There are again many themes that run through the rest of this story. I quickly come back to two, magic and jealousy, before getting to the heart of this article: protection and conflict. Exceptionally for this theme, I have included conflicts in the text in color, and it will be in bronze .
The magic does not appear much, beyond the principle of stones, but it illuminates certain particularly moving moments. There's the specter of Claire who appears to Jenny at Jamie and Laoghaire's wedding at church; then Laoghaire who feels his presence even in his marital bed.
There is later the ghost of Otter Tooth when Claire gets lost on her own, and her inexplicable rescue by the appearance of her moccasins to Jamie and Ian. Jamie knows her classics by nicknamed her Cinderella, the tale was published by Charles Perrault in 1697 ...
There is finally the presence of Frank, the night of the birth of Brianna. Claire hears herself wishing Jamie goodnight with a "Now sleep." Each day has enough trouble of its. »Which echoes in her:« Each day suffices its pain. Why did I say that? It was Frank's favorite phrase. The air in the room seemed alive. A breeze stirred the curtains and a draft of cool air caressed my cheek. Do you already know? I whispered. Do you know she had a son? There was no response, but in the stillness of the night I felt a deep peace descend upon me. "
Jealousy is now not very present in Claire, who never loses her sense of humor and self-mockery, even when she mentions Laoghaire. Then, when she hosts Lord John Gray and William, she quickly goes beyond that first impulse to instead hear her pain at being separated from Brianna and her regret that Jamie never knew their daughter.
Then the story will gradually bring together the 4 main characters, Claire, Jamie, Brianna and Roger. The road will be long, and the love they have for each other involves multiple variations of protection. However, these protective intentions will generate choices, unspoken and secrets, and update their differences in the way of living values that are sometimes common, sometimes very different. Whether they relate to their gender or their time, these differences will telescope until conflict.
Mutual protections, the unspoken and secrets until error.
First there is Brianna and Roger's argument. Brianna discovers that Roger withheld information about her parents from her, thus deciding for her to protect her, or rather out of fear of losing her, depriving her of her own choice. Protection is perhaps just a pretext to dress up a more selfish choice.
Then Brianna's rape is the triggering event of cascading individual choices, until the collective error of which Roger will pay dearly the price.
Brianna keeps the assault to herself, she does not share it with Lizzie, protecting this young girl apparently too fragile to give her support or comfort.
Lizzie deduces, without checking it with Brianna, that she was attacked by Roger since she saw them arguing and does not know the existence of Bonnet. She protects Brianna's honor by respecting her modesty and silence, and sticks to her own conclusions.
Roger disappears after their argument to go steal stones from Stephen Bonnet. He wishes to protect Brianna from the violence of the time by allowing her to return.
Brianna refuses to name Bonnet to protect her father: she does not want him to go after her and risks his life.
Claire falls silent to protect Brianna's secret and spare Jamie a punitive expedition. She also saw the ambivalence of finding Frank's wedding ring, wishing to put it back without hurting Jamie. This famous wedding ring is triple loaded: it represents her past love with Frank, but it also recalls the assault on the boat that Jamie suffered so bitterly, as well as the price Brianna paid to get her back.
Lizzie then denounces Roger by mistake, to protect Brianna.
When Roger is introduced by Lizzie and Little Ian as his daughter's rapist, Jamie thinks he came to claim her for a wife, which is a legal right at the time since she is pregnant. He does not kill him, perhaps to spare Little Ian the sight of a murder, but also because Roger affirms that Brianna was consenting to their union, which leaves him a final doubt. He nevertheless leaves it almost for dead and charges Little Ian to get rid of it for good.
Brianna is pregnant but did not tell Jamie that she was ritually married to Roger to protect him and allow him to back away from the oath of hands if he does not want her after the rape.
Jamie is about to offer himself to the Mohawks, in return for the Indian killed during the stampede, to protect the two beings most dear to Brianna, Roger and Claire.
Ian closes the loop: he protects them all and frees them by joining the Indian tribe. Despite the price of renouncing his family, it is not on the order of sacrifice. He is attracted to these tribes, to a woman of them, he becomes a man and symbolically leaves the house of his father and mother. In this regard, in my opinion, Jenny is mistaken in cruelly punishing Jamie with his long letter-writing silence. She unfairly accuses him of not having protected her son, while Ian has voluntarily chosen this path, not only out of noble dedication but also to fulfill himself.
The notion of protection is fundamental to Jamie. She will be her first commitment to Claire on the night of their wedding (her name, her clan, and her body if necessary). When they evoke Brianna during their crossing to Jamaica, he exclaims with vexation upon discovering the mores of the twentieth century: "If it is no longer necessary for a man to protect a woman and take care of her , so I think it will be a really sad time! ". Protecting is so obvious that asking his wife or daughter for consent on this point is not even a prerequisite for him.
Facing disagreements: confronting or confronting each other
When Claire returns to this time, she is already familiar with the issues of this century and Jamie's values. Whereas Brianna does not have this experience, and was not raised to abide by rules that she does not recognize as legitimate. His youth, his ardor and his bubbling character quickly prevail in the event of conflict, and his altercations with Jamie more often than not turned into confrontation.
Face off with Brianna
Jamie carefully chose Ian to marry Brianna. He is convinced to work for her good, while she is firmly determined to wait for Roger, no matter what. For Jamie, it doesn't make sense to expose yourself to dishonor, vulnerability and social stigma like this.
After a short lull, the misunderstanding of Roger's identity is finally revealed, and the confusion of past events comes to a head, between Brianna who discovers that Jamie has prevented Roger's return, narrowly missing to kill him, and Jamie who accuses his daughter of having lied about his assault, before learning the role of Stephen Bonnet.
She calls him a despotic, arrogant, monster and poor guy. She curses the day they met and adds that she would like to see him burn in hell, that she would give her soul to find her father… her real father.
He describes her as insensitive, stupid, selfish, stupid, impure, liar, up to nighean da galladh (girl of a bitch according to my translation!).
Who dares to talk like that to Jamie, besides his sister Jenny?
This shows that the time is not a really differentiating criterion.
Jenny and Brianna come together in their way of coming into conflict with Jamie. They quickly go into reaction and confrontation: they scream, verbally or physically attack, objects fly. Little Ian testifies that his father's attempts to intervene have always been unsuccessful, which makes him keep a cautious distance during Brianna and Jamie's arguments.
Different times, similar reactions.
Likewise, Jamie and Roger share common values about marriage, which neither belong to Claire nor Brianna. Roger absolutely wants to get married to Brianna before any carnal union, as Jamie tells Claire at their wedding. He wouldn't have allowed himself to touch her outside of those bonds. Claire and Brianna distinguish the two more freely.
Claire and Jamie have faced each other in the past, at least once per volume.
At the first, after having freed her from Jack Randall, during her attempt to reach the stones, just after her marriage, the confrontation is intense but short. Jamie quickly lets his guard down and reveals his fear for her, his love and vulnerability, instantly dispelling Claire's aggression.
In Paris, there is the demand to save Frank, at the cost of Jamie's honor, and the already mentioned episode of bites.
Upon her return after 20 years, there is the discovery of Laoghaire's marriage, and Claire's hurt self-esteem.
They are arguments animated by the fear of losing the other, by jealousy or by the fact of feeling the fate of Frank privileged with one's own. In spite of everything, they rarely insult each other, do not question themselves. Their honesty and trust nurtured their mutual allegiance early on.
Until America, their rhythm of life and successive emergencies left little room for their disagreements. In this new context, I had the impression that the security they find and the joy of being together allows them to let their differences or their criticisms be expressed more naturally. This does not damage their relationship, which on the contrary deepens even further.
Because unlike Jenny and Brianna, Jamie does not confront Claire, he confronts her.
Confront with Claire
Confrontation designates the will to fight against the other, to try to put down his position or his ideas, with the intention of conquering and triumphing. A winner, a loser.
Confrontation is more about choosing to test one's position against that of the other. That of the other can exist, I can hear it, recognize it and consider it, even if I do not renounce my own. But I can try to make the two coexist, because the other is important to me and I don't want him to come out as a loser. Two winners, if possible.
Claire and Jamie no longer doubt each other and want each other the greatest good. Their mutual trust is absolute. If they get lost, it will be through death, by accident.
It is perhaps this confidence that allows them to confront each other more openly on external subjects, to assert each other without fear, by trying to ally their differences. They do it with assertiveness, that is to say, they assert themselves without accusing the other, without disqualifying him, without reproach or questioning.
ª During Stephen Bonnet's attack on the boat, Jamie experiences intense anger. He seems to cross it without trying to save Claire. Does he blame her that she defended herself and that he had to protect her even more, and maybe fear for her? It is not said. But she expresses fear of seeing him so furious. And he doesn't spare her by finding an effective, but particularly disgusting, way to make her throw up her ring.
ª When Foreman Byrnes died, he privileged his protection without his consent. She gets annoyed at first thinking that he has allowed himself to decide for her when he sees beyond her. Wiser now, he understands the issues and the risks before she does, when she does not spontaneously reflect on the consequences of relieving Byrnes' agony.
Funnier, his disapproval at discovering Claire's tight suede pants. And when he goes out at night to repair the roof, naked because she accuses him of wearing his only shirt intact. He leaves annoyed, but without turning him against her. Simply.
ª The fight against the bear: in trying to help him, on the contrary, she fails to knock him out at the height of the fight, by hitting him with the fish by mistake. He simply says it. He does not preserve her, precisely because he trusts their relationship. And she does not take offense.
ª When his back is stuck in the snow: he expresses his moods and his annoyance when she touches him with her cold hands, and then passes to more lightness. She welcomes him as he is, without judging or criticizing him either.
ª When Brianna plans to have an abortion, their disagreement is much more difficult because it touches on their values, on what constitutes them deeply, which nourishes their identity. For her, performing this abortion reflects her desire to treat, to take care of her daughter and a patient, to respect the choices of the other. For him, a believer, it is an assault on life, it is a crime. She knows he can stop her from doing it. He does not allow himself, he only begs her.
ª Then there is their mutual incomprehension during their journey in search of Roger. It is a particularly painful moment, but significant on several points.
They are then brought back to their fears and very sensitive intimate subjects.
Jamie was hurt by Brianna's lightning words, he has been compared to Frank of whom he is jealous. He did not raise his children, he does not have this parental legitimacy, as if he was not a good enough father when Frank is constantly praised for his fatherly qualities. He accumulates the guilt of having made a mistake with regard to Roger, of having injured his daughter indirectly, of having lied to Claire in order to preserve her (he hid the aggression and the reasons for his injured hand from her). He also finds that Claire also lied to him.
In addition, there is the fact that he considers himself a violent man, and he wonders if that makes him a bad man (cf. during the kidnapping of Little Ian in volume 3, where Claire reassures him; and earlier in this tome when he is thinking about accepting or refusing River Run.) He says he only believes in his redemption because Claire believes in him. What if Claire no longer believes in him, if she considers him bad after her mistake towards Roger, if she prefers Frank to him, despite his death? This may explain the meaning of his jealousy: “I never thought I would become jealous of a dead person. Because if he behaved badly, if he is rejected by the two women, if he is no longer loved by Claire, everything collapses. Nothing make sense anymore.
And this misunderstanding lasts a long time (“We hadn't touched each other for over a month.”). They cover in fact nearly a thousand kilometers. Until Ian intervened.
For her part, Claire especially feels guilty, and does not dare to go to him. She lied to him about Bonnet, she betrayed their first sincere commitment, for her daughter. She realizes that she can't necessarily respect him anymore if her daughter is in the game, for the first time. “I (…) had already betrayed them both. I had sold off Jamie's honor thinking I was protecting him. "
The feeling and the relationship do not merge, and live distinctly.
Can I be loved even if I make a mistake, even if I say something wrong? Yes. Jamie is loved, by Claire as well as by Brianna, or even by Jenny.
It wasn't the feelings that kept them apart, but the guilt and pain that kept them from communicating and clearing up those misunderstandings and lags.
Likewise, if Brianna is angry with him for his mistake, she loves him and wants to see him come back, that's why she sends her mother to accompany her, to be sure that she also brings her father back to her.
Frank's surprising letter also shows it. He confesses his lies, his fears and his hatred: “(…) hatred, jealousy, lies, theft, infidelity… I don't have much to present to redeem myself, except love. I loved her, I love them, my women. It might not be the kind of love they need, but it's all I have to offer. And yet, I imagine that the love he elicited in Claire and Brianna won't wane.
Jamie himself calms down vis-à-vis this man and Claire's past which escapes him, but which he does not want to deprive her of: "I am a jealous man, but not resentful. I took you from him, my Sassenach, but I don't want to take him from you. "
ª Last example of an attachment, during the declaration of the baby's civil status. Behind Jamie's annoyance of seeing Brianna wait for Roger to baptize the child is her resentment against Roger that endures. He doesn't know him, he still doesn't know what can bring them together, like the oath of hands he discovers later. At this point, he only sees what separates them. In addition, Roger is the descendant of Dougal but he is also the descendant of a witch, Geillis, whom he particularly hates.
Their relationship will be one of the narrative arcs of the following volume and will extend this theme.
Diana Gabaldon thus illustrates the idea that learning to love others is not done only by cultivating our similarities. Beyond even understanding each other, the biggest challenge is to succeed in harmoniously combining our differences, to remain oneself and to grow again, closer to the other.
Finally, I can not resist citing one last clash. When Claire, fearing Jamie's trip to Scotland and his death, annoys her surprise and her incomprehension, she addresses this paradoxical reproach to him: “You will find a solution. You always find one! "
And Jamie has this divine response: "I never realized you took me for God, Sassenach." "
King of the Men, and sometimes more.
I wish you a pleasant reading!
Jamie Fraser, between possession and allegiance,
consent and protection
By Carolyn Garcin
The Drums of Autumn - Volume 4
Jamie Fraser: Between Possession and Allegiance , Consent and Protection .
To love each other despite our differences: to confront each other or to confront each other ...
Here we are in the fourth volume of the saga, for the rest of Jamie's journey from the angle of his romantic relationship with Claire, on the already mentioned themes of possession, allegiance, consent and protection.
As for the three previous sections, I give you the raw extracts, by chapter and page, by trying to get to the point, hence the cuts mentioned by a (...), while preserving the elements of context that you locate the emotion of the moment.
These values echoed by Claire at significant moments are indicated in italics.
At the end of the Voyage, we left Claire and Jamie happy, shipwreck survivors, stranded in America. It all started for them again.
The prospect of finally settling down is taking shape. Land is offered to them (at a certain price despite everything…) and despite the immensity of the task, they do not lack courage. They loved each other in fear, threat, urgency, chaos… will they know how to live together tirelessly, in this new life that may be calmer and more secure?
If they ask each other the question, the answer is quick. Faith or thermodynamics, each renews his absolute, eternal, unconditional love commitment.
Chapter 2 p46 The night of Gavin Hayes' funeral
Jamie put the reins in his left hand and slipped his right arm around my shoulders, pulling me close to him. As always, I felt safe in contact with him. I softened, my cheek rubbing against the dusty serge of his jacket, and immediately sank into an uncomfortable torpor. (…) I woke up to feel Jamie shaking me by the shoulder.
“You better go and lie in the back, Sassenach. You grumble in your sleep. You risk slipping out of the seat and falling on the road.
(p50) Go take your bath, Sassenach. I'll come join you as soon as I can. I tiptoed up to kiss him and felt him smile. My tongue brushed his mouth and he gently nibbled my lower lip.
- Do you think you can stay awake a little longer?
"As much as it takes," I replied. But don't wait too long anyway.
(p54) The fate of the Indians
- What will happen to the Redskins? Jamie asked. (…)
- Many will be killed. Many will be taken prisoner and sentenced to live on reserves.
- So much the better.
- It depends for whom. I doubt the Indians would agree.
“Probably not, but when an enemy tries to cut off the top of my head, his point of view doesn't interest me much, Sassenach.
- Still, we can't really blame them.
- What do you mean ? he retorted. If one of those savages scalped you, I would be very angry with him.
(p55) We stood side by side in the hollow of the rock, watching the stars. I felt both happy and a little anxious. Would this exaltation last? In the past, I had taken the “for life” between us for granted, but I was much younger then. Soon, if all went well, we would settle on these lands. We would find a place to build our house and live the rest of our days. I didn't ask for anything else. Still, I was worried. Barely a few months had passed since my return. Each caress, each word exchanged was still tinged with the memory and the joy of rediscovery. What would happen when we got used to each other, stuck in the routine of everyday life?
- Do you think you'll get bored of me when we're back to being people like everyone else? he whispered.
- That's exactly what I was wondering.
- No, he said. I will never get tired of you.
- How can you be sure?
- I wasn't… before. We were married for three years and I wanted you as much on the last day as I did on the first. More, maybe. (…) I could spend my whole life by your side, Sassenach, and still love you. I could make love to you endlessly, you will always surprise me… like tonight. (…) I don't like the idea that you can do without me.
"I can't," I assured him.
Chapter 6 p98
Myers scratched his chin thoughtfully. (…)
- Your wife will perhaps be kind enough to meet me later in that inn, over there. (…) She will be able to take a look at this… this… He moved his lips in vain to pronounce “inguinal hernia”, gave up and relaxed. This… obstruction, he synthesized. Myers put the hat back on his head and, after a brief nod to Jamie, walked away. (…).
"Really, Sassenach, you really have a gift," Jamie said without taking his eyes off him.
- A donation for what?
- Each time you meet a man, you are not five minutes with him that he already starts to lower his panties.
Fergus nearly choked and Ian turned bright pink.
"You're in a good position to know that, my darling," I replied in a soft voice. Anyway, it looks like I got us a boat and a guide.
Chapter 7 p115
- This pledge of allegiance, I say suddenly. What was he saying?
He shrugged his shoulders vaguely.
- "I, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, swear to God that in the future I neither own nor will own a pistol, sword or any other weapon, and that I will not wear henceforth neither tartan, nor plaid, nor any other weapon. another symbol of my belonging to the fallen Highland clans. If I perjure myself, curse my businesses, my family and my property; that I will never see my wife, my children, my father, my mother or my friends again; that I am killed like a traitor on the battlefield; that I am buried without the sacraments, in a foreign land, far from the graves of my ancestors. "
- Wasn't that too hard? I asked after a few moments.
- No. Not on the spot. There are things that are worth sacrificing your life or health for, but not words.
- Maybe not those words.
His features were barely visible in the dim light, but a hint of a smile floated on his lips.
- Do you know words for which you would be ready to die? (…)
- I was thinking of: "I love you. "
He reached out and brushed my cheek. (…)
- Yes, he whispered. For those words, no doubt.
Chapter 8 p131
- Why did you want to give me a piece of jewelry? I asked. (…) Oh I see ! I say suddenly. You wanted to be forgiven for all that money you sent to Laoghaire, right? But you know I don't care, I told you. (…)
- Yes, I know, you told me, he agreed.
- I thought so ... More or less.
Hearing my own tone, I burst out laughing.
- You couldn't let this… this… this hysterical female die of starvation, even if the idea seemed rather attractive to me.
He smiles in turn.
- Indeed, I would not like to have his death on my conscience, it is already loaded enough like that. But that's not why I wanted to give you a present.
- Why then ?
'Twenty-five years ago today, Sassenach, I married you. Hope you never regret it.
Chapter 9 p143
Jamie tilted his head and watched me intently. (…) He took my hand in his, his thumb caressing my silver wedding ring.
- Maybe one day I will be able to cover you with lace and jewelry. So far, I haven't been able to offer you much except a silver ring and my mother's pearls.
"You gave me a lot more," I said, squeezing her hand. Brianna, among others.
- Yes, it's true. She's probably my real motivation… to stay here, I mean.
I pulled him to me and he rested his head on my lap. (…) I released my hand and showed it to him. - I don't need anything other than this alliance. He took both my hands and brought them to his lips. He kissed the left first, the one where I wore Frank's gold wedding ring, then the right, where his was.
"Da mi kissed a thousand," he whispered. "Give me a thousand kisses" It was the verse inscribed inside the silver ring, borrowed from a love poem by Catullus.
"Dein mille altera," I replied. "Then give me a thousand more." "
(p144) The memory of Colum and Dougal suddenly made me uncomfortable. Colum had succumbed to his illness shortly before Culloden. Dougal had died on the eve of the fighting, killed by Jamie. He had killed her to defend himself… to defend me, I corrected, and his disappearance had gone unnoticed among the heaps of dead in that bloody month of April.
(p148) Attack of Stephen Bonnet on the boat
The anger distorted the features of the pirate. I saw the shard of a blade, then something hit me hard and knocked me over. I found myself flattened on the deck, crushed under Jamie's weight. Dazed, I didn't even try to get up and, even if I wanted to, I couldn't have done it: Jamie's chest was crushing my neck, pressing my face against the floor. . ( …) Then there was a low hiss and I felt Jamie's body arch before falling heavily on me. My God ! They stabbed him! I thought, terrified. However, a second identical noise, followed by a growl, let me guess that they had only kicked him in the ribs. Jamie didn't move, pressing me against the bridge . (…)
"Get up, Mr. Fraser," said Bonnet. Nothing will be done to your wife ... even if she looked for it.
(p150) After the attack on Stephen Bonnet
I was in terrible pain in the back of my head and my ears were ringing. (…) Otherwise, I wasn't doing too badly. Physically, at least. I felt Jamie's presence two feet behind me, dark and threatening like a summer thunderstorm. Ian, who could see him over my shoulder, didn't look reassured. The deck slats creaked and Ian's features relaxed. Then Jamie's voice echoed in the cabin. He was asking Fergus a question in an apparently calm tone. Then I heard them put the furniture back on the right foot and collect the scattered things. I sighed in relief.
" Don't worry, Aunt Claire," Ian said unconvincingly. Uncle Jamie isn't the type to lay a hand on you. Well, I don't think so.
I wasn't so sure, considering the bad vibes Jamie was giving off at the moment.
- He's very angry, do you think? I whispered. Ian shrugged uncertainly.
- Well… the last time he looked at me askance like that, a few seconds later he slapped me that sent me rolling on the ground. But he wouldn't do that to you!
- No, I don't think so, I say in a weak voice.
"On the other hand, it's best not to be around when he's emptying his bag," he said sympathetically. Personally, I still prefer a good beating. ( …)
I flinched when I suddenly saw Jamie come out of the shadows, another pole in hand. In the uproar in the cabin, I hadn't heard him come out. Without a glance towards me, he took off his shirt and, following Eutroclus' directions, planted his staff in his turn in the bank. (…) Jamie smirked at him, picked up his shirt off the deck and turned to me. I stiffened and Rollo pricked up his ears, alert. However, Jamie didn't seem to have any intention of knocking me out or throwing me overboard. He just crouched down next to me and narrowed his eyes the better to stare at me in the flickering light of the lantern.
- How are you feeling, Sassenach? With this bad light, I can't see if you're really green or if it's light.
"I'm fine," I assured him. A little shaken, that's all. (…) It's probably my imagination, but I have the impression that one of the alliances got stuck in my throat. (…)
Having finished his preparations, he handed me the cup with a grim smile.
- Oh no ! I cried. No way !
- Oh yes ! Come on, Sassenach. Courage! (…) The only other solution, Jamie said, is to wait for it to come out the other side. Believe me, it is much more unpleasant, especially on a boat and in front of everyone. So ?
He placed a hand against my neck and pressed the rim of the cup to my lips. (…)
- It won't be long. Come on, just a sip. (…)
Jamie wasted no time arguing or trying to convince me. He just let go of the back of my neck, pinched my nostrils and, when I had to part my lips, poured his infamous potion into my mouth.
- Swallow! he ordered.
He put a hand over my mouth, turning a deaf ear to my muffled protests. He was significantly stronger than me and had no intention of being sorry. (…)
- You're just a sadistic dirty pervert, Jamie Fraser!
He leaned towards me and parted a strand that was falling in front of my eyes.
- Good time, my sweet dove. Here I am reassured ! If you have the strength to insult me, it's because you've regained your form.
He kissed my forehead and sat down next to me. Once the anger and fear had passed, the men retreated to the cabin and recovered from their emotions in front of a bottle of apple brandy that Captain Freeman had managed to save from the pirates by hiding it in the cistern. drinking water. (…) If Jamie was hardly resentful, at least for a Scotsman, no Highlander could endure such an affront in resigned silence. It was not only the loss of his fortune but also an insult to his honor. Was he just going to throw in the towel? He stared at the dark water, his lips pursed. (…)
"It's not your fault," I told him softly.
- Whose fault, then? I knew who I was dealing with. I could have left him to the fate he deserved. But I had to get involved. I'm just an idiot.
- You're good, it's not the same thing.
- It's almost the same.
(p155) After a long silence, he continued in a low voice:
- I'm sorry about your other alliance.
- Oh, it's… I was going to say "it's nothing", but the words stuck in my throat. This alliance had not left me for nearly thirty years, symbol of vows exchanged before the altar, vows flouted, renewed, and finally dissolved by death; symbol of a marriage, of a family, of a large part of my life; she was the last bond with Frank that in spite of everything I had loved. (…) With his other hand, he exerted a little pressure on my right ring finger, pushing the silver ring into my flesh, reminding me of what I still had. I lifted his fist and pressed it to my heart. At the same time, the rain began to fall in large, heavy drops. But neither he nor I moved. (…) The rain seemed to me cool and soft on my skin, like a balm on the wounds left by fear and sorrow.I felt both vulnerable and secure. But that was nothing new: with Jamie Fraser, I always felt vulnerable and safe.
Chapter 10 p159 Arrival at Jocasta's
I tiptoed up to straighten her crop and lifted a small feather from her shoulder.
"Everything will be fine," I whispered to him. You look beautiful.
He leaned over and placed a kiss on my forehead.
- No, Sassenach. It is you who are superb. Looks like a pretty little apple. You're adorable.
(p190) Judgment of the Slave
He pulled his hat tightly over his head and turned to Jamie.
"I'm ready," the latter replied, slipping the pistols into his jacket pockets. Sassenach, would you mind ... (...)
- Jamie, please! Do not go. I don't want you to participate in this masquerade.
He put a hand on mine and squeezed it, staring straight in my eyes.
- Shhh, calm down. I'm already involved, whether I like it or not. (…)
- So I'm going with you.
I had spoken with that strange detachment that often accompanies the foreknowledge of impending disaster. His lips suppressed a smile.
- I expected it, Sassenach. Go get your box. I'll have you saddled a horse.
Without listening to Mr. Campbell's protests, I ran to the herb shop, and my mules slammed on the flagstones like a beating heart. Andrew MacNeill (…) was waiting for us on the side of the road. (…) He greeted Campbell with a nod and his gaze fell on me.
"So you didn't tell him, Campbell?" It is not a women's affair.
- You explained that there was bloodshed, right? Jamie interjected. My wife is ban-lighiche. She went to war with me and saw others. If you want me to come, you'll have to accept it.
(p196) The slave Rufus
No one paid attention to the real subject of the debate. Only a few minutes had passed… and I had only a few seconds left to act. I put a hand on Jamie's arm, getting his attention.
- If I save him, I whispered, will they let him live?
His eyes scanned the faces of the men behind us, calculating the odds.
- No, he said finally.
Our eyes met, heavy with meaning. He straightened his shoulders and put his pistol on his thigh. I couldn't help him make his decision. He couldn't help me take mine, but he would stand up for me no matter what.
Chapter 12 p210 Myers operated
- How is he ? I whirled around and found Jamie behind me.
- Very good. Nothing could bring it down. He's rock solid, indestructible, like you.
I leaned on him, hugging his waist, and buried my face in the folds of his shirt. He kissed my hair.
- I'm proud of you, he said. You were perfect. (…)
I slid my hands a little lower, feeling the roundness of her smooth, free buttocks under her kilt. (…)
- Very good, said Jamie. So join me in the herb garden. Be careful going down the stairs. Don't go break your neck
Lifting my chin, he kissed me passionately and left me dizzy, both sober and more drunk than before.
(p213) Accept River Run or not
Money did not interest him. No more than power. (…) But he had been laird once. (…) Speaking of the men who shared his cell, he told me: “They were my men. It was having to watch over them that kept me alive. I also remembered what Ian Murray had said about Simon Fraser: "The care with which he watches over his men is now his only connection to humanity. Yes, Jamie needed men. Men to lead, protect, defend and lead in battle. But not to own. (…)
Yet the reality was the man walking beside me, head down, lost in thought. My temptation was him. Jamie. It was not the comfortable beds, the richly decorated rooms, the silk dresses, or the social rank. It was Jamie . (…) I leaned on his arm, but before I stepped over the edge of the boat, he pulled me to him and kissed me. He hugged me and rested his chin on my head. (…)
- You have nothing to say ? he asked after a moment.
- It's not for me to decide.
- Oh no ?
- She's your aunt. It's your life. It can only be your decision.
- And you, you intend to remain as a simple spectator? It's not your life, maybe? Unless you don't intend to stay with me?
- What do you mean ?
- Maybe living here would be too hard for you. (…) I know you can take death and violence, Sassenach. But it's the things of everyday life that hurt you ... (...)
- Yes, it's true. I don't want… I can't own slaves, I already told you. (…)
- I can't tell you what to do, I finally admitted. (…)
Jamie took my chin between his fingers.
- You are everything to me, Sassenach. But you're right, you can't be my conscience.
Despite everything, I suddenly felt relieved, as if I had just let go of an indefinable burden.
- So much the better, I said, it would be too heavy to carry.
He looked surprised.
- Ah yes ? So you think I'm so bad?
- No, you're the best man I know, but… no one can decide for two. You cannot impose on another what you think is good for him. (…) He was silent for a moment and stared at the black water.
- Do you think I'm really good? he said at last.
There was a strange note in his voice that I couldn't read.
- Yes not you ?
- No. I know I am violent. You too.
He spread his large, powerful hands in front of me, hands that could handle the sword with ease and could strangle a man.
- You never did anything wrong without having to. (…)
- I'm forty-five! he cried. At this age, a man should be established, right? He should have a house, a piece of land in which to grow food, and some money for his retirement. But I have none of that. Neither land nor house. (…)
- You got me, I said softly.
He made a throaty sound that could have been a laugh or a sob.
- Yes, I got you. This is the problem . (…) If it was just me, it wouldn't matter. I could go to the mountains with Myers, and make a living from hunting and fishing. Then, when I got too old, I would just have to lie down under a tree and quietly wait for death. (…) So you don't understand, Claire? I would have liked to put the world at your feet… and I have nothing to give you!
He sincerely meant it ! (…) In the space of an hour I had gone from extreme anguish at the idea of losing him in Scotland, to the powerful desire to rape him in his aunt's flowerbeds, then to that of 'knock out with his oar. Now I had returned to tenderness. I knelt in the bottom of the boat between his knees and, hugging him, pressed my cheek to his chest. I felt his breath lifting my hair. I couldn't find my words, but I had made my choice.
- Where you will go, I will go, I whispered. Your roof will be my roof, your people my people, your god my god. Where you die, I will die and, there, I will be buried. Whether it's a Scottish hill or an American forest. Do what you have to do, Jamie. I will always be there.
(p219) The Death of Foreman Byrnes
"Byrnes is dead," he said suddenly without looking at me.
- Foreman ? When? And how ?
- This afternoon. (…) Tetanus, he said nonchalantly. It is a very cruel ending. (…)
"It's not a quick death either," I retorted. It takes at least several days to die from tetanus.
- David Byrnes took five days altogether.
- You knew it ! You saw him die and you didn't tell me! (…)
Disgusted, I had made no effort to inquire about his state of health. It was my own neglect that infuriated me, I was aware of it, but it didn't change a thing.
“You couldn't have done anything,” Jamie said. You told me yourself that there was no cure for tetanus, even in your day. (…)
- It's true. I could not have saved him, but I could have gone to see him and, perhaps, alleviate his suffering. (…)
- No, said Jamie, I stopped Campbell from coming to get you. There is the law… and then justice. I can tell the difference between the two. (…)
- You should have warned me. Even if you thought there was nothing I could do, it wasn't for you to decide.
- I didn't want you to go.
- I know ! But whether or not you think Byrnes deserved to suffer ...
- Not for him ! (…) I don't care whether Byrnes deserved his fate or not, he continued, but I am not a monster of cruelty! I did not prevent you from going to see him to prevent him from suffering. I did it to protect you.
"It wasn't for you to decide," I repeated. I am not your conscience, but neither are you mine. (…)
Suddenly, his hand sprang between the leaves and grabbed my wrist.
- It's up to me to ensure your safety!
- I'm not a kid who needs to be protected, nor a mental moron! If you think there is one thing I shouldn't do, just tell me and I'll listen to you. But you don't have to decide what to do and where to go without even consulting me. I will never accept it, you know that very well!
- I never told you where you had to go!
- You decided in my place where I should not go, it's the same!
His face was only inches from mine, monopolizing my entire field of vision. He narrowed his eyes, which formed only two black slits. I blinked. Him no. He let go of my wrist and grabbed both of my arms. I felt the warmth of his palms through my sleeves. His steel grip suddenly made me aware of the fragility of my own bones. “I am violent. He had shaken me like a plum tree several times before. I hadn't liked it at all. In case he had considered doing this again, I slipped a foot between his legs and was about to give him a good kick where it hurt the most.
- I was wrong.
I had expected anything and had already lifted my heel before registering the meaning of what he had just said. Driven by a good reflex, he closed his legs just in time, trapping my knee.
- I said "I was wrong", Sassenach, is that not enough for you?
- Ah… uh…
I tried to free my knee, but her thighs were squeezing it like a vice.
- Will you let go of me, please? I asked amiably.
- No. Are you going to listen to me now? (…) This argument is ridiculous, he declared. You know that as well as I do.
- No I do not know. If my anger started to dissipate, I wasn't going to let him get away with it.
“It might not be important to you,” I said, “but it is to me. This argument is not ridiculous and you know it very well, otherwise you would not admit your wrongs so easily.
He took a deep breath and his hands fell to his knees.
- Okay. I should have warned you about Byrnes, I admit. But if I had, you would have gone to see him, right?
- Yes, even if there was nothing to do. I couldn't have done otherwise. I am a doctor. You do not understand ?
- Yes, exactly. Do you think I don't know you, Claire? (…) When the man died in your arms the other day at the sawmill, people started talking, that's normal, isn't it? No one has said openly that you were there for something, but… some think so. It's not that they believe you killed him, but rather that you let him die to prevent him from being hanged.
- It crossed my mind.
- I know. I saw your face, Sassenach.
- And you ? Did you wonder if I killed him?
He looked slightly surprised.
- I know you only did what you felt was right.
He dismissed the minor issue of whether I had killed a man or not, to return to the question of the day.
- But it seemed to me that it would not be wise for you to attend the two deaths, if you know what I mean.
This was the case. Once again, I became aware of the subtle webs he navigated through on a daily basis. In many ways, this country was as foreign to him as it was to me. Yet he knew not only what was being said (after all, those who frequented taverns and markets could know that too), but also what people were thinking. But the most irritating thing was that he also knew what I was thinking.
“ You see,” he said, “I suspected that Byrnes was going to die anyway and that there was nothing you could do about it. I also suspected that if you found out about his condition, you would go see him. And that, when he died, people would say: "Here, here, how strange it is that these two men died in his arms! "
- I think I understand.
He gave a heartbroken smile.
- It's because people notice you, Sassenach.
I bit my lip. On several occasions already, this peculiarity had almost cost me my life.
(p224) Forgetting to be careful, I began to shout his name.
- Jamie! Jamie, where are you?
- Here, Sassenach.
His voice was coming from somewhere to my left, calm but deep.
"Come on over to me," he asked.
Relieved, I groped for her voice.
(p241) - We will take her to the mountains. (…)
- "Us"? I asked politely. Who is "us"?
He smiled broadly.
- Myers and I, Sassenach. I have to go visit the backcountry before winter and this is a great opportunity. (…)
- Are you taking me with you, say, Uncle Jamie? Ian said with a greedy look. You'll need help with this woman, trust me. She's as strong as a bear.
Jamie smiled at his nephew.
- Okay. I guess a man won't be too many.
- Hmm ... I said, giving him a grim look.
"… And then that way you can watch your aunt," Jamie continued, looking back at me. We're leaving in three days, Sassenach… if Myers can hold on by then.
(p242) All I had to do was fix the problem with my outfit. (…)
- What are you doing, Sassenach? And what is that… thing that you're wearing?
Jamie, arms crossed, was leaning against the door, puzzled.
- An improvised bra, I replied with dignity. I'm not going for a walk in the mountains riding a sidestick, and if I'm not wearing a corset, I need something to support my breasts. (…)
He circled around me in a wide circle, keeping a cautious distance, watching my legs puzzled.
- And that, we can know what it is?
- You like ?
I put my hands on my hips, delighted with the suede pants Phaedre had sewn for me, laughing like crazy from start to finish. (…)
- No, he answered frankly. You are not going to go out in ... in ...
He pointed at it, unable to find the word.
- In pants, I replied. Yes, of course. I wore it all the time in Boston. They are very practical.
He looked at me for a moment in silence. Then, very slowly, he resumed his walk around me.
- Did you wear that in the street? he cried incredulously. In front of everybody ?
- Yes. Like most women. Why not ?
- " Why not"? he repeated, scandalized. But we can see your butt, damn it, even the line!
- And then, we see yours too! I've been admiring your butt for months through your tight panties, but it's only occasionally that the sight of it makes me want to make you indecent proposals.
His lips quivered; he didn't know if he should laugh or not. Taking advantage of this indecision, I walked towards him and hugged him, holding his buttocks firmly.
- To tell the truth, it is especially your kilt which makes me want to throw myself on you, to tumble you in the grass and to rape you, I whispered to him. But the panties don't look bad on you either
This time he laughed. He leaned over and kissed me for a long time; his hands shamelessly explored my hindquarters through the suede. He exerted a little pressure, causing me to waddle against him.
"Take it off," he said, catching his breath.
- But I…
- Remove it.
He took a step back and began to untie the laces of his fly.
- You can put it back later if you can , Sassenach. But let's be clear: if there's somersaults and rapes to be committed, I'll take care of it, okay?
Chapter 14 p258
- And you, Sassenach, at what time were you born?
- I do not know. (…) But I know when Brianna was born. At three and three in the morning. There was a large clock in the delivery room.
- Were you awake? But you told me we drugged women in your day.
- It's true, but I refused the anesthesia.
- Why ? I have never attended a childbirth but I have heard women give birth before! You would have to be crazy to refuse to be relieved of pain, when you have a choice.
- Is that ...
I looked for a way to explain it to him without sounding theatrical, but it was the truth.
- I didn't think I was going to survive it and I didn't want to die asleep.
He wasn't shocked, just intrigued.
- Oh no ?
- Why, you would like, you?
He scratched his chin, amused by the question.
- I do not know. Why not ? I was on the verge of being hanged and I cannot say that I was very appreciative of waiting for the hour of my execution. I almost got killed in battle several times, but I didn't have much time to think about death. Then I almost succumbed to my injuries and fever, and I was in so much pain that I instead wanted to die as quickly as possible. All in all, no, I don't think I would mind dying in my sleep.
He leaned over me and kissed me.
"Preferably in a bed next to you," he added. At a very old age.
(p262) Battle with the bear
My hand closed on a cold, sticky object: the fish. I grabbed him by the tail and charged straight ahead, striking a blow on the bear's muzzle with all my might. The latter closed his mouth and seemed surprised. He lifted his head and rushed towards me with a speed I never thought possible. I fell backwards and took one last shot before the bear rushed at me, Jamie still hanging around his neck. (…)
I slid two fingers under his chin, checking for the pulse. He was sharp, not surprisingly, but strong. I sighed in relief.
- Is that your blood or that of the bear? I asked.
"If it was mine, Sassenach, I would be dead already," he retorted.
He rolled painfully onto his side and straightened up, moaning.
" Besides," he continued, "if I'm still alive, it's not thanks to you." What happened to you slapping me on the head with a fish while I was trying to save my skin? (…)
Feeling him shiver, I went to get him a blanket that I wrapped around his shoulders.
- Since I'm telling you I'm fine!
He pushed back my attempts to help him sit up.
"Go take care of the horses instead," he said. They must have panicked.
Chapter 15 p267 A woman among the Indians
The Indians watched me with fascination. The old man tilted his head to the side, frowning puzzled. He walked over and crouched down in front of me, close enough that I could smell his strange musky scent. (…) Without warning, he suddenly put out his hand and pinched my breast. There was nothing lewd about his gesture, but I jumped back. As did Jamie, who immediately grabbed his cutlass . The Indian sat back calmly on his heels and made a gesture of appeasement. He put his hand flat on his own breast, then mimed a roundness and pointed to me. In other words, there was nothing to get excited about, he just wanted to make sure I was a woman. He pointed his index finger at me, then at Jamie.
" Yes, she's mine," he growled. So, shut up! He lowered his gun, but didn't let go.
Chapter 16 p274 The place that will become Fraser's Ridge
He crouched down, rolled up his plaid, and turned the wild strawberry between his fingers.
"It's a plant apart," he said softly. We have the flower, the fruit and the leaves at the same time. White flowers are honor, red fruit courage… and green leaves constancy.
- It couldn't have been better! I joked. He took my hand and squeezed my fingers around the small rod.
- Besides, he added, the fruit is shaped like a heart. He leaned over and kissed me. Then he stood up, unbuckled his belt, and let the blanket fall to his feet. He took off his shirt and panties, and stood in front of me, totally naked.
- There is nobody, he clarified. We are alone. ( …) In the past, he says, this was what we did to make the fields fruitful.
- I don't see any fields anywhere. I wasn't sure I wanted to see it one day.
Nevertheless, I undressed as he retorted:
- Bah! We will have to cut down a few trees, but that can wait, right?
(p275) Thermodynamics and faith
With his loose hair falling over his shoulders, he looked all the savage Highlander he was. What I had believed to be his trap, namely his family and his clan, was his strength. And what I had taken for my strength - my loneliness, my lack of connection - was my weakness. He had had the strength to leave his universe, to abandon any notion of security to venture out into the world alone. Whereas I, once so proud of my independence, could no longer bear the thought of being alone without him. (…) Terror and despair came over me. (…)
- I'm afraid, I blurted out. (…) Hold me close, Jamie.
He embraced me tenderly.
" It's all right, a nighean donn," he whispered. I'm here. What are you afraid of ?
"From you," I said, snuggling up to him. Of this place, of knowing you here, of the two of us settling here.
- Afraid? But of what ? Didn't I promise to always watch over you, to make sure you never go wanting? As long as I'm here, you'll never be hungry or cold. I won't let anything happen to you, ever.
- It's not that ! I'm afraid you die. I can't stand it, Jamie. I will not be able to.
- I'll do what I can, Sassenach, but it's not just up to me.
- Do not make fun of me ! I cried. I forbid it !
- But I'm not making fun of you!
- Yes ! (…)
- Sassenach, you saw me on the verge of death a dozen times without making a fuss! What's the matter with you ? I'm not even sick!
- Without making a fuss! Because you think it left me cold, maybe?
- No, I didn't say that. But it didn't put you in such a state!
- Of course it is! But you don't see anything! You are only one… one… a Scotsman! (…)
- So, are you going to tell me what's bothering you or are you going to make me suffer for a long time? (…)
"It's about you," I said.
- Of me ? But why ?
- Because you're a bloody Highlander, obsessed with honor, courage, consistency and whatnot. I know it's stronger than you but… one day it will lead you back to Scotland where you will get killed. I won't be able to do anything to prevent it. (…)
- Ah! he finally said. I see. You think if I go back to Scotland I'll die there, because that's where you saw my grave, right? (…) But why do you want me to go back to Scotland? (…)
- Where are you going to find Scots to settle here, if not in Scotland?
This time it was his turn to get angry.
- And how would I get them? (…) Am I going to fly to Scotland like a bird? Then I will bring back settlers by walking on the water, maybe?
- You'll find a solution. You always find one!
He stared at me for a few seconds before responding:
- I never realized that you took me for God, Sassenach.
- Not for God. For Moses, rather. (…)
- The men who were with me in Ardsmuir are already all in the colonies.
- But how do you plan to find them? I protested. They were deported years ago! They are probably already well installed. They are not going to give up everything to follow you here, to the end of the world!
- You did well, you ! I took a deep breath. The dull fear that had gripped my viscera for several weeks was beginning to dissipate. (…). Tears ran down my cheeks, warm and soothing like summer rain.
- Won't you leave me? I asked finally. Won't you die?
He shook his head and took my hand in his.
- You are my courage, Sassenach, and I am your conscience. You are my heart… and I am your compassion. Neither of us would be complete without the other. So you still don't know?
- Yes, I answered in a trembling voice. That’s why I’m afraid.
He parted a strand that fell in front of my eyes and pulled me against him. I felt his chest lift and sag. He was so solid, so alive! (…)
- Can't you see how ridiculous the idea of death is for both of us, Claire?
No, I didn't think it was ridiculous at all.
- When you got home after Culloden… I was dead, right?
- That is to say, I believed him. That's why I… oh!
- In two hundred years, I will be long dead, Sassenach, whether I am killed by the Indians, a wild beast, disease, the hangman's rope or simply old age… I will be dead and buried.
- As I was already when you lived in your time.
I nodded, speechless. (…) Now, I stood with him at the top of life and could not consider coming down. (…)
- I was dead, Sassenach, and yet, for two hundred years, I never stopped loving you. (…)
"I loved you too," I whispered. I will always love you.
- As long as we live, we will be one. And long after my body turns to dust, my soul will still be yours, Claire… I swear it on the heavens. I will never leave you. (…) Nothing is lost, Sassenach. Everything is changing.
- I know, it's the first principle of thermodynamics, I said, wiping my nose.
- No, he replied. It is faith.
Chapter 21 p321 Roof repair, bare and at night
The snow fell silently, collected on the cabin, and then, when the heat from inside melted it, flowed down the slope of the roof to leave small stalactites of ice under the eaves. However, the water sometimes found a space between the planks (…), darting its icy drops towards us. Jamie saw these intrusions as a personal affront and wanted to fight them immediately. (…) No man worthy of the name, I was told, could bear to sleep in such conditions. Jamie got off the bed and shook Ian. (…) He grabbed a new shingle, a hammer, a hatchet, a bag of nails, and walked towards the door.
- You're not going to climb on the roof like that! I cried, straightening up. This is your only decent woolen shirt!
He stopped on the doorstep, glared at me , then, with the stoic air of a Christian martyr, put down his tools, took off his nightgown, picked up his tools and stepped out with a majestic step. bare buttocks. (…) Footsteps on the roof, which were by no means those of Santa Claus, told us that Jamie was in place. (…) There was a din of hammer blows and torn wood; the leak was quickly repaired. (…) Back in bed, Jamie wrapped his frozen body around mine, hugged me to his frozen chest and fell asleep almost immediately with the satisfied smile of a man who defended his home and his home against thick and thin. .
(p329) I rolled over onto my stomach and pulled the comforter over my shoulders. No matter how hot the bottom of the bed was, my hands and feet were frozen. Being alone with Jamie was happiness, adventure, fulfillment. Being alone without Jamie was… being really alone.
(p337) Back stuck in the snow, far from the hut
I felt a hard knot in the latissimus dorsi, just below the kidney, as well as an overlap of the spinal erectors, the long muscles near the spine. From her description of the previous bout, I was pretty sure it was just an acute muscle spasm, in which case the proper remedy was warmth, rest, and administration of anti-inflammatories. One could hardly be further from these three conditions.
- Maybe I could try acupuncture, I thought out loud. I have Mr. Willoughby's needles in my satchel and ...
- Sassenach, he interrupted me, articulating distinctly, I can bear to be in pain, cold and hunger, but there is no question of my own wife sticking needles in my back! Couldn't you just give me a little comfort and compassion, for a change? I laughed and slipped an arm under him, exerting light pressure on his back. I let my hand drop lower, well below the navel.
- What kind of comfort are you thinking? I asked in an innocent voice. He immediately grabbed my hand to prevent him from going any further.
- Not that kind.
- It might make you think of something other than the pain. I waved my fingers to tickle him and he tightened his hand on my wrist.
“ Once we get home, Sassenach, I have a warm bed to lay down and a nice dinner, so I won't say no. But for now… Goddamn it! Do you realize how cold your hands are?
I put my cheek against his back and burst out laughing. I could feel the vibrations of his hilarity, even though he couldn't laugh frankly without waking up the pain.
Chapter 23 p368 The Savior Ghost
"I was in bed when that beast went crazy," Jamie said, gesturing to Rollo. He barked and screamed and threw himself against the door like the devil was on the other side. (…) He was so angry that he was drooling and I thought he had gone mad. I was afraid he would hurt himself, so I asked Ian to open the door to let him out. He settled on his heels and stared at my feet with a frown. (…) We searched the clearing of the enclosure down to the source and we found nothing… except that.
He opened his sporran and pulled out my two crumpled moccasins. Then he looked up at me, his face unmoved.
- When we got back to the cabin, they were sitting on the doorstep, side by side.
My hair stood on end on my head. Suddenly, I took a big sip of brandy.
"Rollo is off to the forest," Ian said. He returned a few minutes later. He began to sniff your shoes and moan.
"I almost did the same," Jamie said hoarsely.
I swallowed, but my mouth was too dry for me to speak. Jamie slipped one moccasin onto my foot, then the other.
"I thought you were dead, my Cinderella," he whispered.
Ian, carried away by his story, did not hear it.
- This dog is so smart! he exclaimed. (…) Isn't that right, Rollo?
He scratched the dog's head affectionately.
Chapter 26 p403 Lord John Gray and William Passing, Jealousy Back
I tried to stop listening to the conversation and focus on the image of Jamie chopping wood, imagining myself huddled in his warm, strong arms. This sight soothed and comforted me always, even when I was alone, safe in the house he had built for me. But that night, it wasn't working. I stood still, wondering what was making me so nervous. Or rather, why I put myself in such a state, because I already knew what was working on me: jealousy. I hadn't felt this emotion in years and I was ashamed of it. I rolled onto my back and tried to clear my mind.
(…) It was partly because of William, of course. Jamie could watch himself, I had several times caught his gaze as he observed the child without his knowledge. Her whole body radiated joy, pride and uncertainty. And to see him thus knotted me. He would never look at Brianna that way. He would never see her. He had nothing to do with it, and yet it seemed unfair to me. At the same time, how can you blame him for being in awe of his son? If I couldn't look at that beautiful child's face that looked so much like her sister's, that was my problem. It had nothing to do with Jamie or Willie. Not more than with John Gray, who had brought the young boy here.
Chapter 33 Brianna and Laoghaire
"It's her," she said. She bewitched him from the first day she set foot in Castle Leoch. She cast a spell on me too. She made me invisible. As soon as she appeared, he stopped seeing me . Then when she disappeared, they said she was dead. Killed during the Uprising. When he returned from England, he was finally free. (…) But she was not dead, continued Laoghaire. He was not free. I knew it. I always knew it. (…) You 've seen it, haven't you? On our wedding day. She stood there, like a specter, between Jamie and me. You saw her, but you didn't say anything. I only found out later, when you told the clairvoyant Maisri. You should have warned me.
Jenny had turned very pale; his slanted eyes reflected a strange gleam… fear, perhaps? (…) Laoghaire was livid, his face petrified. (…)
" I could feel his hand on him," she whispered. She was lying in our bed, between the two of us, her hand on him. He would wake up with a start during the night shouting his name. She's a witch. I always knew it.
A heavy silence fell over the room. (…)
“If you really are Jamie Fraser's daughter,” Laoghaire said in a clear voice, “then know this: your father is a liar, a pimp, a crook and a cheater. I wish you both a good life!
Hobart tugged at his sleeve and the door closed behind her. All the rage Brianna had felt immediately vanished. She leaned forward, leaning on the table, still clutching the necklace in her hand. (…)
" He never stopped loving her," she whispered. He hadn't forgotten her.
- Of course not.
She opened her eyes and saw Ian's face inches from hers. His big soft eyes stared at her tenderly.
"Neither do we," he added.
Chapter 41 Meet Brianna and Jamie
- You want something ? he asked. He had spoken in a firm but courteous tone. (…)
- You, she replied simply. (…)
He seemed amused by her answer, and inspected her head to toe, arching a red eyebrow.
"Sorry, little one," he said with a half smile. I am a married man. (…)
“Seriously,” he said. My wife is waiting for me at the house and it is not far, he said, obviously wishing to remain courteous. ( …)
- You ... are you Jamie Fraser?
He raised his head sharply.
- Yes. (…)
- My name is Brianna. (…) I am your daughter, she said, feeling her voice choke. Brianna. (…)
- Images ? she said feeling out of breath with happiness. You mean photos? Mom found you, didn't she? When you were talking about your wife earlier, you meant ...
“ Claire,” he interrupted.
His lips had made their decision; they split into a smile that illuminated her eyes as the sun illuminates the dancing leaves of the trees.
- Haven't you seen her yet? My God ! She is going to be ecstatic!
Chapter 44 p589
Claire approached and removed a chip from her hair. (…) He caught her fingers on the fly and kissed them. She looked surprised, then a pretty pink color invaded her cheeks. She tiptoed up and kissed him on the mouth before scurrying off to catch up with Brianna, who had already reached the edge of the forest.
- Pay attention! he shouted to them again. They waved their hand in greeting and then plunged into the woods.
" Deo gratias," he whispered. (…)
If he was grateful to fate for having finally made him meet his daughter, he also longed to be able to make love to his wife again in their bed. It was getting a little too cool for their frolics in the simple shed or in the forest, though he had to admit that frolicking on the thick mantle of yellow leaves had its charm.
Chapter 47 Dialogue on Brianna's Assault, Pregnant
J e wanted me to bed with Jamie and extend me warm against him, we both sealed safe under quilts against the chill of growing room. (…) Let our speech pass from words to touch, from breathing to small movements of the body which were in themselves questions and answers and that the completion of our conversation finally gives way to silence in the unity of sleep.
But there were problems in the house tonight, and there was no peace between us. (…)
I wanted nothing more than to talk to him - and at the same time, I dreaded it. I had promised Bree not to tell her about Bonnet. But I was pretty bad liar no matter what - and he knew my face so well. (…)
“Jamie,” I said finally, as we reached the edge of the field, what happened to your hand what did you do to your hands?
- What? he jumped.
- Your hands. (…) You don't get this kind of injury by piling up chimney stones. (…)
- Ah. (…) Brianna… he said, she… she told you about the man who did this to her? Did she tell you her name?
I hesitated - and I was lost. He knew me very well.
- She told you, didn't she?
Her voice was full of anger.
"Jamie, she made me promise not to repeat it to you," I blurted out. However, I explained to him that you would guess right away if I was hiding something from you, but ... I promised. Please don't force me to betray her! (…)
- You are right. Yes, I know you well, Sassenach; you are unable to hide a secret from someone who knows you at all. Even little Ian can read your mind like a book. (…) I don't want to disturb your conscience. She will tell me herself when she feels ready. I can wait. (…)
“Your hands,” I repeated. (…)
- Do you remember the time we met, Sassenach? Dougal kept provoking me without my being able to defend myself. You said to me, 'Hit something, you'll feel better.' (…) That's what I did. I punched a tree trunk. It hurt like hell but ... you were right, it's getting better I felt better, at least for a while.
I released my breath, I was relieved that he didn't intend to pull the worms out of our noses and push me into my corner.
- I was wondering ... is it so terrible to be ... to be raped ... when it's ... it's not ... when ... there is no damage physical? (…)
I knew full well he was thinking of Wentworth Prison and the fading scars that streaked his back like a web of gruesome memories.
- It must be awful, but you're right, it's probably less hard to bear when there are no scars that constantly remind us of what we have suffered. But, in this case, it remains a physical trace, and (…) damn noticeable, in fact! (…)
- You can say it ! (…) However, if he didn't hurt her, that's still it. Otherwise ... death would still be too sweet for that bastard, he concluded abruptly.
- You forgot a very small detail. You don't really 'recover' from a pregnancy, I said with a sharp hint in my voice. If he had broken her bones or had spilled her blood, she might be healed. But now she will never be able to forget him.
- I know ! (…) Sorry, I didn't want to scream. I know what it is, he said more calmly. Excuse me, Sassenach, but I know a hell of a lot more about it than you do. (…) I'm trying to explain to you what I know, he continued. (…) I haven't thought of Jack Randall for a long time, he said finally. I don't want to do it now. But it is there. (…) There is the body, Sassenach, and then there is the spirit. You are a doctor, you know the first one well. But for me, the second is the most important. (…) Randall - most of the things he did to me, I could have taken them, he continued thoughtfully. (…) I would have been afraid, I would have been in pain, I would have wanted to kill him, but I could also have continued to live without always feeling his hands on my body, without feeling soiled. But he couldn't be satisfied with my body. He needed my soul too ... and he got it. (…) But hey, you know all that (…) What I'm trying to say is that… if this man was just a stranger who only took her for a moment of pleasure ... if he only wanted her body ... then I think she will heal. (…) But if he knew her, if he was close enough to want her, her, rather than any other woman, then maybe he hurt her soul and hurt her hard to repair. took that for a moment of pleasure ... if he only wanted her body ... then I think she will heal. (…) But if he knew her, if he was close enough to want her, her, rather than any other woman, then maybe he hurt her soul and hurt her hard to repair. took that for a moment of pleasure ... if he only wanted her body ... then I think she will heal. (…) But if he knew her, if he was close enough to want her, her, rather than any other woman, then maybe he hurt her soul and hurt her hard to repair.
- Because you think he didn't really hurt her? I say, raising my voice in spite of myself. Whether he had known her before or not ...
- It's different, I can tell you!
- No ! It's the same thing. I understand what you mean but ...
- You do not understand !
-Yes ! But why...
- Because it's not your body that counts when I pick you up! he said You know that very well, Sassenach!
He spun in place and kissed me hard, taking me completely by surprise, he crushed my lips against my teeth and then took my whole mouth with his, half biting, demanding. ( …)
- I can not. he said. (…) I can not. (…) It's not that I don't want you. he said finally, (…) I want you maybe more than ever. he said softly. Lord! I need you, Claire. But I can't even think of myself as a man right now. I can't touch you and think about what he… I can't.
I touched his arm.
- I understand, I say, and it was. (…)
What would it be like to make love with him, imagining all the time an identical act in its movements, but totally different in its essence?
“I understand, Jamie,” I repeated.
He opened his eyes and looked at me.
- You understand, don't you? And that's what I mean.
He took my arm and pulled me close to him.
- You could quarter me Claire, without touching me, he whispered, Because you know me.
His fingers touched the side of my face. They were cold and stiff.
- And I could do the same to you.
“You could,” I said, feeling a little weak. But I really wish you didn't.
He smiled a little at my last words, leaned down and kissed me, very softly . (…) I knew what he meant, about the difference between damage to the body or the soul. (…) I finally stepped back, and lifted my head to look at him.
- And you ? I asked. How would you react if it was me?
He gave me a surprised look, opened his mouth, closed it, stared at me troubled.
- I was going to say: 'Of course I would stay by your side!', He finally said slowly. But I promised to always be sincere, didn't I?
- Yes. I said, and felt my heart sink under its guilty burden. (…)
- Yeah, good God, I would stay ! You would always be mine, even if the child wasn't. What if you ... Yes, I would, he repeated firmly. I'll take you and the child, and hell with the whole world!
- But then... ? I asked. Do you think you wouldn't think about it every time you crawl into my bed? That you wouldn't see the father's face every time you look at the child? That you would never throw him in my face or let him get in between us?
He was going to retort something, but closed his mouth without speaking. Then I saw a change take place in his features, the sudden shock of a realization that made him uncomfortable.
- Lord! he said. Frank. Not me. This is Frank you're talking about.
I nodded and he grabbed my shoulders.
- What did he do to you? he asked me. What? Tell me, Claire!
"He supported me," I said, in a voice that seemed choked even to my own ears. I did everything to get him to leave, but he stayed. Then when the baby ... Brianna arrived ... he loved her, Jamie. He wasn't sure, he didn't think he could do it - neither did I - but he really did. I'm sorry I added.
He took a deep breath and let go of my shoulders.
"Don't be sorry for that, Sassenach," he said gruffly. Never.
He ran a hand over his face and I heard the light rubbing of his evening stubble.
- And you, Sassenach? What you said ... when he came to your bed. Did he think ...
He paused abruptly, leaving all questions hanging between us, unspoken, but asked nonetheless.
- Maybe it was me - my fault, I mean, I said finally, in the silence. Is that ... I couldn't forget. (…) It would have been easier… better… for him if it had been rape. That's what the doctors told her, you know, that I had been mistreated, raped and the trauma made me delirious. That's what everyone thought, but I kept telling him no, it didn't turn out like that. I insisted on telling him the truth and, in the end, he ended up believing me at least in part. That was the whole problem: not that I had had a child by another man, but that I had loved you. And that I would not stop. I couldn't, I added in a softer tone. Frank was better than me. He had the courage to leave the past behind, at least for Bree's sake. But for me...
The words died in my throat and I paused.
- And so you lived twenty years with a man who could not forgive you for what was never your fault? I did this to you, didn't I? he said. I'm sorry too, Sassenach.
I let out a strangled sob.
- You told me one day that you could quarter me without even touching me, I replied. You were right, damn it.
“ Forgive me,” he repeated in a whisper, but this time he pulled me to him and hugged me tightly.
- Forgive you what? I asked. The fact that I love you? Don't regret it, please, I said, my voice half muffled in his shirt. Never.
He didn't answer but tilted his head and rested his cheek on my hair. Everything was calm. I could hear her heartbeat in the sound of the wind through the trees. (…)
As we rounded the barn, Jamie spoke again:
- Yes, well ... I hope Roger Wakefield can rise to the occasion more than the two of us, Frank and I.
He looked at me.
- He had better, or he would have to deal with me!
I laughed in spite of myself. (…)
Just before the path to the door, I stopped him.
“Jamie,” I hesitated. Do you think I love you? (…)
' If not, Sassenach,' he said at last, 'you are really choosing the wrong time to tell me.
I let out my breath in the ghost of a laugh.
- No, that's not what I mean, I assured him. But…
My throat tightened and I hurriedly swallowed, needing to get the words out.
- I ... I don't tell you that often. It just might be that I wasn't brought up to say such things. (…) Listen, what I mean is… if I don't say it, how do you know that I love you?
He stood still, looking at me, then nodded in agreement.
"I know because you're here, Sassenach," he said calmly . That's what you mean, right? That he came to get her - this Roger. And then maybe he'll love her enough? It's not something you would do just out of friendship. (…)
- Yes ?
- Should I ... would you ... you need me to tell you? (…)
- No, I don't need it.
Her voice was soft.
- But I have no problem with that if you want to do it. Tell me from time to time. Not too often though, I wouldn't want to spoil this pleasure.
I could hear the smile in his voice, and I couldn't help but smile back whether he could see it or not.
- But once in a while wouldn't be a luxury, would it?
I walked over to him and put my hands on his shoulders.
- I love you.
He looked at me for a long time.
"I'm glad that, Claire," he said softly, and touched my face. Very happy. Come to bed now, I'll warm you up.
Chapter 49 p634 Disagreement about an abortion from Bree if she asks
I came to stand behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. He didn't move. I stroked it gently, seeking comfort in its solidity and strength.
- Jamie, you'll be fine. I am sure.
I was mainly trying to convince myself of this. I wanted him to hug me and assure me too that everything would be fine, or at least tell me that he wouldn't blame me for what happened, for better or for worse. He whirled around, dislodging my hand.
- You think highly of your powers, don't you? he said sharply.
He grabbed my wrist and squeezed it.
- Do you think the decision is yours alone? That you can decide on life and death?
I felt the small bones in my hand crushed against each other and stiffened, trying to free myself.
- No, it's not for me to decide! I replied. But if she wants to, then yes, it is in my power to help her. Like you would on your own. As you already did, when it was necessary.
I closed my eyes, suppressing the fear. Wasn't he going to hurt me? I suddenly realized that he could stop me from acting. All he had to do was squeeze a little harder and break the bones in my hand. Very slowly, he lowered his head and rested his forehead against mine.
- Look at me, Claire, he said softly. (…) I beg you, he whispered.
He let go of me and left. I leaned against the wall for a long moment, staring at the door through which he had just disappeared, the notch in my thumb racing to the rhythm of my heartbeat. I was so disturbed by this scene with Jamie that I felt unable to take any resolution.
Chapter 50 p641 Where all is revealed
- How could you ask poor Ian something like that? Brianna yelled, beside herself. I have never seen such despotic arrogance ... (...)
He ran a hand through his hair, a sign of great agitation and his efforts to control himself. He lowered his voice, doing his best to be accommodating.
- I assure you, Brianna, I did my best to find you the best spouse. (…) " Desire " ? But there is no question of "wanting"! (…) You are wrong, my daughter. Your child will be born soon and it needs a name. It is no longer time to be difficult. (…) Come on, Brianna. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for the child. (…) Is that how Frank Randall raised you? he asked, annoyed. So you have no notion of right and wrong?
- My father always wanted what was best for me! she retorted. He would never have done such a thing. Never ! He loved me! (…)
- Because me, right? Because I'm not looking for what's best for you? Despite the fact that you are… that you are… (…) I have never seen anyone behave in such an insensitive, silly and selfish way! spat Jamie.
- You're just a monster who thinks he can do anything!
- A monster ? It is you who say that, whereas you are about to give birth to an innocent person who will be exposed all his life to slander and who will be pointed out… (…) Poor fool! So you have no idea how things are going here? You will be the object of a scandal! People will openly call you a whore! (…) And me, am I supposed to sit there and listen to their insults without doing anything?
- Nobody asked you to play the guards!
- Who will do it if not me?
- What does nighean na galladh mean? she asked on the doorstep.
- I don't know, I lied. But I'm sure he didn't think so.
I joined him on the path in front of the house a few moments later.
- What should I do ? he asked without preamble.
- Excuse me? But what did I do wrong?
- That is not the question, I retorted. You ask me what to do and I told you.
He breathed loudly through his nose, hesitated a moment, then walked home, shoulders straightened to face battle or martyrdom. He planted himself in front of her.
- I'm sorry, he said. (…) I was wrong. I should not have…
- It does not matter. I was wrong too. I shouldn't have gotten upset.
(Then Brianna draws Roger's portrait)
Ian made a strangled sound. (…) He was staring at Jamie in awe. I turned to Jamie, to find the exact same expression on his face. (…) He swallowed laboriously. The corners of his lips began to tremble. Alarmed, I grabbed her wrist, checking for her pulse.
- Jamie, what's wrong? I cried. Are you in pain somewhere? Do you feel weak?
- I do, Ian said.
He was leaning forward, looking like he was about to throw up. He made a small gesture towards the drawing. (…)
She exploded in turn and banged her fist on the table.
- WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM? she yelled. (…)
- Jamie… did you kill him? I questioned in a trembling voice.
- Uh no. I delivered it to the Iroquois. (…) He said… that you invited him to share your couch. That you… (…)… that you wanted it and that you had offered your virginity to him of yourself.
- That is true.
Jamie closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. (…)
"I didn't want to believe it," he hissed. I told myself that he was just trying to save his skin, that it was not possible… (…)
He stared at her for a long time, searching her face for any sign of… regret? … Remorse? Either way, he only found a reflection of his own cold fury. He looked away.
- I regretted it, he continued. When I got home that night and saw you, I thought I should have killed him. I held you in my arms, my heart filled with shame because I had doubted the virtue of my daughter. Now I am mortified. Not only are you unclean, but you lied to me. (…) Yes, lied! Say you slept with a man for your own pleasure then come and complain that you were raped! Do you realize that, for a bit, I ended up with a murder on my conscience, by your fault?
(…) I too unable to speak, I searched my pocket in haste, took out the gold ring and let it fall on the table. “From F. to C. for life”. Jamie's face went blank. (…) Jamie grabs him between thumb and forefinger like a dangerous insect.
- Where did you get this? he asked.
He had spoken in an almost detached tone but when I met his gaze, a shudder of terror washed over me.
"I brought it to him," Brianna said. And I forbid you to look at her like that!
He turned to her but she didn't even flinch. She came to stand behind me, placing her hands on my shoulders in a protective gesture.
- Where did you find it? he repeated.
- Chez Stephen Bonnet. (…)… When he raped me, she added.
Jamie's face suddenly fell, as if he had imploded. I extended a hand to him but he stood still in the middle of the room. (…) I was strangely aware of everything going on around me, but only had eyes for Jamie. He seemed rooted in the ground, his fists clenched on his stomach as if to keep his insides from spilling out of a gaping wound.
I should have said or done something. (…) But I was paralyzed. I couldn't help one without betraying the other… and had already betrayed them both . J 'had sold off the honor Jamie believing protect and in doing so I might be killed Roger and destroyed the happiness of my daughter. (…)
- Poor guy ! she said in a barely audible voice. I hate you. I curse the day I met you.
Chapter 53 p663 Finding Roger
My friend hadn't said a word between our departure from River Run and our arrival in the Tuscarora village of Tennago. I rode behind him, torn between my guilt for leaving Brianna alone, my anguish about Roger, and my pain at her silence. He was dry with Ian and had only told Jocasta the bare minimum. To me, not a word. Obviously he was angry with me for not telling him the truth about Stephen Bonnet sooner. In retrospect, I was also angry at myself, seeing the catastrophic result of my discretion. He had kept the golden wedding ring I threw in his face. I had no idea what he had done with it. ( …)
Jamie's hand rested on my shoulder. Mechanically, I took it and squeezed it into mine . We hadn't touched each other for almost a month. (…)
"When we get back, maybe we'll pay him a short visit," Jamie said.
- Don't you think you have enough problems like that?
I had spoken in a more dry tone than I would have liked and he abruptly withdrew his hand.
- No doubt, he said. His face fearless, he turned to Ian. (…)
I stood up to imitate him, but Ian stopped me with one hand on my arm.
- Aunt Claire, he said hesitantly, when are you going to forgive her?
- Forgive him? But forgive him what? Roger?
- No, that was a bad mistake, but he would do the same thing again if he still thought he was the rapist. I wanted to talk about Bonnet.
- From Bonnet? But he still doesn't think I blame him for that?
I never told him anything about it! I hadn't even thought about it, thinking he was angry with me. Ian scratched his head embarrassedly.
- Is that… you don't understand, Aunt Claire? He's been angry with himself ever since that junk stole us from the river and now after what he did to Brianna… It gnaws at him from the inside, mostly because you're mad at him…
- But I'm not mad at him! I thought he was mad at me because I didn't tell him Bonnet's name right away.
Ian didn't seem to know whether to laugh or cry.
'The point is, Aunt, it would have saved us a lot of trouble if you had told her. But no, I'm sure that's not it. After all, when Brianna told you about it, it was already too late. We had already met MacKenzie in the mountains.
- Do you really think he thinks I'm angry with him?
- But it is eye-popping, Aunt Claire! You never look at him and you only speak to him when it is essential. (…) And then… I haven't seen you join him in his bed once in the whole month.
- But it didn't come to mine either! I defended myself.
It occurred to me a little late that this was not the kind of conversation I should have with a boy of my age. Ian shrugged and gave me a weary look.
- All the same, Aunt Claire, he has his pride, doesn't he?
- That, to have it! I sigh. Finally, thanks for the tip, Ian.
He gave me a childish smile that lit up his long face.
- It's because I can't stand to see him suffer. I love Uncle Jamie so much!
- Me too, I replied, swallowing painfully. Good night, Ian
(…) Why hadn't I noticed what Ian had seen? The answer was simple: it was not the anger but the guilt that had blinded me. I had hidden Bonnet's name as much because of Frank's alliance as because Brianna had asked me to. I could have persuaded her to tell Jamie herself. She was right, of course. Sooner or later Jamie would go after Bonnet. I was more confident than she was in the outcome of this confrontation. No, it was the ring that had prompted me to keep the secret. But why do I feel guilty about it? The answer was less straightforward. It was instinct and not my reason to hide the alliance from him. I hadn't wanted to show it to him, pass it on my finger under his nose. But I needed to keep it. My heart sank when I thought of the weeks that had just passed. I had feared that if he left alone he would not come back. Spurred on by guilt, he would stop at nothing. With me he would be more careful. All the while, he had felt not only alone, but rejected by the one person who could, and should, comfort him. (…)
“Jamie, I'm sorry,” I whispered. It wasn't your fault.
- Whose fault, then?
- To everybody. To no one. To Stephen Bonnet. But not to you.
- Hat? he wondered. Which report ?
- Well… it's because of him, isn't it? I say, taken aback. He pulled away from me, brushing the hair away from his face.
"Stephen Bonnet is a bastard," he said calmly. I'll kill him at the first opportunity. But I can't blame my own mistakes on him.
- But what are you talking about? What errors?
He didn't answer right away. Her legs were intertwined with mine and I could feel the tension in her body, knotting her joints, making her thigh muscles twitch.
"I never thought I would become jealous of a dead man," he said at last.
- Of a dead person? (…) From Frank?
- Who else ? It's been eating me up ever since we left River Run. I see his face, day and night. You said he looked like Jack Randall, right? (…) You heard it, didn't you? You know very well what she told me!
- She said she would like to see me burn in hell, that she would give her soul to find her father… her real father. I'm sure he wouldn't have made such a mistake. He would have trusted her… I think Frank Randall was better than me. In any case, she is convinced of it. (…)… No doubt you too, Sassenach.
- You're just an idiot! Come here. (…) She didn't think so, I say.
- Yes. I heard it.
- I heard you both. She's like you. When she gets angry, she says anything. You yourself didn't mean everything you said to her, did you?
- No. Not all.
- She neither. (…) You can trust me, I whispered. I love you both.
He sighed and was silent for a moment before asking in a hesitant voice:
- If I find her man and bring him back to her, you think… you think she'll forgive me one day?
- Yes, I'm sure. (…)
Just before we left River Run, Brianna whispered in my ear, “You have to go. You are the only one who can bring him back. For the first time, I realized that maybe she hadn't meant to talk about Roger.
Chapter 60 p720 Roger
Dying with the confidence that Brianna still loved her was always better than dying like an abandoned dog. (…) There was stagnant water in one of the pots at the back of the hut. He dipped part of Fraser's blanket in it and wiped her face. (…) He opened his eyes wide and, before Roger had time to react, stood up on one knee, his hand on the sgian dhu slipped into his boot. Roger raised an arm in front of his face to protect himself as Fraser stared at him with murderous eyes. Then the latter seemed to come to his senses. He shook his head vigorously, blinked, moaned, and fell heavily on his buttocks.
- Oh it's you ! he said simply. He closed his eyes and moaned again. Then he flinched and straightened up abruptly.
- Claire ! he cried. My wife ! Where is she ?
- Claire ? Roger yelped. Did you bring her here? Did you bring a woman to this… hell? Fraser gave him an annoyed look but didn't deign to respond. He turned to the entrance. (…)
"There's a sentry," Roger said, following her gaze. Fraser jumped up, agile as a panther. The wound on his face was still bleeding but didn't seem to bother him. He leaned against the wall, approached the door and lifted the deerskin. (…) The great Highlander could not keep still. He stood up and walked back to the entrance, looking under the skin.
- When was the last time you saw Claire? resumed Roger.
- Right before they start fighting. We found ourselves caught in the crowd that had come to see the stake. They tied the priest to a pole, cut open his chest, and tore out his still beating heart. It was unbearable. I didn't want Claire to see this, but we couldn't go back. Crushed as we were, I hadn't noticed a young Indian girl standing on the other side of Claire. She was carrying a baby in her arms. When they lit the fire, she turned to Claire, hugged her baby in her arms and slipped through the crowd. She walked straight to the stake.
- What? Roger said incredulously.
- The flames closed on her. Her hair immediately caught fire, like a living torch. She clung to the priest and, after just a few seconds, they couldn't be distinguished from each other. They formed a single black silhouette. A woman started screaming in the crowd, then all of a sudden it was a crush. Everyone was running around or fighting.
He had tried to do both at once, protecting Claire and the child while punching and kicking his way through the crowd. He was quickly outnumbered. Unable to escape, they had flattened themselves against the wall of a hut. He had grabbed a stick while calling for Ian to help.
- One of those demons erupted from the smoke. I managed to push him away, but the next moment there were three of them assaulting me. I was hit with a tomahawk on the temple and passed out. I haven't seen Claire or Ian since then.
(p723) - Brianna? he asked. Where is she ? Jamie jumped.
Could this boy read minds? Had he inherited the gift?
- She… uh… she's at River Run, at her aunt's place. She's safe.
Green eyes stared at him.
- Why is it Claire who accompanied you and not her?
Jamie met his gaze. He would soon know if he could really read minds. The last thing he intended to tell her right now was the truth. There would always be time when they were out of danger.
- I shouldn't have let Claire come either. But unless we tied her up, there was nothing to be done. She is so stubborn!
A dark glow crossed MacKenzie's gaze. Of doubt or of grief?
“I didn't think Brianna was the type to let her father dictate her behavior.
Jamie relaxed slightly. He wasn't reading minds.
Chapter 61 p730 Jamie's Sacrifice, Ian's Choice
After the Christian Indians left, we were left alone. (…)
- Do you think they're gonna kill us? Roger asked after a moment. (…)
“They won't kill us,” I said. (…) In any case, they will not kill you, their honor forbids them because the stolen whiskey was offered in exchange for your life. But since they cannot avenge their death, it is customary for them to adopt one of their enemies from the tribe to replace him. (…)
- Adopt me! Do they want to keep me?
- One of us. Or rather one of you. I'm probably standout, being a woman. (…)
" It'll be me," Jamie announced suddenly.
He put a hand on my arm before I could protest.
- You and Ian will take MacKenzie back to Brianna.
He looked at Roger, his face impenetrable.
'After all,' he added, 'she needs you two the most.
Roger immediately began to protest, but I intervened. (…)
- I wonder where Ian went!
"I haven't the faintest idea," Jamie grumbled. (…)
“I… I can't stay long, Uncle Jamie. I had to insist that they let me say goodbye to you.
Jamie was livid.
- My God ! Ian ...
- I will receive my new name shortly during the adoption ceremony. After that, I will be Indian and I will no longer be allowed to speak any language other than Kahnyen'kehaka. I will no longer be able to express myself in English or Gaelic.
He smiles weakly before adding:
- As I know you don't speak Mohawk very well…
- Ian, you can't do this!
- It's already done, uncle. (…) You will be free tomorrow morning (…). They won't hold you back.
I let go and he crossed the hut to approach Roger who was watching him, dumbfounded.
- I'm sorry for what we did to you. Forgive me. Will you watch over my cousin and the little one?
Roger squeezed his hand and cleared his throat.
- Yes, I promise.
- Ian, cried Jamie, I can't let you do it! It's up to me to stay! (…)
- You told me one day that I had no right to waste my life. Don't worry, I don't intend to. (…) You too, I won't forget you, Uncle Jamie.
(p734) Roger winced.
- What? You just don't think I'm going to give it up! What about my child?
I opened my mouth and saw Jamie stiffen.
- No, I said firmly. You have to tell him. Either way, Brianna will. As far as he knows right away. He might have a decision to make, too. In which case, it is better that he knows about it before seeing her.
Jamie gritted his teeth, then nodded.
- Okay, tell him.
- Tell me what ? Roger asked, worried.
- We are not sure that the child is yours.
For a moment, his face remained the same, then his mind registered the words he had just heard. He grabbed both my arms and squeezed them so tight that I cried out. Jamie reacts like lightning. He landed a right hook just below her jaw, which caused her to let go and fall backwards.
- After you abandoned my daughter, she was raped. It happened two days after your antics. So the child may be yours and may not be.
Chapter 65 p763 Marital status of the baby
"First name," I wrote. I stopped. Good question ! The subject was still under discussion. As for his surname, it was not yet considered. (…) Brianna obviously didn't feel the need to name him. (…) She simply refused to give him a definitive first name.
"Not yet," she said. (…) Brianna was silent, but the answer was obvious: when Roger would be there.
“If he doesn't show up,” Jamie told me aside, “that poor child will go to the grave without a name. Damn, this girl is stubborn!
"She trusts Roger," I retorted. You better imitate him. He glared at me. - There is a big difference between trust and hope, Sassenach. You know it very well.
- Then try hope! I snapped back. I turned my back to him, dipping my quill into the inkwell . The young "Question Mark" had had a milk fever that had kept us awake all night. Stupid with fatigue and bad humor, I was not going to tolerate demonstrations of bad faith. Jamie walked around the table and sat down across from me, resting his chin on his crossed arms. I had no other option but to watch it.
- I do not ask for better, he said with a smile in his eyes. The problem is, I can't decide if I hope he comes or never reappears. I smiled in spite of myself and tickled his nose with the tip of my quill in forgiveness. He sneezed then straightened up, trying to read the paper in front of me.
- What are you doing, Sassenach?
- I write the birth certificate of our little thing, if possible.
- What? he said suspiciously. Is he a saint?
- I doubt it, though…! There are many who are called Pantaléon, Onuphrie or Ferréol.
- Ferréol? I have never met one.
"It's one of my favorites," I assured him.
p770 Brianna to Roger
She looked up and met his gaze before adding:
"I won't live with you if you came back out of duty," she said. I have already seen a couple stay together out of obligation. And then I saw another one who was holding on for love. I will take the latter option or nothing at all. It took a while for me to realize that she wanted to talk about my marriage to Frank. It was like a slap in the face. I looked for Jamie's gaze; he was staring at me with a bewildered expression. Finally he cleared his throat and turned to Roger.
p791 Letter from Frank, grave and confession
My dear Reg, My heart is sick (I'm not talking about Claire!). (…) I'm not really afraid of what awaits me on the other side (if something awaits me), but you never know? (…) I'm not expecting an answer from you. I only ask you to listen to me. You know how to do it so well! Do you remember the service I asked you a few years ago concerning the graves of Sainte-Kilda? As you are a true friend, you never asked me for explanations, but it is time that I give you some. God only knows why Black Jack Randall was buried on a Scottish hill rather than his land in Sussex! (…) Anyway, it is there that he rests. If Brianna is ever interested in her story, my story, she will seek it out and find it. The location of his grave is mentioned in our family archives. That's why I asked you to place the other grave nearby. (…) Sooner or later, Claire will take Brianna to Scotland, I'm sure. If she goes to Sainte-Kilda, she will see them. (…) If Brianna wonders, if she wants to know more, if she asks questions to Claire… well, I will have done my part of the work. For what will happen after my departure, I can only leave it to chance. You remember Claire's delirium when she came back. (…) I don't know if you'll believe me but, the last time I came to visit you, I rented a car and drove to that damn hill, Craigh na Dun. (…) It didn't happen. nothing happened, of course. Still, I searched. I looked for this man ... Fraser. I think I found him, at least I found a man by that name. Everything I learned about him matches what Claire told me. (...) I am almost ashamed to admit it to you, but while I was standing on this hill, my hand resting on the menhir, I prayed with all my strength that it would open come face to face with this James Fraser. What wouldn't I have given to see him… and strangle him with my hands! I've never seen him, I'm not even sure he existed, but I hate this man like I never hated anyone. If what Claire said and what I found is true, then I took it back from her and kept it with me all these years thanks to a lie. It may just be a lie of omission, but it is a lie nonetheless. We can even talk about revenge, I guess. (…) Fraser… should I curse him for stealing my wife or bless him for giving me my daughter? Every time I think of him, I blame myself for believing such an absurd theory. Yet… I feel like I know him, I almost have a memory of him, as if I had seen him somewhere before. It is probably only the product of my imagination and my jealousy. After all, I know very well what that bastard looks like. I see her face every day on my daughter! This is the strangest aspect of this affair. I feel like an obligation. Not just to Brianna. She has the right to know ... later. But also vis-à-vis him. I can almost feel it, sometimes, looking over my shoulder or standing across the room. I had never thought of it before, but maybe I will finally meet him in the hereafter, if there is one. It's funny. Will we be friends after we leave our sins of the flesh behind? Or will we be prisoners forever in a Celtic hell, doomed to hate and kill each other for eternity? Depending on your angle, I was good to Claire, or cruel. (…) All I can say is that I regret. So here is my soul, my dear Reg: hatred, jealousy, lies, theft, infidelity… I have not much to present to redeem myself, except love. I loved her, I love them, my women. It might not be the kind of love they need, but it's all I have to offer. In any case, I will not die in despair. I'm counting on you for a conditional discharge. I raised Brianna in the Catholic faith.
- It was signed "Frank", of course.
“Of course,” Jamie repeated thoughtfully. He was motionless, his face indecipherable. Roger didn't need to read her thoughts, they were probably similar to his. (…) If Frank Randall had not had the stele placed in the Sainte Kilda cemetery, would Claire have learned the truth? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it was the sight of that grave that had prompted her to tell her daughter the Jamie Fraser story and set Roger on the trail of discovery that had brought him here. It was the grave that had sent Claire back to her lover's arms, which had returned Brianna to her real father, (…) which had resulted in the birth of a little red-haired boy, ensuring the continuity of Jamie Fraser's blood. A way for Frank Randall to pay off his debts with interest? (...)
Jamie Fraser finally came out of his trance.
- The Englishman! he said softly, like a conjuration. I don't know if I want to meet him one day or if I'm afraid of it.
Roger waited a moment then cleared his throat.
- Should I tell Claire? he finally asked.
- Have you ever talked to Brianna?
- Not yet, but I'll do it.
He met Fraser's cold gaze, adding:
- It's my wife.
- For the time being.
- Forever, if she wants to.
Fraser turned to the Cameron camp. We could see the silhouette of Claire standing out in front of the fire.
- I promised him sincerity, he finally answered. Yes, tell him.
(p795) He kissed my forehead and grabbed my hand.
- That's right, Sassenach. And you, did you choose?
He opened his fingers and I saw a golden glow.
- It was a long time ago, I say softly.
"A long time," he repeated. I am a jealous man, but not resentful. I took you from him, my Sassenach, but I don't want to take him from you. You want it ?
I held out my hand to him in response and he slipped the golden wedding ring onto my finger. “From F. to C. for life”. He whispered something I didn't hear.
- What are you saying ?
- I said: "Go in peace. I wasn't talking to you, Sassenach.