping my hold on Mandy, bonelessly asleep in my arms.

He smiled at me over Jem’s tousled head, flexed his now-free hand, and scratched his nose. It must be well past midnight, but the fire was still high, and the light sparked off the stubble of his beard and glowed as softly in his eyes as in his grandson’s red hair and the shadowed folds of the worn plaid he’d wrapped about them both.

On the other side of the fire, Brianna laughed, in the quiet way people laugh in the middle of the night with sleeping children near.

She laid her head on Roger’s shoulder, her eyes half-closed. She looked completely exhausted, her hair unwashed and tangled, the firelight showing deep hollows in her face…but happy.

“What is it ye find funny, a nighean?” Jamie asked, shifting Jem into a more comfortable position. Jem was fighting as hard as he could to stay awake, but was losing the fight. He gaped enormously and shook his head, blinking like a dazed owl.

“Wha’s funny?” he repeated, but the last word trailed off, leaving him with his mouth half-open and a glassy stare.

His mother giggled, a lovely girlish sound, and I felt Jamie’s smile.

“I just asked Daddy if he remembered a Gathering we came to, years ago. The clans were all called at a big bonfire and I handed Daddy a burning branch and told him to go down to the fire and say the MacKenzies were there.”

“Oh.” Jem blinked once, then twice, looked at the fire blazing in front of us, and a slight frown formed between his small red brows. “Where are we now?”

“Home,” Roger said firmly, and his eyes met mine, then passed to Jamie. “For good.”

Jamie let out the same breath I’d been holding since the afternoon, when the MacKenzies had appeared suddenly in the clearing below, and we had flown down the hill to meet them. There had been one moment of joyous, wordless explosion as we all flung ourselves at each other, and then the explosion had widened, as Amy Higgins came out of her house, summoned by the noise, to be followed by Bobby, then Aidan—who had whooped at sight of Jem and tackled him, knocking him flat—Orrie and little Rob.

Jo Beardsley had been in the woods nearby, heard the racket and come to see…and within what seemed like moments, the clearing was alive with people. Six households were within reach of the news before sundown; the rest would undoubtedly hear of it tomorrow.

The instant outpouring of Highland hospitality had been wonderful; women and girls had run back to their cabins and fetched whatever they had baking or boiling for supper, the men had gathered wood and—at Jamie’s behest—lugged it up to the crest where the outline of the New House stood, and we had welcomed home our family in style, surrounded by friends.

Hundreds of questions had been asked of the travelers: where had they come from? How was the journey? What had they seen? No one had asked if they were happy to be back; that was taken for granted by everyone.

 

Edited by theschnauzers.
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Well, I'm glad I read that after everyone else had left the office, otherwise I'd have to pretend to have allergies or something.

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Diana had intended to post this on October 20th (tomorrow), but she'll be traveling. So a day early. A

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#DailyLines #HappyBirthdayClaire #GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone

Spoiler

 

[Here we find Jamie and Claire, sitting beside a dying bonfire. The MacKenzies have just arrived, and after a celebratory dinner, have gone down the hill to spend the night at a cabin—Jamie and Claire elect to stay and see the fire out, then sleep on a quilt under the stars. They talk for a while about what’s happened and the wonder of having their family back. But in the way of long-married people, the conversation now and then doubles back on itself, in recollection…]

“…the night we made Faith.”

I lifted my head in surprise.
“You _know_ when she was conceived? _I_ don’t know that.”

He ran his hand slowly down my back, fingers pausing to rub circles in the small of it. If I’d been a cat, I would have waved my tail gently under his nose.

“Aye, well, I suppose I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought it was the night I came to your bed at the Abbey.”

For a moment, I groped among my memories. That time at the Abbey of Ste. Anne, when he’d come so close to a self-chosen death, was one I seldom revisited. It was a terrifying time of fear and confusion, despair and desperation. And yet when I did look back, I found a handful of vivid images, standing out like the illuminated letters on a page of ancient Latin.

Father Anselm’s face, pale in candlelight, his eyes warm with compassion and then the growing glow of wonder as he heard my confession. The abbot’s hands, touching Jamie’s forehead, eyes, lips and palms, delicate as a hummingbird’s touch, anointing his dying nephew with the holy chrism of Extreme Unction. The quiet of the darkened chapel where I had prayed for his life, and heard my prayer answered.

And among these moments was the night when I woke from sleep to find him standing . a pale wraith by my bed, naked and freezing, so weak he could barely walk, but filled once more with life and a stubborn determination that would never leave him.

“You remember her, then?” My hand rested lightly on my stomach, recalling. He’d never seen her, or felt her as more than random kicks and pushes from inside me.

He kissed my forehead briefly, then looked at me.

“Ye ken I do. Don’t you?”

“Yes. I just wanted you to tell me more.”

“Oh, I mean to.” He settled himself on one elbow and gathered me in so I could share his plaid.

“Do you remember that, too?” I asked, pulling down the fold of cloth he’d draped over me. “Sharing your plaid with me, the night we met?”

“To keep ye from freezing? Aye.” He kissed the back of my neck. “It was me freezing, at the Abbey. I’d worn myself out tryin’ to walk, and ye wouldna let me eat anything, so I was starving to death, and—“

“Oh, you _know_ that’s not true! You—“

“Would I lie to ye, Sassenach?

“Yes, you bloody would,” I said, “You do it all the time. But never mind that now. You were freezing and starving, and suddenly decided that instead of asking Brother Roger for a blanket or a bowl of something hot, you should stagger naked down a dark stone corridor and get in bed with me.”

“Some things are more important than food, Sassenach.” His hand settled firmly on my arse. “And finding out whether I could ever bed ye again was more important than anything else just then. I reckoned if I couldn’t, I’d just walk on out into the snow and not come back.”

“Naturally, it didn’t occur to you to wait for a few more weeks and recover your strength.”

“Well, I was fairly sure I could walk that far leaning on the walls, and I’d be doin’ the rest lying down, so why wait?” The hand on my arse was idly stroking it now. “Ye do recall the occasion.”

“It was like making love to a block of ice.” It had been. It had also wrung my heart with tenderness, and filled me with a hope I’d thought I’d never know again. “Besides, you thawed out after a bit.”

Only a bit, at first. I’d just cradled him against me, trying as hard as possible to generate body heat. I’d pulled off my shift, urgent to get as much skin contact as possible. I remembered the hard, sharp curve of his hipbone, the knobs of his spine and the ridged fresh scars over them.

“You weren’t much more than skin and bones.”

I turned, drew him down beside me now and pulled him close, wanting the reassurance of his present warmth against the chill of memory. He _was_ warm. And alive. Very much alive.

“Ye put your leg over me to keep me from falling out the bed, I remember that.” He rubbed my leg slowly, and I could hear the smile in his voice, though his face was dark with the fire behind him, sparking in his hair.

“It was a small bed.” It had been—a narrow monastic cot, scarcely large enough for one normal-sized person. And even starved as he was, he’d occupied a lot of space.

“I wanted to roll ye onto your back, Sassenach, but I was afraid I’d pitch us both out onto the floor, and…well, I wasna sure I could hold myself up.”

He’d been shaking with cold and weakness. But now, I realized, probably with fear as well. I took the hand resting on my hip and raised it to my mouth, kissing his knuckles. His fingers were cold from the evening air and tightened on the warmth of mine.

“You managed,” I said softly, and rolled onto my back, bringing him with me.

“Only just,” he murmured, finding his way through the layers of quilt, plaid, shirt and shift. He let out a long breath, and so did I. “Oh, Jesus, Sassenach.”

He moved, just a little.

“What it felt like,” he whispered. “Then. To think I’d never have ye again, and then…”

He _had_ managed, and it _was_ just barely.

“I thought—I’d do it if it was the last thing I ever did…”

“It almost bloody was,” I whispered back, and took hold of his bottom, firm and round. “I really did think you’d died, for a moment, until you started to move.”

“Thought I was going to,” he said, with the breath of a laugh. “Oh, God, Claire…” He stopped for a moment, lowered himself and pressed his forehead against mine. He’d done it that night, too, cold-skinned and fierce with desperation, and I’d felt I was breathing my own life into him then, his mouth so soft and open, smelling faintly of the ale mixed with egg that was all he could keep down.

“I wanted…” he whispered. “I wanted you. Had to have ye. But once I was inside ye, I wanted….”

He sighed then, deep, and moved deeper.

“I thought I’d die of it, then and there. And I wanted to. Wanted to go—while I was inside ye.” His voice had changed, still soft but somehow distant, detached--and I knew he’d moved away from the present moment, gone back to the cold stone dark and the panic, the fear and overwhelming need.

“I wanted to spill myself into ye and let that be the last I ever knew, but then I started, and I kent it wasna meant to be that way—but that I would keep myself inside ye forever. That I was givin’ ye a child.”

He’d come back in the speaking, back into the now and into me. I held him tight, big and solid and strong in my arms, and shaking, helpless as he gave himself up. I felt warm tears well up and slide down cold into my hair.

After a time, he stirred and rolled off onto his side. A big hand still rested light on my belly.

“I did manage, aye?” he said, and smiled a little, firelight soft on his face.

“You did,” I said, and pulling the plaid back over us, I lay with him, content in the light of dying flame and eternal stars.


 

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I just loved this. Jamie and Claire talking about Jamie and Claire is one of my favourite things and fond as I am  of some of the other characters, they continue to be what I read the books for and this is just lovely. Whilst I'm not clear on how long they were at the abbey for, I am a little suspicious on the actual timeline, but it  makes for a beautiful moment so I am willing to forgive it.

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For Halloween:

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#DailyLines #BookNine #GoTellTheBeesThatIAmGone #NoIHaveNoIdeaWhenItWillBeFinished #IllLetYouKnow #AHintOfGhosts #HappyHalloween !

Spoiler

 

“Mama’s been busy,” Brianna said, automatically turning the potatoes on one shelf as she selected a dozen to take. “I suppose you have, too,” she added, smiling at Fanny. “You helped gather all of this, I’m sure.”

Fanny looked down modestly, but glowed a little.

“I dug up the turnips and some of the potatoes,” she said. “There were a lot growing in that place they call Old Garden. Under the weeds.”

“Old Garden,” Bree repeated. “Yes, I suppose so.” A shiver that had nothing to do with the chill of the root cellar rose up her neck and contracted her scalp. Her mother had written in a letter, with a brevity that made her words strike like rubber bullets, about Malva Christie’s death in the garden. And the death of her unborn child. Under the weeds, indeed.

She glanced sidelong at Fanny, who was twisting an onion off its braid, but the girl showed no emotion about the garden; probably no one had told her—_yet_, Bree thought—about what had happened there, and why the garden had been abandoned to the weeds.

“Should we take more potatoes?” Fanny asked, dropping two fat yellow onions into the basket. “And maybe apples, for fritters? If it doesn’t stop raining, those men will stay the night. And we haven’t any eggs for breakfast.”
“Good thought,” Bree said, quite impressed at Fanny’s housewifely forethought. The remark turned her mind, though, to the mysterious visitors.

“What you said to Da—about one of the men being an officer. How did you know that?” _And how did Da know you would know something like that_? she added silently.

Fanny looked at her for a long moment, her face quite expressionless. Then she seemed quite suddenly to have made up her mind about something, for she nodded, as though to herself.

“I’ve seen them,” she said simply. “Lots of times. At the brothel.”

“At the—“ Brianna nearly dropped the pawpaw she’d picked off the upper shelf.

“Brothel,” Fanny repeated, the word clipped short. Bree had turned to look at her; she was pale, but her eyes were steady under her cap. “In Philadelphia.”

“I see.” Brianna hoped her own voice and eyes were as steady as Fanny’s, and tried to speak calmly, in spite of the inner, appalled voice saying, _Jesus Lord, she’s only eleven_! “Did…um…Da—is that where he found you?”

Fanny’s eyes welled quite suddenly with tears, and she turned hurriedly away, fumbling with a shelf of apples.

“No,” she said in a muffled voice. “My—my sister…she…we…we wan away togevver.”

“Your sister,” Bree said carefully. “Where—“

“She’th dead.”

“Oh, Fanny!” She’d dropped the pawpaw, but it didn’t matter. She grabbed Fanny and held her tight, as though she could somehow smother the dreadful sorrow that oozed between them, squeeze it out of existence. Fanny was shaking, silently. “Oh, Fanny,” she said again, softly, and rubbed the girl’s back as she would have done for Jem or Mandy, feeling the delicate bones beneath her fingers.

It didn’t last long. After a moment, Fanny got hold of herself—Bree could feel it happen, a stopping, a drawing in of the flesh—and stepped back, out of Bree’s embrace.

“It’s all right,” she said, blinking fast to keep more tears from coming. “It’s all right. She’s—she’s safe now.” She drew a deep breath and straightened her back. “After—after it happened, William gave me to Mr. Fraser. Oh!” A thought stuck her and she looked uncertainly at Bree. “Do you—know about William?”

For a moment, Bree’s mind was completely blank. _William_? But suddenly the penny dropped, and she looked at Fanny, startled.

“William. You mean…Mr. Fraser’s…Da’s…son?” Saying the word brought him to life; the tall young man, cat-eyed and long-nosed, dark where she was fair, speaking to her on the quay in Wilmington.

“Yes,” Fanny said, still a little wary. “I think—does that mean he’s your brother?”

“Half-brother, yes.” Brianna felt dazed, and bent to pick up the fallen fruit. “You said he _gave_ you to Da?”

“Yes.” Fanny took another breath, and bent to pick up the last apple. Standing, she looked Bree straight in the eye. “Do you mind?”

“No,” Bree said, softly, and touched Fanny’s tender cheek. “Oh, Fanny, no. Not at all.”

 

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Someone (well several someones) pointed out on Facebook that Bree & Roger were still on the Ridge when Malva died.   When asked if they weren't still there, Diana said "I don't think so."  But then a bunch of people piled on and apparently they were still there.

So, I hope that gets fixed before the book is published.  

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10 hours ago, Grashka said:

Speaking of which, I cannot for the life of me remember what was going on with Bree and Roger and where they were when angry mob came for Claire after Malva's death and she was about to be put on a trial. I'm sure they were still in 18th century but I dont think they were on the Ridge.

Roger was studying at Edenton to get ordained, and Bree and Jem were at River Run. Jamie and Claire sent them away to protect them from the accusations that were building. That sets up Bree's abduction. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

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The latest from Diana's Facebook page.  

#DailyLines  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE  #BookNine  #IanAndRachel#AndAFewMohawks  #AndABaby  #Privacy

Spoiler

Eats Turtles swallowed the last of his turkey hash and gave a loud belch of appreciation in Rachel’s direction, then handed her his plate, saying, “More,” before resuming the story he had been telling between bites. Fortunately, it was mostly in Mohawk, as the parts that had been in English appeared to deal with one of his cousins who had suffered a very comical partial disembowelment following an encounter with an enraged moose.

Rachel took the plate and refilled it, staring very hard at the back of Eats Turtles’ head and envisioning the light of Christ glowing within him. Owing to an orphaned and penurious childhood, she had had considerable practice in such discernment, and was able to smile pleasantly at Turtles as she placed the newly-filled plate at his feet, not to interrupt his gesticulations.

On the good side, she reflected, glancing into the cradle, the men’s conversation had lulled Oggy into a stupor. With a glance that caught Ian’s eye, and a nod toward the cradle, she went out to enjoy a mother’s rarest pleasure: ten minutes alone in the privy.

Emerging relaxed in body and mind, she was disinclined to go back into the cabin. She thought briefly of walking down to the Big House to visit Brianna and Claire—but Jenny had gone down herself when it became apparent that the Mohawks would spend the night at the Murrays’ cabin. Rachel was very fond of her mother-in-law, but then, she adored Oggy and loved Ian madly—and she really didn’t want the company of any of them just now.

The evening was cold, but not bitter, and she had a thick woolen shawl. A gibbous moon was rising amid a field of glorious stars, and the peace of Heaven seemed to breathe from the autumn forest, pungent with conifers and the softer scent of dying leaves. She made her way carefully up the path that led to the well, paused for a drink of cold water, and then went on, coming out a quarter-hour later on the edge of a rocky outcrop that gave a view of endless mountains and valleys, by day. By night, it was like sitting on the edge of eternity.

Peace seeped into her soul with the chill of the night, and she sought it, welcomed it. But there was still an unquiet part of her mind, and a burning in her heart, at odds with the vast quiet that surrounded her.

Ian would never lie to her. He’d said so, and she believed him. But she wasn’t fool enough to think that meant he told her everything she might want to know. And she very much wanted to know more about Wakyo’tenensnohnsa, the Mohawk woman Ian had called Emily…and loved.

So now she was perhaps alive, perhaps not. If she did live…what might be her circumstances?

For the first time, it occurred to her to wonder how old Emily might be, and what she looked like. Ian hadn’t ever said; she hadn’t ever asked. It hadn’t seemed important, but now…

Well. When she found him alone, she would ask, that’s all. And with determination, she turned her face to the moon and her heart to her inner light and prepared to wait.

[end section]

It was maybe an hour later when the darkness near her moved and Ian was suddenly there beside her, a warm spot in the night.

“Is Oggy awake?” she asked, drawing her shawl around her.

“Nay, lass, he’s sleeping like a stone.”

“And thy friends?”

“Much the same. I gave them a bit of Uncle Jamie’s whisky.”

“How very hospitable of thee, Ian.”

“That wasna exactly my intention, but I suppose I should take credit for it, if it makes ye think more highly of me.”

He brushed the hair behind her ear, bent his head and kissed the side of her neck, making his intention clear. She hesitated for the briefest instant, but then ran her hand up under his shirt and gave herself over, lying back on her shawl beneath the star-strewn sky.

_Let it be just us, once more_, she thought. _If he thinks of her, let him not do it now_.

And so it was that she didn’t ask what Emily looked like, until the Mohawks finally left, three days later.

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WatchrTina, Diana had posted a couple of other #Daily Lines since Halloween, as well;

 

First is this one:

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #BookNine #noitsnotanywherenearfinished #EveryDawnIsANewDay #AndSoIsThisOne #MakeTheMostOfIt #dontwatchtheelectioncoverage #gowatchOutlander

Spoiler

It was warm and cozy under the heap of quilts and furs—even more warm and cozy by contrast with the icy touch of the morning on my face. I drew a long, clean breath of the new air, hoping that it didn’t smell of snow. We’d been lucky—very lucky—so far; it had rained only twice since we’d left home, and we were very nearly out of the mountains.

If today kept fine, nothing broke on the wagon, neither of the mules cracked a hoof or developed colic, the two horses refrained from biting pieces out of each other (and us) and nobody of an unfriendly nature took an interest in us, we might make it into the upper reaches of the Piedmont by nightfall.

I didn’t smell snow. I smelled smoke, with an alluring tinge of boiling coffee. I smiled, not yet opening my eyes. Jamie was up, then—of course he was; he always woke half an hour before sunup, unless sick or injured, and while I didn’t smell the light of dawn, I could see the faint glow of it through my closed eyelids. Fanny stirred beside me, cuddled close and butted her head into my upper arm. On my other side, Germain lay sprawled on his back, snoring like a small buzz-saw.

Coffee or not, I didn’t want to get up, but knew I had to. Beyond hunger and the need to pee, I could feel Jamie’s urgency. We had to make as much distance as we could before nightfall; the weather became more of a threat with each day, and even if we escaped the mountain passes before the snow came, slogging through knee-deep mud in the Piedmont wasn’t my idea of fun.

“Wake up, Sassenach,” said a low Scottish voice, and an instant later, large icy hands slid under the furs and grabbed both my feet in a grip of iron. I shrieked, and so did both children, exploding out of the covers like a covey of quail.

“What-what-what…” Fanny was crouched at the back of the canvas shelter, big-eyed as a marmoset, her hair in a tangle.

“[ French bad word ],” Germain muttered balefully under his breath. “What’s this? The end of the world?”

“No, it’s morning,” Jamie said patiently. He was squatting at the mouth of our shelter, fully clad in hunting shirt, breeks and plaid, and the scents of smoke and coffee drifted alluringly past him.

“Much the same sort of thing,” Germain grumbled and made to crawl back under the covers.

“Get up, ye wee sluggard.” Jamie seized him by the ankle and pulled. “Look to the ant and be wise, aye?”

“Ants?” Fanny had sat down and was combing her hair with her fingers. “Are ants wise?” She sounded bewildered, but not discomposed. Unlike Germain—and me, for that matter—she normally woke in full possession of her faculties.

“It’s a wee bit from the Bible, Frances,” Jamie said, letting go of Germain, who was now halfway out of the tent, though still supine. He smiled at her, ruddy and cheerful in the rising light. “I’ll buy ye one of your own, in Wilmington.”

And there's this one:

Quote

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE” #PlusCaChange #PlusC'estLaMêmeChose #DinnaFash #ItWillBeAllRight

Spoiler

 

“Bear? Oh, is that what ye’re up to. Claire wondered.” She loosed the eager goats and they dived headfirst into the thick grass like ducks in a millpond.

“Did she, then. “ He kept his voice casual.

“She didna say so,” his sister said frankly. “But she saw your gun was gone , while we were makin’ breakfast, and she stopped dead, only for an instant.”

His heart squeezed a little. He hadn’t wanted to waken Claire when he left in the dark, but he should have told her last night that he meant to see if he could get upon the trail of the bear Jo Beardsley had seen. There’d been little time for hunting while they worked to get a roof raised before winter—they needed the meat and grease badly. Brianna’s foot was better, but wouldn’t stand days on the trail—besides, they had only a few quilts and one woolen trade blanket he’d got from a Moravian trader. A good bear-rug would be a comfort to Claire in the deep cold nights; she felt the cold more now than the last time they’d spent a winter on the Ridge.

“She’s all right,” his sister said, and he felt her interested gaze on his own face. “She only wondered, ken.”

He nodded, wordless. It might be a wee while yet, before Claire could wake to find him gone out with a gun, and think nothing of it.

He took a breath, and saw it wisp out white, vanishing instantly, though the new sun was already warm on his shoulders.

“Aye, and what are ye doing up here, yourself? It’s a far piece to walk for forage.” One of the goats had come up for air and was nosing the hanging end of his leather belt in an interested manner. He tucked it up out of reach and kneed the goat gently away.

“I’m fattening them to stand the winter,” she said, nodding at the nosy nanny. “Maybe breed them, if they’re ready. They like the grass better than the forage in the woods, and it’s easier to keep an eye on them.”

“Ye ken well enough Jem and Germain and Fanny would mind them for ye. Is wee Oggy drivin’ ye mad?” The baby was teething, and had vigorous lungs. You could hear him at the Big House when the wind was right. “Or are ye drivin’ Rachel mad yourself?”

“I like goats,” she said, ignoring his question and shoving aside a pair of questing lips nibbling after the fringe of her shawl. “[Shoo, goat. - Gaelic] Sheep are good-hearted things, when they’re not tryin’ to knock ye over, but they’re no bright. A goat has a mind of its own.”

“Aye, and so do you. Ian always said ye liked the goats because they’re just as stubborn as you are.”

She gave him a long, level look.

“Pot,” she said succinctly.

“Kettle,” he replied, flicking a plucked grass-stem toward her nose. She grabbed it out of his hand and fed it to the goat.

“Mphm,” she said. “Well, if ye must know, I come up here to think, now and then,” she said . “And pray.”

“Oh, aye?” he said, but she pressed her lips together for a moment and then turned to look across the meadow, shading her eyes against the slant of the morning sun.

_Well enough_, he thought. _She’ll say whatever it is when she’s ready_.

“There’s a bear up here, is there?” she asked, turning back to him. “Shall I take the goats back down?”

“Not likely. Jo Beardsley saw it a few days ago, here in the meadow, but there’s no fresh sign.”

Jenny thought that over for a moment, then sat down on a lichened rock, spreading her skirts out neatly. The goats had gone back to their grazing, and she raised her face to the sun, closing her eyes.

“Only a fool would hunt a bear alone,” she said, her eyes still closed. “Claire told me that last week.”

“Did she?” he said dryly. “Did she tell ye the last time I killed a bear, I did it alone, with my dirk? And she hit me in the heid wi’ a fish whilst I was doin’ it?”

She opened her eyes and gave him a look.

“She didna say a fool canna be lucky,” she pointed out. “And if you didna have the luck o’ the devil himself, ye’d have been dead six times over by now.”

“Six?” He frowned, disturbed, and her brow lifted in surprise.

“I wasna really counting,” she said. “It was only a guess. What is it, _a graidh_?”

That casual “_O, lov_e,” caught him unexpectedly in a tender place, and he coughed to hide it.

“Nothing,” he said, shrugging. “Only, when I was young in Paris, a fortune-teller told me I’d die nine times before my death. D’ye think I should count the fever after Laoghaire shot me?”

She shook her head definitely.

“Nay, ye wouldna have died even had Claire not come back wi’ her wee stabbers. Ye would have got up and gone after her within a day or two.”

He smiled.

“I might’ve.”

 

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Yet another #Daily Lines this week, the fourth one, in fact (this one is for the US Veterans' Day holiday):

Quote

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIHaveGONE #BookNine #ForVeteransDay

Spoiler

 

“How old were you, the first time you saw a man killed?” Roger asked abruptly.

“Eight,” Jamie replied without hesitation. “In a fight during my first cattle raid. I wasna much troubled about it.”

Jamie stopped quite suddenly, and Roger had to step to the side to avoid running into him.

“Look,” Jamie said, and he did. They were standing at the top of a small rise, where the trees fell away for a moment, and the Ridge and the north side of the cove below it spread before them, a massive chunk of solid black against the indigo of the faded sky. Tiny lights pricked the blackness, though; the windows and sparking chimneys of a dozen cabins.

“It’s not only our wives and our weans, ken?” Jamie said, and nodded toward the lights. “It’s them, as well. All of them.” His voice held an odd note; a sort of pride—but rue and resignation, too.

_All of them._

Seventy-three households in all, Roger knew. He’d seen the ledgers Jamie kept, written with painful care, noting the economy and welfare of each family who occupied his land—and his mind.

“_Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel_.” The quote sprang to mind and he’d spoken it aloud before he could think.

Jamie drew a deep, audible breath.

“Aye,” he said. “Sheep would be easier.” Then, abruptly, “Claire and Brianna say the war is coming to the south. I canna shield them, should it come close.” He nodded toward the distant sparks, and it was clear to Roger that by “them,” he meant his tenants—his people. He didn’t pause for a reply, but re-settled the creel on his shoulder and started down.

The trail narrowed. Roger’s shoulder brushed Jamie’s, close, and he fell back a step, following his father-in-law. The moon was late in rising tonight, and sliver-thin. It was dark and the air had a bite in it now.

“I’ll help you protect them,” he said to Jamie’s back. His voice was gruff.

“I ken that,” Jamie said, softly. There was a short pause, as though Jamie was waiting for him to speak further, and he realized that he should.

“With my body,” Roger said quietly, into the night. “And with my soul, if that should be necessary.”

He saw Jamie in brief silhouette, saw him draw breath deep and his shoulders relax as he let it out. They walked more briskly now; the trail was dark, and they strayed now and then, the brush catching at their bare legs.

At the edge of their own clearing, Jamie paused to let Roger come up with him, and laid a hand on his arm.

“The things that happen in a war—the things that ye do…they mark ye,” he said at last, quietly. “I dinna think bein’ a priest will spare you, is what I’m sayin’, and I’m sorry for it.”

_They’ve marked you. And I’m sorry for it_. But he said nothing; only touched Jamie’s hand lightly where it lay upon his arm. Then Jamie took his hand away and they walked home together, silent.

 

Edited by theschnauzers.
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Five in 8 days #Daily Lines:

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #BookNine #asmalldistraction #forNewZealand

Spoiler

 

[In which, Claire has been examining Roger’s throat, and discussing Dr. MacEwan’s treatment.]

I cleared my own throat, and circled his neck once again.

“Right. And after saying about your hyoid—what did he do? How did he touch you?”

Roger tilted his head back slightly, and reaching up, adjusted my grip, moving my hand down an inch and gently spreading my fingers.

“About like that,” he said, and I found that my hand was now covering—or at least touching—all the major structures of his throat, from larynx to hyoid.

“And then…?” I was listening intently—not to his voice, but to the sense of his flesh. I’d had my hands on his throat dozens of times, particularly during his recovery from the hanging, but what with one thing and another, hadn’t touched it in several years. I could feel the solid muscles of his neck, firm under the skin, and I felt his pulse, strong and regular—a little fast, and I realized just how important this was to him. I felt a qualm at that; I had no idea what Hector MacEwan might have done—or what Roger might have imagined he’d done—and still less notion how to do anything myself.

“_I know what your larynx feels like, and what a normal larynx should feel like—and I try to make it feel like that_.” That’s what MacEwan had said, in response to Roger’s questions. I wondered if I knew what a normal larynx felt like.

“There was a sensation of warmth.” Roger’s eyes had closed; he was concentrating on my touch. I closed my own. The smooth bulge of his larynx lay under the heel of my hand, bobbing slightly when he swallowed. “Nothing startling. Just the feeling you get when you step into a room where a fire is burning.”

“Does my touch feel warm to you now?” It should, I thought; his skin was cool from the evaporation of shaving.

“Yes,” he said, not opening his eyes. “But it’s on the outside. It was on the inside when MacEwan…did what he did.” His dark brows drew together in concentration. “It…I felt it…here—“ Reaching up, he moved my thumb to rest just to the right of center, directly beneath the hyoid. “And…._here_.” His eyes opened in surprise, and he pressed two fingers to the flesh above his collarbone, an inch or two to the left of the suprasternal notch. “How odd; I hadn’t remembered that.”

“And he touched you there, as well?” I moved my lower fingers down and felt the quickening of my senses that often happened when I was fully engaged with a patient’s body. Roger felt it, too—his eyes flashed to mine, startled.

“What--?” he began, but before either of us could speak further, there was a high-pitched yowl outside.
This was instantly followed by a confusion of young voices, more yowling, then a voice immediately identifiable as Mandy in a passion, bellowing, “You’re bad, you’re bad, you’re _bad_ and I hate you! You’re bad and youse going to _HELL_!”

 

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Just saw a message from Diana that no Bees in 2017.  There will be a book of 7 short fiction/novellas called "Seven Stones to Stand or Fall" out on June 27, 2017.  Most have been published before  electronically but 2 will be all new.

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14 hours ago, morgan said:

Just saw a message from Diana that no Bees in 2017.  There will be a book of 7 short fiction/novellas called "Seven Stones to Stand or Fall" out on June 27, 2017.  Most have been published before  electronically but 2 will be all new.

The 5 previous novellas are all available already in Kindle ebook format (I read all five earlier this month) but I guess they've never been published in traditional published formats. The two new ones will be worth reading, and I suspect those will also be in Kindle formats when the hardback edition comes out.

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Yes,. I've read the 5 but will still buy the hardcover, and am looking forward to the other two.

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And for Black Friday:

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #BookNine #Thanksgivingisatimetoremember #Thosewelove

Spoiler

 

Jamie squatted down by Jenny, reached out a finger and gently touched the softly bumpy little beads; it was made of Scotch pearls, like the necklace he’d given Claire. “Where did Mam get it, d’ye know? I never thought to ask, when I was wee.”

“Well, ye wouldn’t, would ye? When ye’re wee, mam and da are just man and da, and everything’s just what it’s always been.” She gathered the beads up into the palm of her hand, shoogling them into a little pile. “I do ken where this came from, though; Da told me, when he gave it to me. D’ye think that doe’s comin’ in heat?” She squinted suddenly at one of the nanny-goats, who had raised her head and let out a long, piercing bleat. Jamie gave the animal an eye.

“Aye, maybe. She’s waggling her tail. But it’s maybe just she smells the buck-deer in yonder grove.” He lifted his chin at the grove of sugar maples, gone half-scarlet already, though none of the leaves had fallen. “It’s early for rut, but if I can smell him, so can she.”

His sister lifted her face to the light breeze and breathed in deep. “Aye? I dinna smell anything, but I’ll take your word. Da always said ye had a nose like a truffle pig.”

He snorted.

“Aye, right. So what did Da say to you, then? About Mam’s rosary.”

“Aye, well. He was jealous, he said. She wouldna ever say who’d sent her the necklace, ken.”

“Oh, aye—do _you_ know?”

She shook her head, looking interested. “You do?”

“I do. A man named Marcus MacRannoch—one of her suitors from Leoch, and a gallant man; he’d bought them for her, hoping to wed her, but she saw Da and was awa’ with him before MacRannoch could speak to her. He said—well, Claire said he said,” he corrected, “that he’d thought of them so often round her bonny neck, he couldna think of them anywhere else, and so sent them to her for a wedding present.”

Jenny rounded her lips in interest.

“Oo, so that’s the way of it. Well, Da kent it was another man, and as I say, he said he was jealous—they hadna been marrit long, and he maybe wasna quite sure she thought she’d made a good bargain, takin’ up wi’ him. So he sold a good field—to Geordie MacCallum, aye?—and gave the money to Murtagh, to go and buy a wee bawbee for Mam. He meant to give it her when the babe was born—Willie, aye?” She lifted the crucifix and kissed it gently, in blessing of their brother.

“God only kens where Murtagh got this—“ she poured the rosary from one hand to the other, with a slithering sound. “But the words on the medal are French.”

“Murtagh?” Jamie glanced at the beads, and furrowed his brow a bit. “But Da must ha’ kent how he felt about her—about Mam.”

Jenny nodded, rubbing a thumb over the crucifix and the beautifully sculpted, tortured body of Christ. The yaffle called, faint and distant, beyond the maple grove.

“He could see I thought the same thing—why would he send Murtagh on such an errand? But he said he hadna meant to, only he’d told Murtagh what was in his mind, and Murtagh asked to go. Da said he didna want to let him, but he couldna very well go off himself and leave Mam about to burst with Willie and not even a solid roof over her head yet—he’d laid the cornerstones and started the chimneys, but nay more. And—“ She lifted one shoulder. “He loved Murtagh, too—more than his ain brother.”

“God, I miss the old bugger,” Jamie said impulsively. Jenny glanced at him and smiled ruefully.

“So do I. I wonder sometimes if he’s with them now—mam and da.”

That notion startled Jamie—he’d never thought of it—and he laughed, shaking his head. “Well, if he is, I suppose he’s happy.”

“I hope that’s the way of it,” Jenny said, growing serious. “I always wished he could ha’ been buried with them—wi’ the family--at Lallybroch.”

Jamie nodded, his throat suddenly tight. Murtagh lay with the fallen of Culloden, burnt and buried in some anonymous pit on that silent moor, his bones mingled with the others. No cairn for those who loved him to come and leave a stone to say so.

Jenny laid a hand on his arm, warm through the cloth of his sleeve.

“Dinna mind it, _a brathair_,” she said softly. “He had a good death, and you with him at the end.”

“How would you know it was a good death?” Emotion made him speak more roughly than he meant, but she only blinked once, and then her face settled again.

“Ye told me, idiot,” she said dryly. “Several times. D’ye not recall that?”

He stared at her for a moment, uncomprehending.

“I told ye? How? I dinna ken what happened.”

Now it was her turn to be surprised.

“Ye’ve forgotten? “ She frowned at him. “Aye, well…it’s true ye were off your heid wi’ fever for a good ten days when they brought ye home. Ian and I took it in turn to sit with ye—as much to stop the doctor takin’ your leg off as anything else. Ye can thank Ian ye’ve still got that one,” she added, nodding sharply at his left leg. “He sent the doctor away; said he kent well ye’d rather be dead.” Her eyes filled abruptly with tears, and she turned away.

He caught her by the shoulder and felt her bones, fine and light as a kestrel’s under the cloth of her shawl.

“Jenny,” he said softly. “Ian didna want to be dead. Believe me. I did, aye…but not him.”

“No, he did at first,” she said, and swallowed . “But ye wouldna let him, he said—and he wouldna let you, either.” She wiped her face with the back of her hand, roughly. He took hold of it, and kissed it, her fingers cold in his hand.

“Ye dinna think ye had anything to do with it?” he asked, rising to his feet and smiling down at her. “For either of us?”

“Hmph,” she said, but she looked modestly pleased.

The goats had moved away a little, brown backs smooth amid the tussocked grass. One of them had a bell; he could hear the small clank! of it as she moved. The yaffles had moved off as well—he caught the flash of scarlet as one flew low across the field and disappeared into the black mouth of the trail.

He let a moment go by, two, and then shifted his weight and made a small menacing noise in the back of his throat.

“Aye, aye,” Jenny said, rolling her eyes at him. “Of course I’ll tell ye. I had to fettle my mind, first, ken?” She rearranged her skirts and settled herself more firmly. “Aye, then—this is the way of it. As ye told it to me, at least.

 

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For the first day of Advent:
 

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This is the first Sunday of Advent. We light a fire that will warm and comfort us as we embark on our contemplation of love in this season, secure in the faith that we will always find the light before us.

[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE (Book Nine in the main OUTLANDER series – work in progress). Copyright 2016 Diana Gabaldon]

 

Spoiler

 

We’d eaten supper on our new front stoop, there being no table or benches for the kitchen as yet, but for the sake of ceremony, I had made molasses cookie dough early in the day and set it aside. Everyone trooped inside and unrolled their miscellaneous bedding—Jamie and I did have a bed, but everyone else would be sleeping on pallets before the fire—and sat down to watch with keen anticipation as I dropped the cookies onto my girdle and slid the cool black iron circle into the glowing warmth of the brick oven.

“How long, how long, how long, Grannie?” Mandy was behind me, standing on tiptoes to see. I turned and lifted her up, so she could see the girdle and cookies in the glowing shadows of the brick cubbyhole built into the wall of the huge hearth. The fire we had lighted at dawn had been fed all day, and the brick surround was radiating heat—and would, all night.

“See how the dough is in balls? And you can feel how hot it is—don’t _ever_ put your hand in the oven—but the heat will make those balls flatten out and then turn brown, and when they do, the cookies will be done. It takes about ten minutes,” I added, setting her down. “It’s a new oven, though, so I’ll have to keep checking.”

“Goody, goody, goody, goody!” She hopped up and down with delight, then threw herself into Brianna’s arms. “Mama! Read me a story ‘til da cookies are done?”

Bree’s eyebrows lifted and she glanced at Roger, who smiled and shrugged.

“Why not?” he said, and went to rootle through the pile of miscellaneous belongings stacked against the kitchen wall.

“Ye brought a book for the bairns? That’s braw,” Jamie said to Bree. “Where did ye get it?”

“Do they actually make books now for children Mandy’s age?” I asked, looking down at her. Bree had said she could read a bit already, but I’d never seen anything in an 18th century printshop that looked like it would be comprehensible—let alone appealing—to a three-year-old.

“Well, more or less,” Roger said, pulling Bree’s big canvas bag out of the pile. “That is, there were—are, I mean--a few books that are _intended_ for children. Though the only titles that come to mind at the moment are _Hymns for the Amusement of Children, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes_, and _Descriptions of Three Hundred Animals_.”

“What sorts of animals?” Jamie asked, looking interested.

“No idea,” Roger confessed. “I’ve not seen any of those books; just read the titles on a list.”

“Did you ever print any books for children, in Edinburgh?” I asked Jamie, who shook his head. “Well, what did you read when you were in school?”

“As a bairn? The Bible,” he said, as though this should be self-evident. “And the almanac. After we learnt the ABC, I mean. Later we did a bit of Latin.”

“I want _my_ book,” Mandy said firmly. “Gimme, Daddy. Please?”

 

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Another #Daily Lines for Book 9:

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE #BookNine #notyet #notforalongtime #gowatchS2DVDs #dreamofbattle


 

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I was having the delightful sort of dream where you realize that you’re asleep and are enjoying it extremely. I was warm, bonelessly relaxed, and my mind was an exquisite blank. I was just beginning to sink down through this cloudy layer of bliss to the deeper realms of unconsciousness when a violent movement of the mattress under me jerked me into instant alertness.

By reflex, I rolled onto my side and reached for Jamie. I hadn’t reached the stage of conscious thought yet, but my synapses had already drawn their own conclusions. He was still in bed, so we weren’t under attack and the house wasn’t afire. I heard nothing but his rapid breathing; the children were all right and no one had broken in. Ergo…it was his own dream that had wakened him.

This thought penetrated into the conscious part of my mind just as my hand touched his shoulder. He drew back, but not with the violent recoil he usually showed if I touched him too suddenly after a bad dream. He was awake, then; he knew it was me. _Thank God for that_, I thought, and drew a deep breath of my own.

“Jamie?” I said softly. My eyes were dark-adapted already; I could see him, half-curled beside me, tense, facing me.

“Dinna touch me, Sassenach,” he said, just as softly. “Not yet. Let it pass.” He’d gone to bed in a nightshirt; the room was still chilly. But he was naked now. When had he taken it off? And why?

He didn’t move, but his body seemed to flow, the faint glow of the smoored fire shifting on his skin as he relaxed, hair by hair, his breathing slowing.

I relaxed a little, too, in response, though I still watched him warily. It wasn’t a Wentworth dream—he wasn’t sweating; I could almost literally smell fear and blood on him when he woke from those. They came rarely—but were terrible when they did come.

Battlefield? Perhaps; I hoped so. Some of those were worse than others, but he usually came back from a dream of battle fairly quickly, and would let me cradle him in my arms and gentle him back toward sleep. I longed to do it now.

An ember cracked on the hearth behind me, and the tiny spurt of sparks lit his face for an instant, surprising me. He looked…peaceful, his eyes dark-wide and fixed on something he could still see.

“What is it?” I whispered, after a few moments. “What do you see, Jamie?”

He shook his head slowly, eyes still fixed. Very slowly, though, the focus came back into them, and he saw me. He sighed once, deeply, and his shoulders went loose. He reached for me and I all but lunged into his arms, holding him tight.

“It’s all right, Sassenach,” he said into my hair. “I’m not… It’s all right.”

His voice sounded odd, almost puzzled. But he meant it; he was all right. He rubbed my back gently, between the shoulder blades and I gulped a little. He was very warm, despite the chill, and the clinical part of my mind checked him quickly—no shivering, no flinching…his breathing was quite normal and so was his heart-rate, easily perceptible against my breast.

“Do you…_can_ you tell me about it?” I said, after a bit. Sometimes he could, and it seemed to help. More often, he couldn’t, and would just shake until the dream let go its grip on his mind and let him turn away.

“I don’t know,” he said, the note of surprise still in his voice. “I mean—it was Culloden, but…it was different.”

“How?” I asked warily. I knew from what he’d told me that he remembered only bits and pieces of the battle, single vivid images. I’d never encouraged him to try to remember more, but I _had_ noticed that such dreams came more frequently, the closer we came to any looming conflict. “Did you see Murtagh?”

“Aye, I did.” The tone of surprise in his voice deepened, and his hand stilled on my back. “He was with me, by me. But I could see his face; it shone like the sun.”

This description of his late godfather was more than peculiar; Murtagh had been one of the more dour specimens of Scottish manhood ever produced in the Highlands.

“He was…happy?” I ventured doubtfully. I couldn’t imagine anyone who’d set foot on Culloden moor that day had cracked so much as a smile—likely not even the Duke of Cumberland.

“Oh, more than happy, Sassenach—filled wi’ joy.” He let go of me then, and glanced down into my face. “We all were.”

“All of you—who else was there?” My concern for him had mostly subsided now, replaced by curiosity.

“I dinna ken, quite…there was Alex Kincaid, and Ronnie…”

“Ronnie MacNab?” I blurted, astonished.

“Aye,” he said, scarcely noticing my interruption. His brows were drawn inward in concentration, and there was still something of an odd radiance about his own face. “My father was there, too, and my grand-sire—“ He laughed aloud at that, surprised afresh. “I canna imagine why _he’d_ be there—but there he was, plain as day, standing by the field, glowering at the goings-on, but lit up like a turnip on Samhain, nonetheless.”

I didn’t want to point out to him that everyone he’d mentioned so far was dead. Many of them hadn’t even been on the field that day—Alex Kincaid had died at Prestonpans, and Ronnie MacNab… I glanced involuntarily at the fire, glowing on the new black slate of the hearthstone. But Jamie was still looking into the depths of his dream.

“Ken, when ye fight, mostly it’s just hard work. Ye get tired. Your sword’s so heavy ye think ye canna lift it one more time—but ye do, of course.” He stretched, flexing his left arm and turning it, watching the play of light over the sun-bleached hairs and deep-cut muscle. “It’s hot—or it’s freezing—and either way, ye just want to go be somewhere else. Ye’re scairt or ye’re too busy to be scairt until it’s over, and then ye shake because of what ye’ve just been doing….” He shook his head hard at this, dislodging the thoughts.

“Not this time. “


 

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This is the fourth (and last) Sunday of Advent. We live (as people always have) in a world of great uncertainty. We know so little, we have (we think) no power to affect things. And yet we do have the power of love and faith that with patience and a good heart, many good things may be accomplished,. And so we go forward in faith, trusting, toward the light.

A Happy and Blessed Advent to all of you! (And a wonderful season of light, whether for you it’s Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, or other celebration of your choice!)

 

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#DailyLines #BookNine #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE #ALightToTheWorld

Spoiler

 

“Is it…odd?” Rachel asked diffidently. “Being as thee is a historian, I mean, and now thee finds thyself in history?”

Roger opened his mouth to reply, but then shut it. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought about it, but it might take a bit of time to compose a reasonable answer and he didn’t want flies to get in while he was doing so.

Rachel didn’t seem troubled that he didn’t say anything at once, and once again, he was impressed by her patience. She went on with the churning, the softly grooved muscles of her bare arm flexing with its rhythm.

“What’s odd about it,” he said at last, “is that it’s not really odd, save in what you might call a prophetic sense.”

“Prophetic?” She glanced at him with the trace of a smile, then—by a maternal reflex with which he was thoroughly familiar—at Oggy, who was still comatose in his sunny basket. “Does thee mean that thee will write things about the present time that will be read by later generations? Surely every writer does that—but thy view must necessarily be informed by knowing what those future generations will be like. Is that what thee means?”

“Actually, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms,” he said, interested. “I do write things about now—things like the songs, the poetry, the things people do---but you know, I don’t think it ever once occurred to me to wonder what the future would make of them. I just felt—well, feel—that I have to preserve them, pass them on.”

“I’m sure that’s a worthy goal,” she assured him gravely. “But then, where does the sense of prophecy apply?” She paused in the churning, bringing the barrel to a sloshing halt. “I can feel the butter start to come…let me see…” Out of curiosity, he stood up and came to stand beside her, looking into the small slot she had opened on the side of the barrel. The creamy scent of very fresh milk enveloped him and he breathed deep, tasting it cool and slick on the back of his tongue. In the shadowy churn, he could see flecks and globules quivering on the surface, only slightly darker in color than the milk.

“Yes,” she said, and smiled at him. “Only a few moments more.” She closed the churn and began to turn the handle again, with energy. “Prophecy, thee said.”

“Oh. Um, yes. What I meant…it’s to do with people. Individual people I meet or hear about, I mean. Most of the time, it’s just…what happens when you meet or hear about another person. You may be attracted by them, find them interesting company—or not,” he added, smiling at her sudden glance up the hill toward her cabin, where Ian’s Mohawk mates were doubtless still lounging.

“Oh, they’re interesting company, to be sure,” she said, and compressed her mouth. “But?”

“Oh, aye, sorry for the digression.” He glanced up the hill behind her, and smiled at her. “But now and then, you run into someone that you know about—as a historical person, I mean. And you know what they’re going to do, or what will happen to them. Or you find yourself talking to someone who tells you they’re about to go to particular place, or do something…and you know that something’s going to happen there. And you really want to tell this person what you know, whether by way of encouragement—Jamie’s mentioned that he’s told his troops sometimes that they’ll win an engagement, because his wife says so, and God knows why they believe him, but apparently they do—or by way of warning.”

 

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Interesting.

Spoiler

I wonder what circumstances led to them telling Rachel about it and who else knows. 

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I think it's a mix of her being Ian's wife, and the honesty and trust that lies therein, as well as Rachel's insightful personality. I wish Fergus and Marsali would know, but I don't think that will happen.

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#DailyLines  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE  #HappyNewYear !
#huntingbynight

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That thought was too much. William stood up and dropped his blanket, dozens of small white moths rising startled from the grass and flitting inquisitively round his face. He ignored these, pulled on his boots and strode off.

He didn’t care where he was going. His limbs felt as though he’d been headed up in a barrel all night, cramped and tingling with a fierce need to move. The smoking fires glowed and flickered under the big oak, and the savory smell of the meat made his stomach growl. One of the Indians was asleep beside the fire, rolled in a blanket; he couldn’t tell which.

Turning his back on the fire, he headed toward the fields that lay behind the house. Mount Josiah had boasted only a score of acres in tobacco when he had known it years before; was the land even cultivated now?

Rather to his surprise, it was. The stalks had been harvested, but the ground was littered with shed leaves and fragments; the sap-thick smell of uncured tobacco lay like incense on the night. The scent soothed him, and he made his way slowly across the field, toward the black shape of the tobacco barn. Was it still in use?

It was. Called a barn for courtesy’s sake, it was little more than a large shed, but the back of it was a large, airy space where the stalks were hung for stripping—there were only a few there now, dangling from the rafters, barely visible against the faint starlight that leaked through the wide-set boards. His entrance caused the dried, stacked leaves on the broad curing platform at one side to stir and rustle, as though the shed took notice of him. It was an odd fancy, but not disturbing—he nodded to the dark, half-conscious of welcome.

He bumped into something that shied away with a hollow sound—an empty barrel. Feeling about, he counted more than a score, some filled, some waiting. Some old, a few new ones, judging by the smell of new wood that added its tang to the shed’s perfume.

Someone was working the plantation—and it wasn’t Manoke. The Indian enjoyed smoking tobacco now and then, but William had never seen him take any part in the raising or harvesting of the crop. Neither did he reek of it. It wasn’t possible to touch green tobacco without a black, sticky sort of tar adhering to your hands, and the smell in a ripe tobacco field was enough to make a grown man’s head swim.

When he had lived here with Lord John—the name caused a faint twinge, but he ignored it—his father had hired laborers from the adjoining property upriver, a large place called Bobwhite, who could easily tend Mt. Josiah’s modest crop in addition to Bobwhite’s huge output. Perhaps the same arrangement was still in place?

The thought that the plantation was still working, even in this ghostly fashion, heartened him a little; he’d thought the place quite abandoned when he saw the ruined house. Curious, he felt his way out of the tobacco barn and turned west, trampling through the shattered remnants of tobacco stalk, toward the higher fields that were used for less valuable crops. Yes, these too had been planted and harvested; by the pale light of a rising half-moon, he saw corn, stooked and standing in rows like small, ragged men. He circled the corn and came down along the river fields—they’d tried to grow rice one year, but it hadn’t answered, he didn’t remember why…a long stretch of fallow ground, thick with weeds and drying grass, and then he turned away from the river and found himself walking over crackling dry stems with a strong, familiar smell….what…oh, flax. Of course.

He smiled at the memory of being allowed to help thresh the flax; they’d put the bundles of dried stems in rough cloth bags and laid them on the tiny brick landing, and then he and Papa and Manoke and Jim and Peter---yes, Jim and Peter, that was right, the two black servants--had jumped up and down on them, trod to and fro, and ended by dancing a riotous quadrille atop the filthy, foot-marked bags. Quite a lot of beer had been drunk; he could taste the mingled fumes of yeast and alcohol on the back of his tongue, and a hint of flax-seed oil that always made him think of paintings.

A dark figure loomed suddenly out of the dark before him, and he yelped and threw himself to one side, scrabbling hastily up onto all fours, groping wildly for a stick, a rock, a—

“_Tabernac_, is that you, _Gillaume_? I mean…”

“It’s me,” William said shortly, dropping the handful of gravel and leaves he’d grabbed. He panted for a moment, hands on his knees, before adding, “I thought you were a bear.”

It was said in all seriousness, but Cinnamon made a small snort of amusement.

“If there was a bear within ten miles, it would already have joined us for supper,” he said. “I thought I heard something more sly, though, like a cat, so I came to see.” He cleared his throat then, and seemed to recede a little into the night. “I’m sorry,” he said more formally. “I didn’t mean to…” a vague hand waved, “…to disturb you.”

“You’re not,” William said, still short, but not unfriendly. None of this was Cinnamon’s fault—and he’d liked the man very much, when they’d spent that winter hunting and trapping. Padding slow-footed miles over the snow on the unwieldy basket-woven shoes that kept them from sinking through its crust.

He shivered a little at the memory, though the night wasn’t very cold. Snot streaming and freezing to the hair on his face, the air like knives and needles in his lungs. And the fire at night, the sounds of burning wood, dripping water, dripping blood from the kill, his own blood surging hot and stinging back into fingers and toes, the long white trance of a day in the forest broken by the shock of hot food. And then their talk.

“You’re not,” he repeated, more firmly. “A cat, you say? Big?”

His eyes were well enough suited to the dark by now that he made out Cinnamon’s nod easily. William looked back over his shoulder, casting his mind hastily over his path; had he half-heard anything, smelled anything…? Nothing moved but the willows and alders by the river, leaves rustling in a light breeze. He felt rather than saw Cinnamon move to the side, lifting his chin to sniff the air. They both froze in the same moment.

From the direction of the house. An acrid pong so faint you might not notice, unless a friendly breeze shoved it right up your nose. William nodded to Cinnamon. Cat.

He glanced then at the tree, where Manoke was still lying in the fire’s glow, wrapped in a trade blanket with wide red and yellow stripes. Cinnamon’s hand closed on his forearm and he felt the Indian’s shake of the head. He nodded again and patted Cinnamon’s hip—was he armed? A breath of self-disgust—no. Neither was William, and he shared his friend’s sentiment; what could he have been thinking of, walking in open ground after dark without so much as a case-knife!

He jerked his head toward the house, and Cinnamon nodded.

 

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14 minutes ago, Grashka said:

as she's never written from a kid's POV so far. Also, Marsali is going to get her first POV ever. Then she said that since it's book 9, she is allowed to have 9 POVs, but I guess she was joking because there are at least three other POVs that need to be included: William, Lord John and Young Ian.

 Didn't we have Jemmy's POV a couple times,

Spoiler

when Rob Cameron had abducted him?

Marsali is one of my favorite characters. It'll be great to hear things from her point of view.

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I wonder if she and Fergus will be curious of where the MacKenzie Family has been.

Edited by Dust Bunny.
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On 1/25/2017 at 0:35 PM, Grashka said:

Uh. Oh. I knew they would meet one day.

 

Jamie being titled as

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colonel now means that he is back with the army, doesn't it?  If so, I can't say I'm shocked.

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Crap. I had the sudden flash to the last scene of "The Man in the Iron Mask" - the book, not that horrendous movie. I'm sure it won't end that way, but I was hoping Jamie was done with the army.

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #Book9 #itscomingalongnicelythankyou #Illtellyouwhenitsdone #butitllbeawhileyet #Flashback

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“Here.” Buck had reached into his pocket and come out with a grimy wad of paper, which he shoved unceremoniously into Roger’s hand.

He knew what it was—and wondered for an instant how he knew. Was it only the circumstances, or could he actually…feel something?

It was a sapphire, a raw one. A misty, cloudy blue little thing, half the size of his little finger’s nail. He shook it free of its wrappings and it landed silently but solidly in the hollow of his hand.

“Ye said it maybe doesna matter whether it’s cut or not,” Buck said, nodding at it.

“I think not. I hope not. I wish I could say I can’t take it.” Roger closed his fingers gently on the little rock, as though it might burn him. “Thank you, _a charaidh_. Where did ye find it?”

“Ach…” Buck said vaguely, with a slight wave of his hand. “Just saw it and picked it up, ken?”

“Holy Lord,” Roger said, squeezing the little pebble involuntarily. Too late, he remembered the castle in Strathpeffer, him talking with the factor about Jemmy and Rob Cameron—the earl being away from home—and Buck gone, disappeared with a handsome young housemaid. And the factor offering to show him Cromartie’s collection of agates and rare stones…he’d declined, thank God. But—

“You didn’t,” he said to Buck. “Tell me ye didn’t.”

“Ye keep saying that,” Buck said, frowning at him. “I will, if ye want me to, but I shouldna think a minister ought to be encouraging folk to tell lies. A poor example for the bairns, aye?”

He nodded toward the stable-yard, where Jem was playing with a boy who had a hoop, the two of them trying to drive it with sticks over the bumpy ground, with a marked lack of success. Mandy was throwing pebbles at something in the dry grass—probably some hapless toad trying its best to hibernate against the odds.

“Me, a poor example? And you their own great-great-great-great-grandfather!”

“And should I not be lookin’ out for their welfare, then? Is that what ye’re sayin’ to me?”

“I—“ His throat closed suddenly and he cleared it, hard. The boys had left their hoop and were poking at whatever Mandy had found in the grass. “No. I’m not. But I didn’t ask ye to steal for them. To risk your bloody neck for us!” _That’s my job_, he wanted to say, but didn’t.

“May as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.” Buck gave him a direct stare. “Ye need it, aye? Take it, then.” Something that wasn’t quite a smile touched the edge of his mouth. “With my blessing.”

On the far side of the yard, Mandy had picked up the hoop and put it about her solid little waist. She waggled her bottom, in a vain attempt at getting it to spin.

“Look, Daddy!” she called. “Hula hoop!”

Jem froze for a moment, then looked at Roger, his eyes big with concern. Roger shook his head slightly—_don’t say anything_—and Jem swallowed visibly and turned his back to his sister, shoulders stiff.

“What’s a hula hoop, then?” Buck asked quietly, behind him.

“Just a toy.” His own heart had jumped into his throat when she said it; he swallowed now, just like Jem, and felt it settle. “It’s nay bother; she’s wee, and a stranger. No one would trouble about what she calls things.”

“Not _that_ thing, no.” Buck watched Mandy for a moment; she’d got the thing whirling round her neck, but only for an instant before it dropped down her body to the ground. She hopped out of the hoop and skipped over to see what the boys were doing. “There’s maybe other things she might say, though. Eh?”

“Aye. But she’s wee,” Roger repeated firmly. “No one pays much heed to what a maid of her age might say. Bairns make things up, and they chatter all the time.”

“Aye, I’d noticed that.” Buck’s voice held a wry amusement. Roger saw that Buck’s eyes were still fixed on Mandy, with an intensity Roger recognized. It was the look of someone trying to hold on to a moment, a place, a person they expected to lose.

Roger touched Buck’s arm, lightly.

“Will ye not come with us, then?” he asked. “We can find another stone. We can wait.”

Buck’s breath steamed briefly and he turned away.

“No,” he said firmly. “I wouldna make it.”

“Ye don’t know that!” Roger grabbed his arm this time, making him stop, making him meet his eyes. They were the same deep green as his own—the same as the woman’s. Buck’s mother, his own ancestress. How many of the generations between Buck and himself had those eyes? He wondered. Who were they?

“Do I want to die to find out?” Buck snapped, and pulled loose.

 

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Regarding the spoilered discussion above, I think

Spoiler

the rank is probably being used as an honorific, acknowledging past service as a military officer

On 2/2/2017 at 8:21 PM, Dust Bunny said:
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Crap. I had the sudden flash to the last scene of "The Man in the Iron Mask" - the book, not that horrendous movie. I'm sure it won't end that way, but I was hoping Jamie was done with the army.

 

Meanwhile, the newest #Daily Lines from Diana this morning:

 

Quote

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #Book9 #BackwoodsEtiquette #noitsnotfinished #nowherenear #butitsgoingfine #dontworry

Spoiler

 

My breath steamed white in the dimness of the smoke-shed. No fire had been lit in here for over a month, and the air smelt of bitter ash and the tang of old blood.

“How much do you think this thing weighs?” Brianna put both hands on the shoulder of the enormous black and white hog lying on the crude table by the back wall and leaned her own weight experimentally against it. The shoulder moved slightly—rigor had long since passed, despite the cold weather—but the hog itself didn’t budge an inch.

“At a guess, it originally weighed somewhat more than your father. Maybe three hundred pounds on the hoof?” Jamie had bled and gralloched the hog when he killed it; that had probably lightened his load by a hundred pounds or so, but it was still a lot of meat. A pleasant thought for the winter’s food, but a daunting prospect at the moment.

I unrolled the pocketed cloth in which I kept my larger surgical tools; this was no job for an ordinary kitchen knife.

“What do you think about the intestines?” I asked. “Usable, do you think?”

She wrinkled her nose, considering. Jamie hadn’t been able to carry much beyond the carcass itself—and in fact had dragged that—but had thoughtfully salvaged twenty or thirty pounds of intestine. He’d roughly stripped the contents, but two days in a canvas pack hadn’t improved the condition of the uncleaned entrails, not savory to start with. I’d looked at them dubiously, but put them to soak overnight in a tub of salt water, on the off chance that the tissue hadn’t broken down too far to prevent their use as sausage casing.

“I don’t know, Mama,” Bree said reluctantly. “I think they’re pretty far gone. But we might save some of it.”

“If we can’t, we can’t.” I pulled out the largest of my amputation saws and checked the teeth. “We can make square sausage, after all.” Cased sausage was much easier to preserve; once properly smoked, they’d last indefinitely. Sausage patties were fine, but took more careful handling, and had to be packed into wooden casks or boxes in layers of lard for keeping…we hadn’t any casks, but--

“Lard!” I exclaimed, looking up. “Bloody hell--I’d forgotten all about that. We don’t have a kettle, bar the kitchen cauldron, and we can’t use that.” Rendering lard took several days, and the kitchen cauldron supplied at least half our cooked food, to say nothing of hot water.

“Can we borrow one?” Bree glanced toward the door, where a flicker of movement showed. “Jem, is that you?”

“No, it’s me, auntie.” Germain stuck his head in, sniffing cautiously. “Mandy wanted to visit Rachel’s _petit bonbon_, and _Grand-pere _ said she could go if Jem or me would take her. We threw bones and he lost.”

“Oh. Fine, then. Will you go up to the kitchen and fetch the bag of salt from Grannie’s surgery?”

“There isn’t any,” I said, grasping the pig by one ear and setting the saw in the crease of the neck. “There wasn’t much, and we used all but a handful soaking the intestines. We’ll need to borrow that, too.”

I dragged the saw through the first cut, and was pleased to find that while the fascia between skin and muscle had begun to give way—the skin slipped a little with rough handling—the underlying flesh was still firm.

“I tell you what, Bree,” I said, bearing down on the saw as I felt the teeth bite between the neck bones, “it’s going to take a bit of time before I’ve got this skinned and jointed. Why don’t you call round and see which lady might lend us her rendering kettle for a couple of days, and a half-pound of salt to be going on with?”

“Right,” Bree said, seizing the opportunity with obvious relief. “What should I offer her? One of the hams?”

“Oh, no, auntie,” said Germain, quite shocked. “That’s much too much for the lend of a kettle! And ye shouldna offer anyway,” he added, small fair brows drawing together in a frown. “Ye dinna bargain a favor. She’ll ken ye’ll give her what’s right.”

She gave him a look, half questioning, half amused, then glanced at me. I nodded.

“I see I’ve been gone too long,” she said lightly, and giving Germain a pat on the head, vanished on her errand.

 

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Ugg. That was, perhaps, not the best choice of things to read while eating breakfast. :)

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Spoiler

 

Edited by theschnauzers. Reason: Weong thread moved to right thread
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On 4/26/2017 at 4:56 AM, Grashka said:

This one is from a week ago, so maybe people already saw it. Anyway, a gorgeous scene between C&J.

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“Lie down,” I said firmly, and pointed to my lap.

“Nay, I’ll be f—“

“I don’t care whether you’re fine or not,” I said. “I said, lie down.”

“I’ve work to—“

“You’ll be flat on your face in another minute,” I said. “Lie. Down.”

He opened his mouth, but a spasm of pain made him shut his eyes, and he couldn’t locate any words with which to argue. He swallowed, opened his eyes, and sat down beside me, very gingerly. He was breathing slowly and shallowly, as though drawing a deep breath might make things worse.

I stood up, took his shoulders and turned him gently so I could reach his plait. I undid his ribbon and unraveled the thick strands of auburn hair. It still was mostly red, though soft white threads caught the light here and there.

“Down,” I said again, sitting and pulling his shoulders toward me. He moaned a little, but stopped resisting and lowered himself very slowly, ‘til his head rested heavy in my lap. I touched his face, my fingers feather-light on his skin, tracing the bones and hollows, temples and orbits, cheekbones and jaw. Then I slid my fingers into the soft mass of his hair, warm in my hands, and did the same to his scalp. He let out his breath, carefully, and I felt his body loosen, growing heavier as he relaxed.

“Where does it hurt?” I murmured, making very light circles round his temples with my thumbs. “Here?”

“Aye…but…” He put up a hand, blindly, and cupped it over his right eye. “It feels like an arrow—straight through into my brain.”

“Mmm.” I pressed my thumb gently round the bony orbit of the eye, and slid my other hand under his head, probing the base of his skull. I could feel the muscles knotted there, hard as walnuts under the skin. “Well, then.”

I took my hands away and he let his breath out.

“It won’t hurt,” I reassured him, reaching for the jar of blue ointment.

“It does hurt,” he said, and squinched his eyelids as a fresh spasm seized him.

“I know.” I unlidded the jar, but let it stand, the sharp fragrance of peppermint, camphor and green peppercorns scenting the air. “I’ll make it better.”

He didn’t make any reply, but settled himself as I began to massage the ointment gently into his neck, the base of his skull, the skin of his forehead and temples. I couldn’t use the ointment so close to his eye, but put a dab under his nose, and he took a slow, deep breath. I’d make a cool poultice for the eye when I’d finished. For now, though…

“Do you remember,” I said, my voice low and quiet. “Telling me once about visiting Bird Who Sings in the Morning? And how his mother came and combed your hair?”

“Aye,” he said, after a moment’s hesitation. “She said…she would comb the snakes from my hair.” Another hesitation. “She…did.”

Clearly he did remember—and so did I recall what he’d told me about it. How she’d gently combed his hair, over and over, while he told her—in a language she didn’t speak—the trouble in his heart. Guilt, distress…and the forgotten faces of the men he’d killed.

There is a spot, just where the zygomatic arch joins the maxilla, where the nerves are often inflamed and sensitive….yes, just there. I pressed my thumb gently up into the spot and he gasped and stiffened a little. I put my other hand on his shoulder.

“Shh. Breathe.”

His breath came with a small moan, but he did. I held the spot, pressing harder, moving my thumb just a little, and after a long moment, felt the spot warm and seem to melt under my touch. He felt it too, and his body relaxed again.

“Let me do that for you,” I said softly. The wooden comb he’d made me sat on the little table beside the jar of ointment. With one hand still on his shoulder, I picked it up.

“I…no, I dinna want…” But I was drawing the comb softly through his hair, the wooden teeth gentle against his skin. Over and over, very slowly.

I didn’t say anything for quite some time. He breathed. The light came in low now, the color of wildflower honey, and he was warm in my hands, the weight of him heavy in my lap.

“Tell me,” I said to him at last, in a whisper no louder than the breeze through the open window. “I don’t need to know, but you need to tell me. Say it in Gaelic, or Italian or German—some language I don’t understand, if that’s better. But say it.”

His breath came a little faster and he tightened, but I went on combing, in long, even strokes that swept over his head and laid his hair untangled in a soft, gleaming mass over my thigh. After a moment, he opened his eyes, dark and half-focused.

“Sassenach?” he said softly.

“Mm?”

“I dinna ken any language that I think ye wouldna understand.”

He breathed once more, closed his eyes, and began haltingly to speak, his voice soft as the beating of my heart.

 

I saw that one and immediately bought some Vicks to try rubbing on my temples and the back of my neck for migraines. Heh. It actually works. I mean, not perfectly... I'd probably need Claire massaging it (or even better... Jamie :-) ), but it did relieve the migraine a bit, so my head wasn't just trying to kill me.

Also looked up the zygomatic arch area... trying to figure out just where to apply pressure. Haven't successfully used that point. Where is Claire when you need her, dammit. LOL Pshaw... fictional doctors. Very inconvenient, with their lack of house calls. 

It's really a gorgeous scene. So perfectly Jamie and Claire.

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Another excerpt from TwitLonger

Spoiler

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #BookNine #noitsnowhereneardone #dontworryaboutit#concentrateonSeasonThree


The pungent tang of smells he thought of vaguely as “paints” reached William at the front door.

“I’m _so_ sorry!” Mrs. Brumby said, seeing his nose twitch. “We’ve got quite used to the smell, I’m afraid, but it really does reek terribly, doesn’t it? I’m sure I shall never get the stink of turpentine out of the curtains!”

“Oh, no, ma’am,” he assured her. “I like the scent extremely. It’s…exciting.” He smiled at her, but it was true. He had very early memories of a portrait-painter coming to Helwater to do portraits of his grandparents and Mama Isobel, the fuss of canvas and wood and cloths and the mysterious fumes that floated out of the morning room. The whole thing had given him a lovely sense of magic, strange things going on nearby.

Mrs. Brumby dimpled at him. She was young, perhaps close to his own age, and, he thought, somewhat impressed at being in possession of a portrait-painter of her own.

“Well, do come in, sir,” she said, stepping back and gesturing down a wide hall with a floor of bare, though polished, wood.

“Mrs. MacKenzie is painting a wonderful floor-cloth for us!” Mrs. Brumby said hastily, seeing his glance. “She took up the old one, to…er…get the measurements, I think she said.”

“How nice,” William said, not really attending. “MacKenzie, you said?” The name was unsettlingly familiar, but for the moment, he couldn’t think why it should be.

“Yes, her husband is a Presbyterian minister, isn’t that odd? You wouldn’t think a minister would care to have his wife…well, Mr. MacKenzie’s a lovely man, regardless.”

Presbyterian ministers rang no mental bells for William, but he smiled and followed her to a closed door halfway down the hall, from which he heard the sound of whistling.

Mrs. Brumby blinked, disconcerted for a moment, but then squared her shoulders and opened the door, shooing him inside.

A strikingly tall red-haired woman turned from the window, smiling. The smile froze on her face, reflecting the one he could feel paralyzing his own.

“Mrs. MacKenzie, I do hope I’m not interrupting you,” Mrs. Brumby said, craning her neck to peek at a canvas on an easel. “This is Mr. William Ransom. Lord John Grey suggested that he might come and…” 

Whatever else Mrs. Brumby said was lost in the sudden roaring in his ears. Then the woman—Mrs. MacKenzie, of the deep blue eyes, Mrs. MacKenzie, the daughter of bloody Jamie Fraser, Mrs. MacKenzie, his…sister—was in front of him, extending her hand as though she meant to shake his.

She did bloody shake it, as heartily as a man. He got his wits back enough to hold on to her hand, turn it, and bow low over it. Her hand was rough, the fingers streaked with green and blue and white. Determined to assert himself, he kissed it, and got a whiff of turpentine that whooshed through his head like a winter wind.

“Your servant, ma’am,” he said, straightening and letting go her hand. 

“Yours. Sir,” she added, not curtsying. She looked amused, damn her.

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #BookNine #Noitsnothelastbook #NOitisntfinished #Later #Illtellyouwhenwegetclose #Savannah #PortraitPainting #NoNewIsGoodNews

Quote

 

Spoiler

 

“R oo wrkg n m mth?” Mrs. Brumby said, moving her lips as little as possible, just in case.

“No, you can talk,” Brianna assured her, suppressing a smile. “Don’t move your hands, though.”

“Oh, of course!” The hand that had risen unconsciously to fiddle with her densely sculpted curls dropped like a stone into her lap, but then she giggled. “Must I have Heike feed me my elevenses? I hear her coming.”

Heike weighed about fourteen stone and could be heard coming for some considerable time before she appeared, the wooden heels of her shoes striking the bare floorboards of the hall with a measured tread like the thump of a bass drum.

“I have _got_ to do that floor-cloth,” Bree said, not realizing that she’d spoken aloud until Angelina laughed.

“Oh, do,” she said. “I meant to tell you, Mr. Brumby says he prefers the pineapples, and could you possibly have it ready by Wednesday-week? He wants to have a great dinner for Colonel Campbell and his staff. In gratitude, you know, for his gallant defense of the city.” She hesitated, her little pink tongue darting out to touch her lips. “Do you think…er…I don’t wish to—to be—that is—“

Brianna made a hasty dab, a streak of pale pink catching the shine of light on the roundness of Angelina’s delicate forearm.

“It’s all right,” she said, barely attending. “Don’t move your fingers.”

“No, no!” Angelina said, twitching her fingers guiltily, then trying to remember how they’d been.

“That’s fine, don’t move!”

Angelina froze, and Bree managed the suggestion of shadow between the fingers while Heike clumped in. To her surprise, though, there was no sound of rattling tea-things, nor any hint of the cake she’d smelled baking this morning as she dressed.

“What is it, Heike?” Mrs. Brumby was sitting rigidly erect, and while she’d been given permission to talk, kept her eyes fixed on the vase of flowers Brianna had given her as a focus spot. “Where is our morning tea?”

“_Ist ein Mann_,” Heike informed her mistress portentously, dropping her voice as though to avoid being overheard.

“Someone at the door, you mean?” Angelina risked a curious glance at the studio door before jerking her eyes back into line. “What sort of man?”

Heike pursed her lips and nodded at Brianna.

“_Ein Soldat. Er will sie sehen_.”

“A soldier?” Angelina dropped her pose and looked at Brianna in astonishment. “And he wants to see Mrs. MacKenzie? You’re sure of that, Heike? You don’t think he might want Mr. Brumby?”

Heike was fond of her young mistress and refrained from rolling her eyes, instead merely nodding again at Bree.

“Her,” she said in English. “_Er sagte, ‘die_ Lay-dee Pain-ter.’” She folded her hands under her apron and waited with patience for further instructions.

“Oh.” Angelina was clearly at a loss—and just as clearly had lost all sense of her pose.

“Shall I go and talk to him?” Bree inquired. She swished her brush in the turps and wrapped it in a bit of damp rag.

“Oh, no—bring him here, will you, Heike?” Angelina plainly wanted to know what this visitation was about. And, Bree thought with an internal smile, seeing Angelina poke hastily at her hair, be seen in the thrilling position of being painted.

The soldier in question proved to be a very young man in the uniform of the Continental Army. Angelina gasped at sight of him and dropped the glove she was holding in her left hand.

“Who are you, sir?” she demanded, sitting up as straight as she possibly could. “And how come you here, may I ask?”

“Your servant, ma’am,” the young man replied, “and yours, ma’am,” turning to Brianna. He withdrew a sealed note from the bosom of his coat and bowed to her. “If I may take the liberty of inquiring—are you Mrs. Roger MacKenzie?”

She felt as though she’d been dropped abruptly down a glacial abyss, freezing cold and ice-blind. Confused memories of yellow telegrams seen in war movies, the looming threat of the siege, and _where was he_?

 

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Posting from Diana this morning on Facebook.

#DailyLines  #BookNine #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE  #nopenopenope#notfinished  #willbequiteawhile  #gorewatchSeasonsOneandTwo#orreadSEVENStones  #orMATCHUP

Spoiler

 

“It all begins in _medias res_, and if you’re lucky, it ends that way as well.” Roger swallowed, and I felt his larynx bob under my fingers. The skin of his throat was cool, and smooth where I held it, though I could feel the tiny prickle of beard stubble brush my knuckle, just under his jaw. It was late in the day; I could hear Brianna and Fanny banging things in the kitchen as supper got underway.

“That’s what Dr. McEwan said?” I asked curiously. “What did he mean by it, I wonder?”

Roger’s eyes were closed—people normally closed their eyes when I examined them, as though needing to preserve what privacy they could—but at this, he opened them, an arresting deep green lit by the setting sun that came in through my glassless window.

“I asked him. He said that nothing ever truly starts or stops, so far as he could see. That people think a child’s life begins at birth, but plainly that’s not so—ye can see them move in the womb, and a child that comes too soon will often live for a short time, and ye see that it’s alive in all its senses, even though it can’t sustain life.”

Now I’d closed my own eyes, not because I found Roger’s gaze unsettling, but in order to concentrate on the vibrations of his words. I moved my grip on his throat a little lower.

“Well, he’s quite right about that,” I said, envisioning the inner anatomy of the throat as I talked. “Babies are born already running, as it were. All their processes—except breathing—are working long before birth. But that’s still a rather cryptic remark.”

“Yes, it was.” He swallowed again and I felt his breath, warm on my bare forearm. “I prodded him a bit, because he’d obviously meant it by way of explanation—or at least the best he could do by way of explanation. I don’t suppose you could describe what it is you actually do when you heal someone, could you?”

I smiled at that, without opening my eyes.

“Oh, I might have a go at it. But there’s an implied error there; _I_ don’t actually heal people. They heal by themselves. I just…support them.”

A sound that wasn’t quite a laugh made his larynx execute a complicated double bob. I _thought_ I could feel a slight concavity under my thumb, where the cartilage had been partially crushed by the rope… I put my other hand round my own throat, for comparison.

“That’s actually what he said—Hector McEwan, I mean. But he _did_ heal people; I saw him do it.”

My hands released both our throats, and he opened his eyes again.

“When?” I asked, a small flame of curiosity lit suddenly by his words. “Who did he heal? And more importantly—what did he do?”

Roger smiled a little, as though remembering something fondly, but not without pain.

“My…er…I’m not sure what to call him. I mean, in fact, he was—_is_—my five-times great-grandfather. But—he was close to my own age when we, er, met, and he—“ He looked at me directly, and lifted a palm, helpless, but amused. “Well, sometimes he was—not exactly a friend—maybe more like a cousin. And then again…” he put his fingers to the scar on his throat. “It was he who got me hanged.”

“What?” I stared at him. “James MacQuiston?” I thought that was the name of the man who had denounced Roger to Governor Tryon as one of the conspirators of the Regulation, and thus gotten him hanged.

“Something of a misunderstanding,” Roger said, actually smiling. “And something of an alias, too. His real name is William Buccleigh MacKenzie.”

“William….” That name rang a bell, certainly, but who--? Then the penny dropped. “No! You don’t mean—“

“Oh, but I do,” he said wryly. “Geillis Duncan’s son by Dougal MacKenzie.”

“Jesus H. Roosevelt _Christ_.”

 

Edited by WatchrTina.
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Another Facebook posting from Diana.

#DailyLines  #BookNine  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE  #crampedquarters#noitsnotfinished  #notforalongtime  #dontevenask  #itsfine

Spoiler

 

The small wooden structure to which the lieutenant escorted them might originally have been a chicken coop, Brianna thought, ducking beneath the flimsy lintel. Someone had been living in it, though; there were two rough pallets with blankets on the floor, a stool that held a chipped and stained pottery ewer and basin, and an enameled tin chamberpot in much better condition.

“I do apologize, ma’am,” the lieutenant said, for the dozenth time. “But half our tents have blown away and the men are holding down the rest.” He held his lantern up, peering dubiously at the dark splotches seeping through the boards of one wall. “It seems not to be leaking too badly. Yet.”

“It’s perfectly fine,” Brianna assured him, hunching out of the way so her two large escorts could squeeze in behind her. With four people inside the shed, there was literally no room to turn around, let alone lie down, and she clutched her sketchbox under her cloak, not wanting it to be trampled.

“We are obliged to you, Lieutenant.” William was bent nearly double under the low ceiling, but managed a nod in Hanson’s direction. “Food?”

“Directly, sir,” the lieutenant assured him. “I’m sorry there’s no fire, but at least you’ll be out of the rain. Good night, Mrs. MacKenzie—and thank you again.”

He squirmed past the bulk of John Cinnamon, and disappeared into the blustery night, clutching his hat to his head.

“Take that one,” William said to Brianna, jerking his chin at the bed-sack furthest from the leaking wall. “Cinnamon and I will take the other in shifts.”

She was too tired to argue with him. She laid down her sketchbox, shook the blanket, and when no bedbugs, lice or spiders fell out, sat down, feeling like a puppet whose strings had just been cut.

She closed her eyes, hearing William and John Cinnamon negotiate their movements, but letting the low voices wash over her like the wind and rain outside. Images crowded the backs of her eyes, the trampled grass of the riverside trail, the suspicious faces of the British sentries, the ever-changing light on the dead man’s face, her brother jerking his chin in exactly the way her—their—father did…dark streaks of water and white streaks of chicken shit on silvered boards in the lantern-light…light…it seemed a thousand years since she’d watched the morning sun glow pink through Angelina Brumby’s small sweet ear…

She opened her eyes on darkness, feeling a hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t fall asleep before you eat something,” William said, sounding amused. “I promised to see you fed, and I shouldn’t like to break my word.”

“Food?” She shook her head, blinking. A sudden glow rose behind William, and she saw the big Indian set down a clay fire-pot next to the stubby candle he’d just lit. He tilted the candle over the bottom of the upturned chamberpot, then stuck it into the melted wax, holding it until the wax hardened.

“Sorry, I should have asked if you wanted to piss, first,” Cinnamon said, looking at her apologetically. “Only there’s no place else to put the candle.”

 

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And another posting from Diana's Facebook page

#DailyLines  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE  #BookNINE  #noitsnotfinished#noIdontknowwhen  #whenitsdoneOK  #forCarolSuzanne  #distraction

Spoiler

 

Bree drew a deep breath, savoring the momentary solitude. There was a strong touch of fall in the air, though the sun was bright through the window, and a single late bumblebee hummed slowly in, circled the disappointing wax flowers and bumbled out again.

It would be winter soon, in the mountains. She felt a pang of longing for the high rocks and the clean scent of balsam fir, snow and mud, the close warm smell of sheltered animals. Much more, for her parents, for the sense of her family all about her. Moved by impulse, she turned the page of her sketchbook and tried to capture a glimpse of her father’s face—just a line or two in profile, the straight long nose and the strong brow. And the small curved line that suggested his smile, hidden in the corner of his mouth.

That was enough for now. With the comforting sense of his presence near her, she opened the box where she kept the small lead tubes and the little pots of hand-ground pigment, and made up her simple palette. White, a touch of lamp black, and a dab of rose madder. A moment’s hesitation, and she added a thin line of lemon yellow, and a spot of cobalt.

With the color of shadows in her mind, she went across to the small collection of canvases leaning against the wall, and uncovering the unfinished portrait of [ ], set it on the table, where it would catch the morning light.

“That’s the trouble,” she murmured. “Maybe…” The light. She’d done it with an imagined light source, falling from the right, so as to throw the delicate jawline into relief. But what she hadn’t thought to imagine was what kind of light it was. The shadows cast by a morning light sometimes had a faint green tinge, while those of mid-day were dusky, a slight browning of the natural skin tones, and evening shadows were blue and gray and sometimes a deep lavender. But what time of day suited the mysterious [ ]?

Her ruminations were interrupted by the sound of Angelina’s laughter and footsteps in the hallway. A man’s voice, amused—Mr. Brumby, on his way out.

“Ah, Mrs. MacKenzie. A very good morning to you, ma’am.” Alfred Brumby paused in the doorway, smiling in at her. Angelina clung to his arm, beaming up at him and shedding white powder on the sleeve of his bottle-green suit, but he didn’t appear to notice. “And how is the work proceeding, might I ask?”

He was courteous enough to make it sound as though he really was asking permission to inquire, rather than demanding a progress report.

“Very well, sir,” Bree said, and stepped back, gesturing, so he could come in and see the head sketches that she’d done so far, arranged in fans on the table: Angelina’s complete head and neck from multiple angles, close view of hairline, side and front, assorted small details of ringlets, waves and brilliants.

“Beautiful, beautiful!” he exclaimed. He bent over them, taking a quizzing glass from his pocket and using it to examine the drawings. “She’s captured you exactly, my dear—a thing I shouldn’t have thought possible without the use of leg-irons, I confess.”

 

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#DailyLines  #BookNine  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE  #gardens #pb&j #noitisntcomingoutthisyear  #enjoySeasonThree#andpossessyoursoulsinpatience

Spoiler

 

No one went to the Old Garden, as the family called it. The people on the Ridge called it the Witch-child’s Garden, though not often in my hearing. I wasn’t sure whether “witch-child” was meant to refer to Malva Christie herself, or to her baby boy. Both of them had died in the garden, in the midst of blood—and in my company. She had been no more than fifteen.

I never said the name aloud, but to me, it was Malva’s Garden. 

For a time, I hadn’t been able to go up to it without a sense of waste and terrible sorrow, but I did go there now and then. To remember. To pray, sometimes. And frankly, if some of the more hidebound Presbyterians of the Ridge had seen me on some of these occasions, talking aloud to the dead or to God, they would have been quite sure they had the right name, but the wrong witch.

But the woods had their own slow magic and the garden was returning to them, healing under grass and moss, blood turning to the crimson bloom of pokeweed, and its sorrow fading into peace.

Despite the creeping transformation, though, some remnants of the garden remained, and small treasures sprang up unexpectedly: there was a stubbornly thriving patch of onions in one corner, a thick growth of comfrey and sorrel fighting back against the grass, and—to my intense delight, several thriving peanut bushes, sprung up from long-buried seeds. 

I’d found them the week before, the leaves just beginning to yellow, and dug them up. Hung them in the surgery to dry, plucked the peanuts from the tangle of dirt and rootlets, and roasted them, filling the house with memories of circuses and baseball games.

And tonight, I thought, tipping the cooled nuts into my shelling basin, we’d have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for supper.

 

Edited by WatchrTina.
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On 8/19/2017 at 0:01 PM, WatchrTina said:

#DailyLines  #BookNine  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE  #gardens #pb&j #noitisntcomingoutthisyear  #enjoySeasonThree#andpossessyoursoulsinpatience

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And tonight, I thought, tipping the cooled nuts into my shelling basin, we’d have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for supper.

 

I'm trying not to squee because it's not dignified but I love this.  

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This should have made it over here in August, but better late than never:

 

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#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #BookNine #yesitsgoingverywell #noitisntfinished #noIdontknowwhenitwillbefinished #yesIlltellyouwhenitis

Spoiler

 

We walked on slowly, pausing now and then as I spotted something edible, medicinal, or fascinating. It being autumn, this required a stop every few feet.

“Oo!” I said, heading for a slash of deep, bloody red at the foot of a tree. “Look at that!”

“It looks like a slice of fresh deer’s liver,” Jamie said, peering over my shoulder. “But it doesna smell like blood, so I’m guessing it’s one of the things ye call shelf-funguses?”

“Very astute of you. Fistulina hepatica,” I said, whipping out my knife. “Here, hold this, would you?”

He accepted my basket with no more than a slight roll of the eyes and stood patiently while I cut the fleshy chunks—for there was a whole nest of them hidden under the drifted leaves, like a set of crimson lily pads—free of the tree. I left the smaller ones to grow, but still had at least two pounds of the meaty mushroom. I packed them in layers of damp leaves, but broke off a small piece and offered it to Jamie.

“One side makes you taller, and one side makes you small,” I said, smiling.

“What?”

“Alice in Wonderland—the Caterpillar. I’ll tell you later. It’s said to taste rather like raw beef,” I said.

Muttering, “Caterpillar” under his breath, he accepted the bit, turned it from side to side, inspecting it critically to be sure it harbored no insidious legs, then popped it in his mouth and chewed, eyes narrowed in concentration. He swallowed, and I relaxed a little.

“Maybe like verra old beef, that’s been hung a long time,” he allowed. “But aye, a man could stomach it.”

“That’s actually a very good commendation for a raw mushroom,” I said, pleased. “If I had a few anchovies to hand, I’d make you a nice tartare sauce to go with it.”

“Anchovies,” he said thoughtfully. “I havena had an anchovy in years.” He licked his lower lip in memory. “I might find some, when I go to Wilmington.”

I looked at him in surprise.

“Are you planning to go before the spring?” True, the leaves were still nearly as thick upon the trees as upon the ground, but in the mountains, the weather could turn in the space of an hour. There could be snow in the passes any time between now and next March.

“Aye, I thought I’d risk one more trip before winter sets in,” he said casually. “D’ye want to come, Sassenach? I thought ye’d maybe be busy wi’ the preserving.”

“Hmpf.” While it was perfectly true that I ought to be spending every waking hour in finding, catching, smoking, salting or preserving food…it was equally true that I ought to be replenishing our stocks of needles, pins, sugar—that was a good point, I’d need more sugar to be making the fruit preserves—and thread, to say nothing of other bits of household iron-mongery and the medicines I couldn’t find or make, like Jesuit’s bark and ether.

And, if you came right down to it, wild horses couldn’t keep me from going with him. Jamie knew it, too; I could see the side of his mouth curling.


 

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#DailyLines  #BookNine  #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE  #Happy99thBirthdayClaire !
 

Spoiler

There was a stone under my right buttock, but I didn’t want to move. The tiny heartbeat under my fingers was soft and stubborn, the fleeting jolts life and the space between, infinity, my connection to the endless night sky and the rising flame.

“Move your arse a bit, Sassenach,” said a voice in my ear. “I need to scratch my nose and ye’re sitting on my hand.” Jamie twitched his fingers under me, and I moved by reflex, turning my head toward him as I shifted and resettled, keeping my hold on Mandy, bonelessly asleep in my arms.

He smiled at me over Jem’s tousled head, flexed his now-free hand, and scratched his nose. It must be well past midnight, but the fire was still high, and the light sparked off the stubble of his beard and glowed as softly in his eyes as in his grandson’s red hair and the shadowed folds of the worn plaid he’d wrapped about them both.

On the other side of the fire, Brianna laughed, in the quiet way people laugh in the middle of the night with sleeping children near.

She laid her head on Roger’s shoulder, her eyes half-closed. She looked completely exhausted, her hair unwashed and tangled, the firelight showing deep hollows in her face…but happy.

“What is it ye find funny, a nighean?” Jamie asked, shifting Jem into a more comfortable position. Jem was fighting as hard as he could to stay awake, but was losing the fight. He gaped enormously and shook his head, blinking like a dazed owl.

“Wha’s funny?” he repeated, but the last word trailed off, leaving him with his mouth half-open and a glassy stare.

His mother giggled, a lovely girlish sound, and I felt Jamie’s smile.

“I just asked Daddy if he remembered a Gathering we came to, years ago. The clans were all called at a big bonfire and I handed Daddy a burning branch and told him to go down to the fire and say the MacKenzies were there.”

“Oh.” Jem blinked once, then twice, looked at the fire blazing in front of us, and a slight frown formed between his small red brows. “Where are we now?”

“Home,” Roger said firmly, and his eyes met mine, then passed to Jamie. “For good.”

Jamie let out the same breath I’d been holding since the afternoon, when the MacKenzies had appeared suddenly in the clearing below, and we had flown down the hill to meet them. There had been one moment of joyous, wordless explosion as we all flung ourselves at each other, and then the explosion had widened, as Amy Higgins came out of her house, summoned by the noise, to be followed by Bobby, then Aidan—who had whooped at sight of Jem and tackled him, knocking him flat—Orrie and little Rob.

Jo Beardsley had been in the woods nearby, heard the racket and come to see…and within what seemed like moments, the clearing was alive with people. Six households were within reach of the news before sundown; the rest would undoubtedly hear of it tomorrow.

The instant outpouring of Highland hospitality had been wonderful; women and girls had run back to their cabins and fetched whatever they had baking or boiling for supper, the men had gathered wood and—at Jamie’s behest—lugged it up to the crest where the outline of the New House stood, and we had welcomed home our family in style, surrounded by friends.

Hundreds of questions had been asked of the travelers: where had they come from? How was the journey? What had they seen? No one had asked if they were happy to be back; that was taken for granted by everyone.

Neither Jamie nor I had asked any questions. Time enough for that—and now that we were alone, Roger had just answered the only one that truly mattered.

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I've been trying to not peek and read those daily lines posted above, so excuse me if this has already been done...All the talk in the First Wife episode thread about Roger meeting Jenny in the past when she was a teenager got me to thinking. I can't wait for Jenny to meet Roger now! I'm quite certain that Jenny believes that Claire believes she's a time traveler, but I'm not 100 percent convinced she really believes it, if you know what I mean. Jenny meeting Roger again--and he looking practically the same--might be a very interesting encounter. And, I hope we get to hear Roger telling Jamie of his meeting Brian and such. 

When is this book getting published? Sigh. 

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15 minutes ago, DittyDotDot said:

Jenny meeting Roger again--and he looking practically the same--might be a very interesting encounter

It would. I had the very same thought.  But then I remembered that Roger's time-travel backward took him WAY back.  He overshot the usual 200 year thing because . . . reasons (I don't want to spoil it for people who haven't read the related novella "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows").  If I'm remembering it correctly, Jenny is only a teenager when she meets him.  Is she really likely to recognize Roger when she meets him again 40 years later?  Even if he reminds her of the incident I think our skeptical Jenny might still harbor doubts.  

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