between possession and allegiance, consent and protection
By Carolyn Garcin
I have a special affection for this sixth volume of Outlander. It represents for me the last (relatively) stable moment before the end of a cycle, a certain time in Fraser's Ridge where the family is still largely reunited. Brianna and Roger, then Fergus and Marsali will soon be leaving too, as Ian will in turn be taken to other horizons.
But for now, they are all there, present in this unity of place. This does not prevent the trials and pains.
Wentworth's night, permanent trauma
Diana Gabaldon has this remarkable talent for continuing her story without ever forgetting the beginnings of the story. I think that's what helps give it this authenticity. It does not chain the episodes, on the contrary it adds each time an additional layer which modifies the perception of past events, or sediments them differently. As in our own lives, past facts do not change, but our outlook on them evolves over time, through our learning and experience.
The most powerful example remains in my opinion the night of Wentworth. This extreme trauma is regularly mentioned by Jamie in different forms during the 8 volumes:
* volume 2 / there is its slow reconstruction in France, its terrifying nightmares and its long return to Claire
* volume 2 (chapter 33) / Jamie confides in his brother-in-law Ian, after having almost killed him one night, Ian having accidentally hugged him in his sleep:
"Jwas so tired I fell asleep right away, and I guess Ian was too. He has slept with Jenny every night for five years and they usually sleep snuggled together to keep warm. Finally ... in the middle of the night, sound asleep, he put an arm around my waist and kissed me on the neck. I woke up with a start, thinking it was Jack Randall. (…) I turned around and threw my fist right in his face. By the time I came to my senses, I was sitting astride him, strangling him. He was already all blue, his tongue out. It was also a shock for our hosts, the Murrays, who fell out of bed. I told them I had a nightmare. (…) The next day, we left without exchanging a word. I waited until we got to a quiet place (…) and then… I told him everything about Jack Randall and what had happened. (…) I had never spoken about it to anyone other than you. But Ian ... he's like a brother to me. (…) He… represents that part of me that is rooted here, that never left. I thought I should tell him. I didn't want this to separate us, for it to separate me from my land, you understand? (…) At first, when I started to tell him, he just shook his head incredulously, but when he really understood what had happened, (…) He clenched his fists and he was livid. He kept saying, "But how, Jamie?" How could you let him do such a thing to you! »(…) He ended up being silent and listening to the end of my story. Suddenly I couldn't continue. I understood that it was useless. (…) We rode for a long time, and I heard a little noise behind me. I turned around and saw he was crying. He caught my gaze and at first looked furious. He changed his mind and held out his hand to me. He squeezed me so hard I thought he was going to crush my bones. After that, he let go of me and we went home. " is delighted and held out his hand to me. He squeezed me so hard I thought he was going to crush my bones. After that, he let go of me and we went home. " is delighted and held out his hand to me. He squeezed me so hard I thought he was going to crush my bones. After that, he let go of me and we went home. "
* volume 3 (chapter 11) / when Lord John puts his hand on his one evening in Ardsmuir, in a silent statement, Jamie simply tells him "Take your hand away or I will kill you".
* volume 3 (chapter 62) / when he supports Little Ian who tells him about his assault by Geillis
* volume 4 (chapter 47 The song of the father) / when he learns of the aggression and the pregnancy of Brianna, Jamie suggests that she will be able to overcome this trauma if the rape was not "personal", which Claire does not understand not.
" 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. " rather than any other woman, then maybe he hurt her soul and hurt her hard to repair. " rather than any other woman, then maybe he hurt her soul and hurt her hard to repair. "
* volume 4 (chapter 48) / when he shows Brianna that she feels needlessly guilty because she could not have physically resisted Stephen Bonnet.
" But you…" she said after a moment. You could have defended yourself against Jack Randall. - It's true, I let him do it. I had promised on your mother's head. I do not regret it. "
* Throughout the years, and in the following volumes again, his nightmares remain and Claire can only wake him up with infinite precaution. This subject also comes up sometimes in their interminable discussions, because it is an essential element of his life course.
* Still later, the reaction to this subject does not weaken, and John Gray will experience it.
* To return to The Snow and the Ashes, the trauma resurfaces in a mirror when Claire is attacked in her turn, and we return to the theme of possession .
Save her, bring her back, own her again asap, for fear of losing her
When Claire is suddenly kidnapped and then raped, Jamie faces the challenge of bringing her back closer to him, in every sense of the word. Haunted by the echo of his own story, his greatest terror is to lose it, as he almost walked away from her in the past.
The parallel is explicit: each saved the other first by physically extracting him from his captivity. But it was not enough.
After the night of Wentworth, refugee at the abbey, despite the care, Jamie wishes to die. Their distance seems insurmountable: "I will love you all my life," he said at last. But I can no longer be your husband and I could not be anything else to you. I want you so much that I tremble, but ... my God help me ... I'm afraid to touch you! "
When Jamie tells Claire about the need to have sex right away, he first presents it as the opportunity to be the father of a child if she was pregnant. He has already confided it to Roger before. However, Roger perceives another reason: “It was not the risk that she was pregnant. It was fear… but not of pregnancy. The fear that Jamie had of losing her, that she would go away, that she would take refuge in a dark and lonely space, without him, unless he managed to tie her to him, to keep her by his side. But, my God, that was running such a risk… with such a bruised and abused woman. How could he run it? Could he not take it? "
Claire in turn measures this fear of Jamie when she suddenly thinks of the medical risk and awkwardly says to him: "Make love to me?" What… you mean… now?
- Well… uh… yes. (…)… Because it seems necessary to me. (…)
- But still… you can't, Jamie.
I saw a frightened gleam in his eyes. Suddenly I realized that this was precisely his greatest fear. "
30 years earlier, she saved him through brutality. She provoked and assaulted him to plunge him back into his nightmare and that he crosses him again, this time allowing him to rebel, to respond, to defend himself physically to get out of his tetany as a victim and become an actor again.
Jamie does not have this initial intention, he seeks to bring it back with the greatest gentleness.
“He had intended to be gentle. Very soft. He had prepared carefully for it, worrying about each step that would bring them back to their destination. (…) Then he discovered that she didn't want him to be gentle or to woo her. "
When she reacts brutally, he in turn takes a similar path. “Yet he should have seen it coming; him better than anyone else! It wasn't heartache or pain… but rage. He instinctively follows her in this brutality and unleashes himself with fury, until he loses consciousness. Without taking any pleasure in it.
- How do you feel ?
- Very badly, he answered sincerely. (…)
He cried silently, his muscles tensed to the point of pain so as not to tremble, not to wake her up and let her see him that way. He cried until the pillow was soaked under his cheek. (…) Her only comfort was the fragile weight lying against her heart, breathing deeply. "
Security in a certain violence
Diana Gabaldon comments on this scene in “I give you my body” with these words: “Examine the close connection between sex and violence - and note the need to consider the individual. (…) The only thing that will purify Claire (and reassure her: look at what she says at the end. She feels safe again, after feeling the power and violence in him) is violence. And - the most important point here - Jamie is careful about what she wants, rather than proceeding with her own idea of how it should be, even though it's a reasonable idea and one most people would have. "
Claire is reacting in a way that is perhaps unconventional at this difficult time, and Jamie dares with her on this uncertain and courageous journey in an attempt to free her from the trauma of rape. Brutality does not scare them, it is even familiar to them and their embraces are regularly marked, from the beginning (see their first violent altercation on their return to Leoch which ends in a more than intense reunion). Nevertheless, this violence is always part of mutual consent, which makes all the difference.
Diana Gabaldon has already spoken on this subject: “Both have been in danger. War has been their close companion and the two have often fought for their lives and the lives of others. This will open up other channels in a person's soul than it might be for someone who has always lived free from violence, let alone sudden, startling and savage violence. Occasionally using a violent and dominant advantage in the context of a secure relationship where each of them implicitly trusts the other can both give them a feeling of elation, deepen their trust and / or paradoxically use it to feel more secure in the face of the real, uncontrollable violence they are living with. "
At lighter and more bucolic moments, Jamie does not hesitate to physically dominate her without complex, with a relaxation and openly assumed pleasure. Chapter 20 thus offers us a fun moment where Jamie does not hesitate to tease and upset her by praising her on unexpected and un-feminine qualities, while physically immobilizing her without an escape route. He never wants to harm her, but does not refuse this domineering demonstration, to which she always ends up succumbing to it.
Finally… with one memorable exception!
Spanking, the only violence without consent
What shows that brutality is always allowed, in an intimate security, is that the only moment when this was not the case remains marked with a hot iron in Claire's memory: the famous spanking!
The subject returns during an exchange three decades later (chapter 47), and still arouses in Claire a frank indignation. Yet Jamie does not hide the pleasure and fun he felt, and which he still assumes, especially since he has respected his commitment not to repeat this gesture. Quite frankly, he reminds her: he stuck to it simply because he decided: “'I could have, you know that, Sassenach.' (…) The most annoying thing was that he was telling the truth, I knew it only too well. (…)… And, if he decided to do it again, I absolutely couldn't stop him. Most of the time, I managed to forget that I belonged to him legally, but it was still a fact, and he was aware of it. "
He possesses it, he dominates it, he relishes it, at the same time aware of the desire it arouses, an implicit sign of consent. “You, my nighean donn, you belong to me. (…) You are mine, Sassenach. And I am ready to do anything to make it clear. "
In all intelligence, he expresses the balance of this amorous oxymoron, which defines him so particularly, by completing the exchange with a final pirouette, that of allegiance: "Yes, I belong to you," he whispered in my ear. (…) I know that very well, monighean donn. "
For Jamie, one never goes without the other with Claire.
The protection of their loved ones, obvious
Jamie's protection of Claire never wavers. It is without hesitation that he orders his men, when they save her from her captors: "Kill them all." "
Because it is obvious to him, he considers as legitimate the dismay of Fergus at not having been able to protect Marsali from the aggression at the malt house: “A man must protect his wife. It doesn't change anything. He himself feels guilty for the kidnapping of Claire: “He blamed himself too. He had confessed it to me, very clearly, the night he brought me back. (…) He stroked the scar on my brow bone. - You think I didn't feel it when you received that blow, or the others? "
Likewise, when they are besieged at home, by Brown's gang who accuses Claire of murdering Malva: "If you want to take my wife, you'll have to run over my body first." "
Regardless, this is perhaps the only trait where he prioritizes Claire that puts her after their children. Or rather, it includes it in this requirement, because this value is absolutely constitutive of what it is deeply.
For that, he sent her back in the future to Culloden, because she was pregnant.
In Abandawé, the risk that she will have to set out again in the future in pursuit of Geillis, to protect Brianna, is not even discussed, as a fatal evidence.
Here, when he talks about the murder of the Dutch family, he tells her "If I die, don't follow me." The children will need you. Stay for them. I can wait. "
Flashback 9 years earlier. To protect his son William, whose physical resemblance gradually becomes visible as he grows up, Jamie decides to leave Helwater. In this regard, I am particularly seduced by these moments in the story where a character evokes a scene from the past, which we already know, by delivering new elements to us which radically change its meaning. In volume 3 (chapter 59), John Gray tells Claire that Jamie asked him to watch over his son, and offered himself to him in exchange. Although deeply in love, John Gray refused, moved by the purity of his love, his honor, his values. And the sincerity like the word of John Gray is never in doubt, he has already proven himself on this subject. He still says that Jamie kissed him before leaving him,
Some three volumes and thousands of pages later (chapter 9), Jamie in turn recounts the scene from a very different angle: his proposal was not an offer but on the contrary a test of mistrust. After Gray's refusal, he still kissed him to tempt him again and test him to the end. He tells Claire about it when a doubt crosses him.
"You never wonder if he adopted the child, because… William looks so much like you, since he was little." Lord John finding you physically… attractive… uh…
Seeing his expression, the words died in my throat. (…)
- No. (…) I'm not saying that because the idea would be intolerable to me. (…) I am deeply convinced of this. (…) Me too, I thought about it, he continued. When he told me he intended to marry Isobel Dunsany. (…) I offered him my body. (…) I wanted to know what kind of man he was. Be sure of it. The man who would take my son as his. (…)
John Gray had told me about this offer years earlier in Jamaica. However, I doubted he had ever grasped his true nature. (…)
- John didn't want to. He loved me, that's what he told me. If I couldn't love him back - and he knew I did - then he didn't want to settle for a sham. It was all or nothing. (…) No. A man who said that would never sodomize a child for his father's beautiful eyes. I can say that for sure, Sassenach.
- (…) If… he had accepted your offer and… you had found him… (…)… less honorable than you hoped…
- Then I would have twisted his neck there by the lake. I didn't care about being hanged. I would never have given the child to him. (…) But he didn't, and neither did I. "
Protector for his family, Jamie thus entrusts William to the best surrogate father there is.
Diana offers us several revelations of this type, for our great pleasure of manipulated readers, but also so faithful to the surprises of real life ... Murdina Bug did not only kill Lionel Brown for the reasons she mentioned, and the famous obituary published in the press lights up unexpectedly ... In the same spirit, many of us imagine that Frank has not said his last word in history, and that even if he is well dead, the gray areas of his life and his actions still conceal many mysteries ...
There is little consent this time around. The only significant moment also echoes another past moment. When Jamie recalls the night spent with Mary McNab before her surrender, Claire's first reaction is to forbid him to call her Sassenach. It is only after moving from hurt jealousy to understanding that she allows him to address her like this again. She had reacted in the same way when she discovered the marriage to Laoghaire (volume 3 chapter 34).
Her attitude is different towards Geneva, maybe because she's dead, maybe because she's the mother of her son. She expresses her loving vulnerability much more simply, in a worried emotion devoid of aggression (volume 3 chapter 59).
"... I didn't want to tell you, lest you think I had sown bastards all over the place ... lest you think I would love Brianna less if I had another child." . (…)
- And she ... did you love her? (…)
- No, he said softly. She ... wanted me. (…) She wanted me to make love to her. What I did ... And she died of it. I am guilty of his death, before God. All the more guilty as I didn't like him. (…)
- You should have trusted me, I say finally.
- Perhaps. Yet I kept saying to myself, "How can I explain everything that has happened to him: Geneva, Willie ... John?" »(…) I almost told you about it once, but that was before you found out about my marriage to Laoghaire. Then it was too late. How could I tell you the truth, and be sure you would understand the difference? (…) Geneva, Willie's mother… she wanted my body. Laoghaire wanted my name and the sweat on my brow to support himself and his daughters. (…) John had my friendship, and I his. But how can I tell you all this, then tell you that I have never loved anyone but you? How could you believe me? (…)
"If you tell me, I'll believe you," I said in a small voice. (…) Because you are an honest man, Jamie Fraser. (…)
"It's just you," he said in a voice so low I barely heard him. Just you, to whom I gave my name, my heart and my soul. (…) You are the blood of my blood, the flesh of my flesh ...
- And I give you my soul until the end of days, I finished. "
Allegianceis already fully in these words, as with each of the oaths that Jamie takes to Claire with a constant and unalterable fervor. These doubts expressed in Jamaica, his difficulty in confiding in her testify to his moving difficulty in reconciling his desire for transparency and his fear that she might doubt him. She found out about her marriage to Laoghaire before he could sort it out and tell her. This so violent altercation which almost separated them does not give him the confidence to evoke Geneva, Willie, John… and Mary. Not that he finds Claire intolerant. But each story took place in a specific context that needs to be listened to. He will be heard about Laoghaire because he is almost dying. He quotes Geneva by revealing the existence of William,
There remains Mary, whom he has not yet mentioned. This episode is of little importance to him, but his respect for women prevents him from disqualifying her, like Geneva. Moreover, this one came to him to give to him, and not to take from him.
Malva's accusation of adultery pushes him to settle the latter account. In this paradoxical moment, it is by this confession that he proves to Claire his innocence, his unreserved honesty, and his uncompromising love. His total allegiance is illustrated in his authenticity, the accuracy of his words, the unvarnished vulnerability, while he is also a man experienced in the finest social and political strategies. This total and unreserved gift remains constant, faithful to his commitment from the day of his marriage, when he considers that he belongs to him, body and soul.
There is sometimes the expression of a certain candor, despite his age and his background, in this allegiance. Claire notices this after their reunion (volume 3, chapter 29), when she teases him because he confessed to a priest before sending Ian there, and he responds without malice.
"... I went there first." As an example, you understand.
- Ha, no wonder it took a long time then, I said to tease him, how long since your last confession? (…) What, and no sin of lust or impure thoughts?
- Not really no, he said seriously. You can think of whatever bad you want without it being a sin, especially about your wife. It's only if you do it to other women that it is. "
It is also with candor that he confusedly justifies the assaults on women from which he must defend himself at each stay in Cherokee territory, in a light and humorous scene: “The first time, it was a gesture of hospitality. … (…) Then, on our second visit, they put it back, except that they were not the same. When I tried to get them to leave, they replied that Bird said it was to honor my vow, because what's the value of a vow when it doesn't cost you anything to keep it? I don't know if he really meant it or if he was trying to make me crack (…); unless he just paid my head. "
Her renewed allegiance ("Claire, it was you. It was always you and it always will be.") Is also expressed in Claire's absence, when, to the question of old Cherokee ("This woman that you Have you paid dearly for it? ”), he replies“ It cost me my last dime, but it was worth it. "
It is not until very late that he realizes the feelings which animate Tom Christie towards Claire. The jealousy that he may experience merges with a form of pride between males.
Regarding her, he is no longer afraid, she is his, probably none ... (at least for now!)
Like the 2 epilogues of this volume, I end with 2 particular mentions:
* Diana has a gift for puzzling scenes, without lacking a deeply benevolent humor. In this volume, I retain the scene of Marsali's childbirth (chapter 35), and Fergus' unpublished accompaniment in the eyes of the men of the Ridge!
" A whisper from Marsali, (…) then Fergus whispered a few words in her ear." (…)
- Yes, as for Félicité, answered Marsali in a muffled but very audible voice. (…) You just have to wedge the door with one of the pieces of furniture. (…)
Fergus appeared, shaggy, shirt open. He caught sight of us, and the most extraordinary expression crossed his face. A mixture of pride, embarrassment and an indefinable feeling… but very French. He smirked at Jamie, accompanied by a shrug of supreme Latin carelessness, then closed the door. Then we heard the screeching of a table being pulled and a thud when she knocked on the door. Jamie and I exchanged a puzzled look. ( …)
- He's not… Jamie broke off, aghast, then asked: - Yes?
Apparently yes, judging by the rhythmic squeaks that arose in the next room. The fire rose to my cheeks. I felt a little shocked, but I wanted to laugh even more. (…) Jamie gave the hospital wing a look of disbelief and a certain respect.
- (…) If he's really…, this boy has no shortage of balls.
Ian, who entered at that moment, stopped dead. He heard the noises, looked at Jamie, then me, then the door, shook his head and turned on his heel, walking back to the kitchen. "
* Finally, is it a small white pebble that the author deposits for us in chapter 68, when Jamie wants to keep the black diamond for Claire, because he dreamed of her and interprets it as a vision of the future, that maybe one day she will join (without him) ...
“ But I saw you there. (…) I dreamed of you. I didn't know where I was. But I knew it was there, in your time. (…) I knew I was in your time, in the light. (…) I remember thinking: “So that's it, the famous electric light! "(...)
- How can you recognize in a dream what you have never seen in your real life?
- I dream all the time about things that I have never seen, Sassenach, don't you? (…) I was sure to be in your time. After all, I dream of the past, why shouldn't I dream of the future?
I found nothing to answer to this very Celtic logic.
- Mmmoui, why not, I say skeptically. How old was I?
He looked surprised, then undecided. He scanned my face as if to compare it to a mental image. For the first time, he didn't seem sure of himself.
- Actually ... I don't know. I haven't thought about it. I did not notice any white hair or any striking details. It was just ... you. "
Powerfull King of the men.
Chapter 7 p81 Death of the Dutch
Jamie shrugged, already disinterested in the debate over MacDonald's machinations.
- I was right, eh? That means you owe me a pledge, Sassenach.
He looked me up and down with inspiration. (…)
- I haven't thought through all the details yet, but first, I think you should lie down on the bed. (..) Lie down, Sassenach, and pull up your shirt. Now spread your legs, there you have it, that's it… no, a little more.
With calculated slowness, he took off his shirt. I sighed and propped my ass up, looking for a position I could hold for a long time without cramping.
- If you think what I think you think, you'll regret it. I didn't even wash myself. I'm filthy and smell like a horse.
Naked, he raised an arm and sniffed at her armpit.
- Oh yes? Me too. Good thing, I like horses. (…) Yes Perfect ! Now, if you want to raise your arms and grab hold of the headboard ...
- You're not going to…
Then I lowered my voice, looking in spite of myself towards the door.
-… Not with MacDonald sleeping next door!
- I'm going to embarrass myself! To hell with MacDonald and all the rest!
However, he didn't move, watching me thoughtfully. Then, after a moment, he sighed, resigned.
- No, he said softly. Not this evening. You still think of that poor Dutch family, don't you?
- Yes. Not you ? (…)
- I try not to think about it, but without much success. New dead never want to sit still deep in their graves, do they?
(…) Throughout this evening full of incidents and cries of alarm, the memory of the gloomy clearing and the row of graves haunted me. It was a night of staying locked up at home, with a roaring fire in the fireplace and neighbors nearby. (…). Jamie said to me in a low voice:
- I want you, Claire. I need ... will you? (…)
"I need it too," I whispered in turn. Come.
He leaned over me and gently tugged at the lace that held my shirt collar, causing the threadbare linen to fall over my shoulders. I tried to take it off, but he pulled my hand back and held it against my hip . With one finger, he lowered the opening of my shirt a little more, then blew out the candle. In the darkness scented with wax, honey and horse sweat, he kissed my forehead, my eyes, my cheekbones, my lips, my chin, and so on, gently and slowly, to the soles of my feet. (…) Later, we remained comfortably entangled, just lit by the faint glow of the embers in the hearth. (…)
- Sassenach? (…) You won't do like her, say?
- Like who ?
- It. The Dutchwoman. (…)
- What? Fall into the fire? Alright, I'll try. (…) Good night.
- No, wake up. (…) Sassenach, talk to me. (…) If I die, you won't kill the whole family, will you?
- What? (…) What a family ? … Oh. Do you think she did it on purpose? That she poisoned them? (…) Maybe it was an accident. You can't be sure.
- No, he admitted. But I can't help but imagine the scene. (…) The men came. He resisted them and they killed him, on the threshold of his own house. When she saw him dead… she must have told them that she had to feed her babies first… then she slipped the mushrooms into the stew and served it to the children and her mother. Two of the men ate it, but I think it was an accident. She only wanted to follow her husband. She couldn't let him go alone.
I would have liked to tell him that it was a rather melodramatic interpretation of what we had seen. But I couldn't say he was wrong either. Listening to him, I too seemed to see the scene, too clearly.
- You don't know, I whispered finally. You can not know.
(…) His head suddenly turned towards me on the pillow.
- But what if I can't keep you safe? Yours and that of others? I would do my best, Sassenach, I'm willing to give my life for this, but, if I die too soon ... What if I fail? (…)
- It will not arrive.
He sighed and lowered his head, resting his forehead against mine. (…)
" I'll try," he whispered. (…) If I die, don't follow me. The children will need you. Stay for them. I can wait.
Chapter 9 p107
Jamie caught Kezzie by the collar.
- Wait, boys, I'm coming with you. You will need some goods to trade.
"Oh, we have more skins than we need," Jo assured him. It's been a good season. (…)
- It's very generous of you, Jo, but I'm coming anyway.
Jamie looked at me, indicating that he had made his decision on his own, but was still asking for my approval. I swallow, a bitter taste in the back of my mouth. I clear my throat before answering.
- If you go, let me prepare some things to barter and make a list of what you can ask them in return.
Chapter 20 p189
Gently, he put his hand on my back, making it, out of habit, back and forth. I knew this caress… the need to reassure oneself, to confirm that the other was indeed there, in the flesh.
- I believed that I could not live if I thought of the past… that I would not hold out.
My throat was tied with the memory of that time.
" I know," he whispered. (…) But you had a child, Sassenach. And a husband. It wouldn't have been good to abandon them.
- It was not good to abandon you .
I closed my eyes, but tears spilled out from the corners of my eyelids. He pulled my head close, stuck his tongue out, and gently licked my face. I was so surprised that I laughed between sobs and almost strangled myself.
- "I love you, as meat loves salt", he recited before starting to laugh in his turn. Don't cry, Sassenach. You are here too. Nothing else matters.
I placed my forehead against her cheek and hugged her. (…) He hugged me. (…)
- You know that this time we've been married almost twice as long as on your first trip?
I pulled away from him, frowning.
- Why ? Between the two, were we no longer married?
Taken aback, he ran a meditative finger over the bridge of his nose.
- You should put the question to a priest. I guess it does, but, then, doesn't that make us bigamists?
This idea made me uncomfortable.
- Maybe in the past, but not anymore. But no, we really weren't. Brother Anselme told me.
- Brother Anselme? (…) Yes, yes, I remember him. At night he would come and sit at my bedside, when I couldn't sleep. (…) He liked you very much, Sassenach.
Wanting to distract him from his memories of Sainte-Anne, I asked:
- And you, you didn't like me?
- Oh yes. However, I appreciate you even more today.
I arched my chest, playing the coquettish.
- Really ? What changed ?
He tilted his head to the side, sizing me up.
- On the one hand, you fart less in your sleep.
Barely, he dodged, laughing, the pine cone that popped up near his left ear. I grabbed a piece of wood to slap him on the head, but he leaped forward and grabbed my arms. He pinned me down on the grass and lay on top of me, pinning me to the ground.
- Get out of there, muffle! I don't fart in my sleep!
- How do you know, Sassenach? You sleep so soundly that even the sound of your own snoring doesn't wake you up.
- Are you the one talking about snoring? What nerve ! You…
He interrupted me, still smiling, but continuing in a more serious tone:
- You are proud like Lucifer. And courageous. You have always been more intrepid than you should be. Today you are more ferocious than a badger.
- If I understand correctly, I am arrogant and fierce. These are not really feminine virtues.
I tried in vain to extricate myself from under him, gasping for breath. He thought for a moment before resuming:
- You're good, too. Very good. Even if you always do what you want.
He hastily caught her my arm that I had managed to free and wedged my wrist above my head , adding:
- But that's not a reproach, far from it.
With a concentrated expression, he muttered:
- Feminine virtues, let's see… feminine virtues…
His free hand slipped between us and closed around my breast.
- Apart from that!
- You're very clean. (…) I have never seen a woman spend so much time washing, apart from Brianna perhaps. (…) You are not a very good cook, even if you haven't poisoned anyone yet, unless you do it on purpose. And I must admit that you are quite good with thread and a needle, although you prefer to mend human flesh.
- Thank you so much !
- Give me other virtues, I may have forgotten one.
- Hmph! Gentleness, patience ...
- Sweetness ! She is really nice ! You are more ruthless, bloodthirsty ...
I ducked my head forward, almost managing to bite him in the throat. He dodged me, laughing even more.
- No, you're not very patient either.
For a while, I stopped struggling and let myself be crushed to the ground, my hair sprawled out in the grass.
- So what's the most endearing trait about me? I questioned.
- You think I'm funny.
"It's… what… you… believe," I gasped.
I struggled like a fury. He contented himself with weighing all his weight on me, quiet, in no way embarrassed by my kicks and punches, until I had exhausted all my strength. Then, when I was calmed down, he said thoughtfully:
- And you really like what I do to you in bed.
- Uh ...
I would have liked to contradict him, but honesty won out. Besides, he knew he was right.
- You crush me, I say with dignity. Would you be so kind as to push yourself away?
He didn't move.
- Isn't that right?
- Yes ! Okay ! That is true ! Are you going to push yourself now?
He didn't, but lowered his head and kissed me. I pursed my lips, determined not to give in, but he was as determined as I was, and, to be honest ... the skin on his face was warm, the stubble of his chin tickled me pleasantly, and his large, soft mouth ... My thighs were open, and his solid mass pressed against them, his bare chest smelled of fawn, sweat and sawdust caught in his auburn hair… The fight had swamped me, but the grass around us was damp and fresh. One more minute, and he could have picked me up there on the floor, if he wanted to. He felt me surrender and, with a sigh, softened too. I was no longer his captive, he just held me . He lifted his head and slipped a hand under my chin.
- You want to know what is most endearing to you, really?
I could read in the midnight blue of his eyes that this time he was serious. I nodded, silent.
"More than any creature in this world, you are faithful," he whispered.
I almost told him something about the Saint Bernard, but his gaze was so tender that I just stared into his eyes, slightly blinded by the green light filtering between the pine needles above. above him.
- You too, I finally answered. That's pretty good, isn't it?
Chapter 21 p205
- You promised me honesty. But are you sure you are being honest with yourself? Weren't you tormenting Tom Christie just because he was challenging you?
His clear and frank gaze a few inches from mine, he placed his warm palm against my cheek and replied in a soft voice:
- There are only two beings in this world to whom I will never lie. You and me.
He kissed my forehead, then blew out the flame from the lamp.
- That said…
Her voice came to me from the shadows, and on the doorstep I could barely make out her tall figure standing out against the rectangle of light.
-… I can be had. But never of my own free will.
Chapter 28 p314 Claire's Rescue
Tall, slim and black, Archie Bug stepped out of the darkness, clutching the handle of an ax in his fist. The weapon, too, had been painted black, and a thick smell of blood accompanied it.
"There are still a few alive," he announced.
I felt something cold and hard on my hand.
- Would you like to take revenge yourself, a banamhaighistear?
I looked down to find he was handing me the handle of a cutlass. I was standing but didn't remember getting up. I couldn't speak, nor make a gesture… yet my fingers closed on the weapon without my realizing it. Then a hand glistening and covered in blood up to the wrist took it from me. Like rubies, dark red drops were trapped in the hairs of Jamie's forearm.
- She took the oath, he told Archie Bug in Gaelic. She is not allowed to kill except to save her own life. It's me who kills for her.
- And me.
A tall figure had appeared behind him. Ian. Archie nodded, understanding. Someone was standing next to him… Fergus. I recognized him instantly, but it took a few seconds for me to put a name on his thin, pale face.
Chapter 29 p318 Rescue of Claire, questioning Jamie to Roger
Jamie took a deep breath, then shook his shoulders, as if his shirt was too tight.
- It's about the kid. I have no right to ask you, but I have no choice. Would you feel the same for him, if you were sure he wasn't yours?
Roger stared at him without understanding.
- What? By the little one… you mean… Jemmy?
- Well… I… I don't know. Why ? And above all, why are you asking me the question now, in such an instant?
- Think about it.
He was just doing it, wondering what fly had stung his stepfather. Seeing his puzzled look, Jamie realized he needed to say a little more.
- Yes, I know… it's unlikely, is it? But, it is still possible. After what happened last night, she could be pregnant, you know?
He understood and believed that he had been punched in the breastbone. Before he could catch his breath to answer, Fraser continued:
- In a day or two, I could be ...
He looked away. His embarrassment was visible under the layer of soot that covered his features.
-… but there would be a doubt, you know? As in your case. However…
He swallowed, letting that "however" echo in eloquent silence.
When they got away from Brown's stretcher, Jamie had looked him in the eye for a long time, then whispered:
- You don't think I only think about myself, I hope?
Then he turned to the basin where Claire was no longer, narrowing his eyelids as if the sight was unbearable but uncontrollable. In a voice so low that Roger barely heard it, he resumed:
- It is for her. Do you think she would rather… doubt?
Roger inhaled the scent of his son's hair and begged Heaven to have given the right answer then.
- I do not know. But for you, if there is any doubt, accept to live with it.
(p327) Intimate, painful and delicate reunion
He suddenly looked strangely intimidated.
- Oh, my God, my nighean donn. Oh, Lord, your pretty face.
- What? Can't you stand looking at it anymore?
I looked away, hurt by the idea, but trying to convince myself that it was okay. After all, the wounds would heal. His fingers touched my chin, softly but firmly, and lifted it to make me face him. He stared at me, taking inventory.
- No, he whispered. I do not support it. It tears my heart to see him so damaged, and it fills me with such rage that I want to kill someone or explode. But in the name of the God who created you, Sassenach, I couldn't make love to you without being able to look you in the face.
- Make love to me ? What… you mean… now?
He let go of my chin and stared at me without batting an eyelid.
- Well… uh… yes. (…)
He finally looked down and shrugged, like when he was embarrassed or confused.
- Well… because it seems necessary to me.
I was seized with a very inappropriate urge to burst out laughing.
- Necessary ? Do you think it's like when you fall from your horse? Do you have to get back into the saddle right away?
He glared at me, then swallowed, making an obvious effort to control his emotions.
- No. (…)
- Jamie, I've been beaten up and abused in every way imaginable. But only one of them… well… there's only one that succeeded… He… He wasn't brutal. (…)
He let out an incomprehensible Gaelic interjection, brief and explosive, then abruptly stepped away from the table. His stool tipped over, and he kicked it hard. Then, over and over again, ending up trampling him with such violence that shards of wood flew through the kitchen and slammed into the pie bell. I froze, too stunned to be upset. Should I not have told him about it? Yet he surely already knew it. When he found me, he asked me: "How much? Then he ordered, "Kill them all." But now… knowing was one thing, hearing the details was another. I was aware of it and watched him with grief mingled with guilt, as he kicked into the fragments of the stool and threw himself against the shuttered window. Both hands on the doorframe, he pressed his forehead to the wood, his back to me. I couldn't tell if he was crying. (…)
- I'm sorry, I finally said in a weak voice.
He then turned on his heels and glared at me. He was no longer crying, but tears had flowed down his cheeks, which still shone.
- Above all, don't be sorry! he roared. I forbid you, can you hear me?
He strode across the room and banged his fist on the table, so hard that the salt shaker jumped in the air and fell to the floor.
- Don't be sorry!
I reflexively closed my eyes and forced myself to open them again.
- Okay. (…) " Necessary " ? What exactly did you mean by "necessary"? (…)
- Did it occur to you that you could be pregnant?
Stunned, I lifted my head.
- I'm not. (…) I'm not, I repeated louder. I can't be. (…) I am not. I will know it.
He just stared at me, eyebrows arched. Of course, I couldn't tell, not yet. Now, if there had been more than one man, there would be a doubt. The benefit of the doubt, that's what he offered me ... and himself. A violent shiver started from deep in my bowels and spread throughout my body, my skin bristling despite the heat in the room. "Martha," he had whispered, his weight crushing me in the leaves. (…) “Martha. His rancid smell, the pressure of his sweaty bare thighs against mine, the rubbing of his hair… (…) My thighs and buttocks twitched in revulsion, so hard that I lifted myself a few inches off the bench.
- You could… Jamie insisted.
"I am not," I repeated also stubbornly. But still… you can't, Jamie.
I saw a frightened gleam in his eyes. Suddenly I realized that this was precisely his greatest fear. Among other things. I recovered very quickly:
- I mean… we can't. I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant, but much less sure that I wasn't contaminated with some crap. (…)
Pregnancy was unlikely, gonorrhea or syphilis markedly more so.
- We… we can't. Not until I got treated with penicillin.
My hands were shaking at the thought of spirochetes multiplying in my blood second after second. I pushed back my fear that the penicillin was defective. Having already done wonders on superficial wounds, there was no reason that ...
- Leave it to me, Sassenach. (…) Prick me first.
- What you ? But you don't need to… you just… hate injections!
- Listen, Sassenach, if I want to overcome my fears and yours, which I intend to do, I'm not going to make a fuss over a little injection. Go ahead.
He turned his back to me, leaned forward and pulled up one side of his kilt, showing me a muscular buttock.
Roger's parenthesis and thoughts, illuminating Jamie's deepest intentions
What was Jamie going to do? he suddenly wondered. Would he try to? … He shook that thought away, preferring not to think about it. In his place, he saw Claire, emerging from the dawn, her face like a puffy mask. Still herself but as far away as a planet in an orbit that took her to the other end of the cosmos. When would she reappear? Claire bending down to touch the dead, at Jamie's insistence, to see for herself the cost of her honor. It was not the risk that she was pregnant.It was fear… but not of pregnancy. The fear that Jamie had of losing her, that she would go away, that she would take refuge in a dark and lonely space, without him, unless he managed to tie her to him, to keep her by his side. But, my God, that was running such a risk… with such a bruised and abused woman. How could he run it? Could he not take it?
So it was on the eve of the Battle of Culloden, on this rocky hill in Scotland, at the foot of the circle of standing stones.
- Sorry, I say a little piteously. You probably don't want to bring up that time, do you?
He grabbed my free hand and looked me deep in my eyes, continuing in a very low voice:
- It's yours. All. Everything I have experienced is yours. If you want it, if it helps you, I'm ready to relive whatever happened to me.
- My God, no, Jamie. No, I don't need to know everything. All that matters to me is that you survived. That you are well. But… Should I tell you?
I wanted to talk about what had been done to me, and he understood it. He looked away, holding my hand in his, gently rubbing his palms over my aching knuckles.
- You really have to? he asked.
- I believe. Sooner or later. But not now… unless you need to hear it. Right now.
"No, not now," he whispered. Not now. (…)
- So your nose. Tell me, please.
- There were two English soldiers patrolling the hill. (…) They saw me, and one of them saw you, up there near the menhirs. He screamed and wanted to run after you, so I threw myself on him. I didn't care what happened to me, as long as you left safe and sound. I stuck my knife in his side, but his cartridge belt slipped, and my blade got stuck. While I was trying to dislodge her and stay alive, her teammate joined us and threw his butt right in my face. (…) I snatched the musket from his hands and smashed both of their heads.
He spoke calmly, almost casually, but a strange resonance in his voice knotted my stomach. It was still too cool, the sight of the drops of blood caught in the hairs on his arm. Too fresh this shade of… of what? Of satisfaction? … In his tone.
- I'm sorry, Sassenach. I probably shouldn't have told you. Does that bother you?
- No that's not it. (…)
All the images of the previous night came back in full force, projected in technicolor by this simple sentence uttered with such detachment: "I snatched the musket from his hands and smashed both of their heads." "And by its silent echo:" I kill for her. I wanted to throw up. (…)
- What disturbs me? Disturb, what a silly word! What makes me mad with rage is that I could have been anybody, anything, hot thing with soft parts to fiddle with. Damn, to them I was just a hole! (…) It wasn't like that with Black Jack Randall, was it? He knew you. When he attacked you, he looked at you. In his eyes, you weren't just anyone, it was you he wanted.
- My God, do you really think it's better?
He was looking at me, his eyes wide. I stopped, breathless, my head spinning.
- No. (…) No, I don't think so. Jack Randall was a mental patient, a first-rate pervert, and these… these… guys, they were just men. (…) Yes, just men. (…) I went through a world war, I continued in a poisonous voice. I lost a child. I lost two husbands. I starved with a whole army. I have been beaten up, hurt, treated like naught, betrayed, imprisoned and assaulted. And I survived it all! (…) And now, I should be devastated because a bunch of pathetic little scumbags have stuck their ridiculous appendages between my thighs and waved it? (…) No way.
- Their ridiculous appendix? repeated Jamie, flabbergasted.
- Not yours. I wasn't talking about yours. Yours, I like it pretty well.
With that, I sat down and collapsed in tears. He put his arms around my shoulders, very gently. I didn't jump or push him away. He pressed my head to his and ran his fingers through my hair. (…)
I took his hand and brought it to my lips, rubbing my slit lips against his knuckles. They were as swollen and bruised as mine. I touched her skin with the tip of my tongue, tasting the scent of soap, dust and the metallic flavor of scrapes and nicks, scars left by broken bones and teeth. I pressed down on the veins in her wrist and forearm, feeling them slide under my fingers, rolling over the underlying bone. I would have liked to dissolve and be absorbed in the blood flowing through her arteries, let myself be carried into the refuge of the thick-walled chambers of her heart. But I couldn't. (…)
“The worst thing,” I said in the folds of his shirt, “was that I knew them. I knew each of them. I will remember each other's faces. And I will feel guilty, because they died because of me.
- No, he replied calmly but in a firm tone. They died because of me, Sassenach. And because of their own vices. The only culprits are them. Or me.
- Not you alone. "You are the blood of my blood, the bones of my bones", it was you who said it yourself. Everything you do, I do too.
"So let's pray that your oath will redeem me," he whispered.
He lifted me up and hugged me, like a tailor gathers a large strip of heavy, fragile silk, fold after fold. He carried me across the room and laid me gently on the bed, in the flickering glow of the fire.
He had intended to be gentle. Very soft. He had prepared carefully for it, worrying about each step that would bring them back to their destination . It was broken, he had to take his time, pick up each of its scattered pieces.
Then he found out that she didn't want him to be gentle or to court her. She wanted him direct. Short and violent. Since it was broken, she would slash him with its sharp shards, as uncontrollable as a drunkard armed with a shard of a bottle.
At first he struggled, trying to hug her and kiss her tenderly. She wriggled in his arms like an eel, then rolled over him, wiggling, biting him . He had thought that the wine would relax her, make them both comfortable. He knew the alcohol was uninhibiting her, but he hadn't realized how much she'd been holding back so far. He could only try to hold her, without hurting her. Yet he should have seen it coming; him better than anyone else! It wasn't heartache or pain… but rage.
She scratched his back. He felt the bite of her broken fingernails and thought it might be good for her to fight. It was his last coherent thought. Rage and desire descended on him like a black thunderstorm over the mountain, a cloud so dense that he could no longer see anything as much as he himself became invisible. All his considerate attentions were swept away, and he found himself alone in the midst of the storm, in the darkness. (…) Fury boiled in his testicles. He rode her with desperate ardor. He had to spit out his lightning and char all traces of the intruder in his matrix! And if they were both to be consumed, reduced to ashes and bone dust, so be it.
When he regained his senses, he was lying with all his weight on her, crushing her in the bed. He was panting. (…) He was lost, no longer even felt the limits of his own body. He remained haunted for a moment, wondering if he hadn't lost his mind… (…) He was still inside her. He almost tore himself away from her like a frightened quail flying away, but held back. He withdrew slowly, releasing one by one his fingers clinging to his arms, lifting himself delicately even though the effort seemed immense to him. He had almost expected to see her flattened like a crest, inert on the sheet, but the elastic arch of her ribs slowly swelled, sagged, then swelled again, reassuringly.(…) She opened her eyes again, and there he read the same frightened surprise. It was the shock of two strangers finding themselves naked against each other. (…) He leaned down to kiss her forehead. She hugged his neck and held him tight, pressing him against her. He hugged her back, squeezing her so tight he heard her gasp, still unable to let go. (…) She had red marks on her arms, where he had gripped her. They would turn black in the hours that followed. The other men's tracks formed dark purple, blue and yellow flowers, fuzzy petals trapped under the whiteness of his skin. (…)
He was sweating, too, and they parted slowly, reluctantly. Her eyes were puffy and cloudy, like wild honey. Her face inches from his, she whispered:
- How do you feel ?
- Very badly, he answered sincerely.
His voice was hoarse as if he had screamed (maybe he had). (…) He cleared his throat, unable to take his eyes off hers. (…)
- And you ?
She flinched when he touched her, but her eyes were still fixed on him. He felt as if she was gazing a point beyond, through him, then his gaze sharpened and, for the first time since he had brought her home, she actually saw him.
"Safe," she said at last.
She closed her eyes, and her body suddenly relaxed, becoming as soft and heavy as that of a hare taking its last breath. He held her, circling her in both arms as if trying to save her from drowning, while feeling her sink anyway. She sank into the depths of sleep. He wanted to hold her back , wishing she would heal, fearing she would run away. He buried his face in her hair and her scent. (…)
He cried silently, his muscles tensed to the point of pain so as not to tremble, not to wake her up and let her see it that way. He cried until the pillow was soaked under his cheek. Then he was overcome with fatigue beyond exhaustion, so far from sleep that he couldn't remember what sleeping meant. Her only comfort was the fragile weight lying against her heart, breathing deeply.
Suddenly she raised her hands and rested them on him. Its whiteness was as clean as the silent snow that blankets charred remains and blood, spreading peace to the world.
Chapter 31 p367 Cherokee temptations
I sat on the edge of the bed, rocking gently, hoping to find the strength to undress. It was several minutes before I noticed Jamie waiting on our doorstep.
- Uh… what are you doing? I asked.
- I don't know. Do you want me to stay with you tonight? If you prefer to sleep alone, I'll take Joseph's bed. Or if not, I can lie on the floor near the bed.
For a moment, silent, I gauged these different solutions.
- No stay. I mean, sleep with me. (…) At least you will heat the bed.
He had an expression of the strangest, between embarrassment and amused dismay, plus the look he would have had led to the stake: a resigned heroism. (…)
- What's wrong with you?
Embarrassment took over: the tips of her ears and her cheeks began to blush. (…)
"I didn't want to tell you," he grumbled. I made Ian and Roger Mac swear to keep it a secret.
- You can count on these two, real graves! (…) What is happening ?
-Uh… well, it's Tsisqua's fault, you see? The first time, it was a gesture of hospitality, but when Ian told her… it probably wasn't the smartest thing to tell her, given the circumstances, but hey… Then, on our second visit, they did it again, except they weren't the same. When I tried to get them to leave, they replied that Bird said it was to honor my vow, because what's the value of a vow when it doesn't cost you anything to keep it? I don't know if he really meant it or if he was trying to crack me in order to definitely get the upper hand over me, or if he was hoping that I would give him the guns he wants to put an end to it all. that; unless he just paid my head. Even Ian can't figure out where he was going with this and he ...
- Jamie, what are you telling me?
- Ah… uh… naked women.
This time it was crimson. I stared at him for a moment. My ears were buzzing a little, but my hearing was quite normal. I pointed a finger at him, slowly articulating:
- You come here right away. Sit down (I patted the bed beside me) and explain to me in simple, monosyllabic words what you have made up.
He did so, and five minutes later I was lying on my back, writhing in laughter and moaning in pain, holding my cracked ribs. Tears were streaming down my temples and into my ears.
- Oh, my God, oh my God, oh my God! It's too much ! You kill me ! Help me straighten up. (…)
I managed not without difficulty to regain the sitting position, a pillow stuck on my stomach, which I squeezed harder and harder each time a new fit of laughter seized me.
- I'm glad you find that funny, Sassenach. Are you sure it's not a fit of hysteria? (…)
- No no not at all. Ouch, ouch, ouch, what does it hurt! (…) Now, I understand why you always come back from the Cherokee villages in such a state of… of… (…) And I, who thought that it was thinking all the time about me that had such an effect on you!
He smiled, put the glass down, stood up and pushed the bedspread back. Then he looked at me and said:
- Claire, it was you. It's always been you and always will be. Get to bed and blow out the candle. As soon as I close the shutters, smother the fire and lock the door, I'll come and keep you warm.
Chapter 33 p384 Murder of Brown by Mrs. Bug
She closed her eyes, losing her balance a bit, and pressed a hand to her chest.
- I couldn't stop, sir. It was stronger than me.
During her explanations, Jamie had stood straight in front of her, his eyes blazing. He turned to me briefly, and my puffy face confirmed the facts to him. He pursed his lips.
- Go home, he said finally. Tell your husband what you did, then send it to me. (…) Avoiding looking at me, Mrs. Bug staggered to her feet and walked out, walking like a blind man.
- You were right, I'm sorry.
I was standing in the threshold of his office, leaning against the doorframe. He was seated with his elbows on his table, his head in his hands.
- I thought I forbade you to be sorry, Sassenach?
A slight smile on his lips, he examined me from head to toe and worried:
- Damn, Claire, you barely stand up! Come and sit down.
He settled me in his chair, waving around me.
"I would ask Mrs. Bug to prepare something for you, but I sent her home." Do you want some tea?
I had been about to cry, but began to laugh.
- We haven't had any for months. I'm fine, I'm just… in shock.
- You're bleeding a little.
Anxious, he pulled a crumpled handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed my lips.
Chapter 35 p404 Marsali and Fergus' dismay after the attack on the malt house
I explained to him as best I could.
'It may be nothing, I hope, but she claims Fergus. She says he avoids her, feeling guilty for what happened to the malt house.
- Yes it's normal.
- Normal? But why God! It wasn't his fault, come on!
He looked at me as if I hadn't understood something obvious that would have jumped out in the eyes of a profound moron.
- Do you think that changes anything? What if the little one dies or the child has a problem, don't you think he'll blame himself?
- He is wrong. However, it is obvious that he blames himself. But you, for example ...
I paused, remembering that he had blamed himself too. He had confessed it to me, very clearly, the night he brought me back. He saw that memory cross my eyes and smirk painfully. He stroked the scar on my brow bone.
- You think I didn't feel it when you received that blow, or the others?
I shook my head, not in denial but in helplessness.
- A man must protect his wife, he concludes, turning on his heels. I'll go find Fergus.
Chapter 44 p505 Agent among the Indians, warn them of future exterminations
They were silent for a moment, each staring into the fire, each seeing their own vision of the future or the past. Finally, Bird, looking very contemplative, asked Jamie:
- Did you pay dearly for this woman you have?
Jamie pouted wryly, causing the other two to laugh.
- It cost me my last dime, but it was worth it.
( p520) Trauma and consequences
I screamed with all my might, my nerves remembering, for a horrible moment, another hand falling on me, hitting me… I hit her in turn, terror doubling my strength. I tapped and screamed, a vague vestige of reason in my mind watching me, stunned, dismayed, but unable to stop this animal panic, this irrational fury that was springing from the depths of an unsuspected well. I pounded the air in front of me blindly, screaming like a possessed woman, wondering, "What's wrong with me?" " Then an arm slid around my waist, and I was lifted from the ground. A new wave of panic swept through me, then I found myself alone, unharmed. I stood by the closet, swaying, like drunk.Planted in front of me, arms outstretched, Jamie was protecting me. He spoke very calmly, but I had lost the ability to understand. I pressed my hands to the wall behind me, finding comfort in the solid mass.
Chapter 47 p529 Spanking and Possession
The fire rose to my cheeks. He once slapped my buttocks with a belt. At the time, I wanted to kill him, and the simple memory awakened murderous impulses in me. However, I was not so stupid to compare his gesture with the actions of a modern man letting off steam on his wife. From my expression, he guessed what I was thinking and smirked softly.
- Oh, he said.
- Yes, "Oh". You can say it !
I had managed to push this extremely humiliating episode out of my mind and did not like to see it resurface at all. He, for his part, seemed to find the memory pleasant. Smiling at me with a look that I found totally unbearable, he said:
- You were screaming like a banshee!
- And for good reason !
- Indeed. However, it was your fault.
- My f… ?
- You apologized! You can't pretend otherwise!
- No, that's not true. And it was still your fault. I wouldn't have had to correct you if you had listened to me when I asked you to kneel down and ...
- Listen to you! Because you imagined that I was going to obediently surrender and leave you ...
- You never understood the principle of docility, Sassenach.
He took my arm to help me up the stile, but I pulled away abruptly, choking with indignation.
- You scottish bully!
I dropped the beehive at her feet, pulled up my skirts, and climbed the fence.
"I never did it again," he protested. I promised, right?
Jumping to the other side, I turned to glare at him.
"Only because I threatened to rip your heart out if you put your hand on me again."
- Maybe, but ... I could have, you know that, Sassenach.
He stopped smiling, but there was still that same glint in his eyes. I took a deep breath, simultaneously trying to control my anger and find a stinging retort. I failed in either case and after a "Hmph! Dignified, I turned on my heels. I heard the rustle of his kilt as he picked up the beehive and jumped over the fence. He caught up with me in a few strides. I didn't give him a look, my cheeks still on fire.The most annoying thing was that he was telling the truth, I knew it only too well. Using the belt of his sword, he had hit me with such energy that I couldn't sit down for several days… and, if he decided to put it back on, I absolutely couldn't stop him. Most of the time, I managed to forget that I belonged to him legally, but it was still a fact, and he was aware of it.
(…) For his part, his thoughts took a different course. Pensive, he suddenly declared:
- This is very strange. Laoghaire often drove me mad, but it never occurred to me to correct her.
I didn't like hearing him talk about this woman in any context.
- What negligence on your part!
He didn't seem to notice my sarcasm.
- I think it's because I didn't love him enough to think about it, and even less to do it.
- You didn't love her enough to beat her? What a Lucky woman !
This time he caught my scathing tone and stared at me.
"Not to hurt her," he said.
He smiled, got up and walked over to me. He pulled me up to my feet and, taking my wrist, gently lifting one of my arms above my head, pressing me against the trunk of the tree I had been sitting under.
" Not to hurt her," he repeated in a soft voice. To own it. I didn't want her. You, my nighean donn, you belong to me.
- I belong to you ? What am I to understand by that, exactly?
- What I just said.
Despite the teasing glint in his eyes, he was very serious.
- You are mine, Sassenach. And I am ready to do anything to make it clear.
- I see. Including beating myself regularly?
- No, not that. I don't need it, because I can do it, Sassenach. You know it very well.
I tried to free myself, by pure reflex. I remembered that night in Doonesbury vividly. Of the feeling of having struggled with all my might, in vain. The horrible feeling of being bedridden, helpless and vulnerable, aware that he could do whatever he wanted to me… and that he would. I wriggled violently, as much to chase away the image as to free myself from its grip. Unsuccessful, I dug my fingernails into his hand. He didn't twitch and held my gaze. With his other hand, he brushed my earlobe. It did not take more to show me that he could touch me anywhere, as he saw fit. Obviously, women are able to follow rational thought while still being sexually aroused, because that is precisely what was happening to me. My brain was trying to refute all kinds of things, including half of Jamie's words spoken in the last few minutes. At the same time, the other end of my spinal cord was not only stirred with shameless lust at the thought of being physically possessed, but liquefied with a delusional desire that made me push my hips forward and rub them against hers. His other hand grabbed mine, and our fingers crossed. He whispered:
- If you asked me to free you, Sassenach, do you think I would?
I took a deep breath, my breasts swelling against his chest. I hadn't realized he was standing so close. I stared into his eyes and felt my agitation slowly recede, turning into conviction, heavy and hot in the pit of my stomach. Her body swayed against mine; the pulse I saw in her neck beat in rhythm with the echo of my heart. We barely touched each other, stirring no more than the leaves above us, sighing in the breeze.
" I wouldn't ask you," I replied. I will order you and you will obey me. You would do what I tell you to do.
- Really ?
His face was so close that I felt his smile rather than see him.
I released my hand and stroked her earlobe and neck with my thumb.
- Yes, I repeated. Because you belong to me too… You are my man. Is not it ?
- Yes, I belong to you, he whispered in my ear. He lowered his head, and his lips brushed mine.
- I know that very well, monighean donn.
Chapter 56 p661
- I can hear you thinking, Sassenach. What is it ?
He looked peaceful, on the verge of sleep. I gently stroked his arm.
- I was thinking of tar and feathers. Jamie, the time is right.
- I know.
Drunk men passed in the street, singing in chorus. The light from their torches lit up the ceiling for a moment, then vanished. I could feel Jamie watching them too, listening to the hoarse voices drift away into the night. He said nothing, and after a moment his large body coiled against mine relaxed, falling asleep again. Without knowing if he was still hearing me, I whispered to him:
- What are you thinking about ?
- I thought you would have made a formidable prostitute, Sassenach, if you had been of light manners.
- But I'm glad it wasn't.
The next moment he began to snore.
Chapter 64 p718 Claire, short hair ... relieved of her near-fatal fever
I managed to raise a hand for a few seconds, but I was too weak to lift my head. Roger pulled me up into a sitting position, propping me up against pillows and, supporting me with one hand on the back of my neck, held a cup of water in front of my dry lips. It was the strange feeling of his palm against my bare skin that triggered a vague process of awareness. Then his warm fingers against the back of my head. I leap like a hooked salmon, sending the cup flying.
- What? What? I stammered.
I put my head in my hands, too shocked to make a full sentence and barely feeling the cold water rush through the sheet.
Roger looked almost as offended as I did. He searched for his words, stammering:
- I ... I ... I thought ... that you knew. You do not... ? Well ... this ... it's not that bad. They ... they will grow back. (…)
All the space in my mind was taken up by the disappearance of the heavy, soft mass of my hair, replaced by a carpet of coarse horsehair.
- Malva and Mrs Bug cut them off for you the day before yesterday. We ... we weren't here, Brianna and I, otherwise we wouldn't have let them. They thought it was good for calming a high fever. This is the practice here. Brianna was furious with them, but they believed… they believed they were helping save your life. Oh, Lord, Claire ... don't make that face!
He faded behind a curtain of tears that suddenly closed to protect me from the eyes of the world. I was unaware that I was crying. Sorrow simply escaped me like a gourd stabbed with a knife.
- I'll go get Jamie! he declared hastily.
- NO !
I held him back by the sleeve with a strength I never imagined I had.
- No ! I don't want him to see me like this!
He didn't answer, and I stubbornly clung to his arm, the only way I could find to try to avoid the unthinkable.
- He ... uh ... saw you.
He looked down, avoiding my gaze.
- I mean ... he's seen you before.
It was almost as brutal a shock as my initial discovery.
- What ... what did he say?
He looked up slowly, like a man afraid to look Medusa in the face. Or rather the anti-Medusa. Gently, he put a hand on my arm.
- He said nothing. He ... just cried.
After seeing myself, my resolve was less firm, not to mention that I had to admit that I was a little cold in the head. On the other hand, seeing me surrender, Jamie would have been very worried, and, lately, I had scared him enough, judging by his hollow cheeks and the deep dark circles under his eyes. In fact, his face lit up when I declined his offer, and he threw the beanie aside. I put the mirror face down on the bedspread.
- My only consolation is the look of people when they enter the room and see me. It's funny !
- You are very beautiful, Sassenach.
With that, he burst out laughing. Surprised, I took the mirror again, looking at myself again, which finished him off: he was doubled over with laughter and held his ribs. (…) Still hilarious, Jamie took my hand and kissed it. The warmth of the touch of his skin ruffled the downy coat of my forearm, and my fingers closed around his.
- I love you, he whispered.
(p730) Fergus' suicide attempt
- So you don't know? Doesn't one of you know that? It is not what we give, what we do or what we bring that is important. It is oneself. It's you. It's you.
- I know. That's what I told Fergus. Or at least I believe so. I told him about so many things!
They had knelt by the spring, hugging, drenched in blood and water. He had held him tight as if he was trying to reunite him with the earth, with his family, with life by the sheer force of his will. Carried away by the passion of the moment, he no longer remembered her words. Only those at the end. Fergus' face pressed to his shoulder, his cold black hair against his cheek, he had whispered to her:
- You have to hold on for them, even if you don't want to. Do you understand, my child, my son? Do you understand ?
He paused before resuming slowly:
- You see, I knew you were dying. I was sure that when I got home, you wouldn't be there anymore and I would be all alone. I was not speaking only to Fergus, but also to myself.
He raised his head and looked at me through a curtain of tears and laughter.
- Oh, Claire, if you had died and had abandoned me, I would have blamed you so much!
Chapter 65 p742
Jamie snapped open the bed.
- But what the hell with you, Sassenach!
- But ... I feel very good and ...
- Very well? Your complexion is the color of turned milk, and you tremble so much that ... Ah! Let me do.
Grumbling, he spread my hands and untied the laces of my petticoats.
- Have you lost your mind or what? Sneak away without telling anyone? If you had fallen? If you had felt bad again?
- If I had warned someone, they wouldn't have let me out. And I remind you that I am a doctor. I am quite capable of judging my own state of health.
His gaze clearly suggested to me that he didn't even consider me capable of judging a flower show. He lifted me off the ground, carried me to the bed, and gently placed me there , grumbling that he'd probably do better to swing me out the window. Then he straightened up and eyed me threateningly.
- If you didn't seem about to turn your eye, I'd turn you over like a pancake and give you a good slap on the buttocks.
- You can't, I don't have any more.
It is true that I was rather weak. My heart was pounding and my ears were ringing. (…) In this confusion of sensations, I vaguely felt hands on my legs, then a pleasant draft on my burning body. Something warm wrapped around my head, and I clapped my hands, trying to shake it off before choking. I emerged, out of breath, to find I was naked. Looking down, I saw my skeletal body, pale and limp, and quickly pulled on the sheet to cover myself. Jamie was picking up my dress, petticoats and jacket from the floor, adding them to my shirt folded over his forearm. He grabbed my shoes and my stockings as well, and poured them all into a bag. Then he turned to me, pointing an accusing finger.
- You won't go anywhere! You don't have the right to kill yourself, have I made myself understood? (…)
- I seem to remember a certain abbey in France. As well as a very stubborn young man in very bad shape. And his friend Murtagh who had stolen all of his clothes so he couldn't get up and wander in the wilderness until he was healed. (…) However, if I remember correctly, that did not prevent you from slipping out the window and taking off. Naked like a worm, in the middle of winter. (…)
- I was twenty-four. At this age, we do not think. (…)
He sighed deeply and came to sit on the bed, making the box spring creak under his weight. He took my hand and held it, like a precious and fragile object. He gently stroked my palm with his thumb, moving back and forth from the first phalanx of my middle finger to the birth of the ulna. (…) The light made my silver wedding ring sparkle. He grabbed it between thumb and forefinger, and slid it up and down on my ring finger. It was so loose that it slipped easily over the joint.
- Warning. I don't want to lose her.
- You won't lose her.
He folded my fingers and remained silent for long minutes. We watched the last rays of sunlight retreating to the window sill. (…)
“Seeing the sun rise and set is a great comfort,” Jamie said suddenly. When I lived in my cave, or when I was in prison, it gave me hope. The light that came and went reminded me that the world was on its way as usual. (…) I have the same feeling when I hear you busy in your infirmary, Sassenach. When I hear you shaking your bottles and swearing to yourself.
He turned his eyes the same color as nightfall on me.
- If you were no longer there, the sun would not be able to rise or set.
He lifted my hand and kissed it, then rested it on my chest, closed on my wedding ring, and left.
Chapter 68 p752 One more pebble, a mystery, a clue?
He blew out the wick and announced in a firm voice:
- Whatever happens, I won't touch the black diamond. He is for you.
I stared at him, dumbfounded.
- What do you mean ?
- If I were to be killed, you would use it to leave. Go back through the stones.
- What? But ... I'm not sure I want to.
I didn't like to talk about the possibility of his death, but there was no need to hide our face. Battles, illnesses, imprisonment, accidents, assassination ...
“You and Brianna keep forbidding me to die,” I said. I would do the same with you if I had the slightest hope of being heard.
It made him smile.
- I always listen to what you tell me, Sassenach. But man proposes, and God disposes. Now, if he sees fit to call me back, you will come home.
He stared at me thoughtfully, seeming to hesitate to confess something to me. I was starting to get goosebumps. Finally, he shook his head and replied:
- I do not know. But I saw you there.
- Where did you see me?
He gestured vaguely to the window.
- Over there. I dreamed of you. I didn't know where I was. But I knew it was there, in your time.
This time all the hairs on my body stood on end.
- How do you know ? What was I doing?
He wrinkled his forehead.
- I do not remember any more, but I knew that I was in your time, in the light. Yes that's it ! You were sitting at your desk, holding something in your hand, maybe a feather. There was clarity all around you, on your face, your hair. But it did not come from a candle, nor from a fire, nor from the sun. I remember thinking, "So that's it, the famous electric light!" "
I stared at him, dumbfounded.
- How can you recognize in a dream what you have never seen in your real life?
- I dream all the time about things that I have never seen, Sassenach, don't you?
- Yes sometimes. Monsters, strange plants, bizarre landscapes. And people I don't know. But this is different. You've heard of electricity, but you've never seen it.
“Maybe it wasn't,” he admitted, “but then I thought about it. Besides, I was sure I was in your time. After all, I dream of the past, why shouldn't I dream of the future?
I found nothing to answer to this very Celtic logic.
- Mmmoui, why not, I say skeptically. How old was I?
He looked surprised, then undecided. He scanned my face as if to compare it to a mental image. For the first time, he didn't seem sure of himself.
- Actually ... I don't know. I haven't thought about it. I did not notice any white hair or any striking details. It was just ... you.
Chapter 80 p897 Malva and Mary MacNab: Trust and Confidence
He turned towards me. No matter how much I controlled my expression and my emotions, he knew me too well. As soon as he said the words "I'm sorry," I felt like throwing up.
- Whatever I say, I give the impression of defending myself or of apologizing. And I won't.
I made a strangled sound, and he looked at me, repeating in a more vehement tone:
- I won't! There is no way to deny such an accusation without raising nauseating doubt. I'm not going to apologize for something I didn't do; otherwise, you would doubt me even more.
I started to breathe a little better.
- You don't have much confidence in my loyalty to you.
- If I didn't trust me, Sassenach, I wouldn't be here.
He watched me for a few seconds, then took my hand. My fingers immediately wrapped around his, large and cold, which hugged me tightly. I thought my bones were going to break. He took a deep breath, almost a gasp, then his shoulders relaxed.
- You didn't believe it? Yet you ran away.
- I was shocked.
Somewhere deep inside, I also tell myself that if I had stayed, I would have been able to kill her.
- I understand. I probably would have run away, if I could.
A little touch of remorse added to the overload of my emotions. My hasty flight had hardly helped the situation. However, he didn't blame me. He just repeated:
- You didn't believe it?
- I do not believe it.
- Now. But immediately?
I pulled the cloak tight around my shoulders.
- No. I didn't believe it, but I didn't know why.
- Now you know ?
I turned to him, looking him in the eye.
- Jamie Fraser, if you were capable of such a thing ... I'm not talking about sleeping with another woman, but lying to myself ... so, everything that I have done and all that I have summer, my whole life, would have been a long lie. And I'm not ready to admit it.
He was slightly surprised.
- What do you mean, Sassenach
I waved my hand towards the path, towards the house that was invisible higher up behind the trees, towards the white rock, a fuzzy shape in the half-light.
- I'm not from here. Brianna, Roger ... neither do they. Jemmy shouldn't be here. He should watch cartoons on television, draw cars and planes with colored pencils, not learn to wield guns larger than himself and empty the viscera of deer. If we all ended up here, it's because I loved you, more than my life. And because I was convinced that you loved me the same way. You want to tell me that I was wrong?
He waited a few moments before answering. His fingers tightened on mine.
- No. I won't tell you that. Never, Claire.
- So much the better.
All the anxiety, fury and fear that had built up over the course of the afternoon left me immediately. I rested my head on his shoulder and inhaled his pungent scent: he smelled of rain, fear and anger. Now it was completely dark. (…)
- Claire ? Jamie asked quietly. (…) I have something to tell you.
My blood froze. I slowly pulled away from him and straightened up.
- Don't give me such a shock. I feel like I have been punched in the stomach.
- I am sorry.
I hugged my knees, straining to suppress a retching.
- You said earlier that if you apologized, it meant that you had an action to blame yourself.
- It's the case.
His fingers drummed against his thigh. He hesitated a moment, then said:
- I do not know a good way to tell his wife that we slept with another. Whatever the circumstances. I really don't see any.
Suddenly dizzy, I closed my eyes. He wasn't talking about Malva, that question was settled.
- Who ? I asked in my calmest voice possible. And when ?
- Uh ... well ... when ... when you left, of course.
- Who ?
- It was just once. I ... I had no intention of ...
- Who ?
He scratched the back of his neck.
- I certainly don't want to upset you, Sassenach, by sounding like ..., but I don't mean to speak ill of this poor woman by suggesting that she ...
- WHO ? I roared, grabbing his arm.
- Soft ! ... Mary MacNab.
- Who ? I repeated in surprise.
- Mary MacNab. Will you let go of me, Sassenach? I think you pierced my skin.
Indeed, my fingernails had sunk into his wrist. I rejected her hand and closed mine, hugging my arms around my knees to keep from strangling her.
- Can we find out who this Mary MacNab is? I questioned between my teeth.
- You know her. Rab's wife, the one who died in the fire in his house. They had a son, Rabbie. He was a groom at Lallybroch when ...
- That Mary MacNab?
I was amazed. I remembered her vaguely. She had come to work as a maid in Lallybroch after the death of her bully husband. A dry little woman, exhausted from hard work and poverty, speaking little, going about her chores like a shadow, barely visible in the perpetual chaos of Murray life. I tried in vain to remember if I had seen her on my last visit to Lallybroch.
- I barely noticed her. But, apparently, that's not your case!
- No, it was not what you think, Sassenach.
- Don't call me that.
My voice sounded poisonous even to my own ears. He massaged his wrist with a sigh, both frustrated and resigned.
- It was the night before I surrendered to the English.
- You never told me that!
- Say what ?
- That you surrendered to the English. I thought you were captured. ( contradictory with a conversation at their reunion, see chapter 26 volume 3, see detail below ***)
- Yes, but it was organized in advance, to receive the reward. But this is not the question...
- They could have hanged you! "And that would have been well done!" A hysterical little voice called in my head.
- No, you warned me, Sasse ... rnmphm. And then, anyway, I didn't care.
I had no idea what he meant by "you warned me", but right now that was the least of my worries.
- Drop it. I want to know...
- Mary MacNab, yes, I know, I know. She came to see me one evening, the day before I left. I lived in the cave, near Lallybroch. She brought me my dinner, then ... she stayed.
I bit my tongue so as not to interfere. I could feel him collecting his thoughts, searching for his words.
- I tried to send her away. She ... she told me ...
He looked at me.
- She told me that she had seen us together, Claire, and that she knew how to recognize a true love even if she had never known it herself. She had no intention of betraying our love, but she wanted to give me ... a little something. These are his words “a little something that you might find useful”. It was ... I mean, it wasn't ...
He paused and let his head fall back, knees bent against him.
- She gave me tenderness, he said finally in a breath. I ... I hope I gave it to him too.
My throat was too tight to speak, and tears stung my eyes. I suddenly remembered his words about the Sacred Heart, the night I had operated on Tom Christie's hand, about being so lonely: “... to touch. He had lived in this cave for seven years. Only. A few centimeters separated us, but they seemed to me an insurmountable chasm. I put my hand on his, my fingertips resting on his gnarled knuckles. I took a deep breath, then two, trying to control my voice, which nonetheless came out hoarse.
- You gave him tenderness, I know.
He turned to me, and I buried my face in his jacket, no longer holding back my tears.
“ Oh, Claire,” he whispered through my hair. She said ... she wanted to keep me alive for you. She thought so. She didn't want anything for herself.
My tears redoubled. I cried for all those lost, empty years, lying next to a man I had betrayed, for whom I had no tenderness. For the terrors, doubts and sorrows of the day. For him, for me, for Mary MacNab who knew what loneliness meant ... and love. He patted me on the back like I was a child, whispering:
- I wanted to tell you earlier, but ... It only happened once. I didn't know how to explain it to you so that you understand.
Gasping, I finally stood up and wiped my face on a section of my skirt.
- I understand. I assure you that I understand.
It was true. I understood not only Mary MacNab, but also why he told me today. He didn't have to, I never would have known. All he needed was the need for absolute honesty between us ... and the fact that I had to know that she was real. I had believed him about Malva. But now my mind was sure ... and my heart at peace.
Jamie seemed to be gripped with the same unease. Then he shook himself and went to light a candle. Its flickering glow only accentuated the eerie, hollow atmosphere in the room. He held it in his hand for a few minutes, undecided, then placed it in the middle of the table.
- Are you hungry, Sa ... Sassenach?
He questioned me with a glance, not knowing if I would allow the use of the nickname again. I tried to smile at him, feeling the corners of my lips tremble.
- No. And you ?
He shook his head. His eyes circled the room, looking for a task, then grabbed the poker and stirred the embers, breaking them apart, causing a cloud of sparks and soot to fall back into the hearth.
Conversation during their reunion / volume 3 chapter 26 (passage not translated into French)
"You lived in a cave for a while too, didn't you?" We have found a story.
His eyebrows rose in surprise.
- A story ? About me you mean?
- You are a famous legend of the Highlands, I tell him with humor, or you will become it.
- For living in a cave? (…) Well, it's a bit stupid to make a big deal out of it, isn't it?
- Arranging to be delivered to the English in exchange for the bonus, that's a bit stupid, I said even more ironically. You took a hell of a risk there, didn't you?
The tip of his nose was all pink and he looked confused.
- Uh, well he said uncomfortably, I did not think that prison would be fatal to me, anyway, all things considered .... (...)
- Prison, my butt yes! You knew you were risking hanging, right? And you did it anyway!
- I had to do something. If the English were stupid enough to pay money for my poor carcass then why not take advantage of it, there is no law against that eh?
"I would say the question of who the idiot is is open to interpretation," I said without looking at him. But hey, you should know that your daughter is very proud of you.
- Really ? he said, overwhelmed with surprise. (…)
- Of course. You are a hell of a hero after all.
He turned red as a peony and stood up, taken aback.
- Me ? No !
He ran his hand through his hair, an old habit that meant he was thinking or upset about something.
- No, I mean ... I didn't do this out of heroism at all. It's just ... I couldn't stand one more moment to watch them starve, not being able to take care of them- Jenny, Ian, the kids ... the sharecroppers and their families. (…) I told myself that they were not going to hang me because of what you had told me Sassenach but even if I had known for sure that the hanging was waiting for me, I would have done it. It wasn't bravery, far from it. (…) I couldn't do anything else!
- I see, I say softly after a moment. I understand. "
Chapter 81 p905 Roger and Suspicions on Jamie Following Malva's Accusations
“It wasn't impossible. This idea kept coming back to annoy him like a pebble in his shoe. Jamie was a man of honor and he was devoted to his wife to the point of excess. He had been in the throes of despair and exhaustion during Claire's illness. Roger had been afraid for him as much as for her. While the latter had tried to tell him about God and eternity, and to prepare him for what seemed inevitable, Jamie had sent him out for a walk, with black fury at the mere idea that God could take his wife away from him. . Then he had sunk into utter distress when Claire appeared on the verge of death.. It was not impossible that in the midst of such desolation, the offer of a moment of physical comfort had gone a little further than expected. But it was early May, and Malva Christie had been pregnant since November. However, Claire had been ill at the end of September. He remembered vividly the smell of scorched fields in the room the day she suddenly reopened her eyes, huge and shimmering, surprisingly beautiful in the face of an androgynous angel. So it was absolutely impossible. No one was perfect, and any man could have a weakness in an extreme moment ... once. Not repeatedly. Not Jamie Fraser. Malva Christie was a liar.
Chapter 87 p946 Attack on the Big House
Jamie had taken his cutlass and his sword, but hadn't changed. He stood on the porch, his shirt stained with blood, daring anyone to dare come after us. In a voice loud enough to be heard from across the clearing, he said:
- If you want to take my wife, you will have to run over my body first.
Obviously, they weren't asking for more. He was not mistaken that Hiram would oppose our lynching, but public opinion was clearly not on our side.
Chapter 94 p1004
Ian had reached the gate and was arguing with the guard who was pointing his carabiner at him, keeping him at bay. Jamie saw the soldier shake his head. It was absurd. His need for her was physical, like a sailor's thirst at sea for too long. During their years of separation, he had already felt this desire. Often even. But why now? She was safe. He knew where she was. Was it just the exhaustion of the past few weeks? Or the weakening from age that made all of her bones sore as if she had been torn from her body? Hadn't God modeled Eve with a rib from Adam?
Chapter 95 p1035
He had resumed his semi-conscious caresses, smoothing strands behind my ear. Still, I listened to his heartbeat, unwilling to ask the next question, but knowing it to be inevitable:
- Jamie, tell me he didn't make that false confession for me, please.
Above all else, this idea was unbearable to me. His fingers came to rest on my ear.
- He loves you. You know that, don't you?
I saw his gray and frank gaze again. Tom Christie was the kind of man who meant what he said, and who said what he thought. In this he was like Jamie.
- That's what he told me.
Jamie was silent for long minutes, then turned his head, his cheek resting on my hair.
- Sassenach ... I would have done the same. By saving your life, I would have considered that I was giving mine for a good cause. If he feels that way, then you've done him no harm by letting him give you back your life.
Chapter 119 p1192
The stone was lukewarm. I stroked it with my thumb. It was a rough gem, the size of a hazelnut.
- Jamie ...
"I love you," he whispered so low I barely heard him.
I stood still, the warming stone in my hand. It must have been my imagination, but I could feel it pulsing in rhythm with my heart. Where had he found it? Then I got up, a little dizzy, my body slowly sliding out of hers, and crossed the room. I opened the window, the cold breath of the autumn wind caressing my warm skin, and tossed the gem with all my might into the night. Coming back to bed, I saw in the moonlight the dark mass of her hair on the pillow and the glow of her eyes.
"I love you," I whispered, sticking to him.
I wrapped my arm around him and hugged him. Her body hotter than stone, so much hotter. Soon his heart began to beat with mine.
" I'm not as brave as I used to be, you know," he whispered. No longer brave enough to live without you. But still enough to try.
I pulled her head against me and stroked her hair, thick and smooth at the same time, alive under my fingers.
- Go back to sleep, man. Dawn is still far away.
Chapter 120 p1196 Departure of Roger, Brianna and Jemmy
An eternity later, I slowly came to myself, descending clouds in small pieces like hail. I was lying with my head in Jamie's lap. I heard him whisper, not knowing if he was talking to me or addressing himself:
- For you alone, I will continue ... because if it were up to me ... I could not.
- You can at least promise me victory.
There was a question in this statement. I stroked his face. Throat knotted and sight blurred.
- Yes. I can promise you this time.
I did not mention the gaps in this promise, which I could not guarantee. Neither life nor security; neither a home nor a family; neither law nor legacy. Just one thing ... or two.
- Victory, I said. And that I will be with you until the end.
He closed his eyes for a moment. Snowflakes fell on her skin, catching half a second on her eyelashes, white on black.
- That's enough for me. I'm not asking for more .