between possession and allegiance, consent and protection
By Carolyn Garcin
A parenthesis foreword: Roger and courage
By approaching this fifth volume, I retain a character and a theme which are not the subject of this article, but I cannot help opening this parenthesis, because it sets the background context of this time of the story. I named Roger, and courage.
From her open-mindedness during Claire's first revelations, to her quest for her who will allow him to find Jamie, then her own adventure in the footsteps of Brianna, her Stations of the Cross with the Mohawks, the hanging of Alamance, until 'to its slow but total adoption by Jamie, "son of my house", Roger's career is for me the common thread of "The Cross of Fire". And despite its reserve, its flaws, and its inadequacy to the world it joins, its evolution is the very illustration of courage, in all its forms. Aside from the esteem and respect acquired very early on from Claire, who remains her benevolent ally in all circumstances, he will be put to the test during all his meetings: Bonnet, Morag, the Mohawks, Brianna, Jocasta, and especially Jamie.
Roger's narrative arc alone deserves full development ...
I went through the war and lost a lot. I know what is worth fighting for and what is not. Honor and courage are written in our bones. Sometimes the reasons why a man kills are the same as why he is ready to die. Here is why, O my brother, the woman has wide hips. Its bony pelvis houses a man and his child. The life of a man springs from his bones and it is in his blood that his honor will take a name. Just for love, I would be ready to walk in the fire again.
Chapter 1 p8
I suspected Jamie was less inclined than I - or maybe Frank - to take Roger's credit for accepting Jemmy as his own child. For a man of honor, it could not be otherwise, it was obvious. I also knew of her doubts about her son-in-law's ability to feed and protect a family in the wild forests of Carolina. Roger was tall, well built, and capable, but in his head the words "cap", "harness" and "sword" were just song lyrics. Jamie, on the other hand, knew the deeper meaning. These words had governed his whole life.
Chapter 1 p20
- I think we are doomed to freeze to death together, Sassenach. But it's not that bad. Anyway, I wouldn't have wanted to go on living without you.
- You speak, Jamie Fraser! You could live naked on an ice floe and melt it. But what did you do with your jacket and your plaid?
They would have married anyway, but I want the child to be Catholic. So I thought to myself that if I seemed to disapprove of MacKenzie's religion, they would be more inclined to make a concession by agreeing to have the little one baptized, an gille ruadh, right?
I laughed and pulled a piece of the blanket back around Jemmy's ears.
- And I, who thought Brianna had drilled you up to date!
- The main thing is that she believes it too!
He suddenly leaned over and kissed me. Her mouth was soft and very warm. (…)
- Mmm, it's okay. Again ! (…)
He lifted his head, and I felt the bite of cold in my palm, where an old scar formed a wan letter. A "J" engraved on my skin, his mark. He then put his hand on my face. I squeezed it, almost feeling the faded "C" of her palm imprint on my icy cheek. We didn't need to speak to make a promise, the same as we once did, in another sanctuary, the last shard of dry land amid the quicksand of impending war.
Chapter 7 p109
"Don't you remember hitting Murchison on the head just as he was about to bayonet me off?" Then you lifted me up and carried me out of harm's way to a nearby well. (…) There, people took care of me. They begged you to stay too, but you didn't want to hear anything. You wished me good luck, in the name of Saint Michael, and then you went into battle again.
Hayes fastened on his gorget's chain, snuggling the silver crest under his chin. Without his tie, his neck seemed bare, vulnerable.
- You looked like a madman, your face covered in blood and your hair blowing in the wind. You sheathed your sword so you could carry me, but you brandished it again when it came time to fight again. I did not expect to find you one day, because I had never seen a man so determined to defy his own death ...
He shook his head, his eyes half closed, as if he didn't see the calm and robust man in front of him, the Fraser of Fraser's Ridge, but Jamie the Red, the young warrior who spoke towards the battlefield not. out of bravery, but to sacrifice his life for it, which had become a burden ... because he had lost me.
Chapter 10 p135
As soon as they saw me approaching, the two men stopped their conversation. Lieutenant Haye thanked me again for extracting the bullet shard, then he took his leave, his round, smooth face revealing nothing to me. When he was away, I asked Jamie:
- What were you saying about Stephen Bonnet?
- Nothing, I was just asking him if he had any news, Sassenach. Is the tea ready?
He turned to the fire, but I held him back by the arm.
- Why ? I asked.
As I didn't let go, he reluctantly faced me.
- Because I would like to know where he is.
He didn't even pretend he didn't understand the reason for my questions, which worried me.
- Hayes knows where Bonnet is? Has he heard from?
He shook his head. He was telling the truth. Relieved, I gently released my fingers and he released his arm, not in anger, but with a cold and deliberate detachment.
- That's my business ! I blurted out in response to his gesture. (…) Why are you looking for him?
- I want to know where the danger may come from.
He was looking at him over my shoulder, smiling and nodding to someone. (…)
"Don't worry about it," I retorted. In a way, you want to know where it is in order to avoid going there at all costs?
He suppressed a smile.
"That's exactly it," he replied.
Given Carolina's low population density and the remoteness of Fraser's Ridge, the risk of stumbling across Stephen Bonnet was about the same as that of slipping on a jellyfish while walking through the cabin door… Jamie n ' was not fooled. (…) There was a precise reason for wanting to find Stephen Bonnet and that… I knew it very well. (…)
- Jamie, please. Leave him alone.
He put his hand on mine, squeezing it lightly, which didn't reassure me.
- Don't worry, Sassenach. I interviewed everyone during the rally, people from both Halifax and Charleston. No one heard of his presence throughout the colony.
So much the better. It was a bright spot, but it also meant that Jamie had been stalking Bonnet assiduously for quite some time. Moreover, it had not escaped me that he skilfully avoided promising me that his investigation would be stopped.
"Leave him alone," I repeated softly, supporting his gaze. We will have enough problems in the future, we don't need to add more.
He had drawn me towards him the better to prevent me from interrupting him. I felt his power where his body touched mine, in his arm under my hand, in his thigh against mine. The hardness of his bones and the fire of his mind shrouded in the steel shell of his determination could make Jamie, thrown at a target, a deadly projectile. Her eyes were on mine, relentless, the pale autumn light reflecting in their blue irises.
- You say it's up to you. In any case, I make it my business. Are you with me or not?
My icy blood froze in my veins, forming crystals of panic. Cursed be it! He was determined. He had only one reason and one for wanting to find Stephen Bonnet. I spun around on my heels, dragging him along, so we found ourselves side by side, facing the fire. Looking fascinated, Brianna, Marsali and the Bugs listened to Fergus, who was telling them a story, with a hilarious face. Jemmy looked at us over his mother's shoulder, eyes wide and curious.
- They are your business, I said in a voice trembling with emotion. As much as mine. Do you think Stephen Bonnet hasn't hurt them enough already? That he hasn't hurt us enough?
- Yes, too many.
He hugged me. I could feel the warmth of her body through her clothes, but her voice was as cold as the rain. (…)
"I let him go once," Jamie said softly. You know all the evil that followed. Would you like me to leave him in the wild knowing who he is? Knowing that I was the one who freed him to spread terror? It's like releasing a rabid dog, Sassenach. This is not what you want, is it? (…)
- You freed him once, but the Crown caught up with him. If he's free today, it's not your fault!
- Maybe, but it is my duty to lock him up again, if I can.
- Your duty is to protect your family! (…)
- Do you think I'm capable of endangering her? (…)
- This hunt is not without risk, Jamie. You know it well. (…)
"I know," he whispered. (…) I've been hunting for a long time, Claire. I'll never risk their lives, I swear.
- Only yours, you mean? What will happen to us, if you ... (...)
"Nothing will happen to me," he said confidently.
Hugging me close, he stifled any further protest from me with a voracious kiss. Near the fire rose a thunderous applause.
- Again! exclaimed Fergus, delighted. (…)
- Everything will be fine, Sassenach. Trust me.
Chapter 12 p150
He pulled me to him and leaned in to kiss me. At the tone of my voice, he stopped.
- It's not that I do not appreciate your gesture, but still approach a centimeter and I tear off a piece of your lip with a bite.
With the infinite care of a man aware that the stone he has just picked up is, in fact, a wasps' nest, he straightened up and very slowly removed his hands from my waist.
- Oh, he said.
He cocked his head to the side, inspecting me from head to toe, then added:
- You look a little tired, Sassenach.
It was undeniable, but the mere fact of him telling me made me want to burst into tears. He must have realized it, because he took my hand very delicately and led me towards a rock.
"Sit down," he ordered. Close your eyes, nighean donn. Rest for a moment.
I obeyed and closed my eyes while relaxing my shoulders. (…)
- Sorry, I said finally, opening my eyes again.
- What, Sassenach? It's not like you refused to share my bed. I hope, at least, that we are not there yet.
Right then, the idea of making love was really low on my priority list, but it made me smile too.
- After sleeping on the floor for two weeks, I would gladly share anyone's bed.
Shocked, he raised his eyebrows, taking me by surprise. I burst out laughing.
- No, I said, it's just ... fatigue.
A sharp pain suddenly lacerated my lower stomach. I winced, pressing my hands to the painful area.
- Ah! he said. You mean that kind of fatigue.
- Yes, that kind. (…)
- Forget your recipe, he said. Instead, try this remedy, it is much faster.
I unscrewed the cap and inhaled. Whiskey… and not just any whiskey!
- I love you ! I called out to him.
He laughed, then gently patted my foot.
- Me too, Sassenach. (…) It's been three months since you last had your period, Jamie observed nonchalantly. I thought they had stopped for good.
I was always taken aback by the way he noticed this stuff. (…)
- I'm not like a faucet that opens and closes, I said a little stung. Periods get more and more irregular and then stop, but you never know when.
- Ah, he replied laconically. (…) You will no doubt be relieved to have finished once and for all. It will still be more practical, right? (…)
- I don't know, I replied. I'll let you know, okay?
He smirked, but having sensed the tension in my voice, he had the wisdom not to continue down this path.
Suddenly Jamie stretched.
- Ah… Sassenach?
- Yes ?
- I don't know if I did wrong or not, Sassenach. But, if this is the case, I beg your pardon.
- Uh… yes, okay, I answered hesitantly.
What was I forgiving him for? Probably no adultery, but why not assault, arson, armed robbery or blasphemy? I prayed to heaven that Bonnet had nothing to do with it.
- What did you do ?
- Me nothing. It's more about what I said you would do.
- Ah? I said, suddenly suspicious. What exactly? (…)
- (…) I promised Josiah Beardsley that maybe you would remove his tonsils today.
- I was wondering… Sassenach. (…) Speaking of the Bible, you know… (…)… yes, it's just that I was thinking… when the angels of the Lord come to find Abraham to tell him that his wife Sarah will have a child the following year, the latter bursts out laughing and replies that it is a joke, because she has ceased "to have what women have". (…)
He looked down at the large maple leaf he was busy grinding between thumb and forefinger, but the corners of his lips quivered.
- (…) Anyway, she still had the child, right? (…)
He cleared his throat I noticed he had turned pink. Carefully avoiding meeting my gaze, he resumed:
- What I mean is that, as far as I know, unless you are called Mary and are visited by the Holy Spirit, there is only one way to get pregnant, not true ?
- Yes, as far as I know, too. (…)
"In that case, that means Sarah and Abraham were still sleeping together despite their age, right?"
He still wasn't looking at me, staring at the remains of the ragged leaf, but his ears were crimson. Realizing finally the object of this biblical debate, I put out my foot and pushed it with the tip of one toe.
- You think I don't want you anymore, is that it?
- You rebuked me earlier, he said.
- I feel like my stomach is full of crushed glass, I'm half soaked and covered in mud up to my knees and the man who has been looking for you assiduously since earlier is going to barge in between the bushes , moment to moment, with a pack on my heels, I said with a certain harshness in my voice. Are you suggesting that I roll around in wet leaves with you? Because if that's the case ...
- No, no, he said hastily. I didn't mean to say now. I was just wondering if ...
He stood up abruptly, removing the pieces of dead leaves from his kilt with exaggerated vigor. I resumed, articulating calmly:
- If, by your fault, I get pregnant, Jamie Fraser, I swear to make you eat your own balls on a skewer. As for sharing your layer ...
He stiffened and looked at me. I smiled at him, my thoughts clearly visible on my face.
-… as soon as we have a real bed, I promise to be all yours.
He sighed briefly, looking suddenly relieved
- Perfect, he said. It's just… I was wondering, that's all.
Chapter 13 p170
As I sat up, I saw Jamie still standing there, watching me with a strange, tender expression, almost intimidated.
- Did I ever think of thanking you, Sassenach asked in a voice a little hoarse.
- Why ? I replied, surprised.
"For my little ones," he whispered. For the children you gave me.
- Ah… (…)… all the pleasure was mine.
Chapter 14 p202
Brianna looked at him smiling at him, her eyes filled with love. He smiled back at her, blinked, cleared his throat, and squeezed my hand a little tighter. Remembering my own weddings, I myself had my throat tied as I listened to them say their vows. (…)
- I, Roger Jeremiah, receive you, Brianna Ellen, as a wife… (…)… in happiness and trials… in joy and pain… in sickness and health… (…)
Jamie hugged me a little more, our fingers intertwining. Looking up at him, I read in his the same promise that echoed in my head:
-… throughout our life.
Chapter 15 p 218
He held Claire snuggled up to him, his hand against her lower abdomen. She sighed, with a hint of pain, then leaned back more comfortably, her butt nestling against the crook of her thighs. She was starting to melt into him as she relaxed.He felt this strange fusion of their flesh coming. In the early days, this only happened when he possessed, and only towards the end. Then, earlier and earlier, until her hand on him then was an invitation and a completion, an inevitable surrender, an offer and an acceptance. He had resisted it at times, only to make sure he could, suddenly fearing that he would lose himself. He had thought it was a treacherous passion, like the one that stirred up a crowd of angry men, binding them to each other in blind fury. Now he knew it was good. The Bible said, You will be one flesh, and What God has united a man cannot undo. He had survived such a tear before, once. He could survive it a second time.Lower down, the sentries had built a canvas shelter near their fire. The flickering flames made the light fabric sparkle like a heartbeat. He wasn't afraid of dying with her, by fire or any other means, only of having to live without her.
The wind turned, carrying on its wings a barely audible laughter that came from the newlyweds' tent. He smiles. He hoped that his daughter would find the same joy in marriage as he did.
He had wanted her for days, his urge having been suppressed by the frenzy of the gathering. The dull tug in her lower abdomen probably echoed her pain. He had picked her up several times as she went about her business, when both had wanted it too much to wait any longer. He had found these antics messy and disturbing, but also exciting. They left him with a vague sense of shame that wasn't entirely unpleasant. Of course, the time and place were ill-chosen, but the memory of other occasions and places made him move. He barely pulled away from her so as not to disturb her with the physical evidence of his thoughts.However, what he felt was not quite desire. It wasn't her need or the urge to get her soul's company, either. He wanted to cover her with his body, to possess her, in order to convince himself that she was safe. If they were one body, he would feel like he was protecting her, even if it was all an illusion . (…) He tilted his head, put his lips behind his ear and whispered:
- As long as there is still a breath in my lungs, nothing will happen to you, a nighean donn. Nothing.
- I know, she replied. (…)
He lay awake, stiff, long after the rain had put out the sentry fire.
Chapter 16 p226
Jamie unwillingly understood the nervousness of his mount. Eager to get home and forcing himself to move forward, anything that got in his way irritated him. Right now her main obstacle was Claire, who had - damn good wife! - stopped his mare in the middle of the road to go and tear up more tufts of vegetation in the side aisles. As if their house wasn't already full of grass from floor to ceiling already! (…) Hearing the din, Claire had turned around, her eyes widening. She looked at Jamie, then the trail where her mare was already gone, then Jamie again. She shrugged sadly, her hands full of leaves and earthy roots.
- Sorry, she said. (…)
He swallowed his reproaches and his words took on a whole new tone as they left his mouth:
"Get in the saddle, woman," he said, deceptively gruff. I want my dinner.
She burst out laughing and, pulling up her skirts, climbed in front of him. (…) He pulled his hat down over his forehead and made his wandering wife more comfortable, pulling her skirts down between her thighs and putting his arms around her waist.
Taking a sudden breath, he took a few steps between the trees and looked around. Usually he paid attention only to vegetation immediately edible for horses and men, to trunks with veins straight enough to make planks and beams, or to lianas and weeds that invaded and obstructed the passage. . But when he began to contemplate nature, he was surprised by its variety and aesthetics. Half-ripe barley stalks, their seeds arranged in rows like a woman's mat. A dry, crumbly grass, delicate like the lace border of a beautiful handkerchief. A spruce branch, unreal green among the bare trees, leaving its fragrant sap on his hand when he snapped it off. A handful of oak leaves, dead and shiny, reminding her of Claire's hair color, all in shades of gold, brown and gray. A piece of red liana, added for its color. He finishes just in time. She was approaching the corner of the house. Lost in thought, she passed a few meters from him without seeing him.
- Sorcha, he called softly. (…) Welcome home, he said, handing her his bouquet.
She looked at the arrangement of leaves and branches, then looked up at him. The corners of her lips began to tremble as if she was about to burst into laughter or sobs.
- Oh, Jamie… It's… beautiful!
She tiptoed up and placed a hot, salty kiss on his lips. He would have liked more, but she was already walking towards the door of the house, hugging her little bouquet to her breast, like an object of pure gold. He felt a little foolish, but also quite satisfied with himself. He still had the taste of her mouth on his lips. Sorcha, he whispered again. Then he realized that he had already called her that. It was strange. No wonder she looked surprised. This word was the translation of his name into Gaelic, but he never used it. He liked the fact that she was from elsewhere, that she was English. She was his Claire, his Sassenach. Yet by the time she walked past him she had been Sorcha ,which meant not only Claire, but also "light". He sighed with pleasure.
- You could have told me, Sassenach!
Bleakly, Jamie looked at his bouquet that I had placed in a glass of water on the table by our bedroom window. The bright red stems of the poisonous bouquet shone even in the dim light. He added, grumbling:
- You should have gotten rid of it. Did you keep it to taunt me? (…)
- Not at all. But if I had told you when you gave it to me, you would have taken it right away and thrown it away. Now, this is the first time that you have offered me a bouquet, and undoubtedly the last. I want to keep it.
He laughed, then sat down on the bed to take off his stockings.
Watching Jamie walk around the room naked without the slightest embarrassment, I told myself he was holding as much of the sponge as his grandson. He was able to cope with whatever life put in his path and absorbed all of its elements, even those for which his past had not prepared him. Maniacal stallions, kidnapped priests, maids of marriageable age, obstinate daughters, pagan sons-in-law … I was the shell. Torn from my rocky niche by a current of unexpected strength, sucked in and swallowed up by Jamie and his life. Trapped forever in the strange forces that agitated this alien environment. I had virtually no regrets. I had chosen to be here, I wanted to be here.Yet every now and then little details, like our conversation about immunity, reminded me of everything I had lost - what I had, what I had been. This thought created a feeling of emptiness in me.
One of Jamie's hands was still in mine, while the other let go of my fingers and wandered away, very delicately, causing me to lose my train of thought. (…)
- Pills, is that right? he asked. Is this the modern method? (…) Didn't you bring any with you when you came back?
I inhaled deeply, then exhaled, feeling ready to pass out.
- No, I replied weakly. (…)
- Why ?
- Well… is that… you have to take it all the time. I couldn't have brought enough. On the other hand, there is a permanent method, a small surgical intervention, which is relatively simple and which makes it permanently sterile.
I swallow, embarrassed by the turn of the conversation. (…) Jamie was still, his eyes lowered.
- Claire, tell me what you did, he said in a low voice. (…)
- Jamie, if I had done anything, I would have told you. You ... wish I had the operation?
His other hand left me, came to rest on my back and pulled me to him, very slowly. Her skin against mine was hot.
- I have enough children. But I only have one life, and it's you, mo chridhe.
(…) I had thought about it and I was on the verge of asking a surgeon to sterilize me. It was the decision of reason: taking unnecessary risks was useless. (…) Nevertheless, after having left him for so long without knowing if I would ever see him again… I could not bring myself to destroy this possibility. I didn't want another child. But, if I found him, and if he wanted to… then I was willing to take that risk for him. I touched him gently. He moaned and buried his face in my hair, hugging me tight. Every time we made love, there was an element of risk and promise, for my life was in his hands and his soul in mine, and he knew it.
- I thought… that you would never see Brianna. I didn't know Willie existed. I had no right to take away your chance to be a father again… not without telling you before.
" You are the blood of my blood, the bones of my bones," I told him. It was the truth and it would remain so whether we were parents or not.
"I don't want another child," he whispered. I only want you. (…)
- Don't worry about Brianna. If Roger picked these plants for her, it's because he knows what she wants. (…)
"I know what I want too," he said through my hair. I'll pick you another bouquet tomorrow.
Ch26 p344 Fire: head or feet?
- What do you say, Mac Dubh? Head or feet?
Jamie wiped his lips on the back of his sleeve. As hairy as his companions, he looked like a true viking, the glow of the fire enhancing the red, gold, and silver highlights of his beard and loose hair.
- Don't worry about me, guys. No matter what position I sleep in, I will sleep warm.
He nodded in my direction, raising another wave of hilarity, punctuated by a few remarks in borderline Gaelic good taste from the companions of Fraser's Ridge. Instinctively, one or two new recruits took stock of me, but they quickly looked away after a glance at Jamie's height, shoulder width, and amiably fierce demeanor. My eyes met a man's and I smiled at him. He looked surprised and returned the favor, lowering his head timidly. How did Jamie manage to achieve such a result? With one dirty joke , he publicly asserted his ownership over me, shielded me from unwanted advances, and reaffirmed his position as leader.
- Looks like a real troop of baboons! I muttered between my teeth. And I sleep with the dominant male! (…)
- Are not baboons those species of tailless monkeys?
- You know very well what it is.
I caught his gaze and saw him suppress a smile. I could guess what he was thinking, and he knew it.
Chapter 29 p409
I gently stroked Jamie's hair. A corner of his lips suddenly lifted, giving rise to a smile of surprising tenderness. But he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. I stared at him, stunned. He was sleeping, his breath still hoarse but steady, his long red lashes casting dark shadows on his cheeks. As I resumed my caresses, his smile returned and left like the flicker of a flame. After a deep sigh, he buried his face a little more in my skirts, relaxed, limbs completely soft. Tears drowned my eyes.
“Oh, Jamie,” I whispered.
It had been years since I had seen him sleep like this. Not since the early days of our marriage, specifically, since Lallybroch. “ He always did that when he was little,” his sister Jenny explained to me. I think that means he's happy. My fingers wrapped around the soft, thick curls at the base of her neck, feeling the solid curve of her scalp, the warmth of her scalp, the thin bead of an old scar.
"Me too," I whispered to him.
Chapter 32 p439
He started laughing.
- You can't be drunk, Sassenach. Not after drinking three glasses of cider.
- So it must be fatigue. I have the impression that my head is a balloon at the end of a wire. How do you know exactly what I've been drinking? Are you watching me? (…)
- I like to watch you, Sassenach. Especially in society. When you laugh, your teeth shine in a lovely way.
I was nevertheless sincerely flattered. Since I hadn't even washed off for several days, let alone wash or change my clothes, my teeth were the only thing he could still admire. However, it was heartwarming that he took the trouble.
(p445) Adopt the newborn?
"Well, that wasn't my last question," I said. It's the last one: why are you making this offer to me?
- Well… I thought…
- Do you remember what you told me when you came back from the gathering? That you could have chosen the safety of infertility… but you didn't, for me. So…
He (...) took a deep breath and continued speaking into the void in front of him, as if addressing himself
to a court:
- For me, I did not want you to have another child, Sassenach. I would have been too afraid to lose you. I already have sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren… (…) But I only have one life, Claire, and that's you.
He swallows hard before resuming:
- So, I thought… if you wanted another child, maybe I could still give you one.
Tears burned my eyes. I groped for his hand and squeezed it.
(…). I didn't need to think about it any further, because the decision had made itself.
(…) Perhaps I was born with a secret quota inscribed in my body, or else I now had to give an act of allegiance elsewhere… I knew. As a mother, I felt the lightness of the successful effort, of the satisfied honor. My mission was accomplished. I rested my forehead against his chest and whispered:
- No. But, Jamie… I love you so much.
Chapter 35 p485 Sperm and microscope
- Wonderful! he confirmed. Look at them. How busy they are! They push and jostle ... What is it!
He examined them for a moment longer, exclaiming under his breath, then lifted his head, shaking it in amazement.
'I've never seen anything like it, Sassenach. You had already told me about it, but I would never have imagined germs like this! I saw them with little teeth, which they don't have, but… I didn't think they would have such pretty wagging tails or that they would move around in such large numbers!
I looked into the eyepiece in turn, while explaining:
- This is the case with certain microorganisms. But these bugs are not microbes, they are sperm. (…) Male reproductive cells. You know, the ones we make babies with.
I thought he was going to strangle himself. He opened his mouth and his complexion was rosy.
- You mean… seed? Cum? (…) Sperm, he mumbled. Sperm ...
Seized with terrible doubt, he turned to me with suspicion.
- Who are they?
- Uh ... well, to you, of course! Who else do you want them to be?
By reflex, he mechanically put a protective hand in front of her sex.
- How did you get them?
- What do you think ? I had a small reserve in me this morning when I woke up.
His hand relaxed, but he winced, mortified. He drank the tea all at once, not even noticing it was hot.
- I see. There followed a deep silence. (…) Those… uh… sperm… (…) Can't we get them out of there and give them a decent burial or something like that?
I hid myself to smile behind my cup of tea.
"Don't worry, I'll take good care of them," I promised. Haven't I always done it?
Chapter 39 p512 Marriage of Jocasta and Duncan Innes
The future groom must have been even more nervous than I imagined. Responding to Hamilton who had just whispered a remark in his ear, Jamie said:
- This should come as no surprise to my aunt, since she has already had three husbands before him. However, it is Duncan's first marriage. It's always a shock to a man. I remember my first wedding night like it was yesterday!
He gave me a smirk that made my cheeks flush. I also remembered it very clearly. I snapped my fan open and waved the ivory lace bow in front of my face.
- Don't you think it's a bit hot?
- Really ? Jamie said smirk.
He followed the path of a loop in my back and I obediently slid my shawl lower over my shoulders. With dexterity from long practice, he put the curl back into my hairstyle, then kissed the back of my neck, making me shiver. He was not immune to the vibrations of the spring air either.
"I guess I have to keep looking for Duncan," he said with a hint of regret in his voice. (…) That said, once I have found him ... we could perhaps find a little quiet place in the area.
At the word "quiet," I leaned against him, gazing lasciviously towards the bank where a group of weeping willows sheltered a stone bench. Couldn't have hoped for a quieter or more romantic place, especially after dark. (…)
"I'll go get him," he announced. Go back to the house, Sassenach, and watch my aunt and the priest. Don't let them slip away before the marriage is over.
Jamie walked across the park towards the weeping willows, distractedly responding to greetings from friends and acquaintances in his path. In truth, his mind was more occupied with his wife than with the impending nuptials. He was aware of how lucky he was to have such a beautiful wife. Even in his everyday heavy canvas robe, wading knee-deep in the mud of his garden or smeared with the blood of his patients, the curves of his face still made him shudder and her whiskey-colored eyes intoxicated him. 'just one look. And then his mass of eternally rebellious hair amused him.
It was stronger than him. He turned to admire Claire, but only saw the top of her head slipping through the crowd on the terrace. Of course, she persisted in not wearing a suitable cap, preferring to pin on her head a coquetry all in lace and ribbons, stitched with rose hips. Suppressing the urge to laugh, he let himself be captivated by the willows again, a huge smile on his face. It must have been his new dress that put him in this state. For months, he had not seen her dressed like this, like a great lady, her slim waist caught in silk, her white breasts, round and soft overflowing from her cleavage like perfectly ripened winter pears. She was another woman, both intimately familiar and yet of a exciting strangeness. His fingers itched at the memory of the long, rebellious lock spiraling down his back, the touch of her neck, the round, warm curve of her rump through her skirt, pressing against her thigh. With all these people around them, he hadn't been able to own her for over a week, and the lack was sorely felt.Since she had shown him her sperm, he had the unpleasant sensation of a dangerous overcrowding in his purses, a tingling especially noticeable in this kind of situation. He knew very well that there was no danger of it breaking or exploding, but he couldn't help but think of the shoving that took place in his crotch. Being trapped in a swarming crowd with no escape routes matched his own vision of hell. So he paused for a moment behind the screen of willows to reassure his dear little ones with a light pressure of the hand, thus hoping to calm the riot for a while. He would make sure Duncan was married off, then leave him to fend for himself. At nightfall, if he couldn't find anything better,
Chapter 43 p575 Wylie
With a pin, I put back in place a wick that had escaped from my hairstyle and made fall a few strands of straw from my dress. Fortunately, I hadn't torn it up. In no time I was decent again.
- Everything all right, Sassenach?
(…) I whirled around, the adrenaline rushing through my chest like an electric shock, and found Jamie next to me, watching me with furrowed brows.
- What were you doing, Sassenach?
My heart still panicked, I was choking. However, I managed to articulate a few words in a tone that I hoped clear. (…) He was looking at me strangely. (…) I fumbled around the back of my head, tidying up my hairstyle, and took the opportunity to turn away slightly, avoiding meeting Jamie's gaze. (…) His face darkens. (…)
- Did you want to tell me something else?
He made a hiss similar to that of an electric kettle reaching the boiling point, a sign of rare impatience in him.
- Damn, I almost forgot! One of the slaves was poisoned ... Well, I think so. I dropped my hands and turned to him, stunned.
- What? Who ? How? 'Or' What ? Why didn't you tell me?
- I'm telling you, right? Don't worry, Sassenach, his life is not in danger. She's just dead drunk. (…)
- The point is, alcohol is poison, although no one seems to care around here. However, there is a difference between being drunk and being deliberately poisoned. What do you mean...
- Sassenach? he interrupted me. (…) What the hell were you doing in the stable!
I stared at him, taken aback. Her face had become more and more red as we spoke (…). The dangerous bluish glow in the depths of his gaze told me that a more personal element was, no doubt, taken into account in his reaction. (…) He pursed his lips and reached for a point near my mouth. He touched it very gently, then he showed me the tip of his finger. There was a small black object there: Phillip Wylie's fake star-shaped mole.
- Oh, that! Uh ...
My ears began to ring. My head turned and tiny white dots began to dance in front of my eyes.
- Yes this ! Damn it, Claire! I struggle between Duncan's nonsense and Ninian's jokes and ... (...) I have the majors, Regulators, alcoholic maids over the head! On top of that, I catch you smooching this Muscadin!
My blood boiled in my veins and burned my eyes. I clenched my fists, suppressing my urge to slap him.
- We didn't kiss each other, you know that very well! This moron was just trying to piss me off, nothing more.
- Gringue? You mean he fucked you? I was right!
- But it's not okay, right?
- Ah yes ? You asked him for his fly as a lucky charm, then?
He waved the tiny black spot under my nose. Roughly, I pushed his hand away, remembering too late that, in his mouth, "kissing" didn't necessarily mean fornicating. I clenched my jaws.
- He kissed me, probably a bad joke on his part. I am old enough to be his mother!
- Say rather his grandmother! If you didn't want him to kiss you, you just had to not encourage him!
His muzzle left me speechless. I felt doubly insulted.
- Encourage him? Poor moron! You know for a fact that I did nothing of the sort!
- Your own daughter saw you, entering the stable alone with him! So you have no dignity? With everything I already have on my hands, do I have to go find this bastard to confuse him?
I had a little qualms thinking of Brianna, but a bigger qualm imagining Jamie challenging Wylie to a duel. He was not carrying his sword, but he had put it in his luggage. I vigorously pushed those two thoughts out of my head.
"My daughter is neither a fool nor a bad-intentioned gossip," I said, draping myself in immense dignity. If she sees me admiring a horse, she'll think I'm admiring a horse, nothing more. Why would she believe anything else?
He exhaled loudly between pursed lips, giving me a murderous look.
- Indeed, why? Maybe because everyone saw you shamelessly flirting with him on the lawn. Because everyone noticed he was following you around like a dog behind a bitch in heat?
He must have seen my expression change dangerously, because he coughed in the palm of his hand, the flow of his admonitions rushed:
- Several people saw fit to inform me. Do you think it makes me happy to be the laughing stock of everyone, Sassenach?
- You ... of ...
Fury choked me. I had a mad desire to hit him, but I already saw a few heads turned towards us with great interest.
- "A bitch in heat"? I hissed through my teeth. How dare you, dirty ... dirty ... stupid! He had the decency to seem a little taken aback, while continuing to fulminate:
- Okay, okay ... That might not have been the most appropriate term, but you can't deny that you took it on your own accord, Sassenach! As if I didn't have enough worries! My own wife must ... If you had gone to find my aunt as I asked, none of this would have happened. Do you even realize what you've done?
I had changed my mind. Maybe a duel was a good idea. With any luck, Jamie and Philip Wylie would kill each other quickly, publicly, in a bloodbath. After all, I didn't care who was watching us. I dove towards him, making a very serious attempt to castrate him, but he grabbed my wrists just in time.
- Good God, Sassenach! They are watching us!
I tried to free my hands, panting:
- I ... don't ... give a damn ...! If they want a show, I'll give it to them!
Although I didn't take my eyes off his face, I was aware of a small crowd forming on the lawn. Him too. He raised his eyebrows for a moment, then suddenly he made up his mind:
- Is ! Let them watch!
He grabbed me by the waist, crushed me against him and kissed me full on the mouth. Unable to escape him, I stopped struggling, stiffening in fury. I heard laughter and shouts of encouragement in the distance. Ninian Hamilton threw a joke in Gaelic, a joke I was fortunate not to understand. He finally released his lips, still squeezing me tightly against him, then very slowly lowered his head, pressing his temple against mine . Her cheek was cool and firm. His body was firm, too, but far from cool. Its heat passed through at least six layers of clothing before it burned my skin: shirt, waistcoat, jacket, dress, corset and shirt. Whether it was anger, excitement, or both, he was loaded and on fire. Finally, he said in a whisper that tickled my ear:
- Sorry. I shouldn't have insulted you. Truly. Once I kill him, do you want me to kill myself too?
I relaxed a bit. My pelvis was still pressed firmly against him and, through the layers of fabric, the effect produced was reassuring.
"It can probably wait a bit," I said.
All these emotions had stunned me and I took a deep breath to pull myself together.
Chapter 46 p592
What he really wanted was his wife. It was still early, but evening was already falling and a festive carefree atmosphere reigned in the house and on the terrace. It was cool and, with the help of good wine, he remembered Claire, the touch of her warm skin under her skirt, earlier in the grove, soft and succulent like a peach split in two in the palm of her hand, ripened in sunny and juicy. He longed for her. She was there. At the other end of the terrace, the torchlight made her hair, pulled up above this ridiculous square of lace, shine.His desire gripped him. As soon as he got her stuck alone, he would take off her pins one by one and pull her hair up to the top of her head for the simple pleasure of seeing it fall freely behind her back. Glass in hand, she laughed at Lloyd Stanhope's words. The wine had barely reddened her complexion. At the sight, a pleasant thrill of anticipation ran through Jamie. Making love with her was sometimes tender, sometimes a showdown, but taking her when she was a little drunk was always a particular delight. Drunk, she paid less attention to him than usual. Surrendering entirely to her own pleasure, she raked the backs of her nails, bit him, begged him to continue. He loved this feeling of power. It only depended on him to join her in the same surge of bestial impulse or to hold back, as long as possible, in order to submit her to all her whims.
(…) The delicious paradox of making her drink was to see her stop protecting herself, opening herself completely to him, considering him as the sole agent of her sensations. He could titillate and stroke her, or knead her like bread dough, gradually leading her to a state of inertia, panting and tearing beneath him, entirely at her mercy.
Having left Stanhope and his cronies, Claire stood by the sideboard and examined the dishes on display with a frown, undecided by so many choices. He saw Gerald Forbes contemplating her with a speculative eye and stepped forward, as if by reflex, to come between him and his wife. Imagining the lawyer's eyes on his back, he smiled in thought. "Put your feet up, paltoquet!" He sneered inwardly.
- Can't you make up your mind, Sassenach?
Jamie was indeed an excellent player. He was also a seasoned cheater. However, it was difficult, if not impossible, to cheat on whist, and Phillip Wylie had a reputation for being a great player too, as was Stanhope. (…) He turned around, looking bad.
- You think I'm going to let this little rascal trample on my honor and insult me in public?
- I'm sure he didn't want to ...
I did not continue. It was clear that Wylie hadn't sought to insult him directly, but he had challenged her nonetheless, which to a Scotsman was the same.
- But you don't need to answer!
I would have had better luck chatting with the brick wall in the vegetable garden.
- Oh yes ! he said, stiffening. I have my pride. Exasperated, I ran a hand over my face.
- Yes, and Phillip Wylie is fully aware of it! Have you ever been told that misplaced pride is a sign of downfall?
"I have no intention of falling," he assured me with dignity. Give me your gold ring .
I was stunned.
- Sorry ?
My fingers closed unconsciously on my right ring finger and on Franck's smooth wedding ring. He was staring at me intently. (…)
"I need a bet," he said calmly.
- You can still run! (…)
"I won't lose her," Jamie announced behind me. (…) Or… if I lose it, I'll get it back, one way or another. I know how much you care. (…)
My heart was beating wildly. My face was sweaty and hot, as if I was about to turn my eye. He said nothing more, didn't move an inch. He just waited.
- The golden one? I finally asked. Not the silver one?
No, not "her" ring, not "her" symbol of ownership.
- The gold one has more value ...
After a brief hesitation he added:
- On the financial plan.
- I know. (…) I wanted to say: why not take both?
My fingers were icy and wet with sweat. The gold wedding ring slipped easily. The silver one was tighter, but I managed to get it through the joint. I took his hand and dropped the two rings into it.
Chapter 48 Night at Jocasta's
- Come here, he interrupted me. He spoke in a low voice, a hoarse tone laden with sleep and whiskey.
He didn't give me time to answer or even to nod. He took me by the arm and pulled me to him, lifting me up from the last step, crushing me against him and kissing me greedily. This kiss was baffling, as if, knowing my mouth too well, Jamie was determined to give me pleasure by force, regardless of my desires. (…) Her mouth tasted so whiskey that my head turned slightly, as if the alcohol in her blood was diffusing directly into mine through all the pores of our skin. But he transmitted to me much more ...
In me oozed an uncontrollable desire, as blind as it was dangerous. I wanted to push him away, before realizing that I didn't really want to. Either way, it wouldn't have changed anything. He had no intention of stopping.
He kicked open the door and dragged me with him into the warm darkness, pinning me against a wall.
- If I don't take you right away, I'll die! he gasped.
Her mouth crashed into mine again, her face refreshed by the cold early morning air, her breath condensing in mine. He pulled away abruptly and I staggered (…).
"Give me your hands," he said. (…) Your hands. Give them to me.
Puzzled, I held them out, and he turned to the left. In the faint glow that filtered through the half-open door, I saw my gold wedding ring glistening. Then he grabbed my right hand and slipped the silver ring still imbued with his body heat onto my finger. He brought my hand to his lips and bit it.
He rolled my shirt up above my hips, and my bare butt pounded rhythmically against the rough stone. I didn't feel any pain though. I grabbed his shoulders and held on tight. His hand slipped between us, his fingers feverishly brushing aside the last pieces of fabric that separated us. Then I crushed my pelvis against him, inviting him. His hot breath brushed my ear.
" Look down," he whispered. Looked ! I want you to see me take you. Look, damn it!
His hand pressed my neck, forcing me to bend my head to see, in the dim light, the harsh reality of my penetration. I arched my back and let myself be possessed, biting the seam of his jacket to keep from screaming. His mouth closed around my neck and latched onto it, as he convulsively emptied into me. We were entwined in the straw, watching the daylight creep into the stable and step onto the terracotta tiles. My heartbeat still echoed loudly in my ears, blood tingling my temples, thighs and fingers. Still, I felt unreal, detached from my own body, as if these sensations belonged to another, and slightly shocked.
Jamie turned around.
- Are you okay, Sassenach?
- Yes Yes. Everything is fine. I just ... It's okay. And you ? (…)
He held my gaze for a moment, then turned away and swallowed. (…) Getting up, he came to stand in front of me. (…)
- You don't hate me? he asked.
Taken aback, I laughed.
- No, I replied. I should ? (…)
- Uh ... Maybe. In any case, I am happy that it is not.
He took my hands gently, his thumb caressing the chiseled tracery on my silver ring. (…)
- Why do you want me to hate you? Because of the alliances? (…)
"Yes, first of all for that reason," he replied. It's been a long time since I let myself be dominated by my pride, but I couldn't help myself, with this Wylie turning around you, her eyes constantly fixed on your breasts ...
- Really ?
This one evocation lit a murderous fire in his eyes for a moment, then he dismissed Wylie with a dismissive wave of his hand and took up the catalog of his sins:
- And then for dragging you out of the house in your shirt and assaulting you like a beast in heat ...
He brushed the red mark of his teeth on my neck. I still felt his bite.
- Ah! Uh ... To be honest, I didn't really mind that. (…)
- That is true ?
- Yes, except that I must have all blue buttocks.
– Oh !
- I am sorry. At the end of the whist game, I had only one idea in mind, to find you, Sassenach. I went up and down the stairs a dozen times, going to your door and then turning back. (…) Knowing that I couldn't sleep, I decided to go for a walk in the park, but, without realizing it, I found myself again in front of your door, wondering how to get to up to you or how to get out.
This probably explained my equestrian dreams. (…) Ironically, where had he taken me? In a stable, of course! A true King of Ireland! He squeezed my hand gently.
Chapter 52 p644 Night escape to Betty's corpse
Jamie himself was far from comfortable, though he struggled to look relaxed. Death was familiar to him and did not frighten him too much. However, Catholic and Celtic, he firmly believed in another invisible world that extended beyond the dissolution of bodies. He implicitly accepted the existence of tannasgeach - the spirits - and did not want to cross one.However, since I was determined, he would brave the Hereafter for me. He squeezed my hand tight and didn't let go. I was very grateful to him for being there with me. Besides the questionable question of what Betty's ghost would think of my intentions, I knew that the thought of deliberate mutilation disturbed him deeply, even though he was fully aware that a lifeless body was neither neither more nor less than a mass of clay.
Chapter 54 p683 Muscular Explanation With Wylie
Jamie stared at him for a long time.
"Maybe," he said at last. But, in that case, what did you come to do in the shed in the middle of the night, if it wasn't to contemplate the face of your victim?
- My victim! Wylie belched again, bouncing to his feet. It wasn't me in the shed with my arms thrust into his guts up to my elbows. "My" victim! Imagine, madam, that the desecration of a corpse is an act punishable by capital punishment. I've heard things about you, Ms. Fraser! Oh yes, and what things! In my opinion, it was you who caused the death of this unfortunate woman, and this, with the sole aim of obtaining ...
He didn't finish his sentence. Jamie grabbed his collar and twisted it around his neck. Then he punched her in the stomach. The young man doubled over, coughing and spitting out a mixture of coffee, bile and several other nasty substances on the floor, on his clothes and on Jamie. I sighed wearily. (…) Jamie let go of Wylie and began to take off his soiled clothes. I stared at him disapprovingly.
“That kind of reaction isn't really going to help us,” I told him. Even though I appreciate that you stand up for my honor. (…)
- You think maybe I was going to let that whipper insult you!
"I doubt he'll do it again," Roger said. (…) Is it true what he said about the death penalty? (…)
- I don't know, he replied. But it doesn't matter, because he won't tell anyone. Otherwise, I'll cut him into pieces and feed his balls and lying tongue to the pigs.
He put his hand on the handle of his cutlass, as if to make sure it was there, just in case. Then, turning to Wylie, he resumed the conversation with extreme courtesy:
" But I'm sure you would never make false accusations against my wife, would you, sir?"
I wasn't surprised to see Wylie, still unable to speak, shake his head. Jamie gave a satisfied growl and picked up his cloak on the floor. Still stunned by this manifestation of manly honor, I sat down on the bucket.
- Well ! I sigh. Now that everything is back to normal, where were we?
Chapter 60 p724
He hesitated a moment, then said cautiously:
- I never ask you the question, because, if the answer is "yes", I could not do much about it, but ... do you often regret the other time?
I waited three heartbeats before I answered. I could hear them distinctly, pounding slowly in his rib cage against my ear. Then I closed my left hand, feeling the smooth metal of my gold wedding ring.
- No, I finally answered. But I remember it.
Chapter 85 p938
The light danced on the whitewashed walls and the bed was filled with shadows.
- You are beautiful, he whispered to me.
- If you say so...
- You do not believe me ? Have I ever lied to you?
- It's not that. I meant that from the moment you say it, it becomes true. It's your look that makes me beautiful.
He sighed and made himself more comfortable. (…)
- Do you think of me too, Sassenach? he suddenly asked.
Her embarrassed tone made her head turn to him in surprise
- Think what? You are so handsome ? (…)
- Well ... no, but ... are you still able to look at me? (…)
“You look good to me, Jamie,” I said softly. So beautiful that you break my heart.
He took a deep breath, and I felt his chest rise.
- She didn't have a white hair, Sassenach. Not one.
Ellen Fraser had died in childbirth at the age of thirty-eight. Mine was dead at thirty-two. I carried within me all the richness of those long years that they had not lived. And more.
- Seeing the years on your body and your face gives me immense joy, Sassenach. Because they mean you live. (…) Mo nighean donn, he whispered. Mo chridhe. My brunette, my heart. Come to me, cover me, shelter me, a bhean, heal me. Burn with me as I burn for you.
I lay down on top of him, covered him, my skin against his bones, and always - always! - that bright and fiery core, that throbbing muscle that united us. My hair fell on us and, in this hot and dark cave, I whispered in my turn:
- Until we are reduced to ashes.
Chapter 90 p975 Roger, attentive observer of the couple in love
Looking for Claire, he had entered the dairy and found her with Jamie, both fully clothed, each in their own corner. However, the air was so charged with the musk of desire and male seed that Roger had turned crimson, all the hairs on his body bristling. His first reaction had been to turn on his heels, but he had no excuse. So he delivered his message to Claire, aware of Fraser's gaze on him. Aware
also silent communication between them, an invisible current in the air, like two pearls on a tight thread. Jamie had waited for him to leave before going out in turn. At that moment, Roger had perceived out of the corner of his eye a slight movement, a discreet touch of his hand on Claire's, a gesture which, even with hindsight, knotted his guts.
He breathed slowly to ease the feeling of tightness in his chest, then stretched out on the floor, letting the sun heat his closed eyelids. (…) Roger's thoughts drifted back to the embarrassing dairy incident. Far from being lewd, nor even curious, he often found himself spying on them. He could see them from his cabin window, walking side by side in the evening, Jamie tilting his head towards her, his arms behind his back. Claire spoke with her hands, waving them high in front of her, as if trying to catch the future and shape it, as if she wanted to deposit her thoughts in Jamie's hands, smooth and polished, chunks of sculpted air. . After realizing his gesture, Roger began to observe them deliberately, avoiding any feeling of shame at this intrusion, which was minor.
His curiosity was motivated by a very specific objective. He absolutely had to know something, to the point of muted his good manners. How did a marriage work? He had been brought up in a bachelor's house. His uncle, the reverend, and his old housekeeper had given him all the affection he needed as a child, but, when he reached adulthood, he was ignorant of the hugs and words that united a married couple. for a long time. For now, he could trust his instincts, but ... If love like theirs could be taught ...
Chapter 93 p1014 The bite of the serpent and imminent death
- I would like you to touch me ... without hurting me. Just once before I fell asleep. Would that bother you?
I froze, bewildered. He was right. Between the urgency of the situation and my worry, everything I had done to her since this morning was painful, embarrassing, or both. Marsali, Brianna, Roger, Jemmy ... they had all moved him by their kindness, offering him sympathy and comfort. For my part, terrified by what could happen, by the constraint of a possible operation , I had not taken the time to show him my affection. I turned my face away, hiding my tears. Once I had recovered, I approached the bed, leaned over him and kissed him, very gently.
(p1020) Death up close
He glanced at me sideways, smiling shyly. He had also known what awaited him further and, from that moment, realized that the choice was his. Go forward or turn back.
- That's when you asked me to touch you?
"You were the only thing that could bring me back," he said simply. Alone, I didn't have the strength.
My throat was tied. Unable to speak, I squeezed his hand with all my strength.
- Why ? I finally asked. Why did you ... choose to stay?
- Because you need me, he said in a whisper.
- Not because you love me?
- Sassenach, I love you now and I will love you always, whether I'm dead or you are, whether we're together or apart. You know. (…) I know it's true for you too.
Chapter 94 p1040 In the forest with Roger, feverish and thinking to die
Suddenly awakening from his feverish stupor, Jamie had gripped Roger's arm with surprising strength, his eyes burning.
- If I die, she has to go. Send her back. Force her to go back. If the little one can make the crossing, you should all go home. But she must absolutely cross the stones again.
- Why ? Roger asked. The crossing can be very dangerous.
- It's very dangerous for her here too, without me.
His gaze was suddenly blurred and his features sagged. Exhausted, he fell back on his bed, then suddenly stiffened again:
"She's an Elder," he panted. If they find out, they will kill her.
Then he had closed his eyes and hadn't said a word until the others found them in the early hours of the morning. Now, in the limpid light of that beautiful autumn day, far from the moaning wind and dancing flames, Roger was reasonably sure that Fraser had been delusional, his concern for his wife mingling with the ghosts distilled by the poison in his blood. Since then, however, it had not ceased to piss him off. "She is an Elder. Too bad Fraser did not speak Gaelic, the meaning would have been clearer. If he had called his wife a bansidhe, Roger would have understood immediately if he considered her as belonging to the fairy world or only as a sage firmly anchored in the world of humans. He still couldn't ... though. In Roger's time, belief in "the Other People" was still strong in the Highlands, although it was less openly admitted. Fraser made no secret of his belief in ghosts, let alone saints and angels.
(p1065) (just for Jamie's humorous review)
I nudged him.
- Keep on going !
- Mmphm. He said he went to the cesspool, probably thinking of meeting Cameron there, but there was no one there and it didn't smell of ... uh ... anyway, no one had used it recently.
"You don't need to be delicate with me," I reassured him.
- I know. But despite my long association with you, Sassenach, my own sensitivity has not yet faded. Ouch!
He rubbed his arm where I had pinched him.
- Don't make me laugh with your sensitivity. If you had one, you wouldn't have married me! Now can we try to find out where Cameron was?
Chapter 99 p1100
When I was twenty-three, I didn't understand how the mere sight of a woman liquefied all my bones while still making me feel like I could twist a steel bar in my hands. When I was twenty-five, I didn't understand how I could both cherish a woman and want to own her.
- Any woman?
I got what I had been looking for: a smirk and a look that went straight to my heart.
"A woman," he repeated.
He took the hand I had placed on his knee and squeezed it tight, lest I take it away.
"Just one," he said again in a hoarse voice. (…) I love you, a nighean donn. I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. I will love you until the end of time, and as long as you are by my side, I am at peace with the world.
Chapter 102 p1121 Trapping Bonnet
Jamie had waited until the last minute to make his arrangements, wanting to make sure Bonnet couldn't be notified before the encounter - the ambush. If this was successful, he would pay the balance of the fixed sum. Otherwise, Claire would pay it. He saw a vision of Claire's face, her features pale and drawn, nodding briefly, her lips pursed, as he explained the deal with Duff. His amber eyes had then rested on the latter with the ferocity of a hawk ready to gut a rat. Duff had cringed at the implied threat. At the memory, Jamie smiled. If friendship and money weren't enough to nail the sailor's beak, the fear of the White Lady would take care of it.
Chapter 107 p1174 Nighttime privacy
I had been standing there for a long time, letting the cool night air stroke my bare legs when I noticed Jamie's presence behind me. He hadn't made any noise, but his presence, warm, like thickening in the air, was palpable.
- Everything all right, Sassenach? he asked quietly from the doorstep.
- Yes. I just needed some fresh air. I didn't want to wake you up. (…)
- I always wake up when you wake up, Sassenach. I don't sleep well when you're not next to me. (…) You have salt on your face and your eyelashes are wet, Sassenach. You cried ? (…)
- No, it's sweat ... I was hot. (…)
He knelt down, one arm around my waist to hold me, his nose buried between my breasts. Usually I didn't use perfume, but I had a special oil, sent from the West Indies, made with orange blossoms, jasmine, vanilla beans and cinnamon. I only had a small bottle of it and only used a drop from time to time, for occasions that I presumed special.
- You wanted me, he said sadly. And I fell asleep without even touching you! I'm sorry, Sassenach. You should have told me.
- You were tired. (…)
- You could have pulled me out of my grave, Sassenach. I wouldn't have said no.
He stood up in front of me. Even in the dark, I found that I would not need to come up with such drastic measures.
Chapter 111 p1217 Declaration
Jamie's hand tightened on mine, and I looked up at him. He was staring somewhere, beyond the courtyard, beyond the mountains and the distant storm. The pressure increased again, and I felt the edges of my wedding ring sink into my flesh. Then he turned to me and said quietly:
- When the day comes when we have to go our separate ways, if my last words aren't "I love you" ... it will be because I didn't have time to say them.
Courage is mentioned in the preamble: “ Honor and courage are written in our bones. "
This is the courage Jamie recognizes in the Beardsley brothers when he decides to help Josiah (Chapter 27, p365)
" Why did you help Josiah?" I asked bluntly. (…)
- I told him that if he was determined to go find his brother, it was his business. But that if he decided to come and settle on Fraser's Ridge, alone or with his twin we should remove this mark on his thumb, because it would make people talk. (…) He did not hesitate for a moment, despite what he had endured. Believe me, Sassenach, a man can do something desperate for love or for bravery… but he has to have something more in his guts to start over, when he already knows what he's going to feel.
(…). He was standing upright on his molding, his shoulders square and proud. You couldn't guess the deep scars that streaked her back under her heavy canvas cloak, but I knew them by heart. So that was his reason. As on the surface of water a face responds to the face, so the heart of man is the reflection of man. However, the law of courage was the one he had defended for the longest time . "
In a lighter way, it is also that of the militiamen who stand up as one man when Josiah crosses paths with Claire by mistake one night near the camp (Chapter 26 p350): “ I saw Murdo near the fire jump up with a leap. , musket in hand, and a dark shadow whirled past me. (…) There followed a brief chaotic period where the men sprang from their beds like spring devils, screaming incoherent words and running in all directions. "
Then go back to bed: “ It was cold and it was late. With the excitement of the capture over, they began to nose down and yawn. (…) They went back to bed without arguing when Jamie asked them to . "
But still react when Josiah suddenly flees: " The boy had jumped out of the blankets and walked halfway through the clearing, before I could clean my eyes and figure out what was going on." Jamie leaps up behind him (…), leaving Roger and me with our mouths wide open. For the second time that night, the men climbed out of their diapers, guns in hand. I began to think to myself that the governor might be happy with his militia. One thing was for sure, she was ready to go into action in the blink of an eye. "
Even the goat Hiram is given this manly compliment when Claire finds him injured and hesitates to shoot him (Chapter 29 The Goat, That Hero, p400): “ It would be a shame. Such a brave and gallant beast. (…) Hiram, repeated Jamie. Well, Hiram. Courage mon brave * [in French]. You have balls like melons. "
Finally, as an echo, I do not think it is a coincidence that the last family scene of the volume ends on this theme (Chapter 109 p 1210). When heredity is tackled, with Roger's biological paternity in filigree taboo, he doesn't take offense at Jamie's clumsiness as he mindlessly tests Jemmy's ability to curl his tongue. In front of the petrified adults, Roger drives the point home and in turn doubles Jamie's request to his son. Jamie then humbly bowed to his courage:
" Grandpa has roupettes?"
- Yes, my boy, I have some. But your father's are bigger. Come on, come on . "
It's a particularly intense moment, because this response to Jemmy is actually a much more solemn message to the adults present. Like a father who steps aside for the benefit of his son, it signifies the final adoption and recognition of Roger by Jamie. Domination and doubt have passed, room for confidence and deep esteem. Roger Mac, son of his household.
Claire and Jamie: The Enemy, Age, Time and Renewed Oaths
So here we are in the fifth volume of the saga, and the continuation of Jamie's journey from the angle of his romantic relationship with Claire, on the themes of possession , allegiance , consent and protection .
We left Claire and Jamie at the end of "Drums of the Fall" on Frank's fabulous letter. We find them at the gathering, and Claire notices that Jamie keeps looking for Stephen Bonnet.
Jamie is a warrior, and protecting his family is his priority. He will not compromise on it, as we have already seen, he has already sacrificed his couple in the past. This time, for his daughter, but also to redeem his fault for having released him, he will track him relentlessly. Plus, while Claire is terrified, he is confident and self-assured. He doesn't underestimate Bonnet but knows his own skills. After the psychopath Jack Randall, here is the sociopath in his sights, for some time yet.
It is moreover to ensure this protective relay that he will teach combat to Roger. And it is to him again that he entrusts the protection of Claire when he thinks of dying from the snakebite in the forest and that he tells her this intriguing sentence: "If I die, she must go." Send her back. Force her to go back. (…) She must absolutely cross the stones again. (…) It's very dangerous for her here too, without me. (…) She is an Elder. If they find out, they will kill her. »Another small stone deposited by Diana? Jamie isn't just hinting at the passing of the stones, since Roger and Brianna passed them too. He brings up something else, and I hoped in vain that Roger would ask him for details after his recovery ...
At this time of the story (1770-1772), Jamie celebrates her 50th birthday and Claire assumes 55.
Orphaned by his mother at 8 years old, Jamie is delighted with this passing time: “Seeing the years imprint on your body and your face gives me immense joy, Sassenach. Because they mean you live. "
It is the mourning of parenthood, by giving up adopting little Brown. It is also the menopause which is announced gradually, with the unexpected mood swings of Claire:
"He pulled me to him and leaned down to kiss me. At the tone of my voice, he stopped.
- It's not that I do not appreciate your gesture, but still approach a centimeter and I tear off a piece of your lip with a bite.
With the infinite care of a man aware that the stone he has just picked up is, in fact, a wasps' nest, he straightened up and very slowly removed his hands from my waist. "
“After sleeping on the floor for two weeks, I would gladly share anyone's bed. (…) No, I continued, it's just… fatigue. "
"I'm not like a faucet that you turn on and off," I said a little stung. "
"If by your fault I get pregnant, Jamie Fraser, I swear to make you eat your own skewered balls." "
Consent is expressed precisely on this more sensitive subject of their privacy. This feminine time has the effect of disturbing Jamie to the point of giving rise to a confusing scene where he expresses his marital concerns with disarming shyness (Chapter 12):
“It's not like you refused to share my bed. I hope, at least, that we are not there yet. (…) I was wondering… Sassenach. (…) Speaking of the Bible, you know… (…)… yes, it's just that I was thinking… when the angels of the Lord come to find Abraham to tell him that his wife Sarah will have a child the following year, the latter bursts out laughing and replies that it is a joke, because she has ceased "to have what women have". (…) He looked down at the large maple leaf that he was busy grinding between thumb and forefinger, but the corners of his lips quivered. (…) - Anyway, she still had the child, right? (…) He cleared his throat, I noticed that he had turned pink. (…) - What I mean is that, as far as I know, unless you call yourself Mary and be visited by the Holy Spirit, there's only one way to get pregnant, right? (…) In this case, that means that Sarah and Abraham were still sleeping together despite their age, right? He still wasn't looking at me (…) but his ears were crimson. (…) - You rebuked me earlier (…) I was just wondering if… (…) He gave a brief sigh, suddenly looking relieved. - Perfect, he said. It's just… I was wondering, that's all. " that's all. " that's all. "
The doubts quickly fade and the episode of Jocasta's marriage, between the enterprising Wylie and their nocturnal ardor in the stables, is a delightful illustration of the liveliness of their understanding. While their mutual appeal does not wane, it continues to deepen in different ways.
There is of course the jealousy, constantly colored with humor, as during the theatrical scene in front of the stables, when Jamie discovers the daring Wylie fly at the edge of Claire's lips who has not measured her flippancy. There is the tension that still rises between them when the same Wylie provokes him again and pushes him to put Claire's alliances on the line. But these arguments only keep them away for a very short time, and even stimulate their cavalier reunion, after a long accumulated frustration of which they are both little followers.
Their intimacy is also nourished by the modern subjects they share, and Jamie's constant openness to discovery. She talks about her dilemma about contraception before finding him, pills and sterilization. He watches his own sperm in a scene that is both hilarious and delicate. He even seeks to copy what he believes to be Roger's gallantry by clumsily constituting a bouquet for his Sorcha, before discovering the toxic nature of his picking, and the contraceptive aim of his son-in-law's gesture. He lives each destabilization with naturalness and authenticity, surrendering himself vulnerable and without restraint to the one who holds his soul in her hands. His confidence is such that he braves without hesitation his fear of the afterlife and the spirits when he accompanies her to autopsy Betty.
After their proven relationship in France, their two-decade separation, their eventful reunion and their journey to America, Jamie seems to take full advantage of this almost stable time, he who has always aspired only to work the land during the day and to sleep near her in the evening, as he already told her shortly after their wedding. They both know war will come, later, but each day together is savored.
In this less hectic parenthesis, the possession remains just as powerful in Jamie, which he evokes in a less brutal way. It takes on a more fusional dimension and arouses in him a form of appeasement. "He held Claire snuggled up to him, his hand against her lower abdomen. (…) She was starting to melt into him while relaxing. He felt this strange fusion of their flesh coming. In the early days, this only happened when he possessed, and only towards the end. Then, earlier and earlier, until her hand on him then was an invitation and a completion, an inevitable surrender, an offer and an acceptance. He had resisted it at times, only to make sure he could, suddenly fearing that he would lose himself. (…) Now he knew it was good. The Bible said, You will be one flesh and What God has united, a man cannot undo it. (…) He was not afraid of dying with her, by fire or any other means, only of having to live without her. "
“Yet what he was feeling was not quite desire. It wasn't her need or the urge to get her soul's company, either. He wanted to cover her with his body, to possess her, in order to convince himself that she was safe. If they were one body, he would feel like he was protecting her, even if it was all an illusion. "
Finally, this volume gives a large part to allegiance and renewed oaths.
Like the wonderful final formula, "When the day comes when we have to go our separate ways, if my last words are not" I love you "... it will be because I did not have time to pronounce them, ”Jamie again and again testifies to Claire of his unconditional, infallible and timeless love, much to our readers' delight.
Selected pieces :
“Just for love, I would be ready to walk in the fire again. "
"As long as there is still a breath in my lungs, nothing will happen to you, a nighean donn."
"Sorcha," he whispered again. (…) This word was the translation of his name into Gaelic, but he never used it. He liked the fact that she was from elsewhere, that she was English. She was his Claire, his Sassenach. "
“For me, I didn't want you to have another child, Sassenach. I would have been too afraid to lose you. (…) But I only have one life, Claire, and it's you. "
"Mo nighean donn," he whispered. Mo chridhe. My brunette, my heart. Come to me, cover me, shelter me, a bhean, heal me. Burn with me as I burn for you. "
"You were the only thing that could bring me back," he said simply. (…) Sassenach, I love you now and I will love you always, whether I am dead or whether you are, whether we are together or apart. "
"I love you, a nighean donn. I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. I will love you until the end of time, and as long as you are by my side, I am at peace with the world. "
“I always wake up when you wake up, Sassenach. I don't sleep well when you're not next to me. (…) You wanted me, he said sadly. And I fell asleep without even touching you! I'm sorry, Sassenach. You should have told me. (…) You could have pulled me out of my grave, Sassenach. I wouldn't have said no. "
As for the previous sections, I give you the raw extracts, by chapter and page, trying to get to the point, hence the cuts mentioned by a (...), while preserving the elements of context that situate you the emotion of the moment.
These values echoed by Claire at significant moments are indicated in italics.
Good reading !