Saturday, April 23, 2016

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER summary & analysis by BOOK*SENSE part 3 & 4

Part 1 and 2 have been archived. Dragonfly in Amber. 
click here:

Part 5, 6 and 7 have been archivedoing and is completed

This is Part 3 and 4 of Book*Sense Dragonfly in Amber 

With the long awaited return of OUTLANDER, SEASON TWO DRAGONFLY IN AMBER to the Starz original Series lineup still months away, there have been many outlets recaping chapters, podcast reviews and book clubs popping up about Diana Gabaldon's 2nd book. Certainly to entertain us until the spring when the show airs again.

Outlander Homepage has also tried to find interesting ways to recap each chapter of DIA, even doing our own written version by an admin. But Diana’s chapters are soooo long and complicated.

BOOK*SENSE summary & analysis "Dragonfly in Amber" has a thought provoking quick recap of the entire story and a breakdown of each chapter that we think Outlander Fans will enjoy!

We will continue to update this page weekly. If you are new to reading these recaps, we have left them in order so you can read all of the chapters, not just the most current one.
Dragonfly in Amber summary & analysis by BOOK*SENSE

INTRODUCTION The sweeping saga begun in Outlander continues in Diana Gabaldon’s 1992 Dragonfly in Amber. In it, the Frasers return from France to Scotland, only to be separated, and revelations of the strange relationships within families come to light— among many other events that are entertainingly and engagingly depicted in a solid, substantial piece of writing.

SETTING FOR THE STORY In such books as those of the Outlander series, both physical and temporal settings matter. In Dragonfly in Amber, much of the physical setting is in Scotland; Parts Two through Four are in Paris, France , but the remainder are in the northernmost British country. The two physical settings serve as counterpoints to one another, the urbanity of the French capital contrasting sharply with the ruggedly beautiful but rural Scotland. The commonality of action among the settings, however, underscores the fundamentally human nature of deceit and betrayal. The temporal setting in the frame is 1968, while that in the main narrative is 1745. Not much is made of the resonance of the late 1960s in the frame, but the significance of 1745 as the last gasp of the Stuart monarchy is much touted in the text. Because Gabaldon is an American author , and the events of the Jacobite Rising do not figure much into the prevailing American popular consciousness but the events of the 1960s do, it makes sense that the earlier events would be more thoroughly explicated than the latter. As the Frasers are much more significant in the earlier events, as well, the greater explication of them also seems sensible.

PROLOGUE  A nameless character (likely Claire) remarks on waking thrice before dawn: once in sorrow, once in love and once in blankness. The speaker claims to be the only one who knows the purpose of the stone circle on Craigh na Dun.

PROLOGUE I woke three times in the dark predawn. First in sorrow, then in joy, and at the last, in solitude. The tears of a bone-deep loss woke me slowly, bathing my face like the comforting touch of a damp cloth in soothing hands. I turned my face to the wet pillow and sailed a salty river into the caverns of grief remembered, into the subterranean depths of sleep. I came awake then in fierce joy, body arched bowlike in the throes of physical joining, the touch of him fresh on my skin, dying along the paths of my nerves as the ripples of consummation spread from my center. I repelled consciousness, turning again, seeking the sharp, warm smell of a man’s satisfied desire, in the reassuring arms of my lover, sleep. The third time I woke alone, beyond the touch of love or grief. The sight of the stones was fresh in my mind. A small circle, standing stones on the crest of a steep green hill. The name of the hill is Craigh na Dun; the fairies’ hill. Some say the hill is enchanted, others say it is cursed. Both are right. But no one knows the function or the purpose of the stones. Except me.

Please go to part 1 & 2 for the beginning of Dragonfly in Amber located in our archived posts. Link is above.

Part 3 is below part 4.

Part 4

Chapter 29: To Grasp the Nettle Claire and Jaime make to return to Scotland, being pardoned there and exiled from France. They discuss events and their relationship, changed as it is by those events. Claire also considers the changes those events ought to have wrought but seem not to have before she and Jaime stumble onto old cave paintings and the bones of lovers long since dead.

Going home:
“Scotland.” I sighed, thinking of the cool brown streams and dark pines of Lallybroch, Jamie’s estate. “Can we really go home?”“I expect we’ll have to,” he answered wryly. “The King’s pardon says I leave France by mid-September, or I’m back in the Bastille. Presumably, His Majesty has arranged a pardon as well from the English Crown, so I willna be hanged directly I get off the ship in Inverness.”“I suppose we could go to Rome, or to Germany,” I suggested , tentatively. I wanted nothing more than to go home to Lallybroch, and heal in the quiet peace of the Scottish Highlands. My heart sank at the thought of royal courts and intrigue, the constant press of danger and insecurity. But if Jamie felt we must … He shook his head, red hair falling over his face as he stooped to pull on his stockings. “Nay, it’s Scotland or the Bastille ,” he said. “Our passage is already booked, just to make sure.” He straightened and brushed the hair out of his eyes with a wry smile. “I imagine the Duke of Sandringham —and possibly King George— want me safe at home, where they can keep an eye on me . Not spying in Rome, or raising money in Germany. The three weeks’ grace, I gather , is a courtesy to Jared, giving him time to come home before I leave.”

Jamie knows Claire slept with the King to get him out of the Bastille:
He looked up then, making only a passing-fair attempt at a lopsided smile. “Well,” he said. “He is a king. You’d think it would be …different, somehow. You know …special, maybe?” The smile was slipping, and his face had gone as white as my own. He looked down again, avoiding my stricken gaze. “I suppose all I was wondering,” he murmured, “was …was he …was he different from me?” I saw him bite his lip as though wishing the words unsaid, but it was far too late for that. “How in hell did you know?” I said. I felt dizzy and exposed, and rolled onto my stomach, pressing myself hard to the short turf. He shook his head, teeth still clenched in his lower lip. When he finally released it, a deep red mark showed where he had bitten it. “Claire,” he said softly. “Oh, Claire. You gave me all yourself from the first time, and held nothing back from me. You never did. When I asked ye for honesty, I told ye then that it isna in you to lie. When I touched ye so—” His hand moved, cupping my buttock, and I flinched, not expecting it. “How long have I loved you?” he asked, very quietly. “A year? Since the moment I saw you. And loved your body how often—half a thousand times or more?” One finger touched me then, gently as a moth’s foot, tracing the line of arm and shoulder, gliding down my rib cage ’ til I shivered at the touch and rolled away, facing him now. “You never shrank from my touch,” he said, eyes intent on the path his finger took, dipping down to follow the curve of my breast. “Not even at the first, when ye might have done so, and no surprise to me if ye had. But you didn’t. You gave me everything from the very first time; held nothing back, denied me no part of you.”“But now …” he said, drawing back his hand. “I thought at first it was only that you’d lost the child, and maybe were shy of me, or feeling strange after so long apart. But then I knew that wasn’t it.” There was a very long silence, then. I could feel the steady, painful thudding of my heart against the cold ground, and hear the conversation of the wind in the pines down below. Small birds called, far away. I wished I were one. Or far away, at any rate. “Why?” he asked softly. “Why lie to me? When I had come to you thinking I knew, anyway?” I stared down at my hands, linked beneath my chin, and swallowed. “If …”I began, and swallowed again. “If I told you that I had let Louis …you would have asked about it. I thought you couldn’t forget …maybe you could forgive me, but you’d never forget, and it would always be there between us.” I swallowed once more, hard. My hands were cold despite the heat, and I felt a ball of ice in my stomach. But if I was telling him the truth now, I must tell him all of it. “If you’d asked—and you did, Jamie, you did! I would have had to talk about it, live it over, and I was afraid …” I trailed off, unable to speak, but he wasn’t going to let me off. “Afraid of what?” he prodded. I turned my head slightly, not meeting his eye, but enough to see his outline dark against the sun, looming through the sun-sparked curtain of my hair. “Afraid I’d tell you why I did it,” I said softly. “Jamie …I had to, to get you freed from the Bastille—I would have done worse, if I’d had to. But then …and afterward …I half-hoped someone would tell you, that you’d find out. I was so angry, Jamie—for the duel, and the baby. And because you’d forced me to do it …to go to Louis. I wanted to do something to drive you away, to make sure I never saw you again. I did it …partly …because I wanted to hurt you,” I whispered. A muscle contracted near the corner of his mouth, but he went on staring downward at his clasped hands. The chasm between us, so perilously bridged, gaped yawning and impassable once more. “Aye. Well, you did.” His mouth clamped shut in a tight line, and he didn’t speak for some time. Finally he turned his head and looked directly at me. I would have liked to avoid his eyes, but couldn’t. “Claire,” he said softly. “What did ye feel—when I gave my body to Jack Randall? When I let him take me, at Wentworth?” A tiny shock ran through me, from scalp to toenails. It was the last question I had expected to hear. I opened and closed my mouth several times before finding an answer. “I …don’t know,” I said weakly. “I hadn’t thought. Angry, of course. I was furious—outraged. And sick. And frightened for you. And …sorry for you.” “Were ye jealous? When I told you about it later—that he’d roused me, though I didna want it?” I drew a deep breath, feeling the grass tickle my breasts. “No. At least I don’t think so; I didn’t think so then. After all, it wasn’t as though you’d …wanted to do it.” I bit my lip, looking down. His voice was quiet and matter-of-fact at my shoulder. “I dinna think you wanted to bed Louis—did you?” “No!”“Aye, well,”he said. He put his thumbs together on either side of a blade of grass, and concentrated on pulling it up slowly by the roots. “I was angry, too. And sick and sorry.” The grass blade came free of its sheath with a tiny squeaking sound. “When it was me,” he went on, almost whispering, “I thought you could not bear the thought of it, and I would not have blamed you. I knew ye must turn from me, and I tried to send you away, so I wouldna have to see the disgust and the hurt in your face.” He closed his eyes and raised the grass blade between his thumbs, barely brushing his lips. “But you wouldna go. You took me to your breast and cherished me. You healed me, instead. You loved me, in spite of it.” He took a deep, unsteady breath and turned his head to me again. His eyes were bright with tears, but no wetness escaped to slide down his cheeks. “I thought, maybe, that I could bring myself to do that for you, as you did it for me. And that is why I came to Fontainebleau, at last. ”He blinked once, hard, and his eyes cleared. “Then when ye told me that nothing had happened—for a bit, I believed you, because I wanted to so much. But then …I could tell, Claire. I couldna hide it from myself, and I knew you had lied to me. I thought you wouldna trust me to love you, or … that you had wanted him, and were afraid to let me see it.” He dropped the grass, and his head sank forward to rest on his knuckles. “Ye said you wanted to hurt me. Well, the thought of you lying with the King hurt worse than the brand on my breast, or the cut of the lash on my naked back. But the knowledge that ye thought ye couldna trust me to love you is like waking from the hangman’s noose to feel the gutting knife sunk in my belly. Claire—” His mouth opened soundlessly, then closed tight for a moment, until he found the strength to go on. “I do not know if the wound is mortal, but Claire—I do feel my heart’s blood leave me, when I look at you.” The silence between us grew and deepened. The small buzz of an insect calling in the rocks vibrated in the air. Jamie was still as a rock, his face blank as he stared down at the ground below him. I couldn’t bear that blank face, and the thought of what must lie concealed behind it. I had seen a hint of his despairing fury in the arbor, and my heart felt hollow at the thought of that rage, mastered at such fearful cost, now held under an iron control that kept in not only rage, but trust and joy. I wished desperately for some way to break the silence that parted us; some act that could restore the lost truth between us. Jamie sat up then, arms folded tight about his thighs, and turned away as he gazed out over the peaceful valley. Better violence, I thought, than silence. I reached across the chasm between us and laid a hand on his arm. It was warm from the sun, live to my touch. “Jamie,” I whispered. “Please.” His head turned slowly toward me. His face seemed still calm, though the cat-eyes narrowed further as he looked at me in silence. He reached out, finally, and one hand gripped me by the wrist. “Do ye wish me to beat you, then?”

They find a cave:
He turned again then to the two skeletons, entwined at our feet. He crouched over them, tracing the line of the bones with a gentle finger, careful not to touch the ivory surface. “See how they lie,” he said. “They didna fall here, and no one laid out their bodies. They lay down themselves.” His hand glided above the long armbones of the larger skeleton , a dark shadow fluttering like a large moth as it crossed the jackstraw pile of ribs. “He had his arms around her,” he said. “He cupped his thighs behind her own, and held her tight to him, and his head is resting on her shoulder.” His hand made passes over the bones, illuminating, indicating, clothing them once more with the flesh of imagination, so I could see them as they had been, embraced for the last time, for always. The small bones of the fingers had fallen apart, but a vestige of gristle still joined the metacarpals of the hands. The tiny phalanges overlay each other; they had linked hands in their last waiting.

Chapter 28: The Coming of the Light Claire returns to Louise’s country estate to find Fergus embroiled in a fight. Something she sees interests her , and she has from Fergus an account of the events leading up to the duel for which Jaime was imprisoned . It justifies Jaime’s actions in her mind, and she falls into a depression at the combination of events . Jaime soon arrives, and there is an intensely emotional confrontation between them over the duel and the miscarriage . Afterwards, Jaime reports success in his endeavors, and the two reconcile. Claire recalls her transaction with the king.

Fergus is abused by BJR:
I stopped talking suddenly, and stared. It wasn’t the disgraceful expanse of bare flesh that riveted me, but a small red mark that adorned it. About the size of a halfpenny piece, it was the dark, purplish-red color of a freshly healed burn. Disbelievingly, I touched it, making Fergus start in alarm. The edges of the mark were incised; whatever had made it had sunk into the flesh. I grabbed the boy by the arm to stop him running away, and bent to examine the mark more closely. At a distance of six inches, the shape of the mark was clear; it was an oval, carrying within it smudged shapes that must have been letters. “Who did this to you, Fergus?” I asked. My voice sounded queer to my own ears; preternaturally calm and detached. Fergus yanked, trying to pull away, but I held on. “Who, Fergus?” I demanded, giving him a little shake. “It’s nothing, Madame; I hurt myself sliding off the fence. It’s just a splinter.” His large black eyes darted to and fro, seeking a refuge. “That’s not a splinter. I know what it is, Fergus. But I want to know who did it.” I had seen something like it only once before, and that wound freshly inflicted , while this had had some time to heal. But the mark of a brand is unmistakable. Seeing that I meant it, he quit struggling. He licked his lips, hesitating , but his shoulders slumped, and I knew I had him now. “It was … an Englishman, milady. With a ring.”

In which Jamie finds Claire:
“Claire!” he said again. I struggled, but kept my face turned away; if I didn’t look at him, I could pretend he wasn’t there. I could stay safe. He let go of my wrist, but grabbed me by both shoulders instead, so that I had to lift my head to keep my balance. His face was sunburned and thin, with harsh lines cut beside his mouth, and his eyes above were dark with pain. “Claire,”he said more softly, now that he could see me looking at him. “Claire—it was my child, too.”“Yes, it was—and you killed it!”I ripped away from him, flinging myself through the narrow arch. I stopped inside, panting like a terrified dog. I hadn’t realized that the arch led into a tiny vine-covered folly. Latticed walls surrounded me on all sides—I was trapped. The light behind me failed as his body blocked the arch. “Don’t touch me.”I backed away, staring at the ground. Go away! I thought frantically. Please, for God’s sake, leave me in peace! I could feel my gray wrappings being inexorably stripped away, and small, bright streaks of pain shot through me like lightning bolts piercing cloud. He stopped, a few feet away. I stumbled blindly toward the latticed wall and half-sat, half-fell onto a wooden bench. I closed my eyes and sat shivering. While it was no longer raining, there was a cold, damp wind coming through the lattice to chill my neck. He didn’t come closer. I could feel him, standing there, looking down at me. I could hear the raggedness of his breathing. “Claire,”he said once more, with something like despair in his voice, “Claire, do ye not see …Claire, you must speak to me! For God’s sake, Claire, I don’t know even was it a girl or a boy!”I sat frozen, hands gripping the rough wood of the bench. After a moment, there was a heavy, crunching noise on the ground in front of me. I cracked my eyes open, and saw that he had sat down, just as he was, on the wet gravel at my feet. He sat with bowed head, and the rain had left spangles in his damp-darkened hair. “Will ye make me beg?”he said. “It was a girl,”I said after a moment. My voice sounded funny; hoarse and husky. “Mother Hildegarde baptized her. Faith. Faith Fraser. Mother Hildegarde has a very odd sense of humor.”The bowed head didn’t move. After a moment, he said quietly, “Did you see the child?”My eyes were open all the way now. I stared at my knees, where blown drops of water from the vines behind me were making wet spots on the silk. “Yes. The mâitresse sage-femme said I ought, so they made me.”I could hear in memory the low, matter-of-fact tones of Madame Bonheur, most senior and respected of the midwives who gave of their time at L’Hôpital des Anges. “Give her the child; it’s always better if they see. Then they don’t imagine things.”So I didn’t imagine. I remembered. “She was perfect,”I said softly, as though to myself. “So small. I could cup her head in the palm of my hand. Her ears stuck out just a little—I could see the light shine through them. The light had shone through her skin as well, glowing in the roundness of cheek and buttock with the light that pearls have; still and cool, with the strange touch of the water world still on them. “Mother Hildegarde wrapped her in a length of white satin,”I said, looking down at my fists, clenched in my lap. “Her eyes were closed. She hadn’t any lashes yet, but her eyes were slanted. I said they were like yours, but they said all babies’eyes are like that.”

Chapter 27: An Audience with His Majesty. Claire heals and is in time visited by Magnus, who bears a letter from Murtagh. She learns that Jaime is in the Bastille for dueling— and that Jack lives. Claire contrives to secure Jaime’s release so that he can act on the intelligence from the letter. Hildegarde and others suggest that Louis will do so, but at the cost of sex. Claire acts on the suggestion and is somewhat surprised to be directed elsewhere than the king’s bed; Louis reluctantly accedes to the request , but only at the cost of her involvement in judicial proceedings. Raymond and St. Germain are arraigned on charges of occultism, and Raymond takes the opportunity to poison St. Germain in public but without aspersion on himself.

Jamie's whereabouts all these weeks:
“He’s in the Bastille,” she said, taking a deep breath. “For dueling.” My knees felt watery, and I sat down on the nearest available surface. “Why in hell didn’t you tell me?” I wasn’t sure what I felt at this news; shock, or horror— fear? or a small sense of satisfaction? “I— I didn’t want to upset you, chérie,” Louise stammered, taken aback at my apparent distress. “You were so weak … and there was nothing you could do, after all. And you didn’t ask,” she pointed out. “But what … how … how long is the sentence?” I demanded. Whatever my initial emotion, it was superseded by a sudden rush of urgency. Murtagh’s note had arrived at the Rue Tremoulins two weeks ago. Jamie should have left upon its receipt— but he hadn’t. Louise was summoning servants and ordering wine and ammoniac spirits and burnt feathers, all at once; I must look rather alarming. “It is a contravention of the King’s order,” she said, pausing in her flutter. “He will remain in prison at the King’s pleasure.”“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I muttered, wishing I had something stronger to say. “It is fortunate that le petit James did not kill his opponent,” Louise hastened to add. “In that case, the penalty would have been much more … eek!” She twitched her striped skirts aside just in time to avoid the cascade of chocolate and biscuits as I knocked over the newly arrived refreshments. The tray clanged to the floor unregarded as I stared down at her. My hands were clasped tightly against my ribs, the right protectively curled over the gold ring on my left hand. The thin metal seemed to burn against my skin. “He isn’t dead, then?”

To free Jamie:
He was the King. He would do as he wished. And I watched his dark eyes, clouded with thought, and waited, trembling, to see what the Royal pleasure might be. “Tell me, ma chère Madame,” he said at last, stirring from his introspection. “If I were to grant your request, to free your husband …” he paused, considering. “Yes?”“He would have to leave France,” Louis said, one thick brow raised in warning. “That would be a condition of his release.”“I understand.” My heart was pounding so hard that it nearly drowned out his words. Jamie leaving France was, after all, precisely the point. “But he’s exiled from Scotland …”“I think that might be arranged.” I hesitated, but there seemed little choice but to agree on Jamie’s behalf. “All right.”“Good.” The King nodded, pleased . Then his eyes returned to me, rested on my face, glided down my neck, my breasts, my body. “I would ask a small service of you in return, Madame,” he said softly. I met his eyes squarely for one second. Then I bowed my head. “I am at Your Majesty’s complete disposal,” I said.

Chapter 26: 
Fontainbleau Claire rests for some time before being picked up by Louise and taken to her country estate. Once arrived, she suggests that Claire demonstrate overt religiosity to help dispel lingering rumors of her as La Dame Blanche. Claire agrees, but is ill at ease. Later, she encounters a lice-ridden Fergus and a strange Huguenot who warns her of Raymond and his occult associations.

La Dame Blanche:
“I don’t care at all , myself, but the servants— they’re very superstitious out here in the countryside, you know. And one of the footmen from the Paris house was foolish enough to tell the cook all about that silly story of your being La Dame Blanche. I have told them that’s all nonsense, of course, and threatened to dismiss anyone I catch spreading such gossip, but … well, it might help if you came to Mass.

conversations with the Huguenot:
“I also am an acquaintance of Master Raymond’s, whom I knew in Geneva. There he was a reputable physician and herbalist. Now, alas, I fear that he has turned to darker pursuits, though of course nothing was proved.”“Proved? About what? And what’s all this about Raymond the Heretic?”“You did not know?” Thin brows lifted over the brown eyes. “Ah. Then you are not associated with Master Raymond’s … activities .” He relaxed noticeably. “Activity” seemed like a poor description for the way in which Raymond had healed me, so I shook my head. “No, but I wish you’d tell me. Oh, but I shouldn’t be standing here talking; I should go and send Berta with food.” He waved a hand, with some dignity. “It is of no urgency, Madame. The appetites of the body are of no importance when weighed against the appetites of the soul. And Catholic or not, you have been kind to me. If you are not now associated with Master Raymond’s occult activities, then it is right that you should be warned in time.” And ignoring the dirt and the splintered boards of the floor, he folded his legs and sat down against the wall of the shed, gracefully motioning me also to sit. Intrigued, I collapsed opposite him, tucking up the folds of my skirt to keep them from dragging in the manure. “Have you heard of a man named du Carrefours, Madame?” the Pastor said. “No? Well, his name is well known in Paris, I assure you, but you would do well not to speak it. This man was the organizer and the leader of a ring of unspeakable vice and depravity, in association with the most debased occult practices. I cannot bring myself to mention to you some of the ceremonies that were performed in secret among the nobility. And they call me a witch!” he muttered, almost under his breath. He raised one bony forefinger, as though to forestall my unspoken objection. “I am aware, Madame, of the sort of gossip that is commonly spread , without reference to fact— who should know it better than we? But the activities of du Carrefours and his followers— these are a matter of common knowledge, for he was tried for them , imprisoned, and eventually burned in the Place de la Bastille as punishment for his crimes.” I remembered Raymond’s light remark, “No one’s been burned in Paris in— oh, twenty years at least,” and shuddered, in spite of the warm weather.

Chapter 25: Raymond the Heretic. Claire awakens in the hospital where she had worked, Hildegarde tending her. She departs and Raymond appears, is repulsed and appears again. He works what can only be called magic on Claire, healing her preternaturally. He indicates that she herself might have a similar power before departing.

Raymond heals Claire:
The afternoon light was dim through the thick gauze of the drapes around my bed, and Raymond’s hands were dark on the white flesh of my breasts. The shadows between the thick, grimy fingers were not black, though. They were …blue, I thought. I closed my eyes, looking at the particolored swirl of patterns that immediately appeared behind my lids. When I opened them again, it was as though something of the color remained behind, coating Raymond’s hands. As the fever ebbed, leaving my mind clearer, I blinked, trying to raise my head for a better look. Raymond pressed slightly harder, urging me to lie back, and I let my head fall on the pillow, peering slantwise over my chest. I wasn’t imagining it after all—or was I? While Raymond’s hands weren’t moving themselves, a faint flicker of colored light seemed to move over them, shedding a glow of rose and a pallor of blue across my own white skin. My breasts were warming now, but warming with the natural heat of health, not the gnawing burn of fever. The draft from the open archway outside found a way through the drapes and lifted the damp hair at my temples, but I wasn’t chilled now. Raymond’s head was bent, face hidden by the cowl of his borrowed robe. After what seemed a long time, he moved his hands from my breasts, very slowly over my arms, pausing and squeezing gently at the joints of shoulder and elbow, wrists and fingers. The soreness eased, and I thought I could see briefly a faint blue line within my upper arm, the glowing ghost of the bone. Always touching, never hurrying, he brought his hands back over the shallow curve of my collarbone and down the meridian of my body, splaying his palms across my ribs. The oddest thing about all this was that I was not at all astonished. It seemed an infinitely natural thing, and my tortured body relaxed gratefully into the hard mold of his hands, melting and reforming like molded wax. Only the lines of my skeleton held firm. An odd feeling of warmth now emanated from those broad, square, workman’s hands. They moved with painstaking slowness over my body, and I could feel the tiny deaths of the bacteria that inhabited my blood, small explosions as each scintilla of infection disappeared. I could feel each interior organ, complete and three-dimensional, and see it as well, as though it sat on a table before me. There the hollow-walled stomach, here the lobed solidness of my liver, and each convolution and twist of intestine, turned in and on and around itself, neatly packed in the shining web of its mesentery membrane. The warmth glowed and spread within each organ, illuminating it like a small sun within me, then died and moved on. Raymond paused, hands pressed side by side on my swollen belly. I thought he frowned, but it was hard to tell. The cowled head turned, listening, but the usual noises of the hospital continued in the distance, with no warning heeltaps coming our way. I gasped and moved involuntarily, as one hand moved lower, cupped briefly between my legs. An increase in pressure from the other hand warned me to be silent, and the blunt fingers eased their way inside me.
Now he touched the center of my loss, and a spasm of pain contracted the heavy walls of my inflamed uterus. I breathed a small moan, then clamped my lips as he shook his head. The other hand slid down to rest comfortingly on my belly as the groping fingers of the other touched my womb. He was still then, holding the source of my pain between his two hands as though it were a sphere of crystal, heavy and fragile. “Now,” he said softly. “Call him. Call the red man. Call him.” The pressure of the fingers within and the palm without grew harder, and I pressed my legs against the the bed, fighting it. But there was no strength left in me to resist, and the inexorable pressure went on, cracking the crystal sphere, freeing the chaos within. My mind filled with images, worse than the misery of the fever-dreams, because more real. Grief and loss and fear racked me, and the dusty scent of death and white chalk filled my nostrils. Casting about in the random patterns of my mind for help, I heard the voice still muttering, patiently but firmly, “Call him,” and I sought my anchor. “Jamie! JAMIE!”

Chapter 24: The Bois de Boulogne. After Forez departs, Stuart visits the Frasers, asking that Jaime handle a wine trade he has brokered. Soon after, Jaime is summoned away to handle concerns of his employees. Later, Louise and another woman arrive to tell Claire that Jaime has challenged a man to a duel in a brothel. Claire quickly realizes that Jaime’s target is Jack, and she moves to intervene. She arrives in time to see the fight in progress and to see Jaime land a telling blow on Jack; she suffers a miscarriage.

Fatal meeting with BJR:
“It is my lord Broch Tuarach,” Marie said, and I didn’t need to see her, to imagine her leaning forward, green eyes darting back and forth, snapping with enjoyment of her news. “Only this morning, he challenged an Englishman to a duel— over a whore!”“What!” Louise’s cry of astonishment drowned out my own gasp. I grabbed hold of a small table and held on, black spots whirling before my eyes as the world came apart at the seams. “Oh, yes!” Marie was saying. “Jacques Vincennes was there; he told my husband all about it! It was in that brothel down near the fish market—imagine going to a brothel at that hour of the morning! Men are so odd. Anyway, Jacques was having a drink with Madame Elise, who runs the place, when all of a sudden there was the most frightful outcry upstairs, and all kinds of thumping and shouting.” She paused for breath —and dramatic effect— and I heard the sound of liquid being poured. “So, Jacques of course raced to the stairs— well, that’s what he says, anyway; I expect he actually hid behind the sofa, he’s such a coward—and after more shouting and thumping , there was a terrible crash, and an English officer came hurtling down the stairs, half-undressed, with his wig off, staggering and smashing into the walls. And who should appear at the top of the stairs, looking like the vengeance of God, but our own petit James!”“No! And I would have sworn he was the last … but go on! What happened then?” A teacup chimed softly against its saucer, followed by Marie’s voice, released by excitement from the modulations of secrecy. “Well— the man reached the foot of the stairs still on his feet, by some miracle, and he turned at once, and looked up at Lord Tuarach. Jacques says the man was very self-possessed , for someone who’d just been kicked downstairs with his breeches undone.

In which Jamie fights a dual, Claire miscarries:
Through a blackening mist, I saw Jamie’s sword come down, graceful and deadly, cold as death. The point touched the waist of the doeskin breeches, pierced and cut down in a twisting wrench that darkened the fawn with a sudden flood of black-red blood. The blood was a hot rush down my thighs, and the chill of my skin moved inward, toward the bone. The bone where my pelvis joined my back was breaking; I could feel the strain as each pain came on, a stroke of lightning flashing down my backbone to explode and flame in the basin of my hips, a stroke of destruction, leaving burnt and blackened fields behind. My body as well as my senses seemed to fragment. I saw nothing, but could not tell whether my eyes were open or closed; everything was spinning dark, patched now and then with the shifting patterns you see at night as a child, when you press your fists against shut eyelids. The raindrops beat on my face, on my throat and shoulders. Each heavy drop struck cold, then dissolved into a tiny warm stream, coursing across my chilled skin. The sensation was quite distinct, apart from the wrenching agony that advanced and retreated, lower down. I tried to focus my mind on that, to force my attention from the small, detached voice in the center of my brain, the one saying, as though making notes on a clinical record: “You’re having a hemorrhage, of course. Probably a ruptured placenta, judging from the amount of blood. Generally fatal. The loss of blood accounts for the numbness in hands and feet, and the darkened vision. They say that the sense of hearing is the last to go; that seems to be true.” Whether it were the last of my senses to be left to me or not, hearing I still had. And it was voices I heard, most agitated, some striving for calmness, all speaking in French . There was one word I could hear and understand— my own name, shouted over and over, but at a distance. “Claire! Claire!”“Jamie,” I tried to say, but my lips were stiff and numb with cold. Movement of any kind was beyond me.

Chapter 23: The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Men. The next day, Claire determines to leave off her work at the hospital; Hildegarde indicates understanding it. She and Jaime discuss continuing political entanglements and the disjunction between the Young Pretender and his father. They purpose to interfere with it through a feigned pox. Before enacting the plan, they receive a visit from Forez, who waxes eloquent about the practice of drawing and quartering as a means of warning the Frasers that they will likely be perceived as traitors.

The "Pox" plan:
I looked from one to the other of the two men. Farfetched as it was , it might conceivably work. If the captain of the ship could be convinced that one of his passengers was infected with smallpox, he would under no circumstances take his ship into the harbor at Le Havre, where the French health restrictions would require its destruction. And, faced with the necessity of sailing back with his cargo to Lisbon and losing all profit on the voyage, or losing two weeks at Orvieto while word was sent to Paris, he might very well instead consent to sell the cargo to the wealthy Scottish merchant who had just come aboard. The impersonation of a smallpox victim was the crucial role in this masquerade. Jamie had volunteered to be the guinea pig for testing the herbs, and they had worked magnificently on him. His fair skin had flushed dark red within minutes , and the nettle juice raised immediate blisters that could easily be mistaken for those of pox by a ship’s doctor or a panicked captain. And should any doubt remain, the madder-stained urine gave an absolutely perfect illusion of a man pissing blood as the smallpox attacked his kidneys. “Christ!” Jamie had exclaimed, startled despite himself at the first demonstration of the herb’s efficacy. “Oh, jolly good!” I said, peering over his shoulder at the white porcelain chamber pot and its crimson contents.

A visit from Mr Forez The Hangman:
“I must take my leave, Monsieur Fraser. I shall hope to meet you and your charming wife again … under such pleasant circumstances as we have enjoyed today.” The eyes of the two men met for a second. Then Monsieur Forez appeared to recall the letter opener he was still holding in one hand. With an exclamation of surprise, he held it out on his open palm. Jamie arched one brow, and picked the knife up delicately by the point. “Bon voyage, Monsieur Forez,” he said. “And I thank you”— his mouth twisted wryly—“ for your most instructive visit.” He insisted upon seeing our visitor to the door himself. Left alone, I got up and went to the window, where I stood practicing deep-breathing exercises until the dark-blue carriage disappeared around the corner of the Rue Gamboge. The door opened behind me, and Jamie stepped in. He still held the letter opener. He crossed deliberately to the large famille rose jar that stood by the hearth and dropped the paper knife into it with a clang, then turned to me, doing his best to smile. “Well, as warnings go,” he said, “that one was verra effective.” I shuddered briefly. “Wasn’t it, though?”“Who do you think sent him?” Jamie asked. “Mother Hildegarde?”“I expect so. She warned me, when we decoded the music. She said what you were doing was dangerous .” The fact of just how dangerous had been lost upon me, until the hangman’s visit. I hadn’t suffered from morning nausea for some time, but I felt my gorge rising now . If the Jacobite lords knew what I was doing, they’d call it treason. And what steps might they take, if they did find out?

Chapter 22: The Royal Stud. Scandale begins with Claire and Jaime traveling by carriage to the Royal Stables, discussing Claire’s advancing pregnancy and political entanglements. The Jacobite cause is in penury and few are willing to advance it funds. They also discuss the postponed revenge on Jack, as well as the morality of killing. At the stables, they are joined by a number of nobles who are eager to watch the horses breed. After , there is small talk of a lascivious nature before the Duke of Sandringham approaches Claire with an offer of amnesty in exchange for Jaime’s efforts against the Jacobites. Fergus’s antics interrupt the discussion. Later, Claire broaches the topic with Jaime, who rejects it. That night, Claire experiences troubling bleeding.

In which Jamie talks horse breeding:
The mare curvetted and squealed in alarm, but then he was on her, and his teeth closed on the sturdy arch of her neck, forcing her head down into submission. The great swathe of her tail swept high, leaving her naked, exposed to his lust. “Jésus,” whispered Monsieur Prudhomme. It took very little time, but it seemed a lot longer, watching the heaving of sweat-darkened flanks, and the play of light on swirling hair and the sheen of great muscles, tense and straining in the flexible agony of mating. Everyone was very quiet as we left the shed. Finally the Duke laughed, nudged Jamie, and said, “You are accustomed to such sights, my lord Broch Tuarach?”“Aye,” Jamie answered. “I’ve seen it a good many times.”“Ah?” the Duke said. “And tell me, my lord, how does the sight make you feel, after so many times?” One corner of Jamie’s mouth twitched as he replied, but he remained otherwise straight-faced. “Verra modest, Your Grace,” he said.

Part 3

Chapter 21: Untimely Resurrection. Claire and Jaime visit the Duke of Sandringham, discussing Stuart on the way. Jaime and the Duke discuss Jacobite concerns, and Claire finds that Alex has been dismissed from the Duke’s service along with Mary, who is visiting. Mary reacts badly, and as Claire moves to pursue, she encounters Jack in fact. Jaime does as well, and with threats of murder. Claire is sent home in haste, where she encounters Dougal. He comments on the status of his chief, Colum, and explains himself. Claire enlists his help in stopping the duel between Jaime and Jack she knows is coming. He discusses occult allegiances, and after making a false police report, they return to the Frasers’ home to find that Jaime has come and begun to ready himself for battle. Claire convinces him to leave Jack alive for a year.

In which Claire roams the halls at the Duke of Sandringham:
“What in the name of God are you doing here?” I exclaimed in astonishment. “Oh, you scared me! Gracious, I thought I was g-going to die.” Mary Hawkins pressed both hands against her bodice. Her face was blanched white, and her eyes dark and wide with terror. “You’re not,” I said. “Unless your uncle finds out you’re here; then he’ll probably kill you. Or does he know?” She shook her head. “No. I didn’t t-tell anyone. I took a public fiacre.”“Why, for God’s sake?” She glanced around like a frightened rabbit looking for a bolthole , but failing to find one, instead drew herself up and tightened her jaw. “I had to find Alex. I had to t-talk to him. To see if he— if he …” Her hands were wringing together, and I could see the effort it cost her to get the words out. “Never mind,” I said, resigned. “I understand. Your uncle won’t, though, and neither will the Duke. His Grace doesn’t know you’re here, either?” She shook her head, mute. “All right,” I said, thinking. “Well, the first thing we must do is—”“Madame? May I assist you?” Mary started like a hare, and I felt my own heart leap uncomfortably into the back of my throat. Bloody footmen; never in the right place at the right time. There was nothing to do now but brazen it out. I turned to the footman, who was standing stiff as a ramrod in the doorway, looking dignified and suspicious. “Yes,” I said, with as much hauteur as I could summon on short notice. “Will you please tell Mr. Alexander Randall that he has visitors.”“I regret that I cannot do so, Madame,” said the footman, with remote formality. “And why not?” I demanded. “Because, Madame,” he answered, “Mr. Alexander Randall is no longer in His Grace’s employ.

I followed the whisk of her disappearing skirts round the bend of the hall. The floor here was carpeted; if I didn’t hurry, I might lose her at an intersection, unable to hear from the footsteps which way she had gone. I put my head down, charged round the last corner, and crashed head-on into a man coming the other way. He let out a startled “Whoof!” as I struck him amidships, and clutched me by the arms to keep upright as we swayed and staggered together. “I’m sorry,” I began, breathlessly. “I thought you were— oh, Jesus H. fucking Christ!” My initial impression— that I had encountered Alexander Randall —had lasted no more than the split second necessary to see the eyes above that finely chiseled mouth. The mouth was much like Alex’s, bar the deep lines around it. But those cold eyes could belong to only one man. The shock was so great that for a moment everything seemed paradoxically normal; I had an impulse to apologize, dust him off, and continue my pursuit, leaving him forgotten in the corridor, as just a chance encounter. My adrenal glands hastened to remedy this impression, dumping such a dose of adrenaline into my bloodstream that my heart contracted like a squeezed fist. He was recovering his own breath by now, along with his momentarily shattered self-possession. “I am inclined to concur with your sentiments, Madam, if not precisely with their manner of expression.” Still clutching me by the elbows, he held me slightly away from him, squinting to see my face in the shadowed hall. I saw the shock of recognition blanch his features as my face came into the light. “Bloody hell, it’s you!” he exclaimed. “I thought you were dead!” I wrenched at my arms, trying to free them from the iron-tight grip of Jonathan Randall.

Jamie finds Claire only to run into Black Jack Randall in the hallway:
There was no sound behind me, though I could hear voices start up from the room at the end of the hall. I prayed that the door would stay closed, and tried desperately to remember how Jamie was armed. My mind went blank, then blazed with the reassuring vision of his small-sword, hung by its belt from a hook on the wardrobe, sun glowing on the enameled hilt. But he still had his dirk, of course, and the small knife he habitually carried in his stocking. Come to that, I was entirely sure that in a pinch, he would consider his bare hands perfectly adequate. And if you cared to describe my present situation, standing between the two of them, as a pinch … I swallowed once and slowly turned around. He was standing quite still, no more than a yard behind me. One of the tall, paned casements opened near him, and the dark shadows of the cypress needles rippled over him like water over a sunken rock. He showed no more expression than a rock, either. Whatever lived behind those eyes was hidden; they were wide and blank as windowpanes, as though the soul they mirrored were long since flown. He didn’t speak, but after a moment, reached out one hand to me. It floated open in the air, and I finally summoned the presence of mind to take it. It was cool and hard, and I clung to it like the wood of a raft. He drew me in, close to his side, took my arm and turned me, all without speaking or changing expression. As we reached the turning of the hall, Randall spoke behind us. “Jamie,” he said. The voice was hoarse with shock, and held a note halfway between disbelief and pleading. Jamie stopped then , and turned to look at him. Randall’s face was a ghastly white, with a small red patch livid on each cheekbone. He had taken off his wig, clenched in his hands, and sweat pasted the fine dark hair to his temples. “No.” The voice that spoke above me was soft, almost expressionless . Looking up, I could see that the face still matched it, but a quick, hot pulse beat in his neck, and the small, triangular scar above his collar flushed red with heat. “I am called Lord Broch Tuarach for formality’s sake,” the soft Scottish voice above me said. “And beyond the requirements of formality, you will never speak to me again— until you beg for your life at the point of my sword. Then, you may use my name, for it will be the last word you ever speak.”

Dougal MacKenzie appears in Paris:
“He isn’t dead,” I said. “But he is in Paris.”“In Paris?” That got his attention; his brows went up, and then his eyes widened with the next thought. “Where’s Jamie?” he asked sharply. I was glad to see he appreciated the main point. While he didn’t know what had passed between Jamie and Randall in Wentworth Prison —no one was ever going to know that, save Jamie, Randall, and, to some extent, me— he knew more than enough about Randall’s previous actions to realize exactly what Jamie’s first impulse would be on meeting the man here, away from the sanctuary of England. “I don’t know,” I said, looking out the window. We were passing Les Halles, and the smell of fish was ripe in my nostrils. I pulled out a scented handkerchief and covered my nose and mouth. The strong, sharp tang of the wintergreen with which I scented it was no match for the reek of a dozen eel-sellers’ stalls, but it helped a bit. I spoke through the spicy linen folds. “We met Randall unexpectedly at the Duke of Sandringham’s today. Jamie sent me home in the coach, and I haven’t seen him since.” Dougal ignored both the stench and the raucous cries of fishwives calling their wares. He frowned at me. “He’ll mean to kill the man, surely?” I shook my head, and explained my reasoning about the sword. “I can’t let a duel happen,” I said, dropping the handkerchief in order to speak more clearly. “I won’t!” Dougal nodded abstractedly. “Aye, that would be dangerous. Not that the lad couldna take Randall with ease— I taught him, ye ken,” he added with some boastfulness, “but the sentence for dueling …”“Got it in one,” I said. “All right,” he said slowly. “But why the police? You dinna mean to have the lad locked up beforehand, do ye? Your own husband?”“Not Jamie,” I said. “Randall.” A broad grin broke out on his face, not unmixed with skepticism. “Oh, aye? And how d’ye mean to work that one?”

Claire's unreasonable request:
“Jamie! For God’s sake, Jamie, listen to me! You can’t kill Jack Randall because I won’t let you!” He stared down at me in utter astonishment. “Because of Frank,” I said. I let go of his sleeve and stepped back. “Frank,” he repeated, shaking his head slightly as though to clear a buzzing in his ears. “Frank.”“Yes,” I said. “If you kill Jack Randall now, then Frank … he won’t exist. He won’t be born. Jamie, you can’t kill an innocent man!” His face, normally a pale, ruddy bronze, had faded to a blotchy white as I spoke. Now the red began to rise again, burning the tips of his ears and flaming in his cheeks. “An innocent man?”“Frank is an innocent man! I don’t care about Jack Randall—”“Well, I do!” He snatched up the bag and strode toward the door , cloak streaming over one arm. “Jesus God, Claire! You’d try to stop me taking my vengeance on the man who made me play whore to him? Who forced me to my knees and made me suck his cock, smeared with my own blood? Christ, Claire!” He flung the door open with a crash and was in the hallway by the time I could reach him. It had grown dark by now, but the servants had lit the candles, and the hallway was aglow with soft light. I grasped him by the arm and yanked at him. “Jamie! Please!” He jerked his arm impatiently out of my grasp. I was almost crying, but held back the tears. I caught the bag and pulled it out of his hand. “Please, Jamie! Wait, just for a year! The child— Randall’s— it will be conceived next December. After that, it won’t matter. But please— for my sake, Jamie— wait that long!”

Chapter 20: La Dame Blanche. Claire asks after the identity of La Dame Blanche, which one of her assailants had called her. Magnus answers her, and Jaime is caught out in having referred to her as such in an attempt to protect himself in the brothel. Later, Claire visits Raymond for more herbs; she tells him the true series of events. The difference between healing and helping heal is noted. So are political concerns. After, Claire visits Mary and offers what treatment she can. Mary frets about Alex, and Claire commiserates. When she returns home, she and Jaime find each other in need and peace.

Claire and Jamie:
“What I want to know,”I said, pouring out the chocolate, “is who in bloody hell is La Dame Blanche?”“La Dame Blanche?”Magnus, leaning over my shoulder with a basket of hot bread, started so abruptly that one of the rolls fell out of the basket. I fielded it neatly and turned round to look up at the butler, who was looking rather shaken. “Yes, that’s right,”I said. “You’ve heard the name, Magnus?”“Why, yes, milady,”the old man answered. “La Dame Blanche is une sorcière.”“A sorceress?”I said incredulously. Magnus shrugged, tucking in the napkin around the rolls with excessive care, not looking at me. “The White Lady,”he murmured. “She is called a wisewoman, a healer. And yet …she sees to the center of a man, and can turn his soul to ashes, if evil be found there.”He bobbed his head, turned, and shuffled off hastily in the direction of the kitchen. I saw his elbow bob, and realized that he was crossing himself as he went. “Jesus H. Christ,”I said, turning back to Jamie. “Did you ever hear of La Dame Blanche?”“Um? Oh? Oh, aye, I’ve …heard the stories.”Jamie’s eyes were hidden by long auburn lashes as he buried his nose in his cup of chocolate, but the blush on his cheeks was too deep to be put down to the heat of the rising steam. I leaned back in my chair, crossed my arms, and regarded him narrowly. “Oh, you have?”I said. “Would it surprise you to hear that the men who attacked Mary and me last night referred to me as La Dame Blanche?”“They did?”He looked up quickly at that, startled. I nodded. “They took one look at me in the light, shouted ‘La Dame Blanche,’and then ran off as though they’d just noticed I had plague.”Jamie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The red color was fading from his face, leaving it pale as the white china plate before him. “God in heaven,”he said, half to himself. “God …in …heaven!”I leaned across the table and took the cup from his hand. “Would you like to tell me just what you know about La Dame Blanche?”I suggested gently. “Well …”He hesitated, but then looked at me sheepishly. “It’s only …I told Glengarry that you were La Dame Blanche.”“You told Glengarry what?”I choked on the bite of roll I had taken. Jamie pounded me helpfully on the back. “Well, it was Glengarry and Castellotti, was what it was,”he said defensively. “I mean, playing at cards and dice is one thing, but they wouldna leave it at that. And they thought it verra funny that I’d wish to be faithful to my wife. They said …well, they said a number of things, and I …I got rather tired of it.”He looked away, the tips of his ears burning. “Mm,”I said, sipping tea. Having heard Castellotti’s tongue in action, I could imagine the sort of merciless teasing Jamie had taken. He drained his own cup at one swallow, then occupied himself with carefully refilling it, keeping his eyes fixed on the pot to avoid meeting mine. “But I couldna just walk out and leave them, either, could I?”he demanded. “I had to stay with His Highness through the evening, and it would do no good to have him thinkin’me unmanly.”“So you told them I was La Dame Blanche,”I said, trying hard to keep any hint of laughter out of my voice. “And if you tried any funny business with ladies of the evening, I’d shrivel your private parts.”“Er, well …”“My God, they believed it?”I could feel my own face flushing as hotly as Jamie’s, with the effort to control myself. “I was verra convincing about it,”he said, one corner of his mouth beginning to twitch. “Swore them all to secrecy on their mothers’lives.”“And how much did you all have to drink before this?”“Oh, a fair bit. I waited ’til the fourth bottle.”I gave up the struggle and burst out laughing. “Oh, Jamie!”I said. “You darling!”I leaned over and kissed his furiously blushing cheek. “Well,”he said awkwardly, slathering butter over a chunk of bread. “It was the best I could think of. And they did stop pushing trollops into my arms.”“Good,”I said. I took the bread from him, added honey, and gave it back. “I can hardly complain about it,”I observed. “Since in addition to guarding your virtue, it seems to have kept me from being raped.”“Aye, thank God.”He set down the roll and grasped my hand. “Christ, if anything had happened to you, Sassenach, I’d—”

Claire visits Master Raymond:
Raymond shrugged, looking pleased with himself. “The inspiration was your husband’s,” he said modestly. “And a really excellent idea, too . But of course, while your husband has the respect of men for his own natural gifts, he would not be considered an authority on supernatural manifestations.”“You, of course, would.” The massive shoulders lifted slightly under the gray velvet robe. There were several small holes in one sleeve, charred around the edges, as though a number of tiny coals had burned their way through. Carelessness while conjuring, I supposed. “You have been seen in my shop ,” he pointed out. “Your background is a mystery. And as your husband noted, my own reputation is somewhat suspect. I do move in … circles, shall we say?”— the lipless mouth broadened in a grin—“ where a speculation as to your true identity may be taken with undue seriousness. And you know how people talk,” he added with an air of prim disapproval that made me burst out laughing. He set down the cup and leaned forward. “You said that Mademoiselle Hawkins’s health was one concern, madonna. Have you others?”“I have.” I took a small sip of brandy. “I’d guess that you hear a great deal about what goes on in Paris, don’t you?” He smiled, black eyes sharp and genial. “Oh, yes, madonna. What is it that you want to know?”“Have you heard anything about Charles Stuart? Do you know who he is, for that matter?” That surprised him ; the shelf of his forehead lifted briefly. Then he picked up a small glass bottle from the table in front of him, rolling it meditatively between his palms. “Yes, madonna,” he said. “His father is— or should be— King of Scotland, is he not?”“Well, that depends on your perspective ,” I said, stifling a small belch. “He’s either the King of Scotland in exile, or the Pretender to the throne, but that’s of no great concern to me. What I want to know is … is Charles Stuart doing anything that would make one think he might be planning an armed invasion of Scotland or England?” He laughed out loud. “Goodness, madonna! You are a most uncommon woman. Have you any idea how rare such directness is?”“Yes,” I admitted, “but there isn’t really any help for it. I’m not good at beating round bushes.”Claire visits Mary Hawkins :
She collapsed into my arms, weeping hysterically and scattering herbs. I clutched her against my shoulder and patted her, making small shushing noises, though I shed a few tears myself that fell unnoticed into the dark shininess of her hair. “You’ll see him again,” I whispered. “Of course you will. It won’t make a difference to him. He’s a good man.” But I knew it would. I had seen the anguish on Alex Randall’s face the night before, and at the time thought it only the same helpless pity for suffering that I saw in Jamie and Murtagh. But since I had learned of Alex Randall’s professed love for Mary, I had realized how much deeper his own pain must go— and his fear. He seemed a good man. But he was also a poor, younger son, in ill health and with little chance of advancement; what position he did have was entirely dependent on the Duke of Sandringham’s goodwill. And I had little hope that the Duke would look kindly on the idea of his secretary’s union with a disgraced and ruined girl, who had now neither social connections nor dowry to bless herself with. And if Alex found somewhere the courage to wed her in spite of everything— what chance would they have, penniless, cast out of polite society, and with the hideous fact of the rape overshadowing their knowledge of each other? There was nothing I could do but hold her, and weep with her for what was lost.

Chapter 19: An Oath is Sworn. The aftermath of Mary’s screaming emergence is unpleasant and violent, provoking the involvement of the city patrol. Jaime and others are taken into custody, and Claire left with Fergus. She takes the time to consider events, including the identities of her attackers. Some of Fergus’s early life among prostitutes is disclosed. When Jaime returns , he reports on events. Murtagh reports in soon after and offers his life for his failure. Jaime refuses but lays an oath of vengeance upon Murtagh, which the latter accepts.

Jamie's questioning:
I had narrowly avoided being included in the roundup when Jamie flatly refused to allow it, insisting that I was in a delicate condition and could on no account be removed to a prison. At last, seeing that Jamie was more than willing to start hitting people again in order to prove his point, the Guard Captain relented, on condition that I agreed not to leave the city. While the thought of fleeing Paris had its attractions, I could hardly leave without Jamie, and gave my parole d’honneur with no reservations. As the group milled confusedly about the foyer, lighting lanterns and gathering hats and cloaks, I saw Murtagh, bruised face set grimly, hovering on the outskirts of the mob. Plainly he intended to accompany Jamie, wherever he was going, and I felt a quick stab of relief. At least my husband wouldn’t be alone. “Dinna worry yourself, Sassenach.”He hugged me briefly, whispering in my ear. “I’ll be back in no time. If anything goes wrong …”He hesitated, then said firmly, “It wilna be necessary, but if ye need a friend, go to Louise de La Tour.”“I will.”I had no time for more than a glancing kiss, before the Guardsmen closed in about him. The doors of the house swung open, and I saw Jamie glance behind him, catch sight of Murtagh, and open his mouth as though to say something. Murtagh, setting hands to his swordbelt, glared fiercely and pushed his way toward Jamie, nearly shoving the younger Duverney into the street. A short, silent battle of wills ensued, conducted entirely by means of ferocious glares, and then Jamie shrugged and tossed up his hands in resignation.

Claire's first La Dame Blanche experience:
Left alone, I now had plenty of time to think, but my thoughts didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. Who or what was “La Dame Blanche”? What sort of “white lady,”and why had the mention of that name made the attackers run off? Thinking back over the subsequent events of the dinner party, I remembered the General’s remarks about the criminal gangs that roamed the streets of Paris, and how some of them included members of the nobility. That was consistent with the speech and the dress of the leader of the men who had attacked me and Mary, though his companions seemed a good deal rougher in aspect. I tried to think whether the man reminded me of anyone I knew, but the memory of him was indistinct, clouded by darkness and the receding haze of shock. In general form, he had been not unlike the Comte St. Germain, though surely the voice was different. But then, if the Comte was involved, surely he would take pains to disguise his voice as well as his face? At the same time, I found it almost impossible to believe that the Comte could have taken part in such an attack, and then sat calmly across the table from me two hours later, sipping soup. I ran my fingers through my hair in frustration. There was nothing that could be done before morning. If morning came, and Jamie didn’t, then I could begin to make the rounds of acquaintances and presumed friends, one of whom might have news or help to offer. But for the hours of the night, I was helpless; powerless to move as a dragonfly in amber.

Touching moment with Fergus:
“Here, milady. I’ll get it.”I hadn’t heard him pass behind me, but I felt Fergus’s small, clever fingers in my hair, disentangling the tiny ornament. He laid it aside, then, hesitating, said, “The others, milady?”“Oh, thank you, Fergus,”I said, grateful. “If you wouldn’t mind.”His pickpocket’s touch was light and sure, and the thick locks began to fall around my face, released from their moorings. Little by little, my breathing slowed as my hair came down. “You are worried, milady?”said the small, soft voice behind me. “Yes,”I said, too tired to keep up a false bravado. “Me, too,”he said simply. The last of the hairpins clinked on the table, and I slumped in the chair, eyes closed. Then I felt a touch again, and realized that he was brushing my hair, gently combing out the tangles. “You permit, milady?”he said, feeling it as I tensed in surprise. “The ladies used to say it helped them, if they were feeling worried or upset.”I relaxed again under the soothing touch. “I permit,”I said. “Thank you.”After a moment, I said, “What ladies, Fergus?”There was a momentary hesitation, as of a spider disturbed in the building of a web, and then the delicate ordering of strands resumed. “At the place where I used to sleep, milady. I couldn’t come out because of the customers, but Madame Elise would let me sleep in a closet under the stairs, if I was quiet. And after all the men had gone, near morning, then I would come out and sometimes the ladies would share their breakfast with me. I would help them with the fastening of their underthings—they said I had the best touch of anyone,”he added, with some pride, “and I would comb their hair, if they liked.”

smoothing my hair out of my eyes. “God, you are so beautiful,”he said softly. “Unkempt and unslept, wi’the waves of your hair all about your face. Bonny love. Have ye sat here all night long, then?”“I wasn’t the only one.”I motioned toward the floor, where Fergus lay curled up on the carpet, head on a cushion by my feet. He shifted slightly in his sleep, mouth open a bit, soft pink and full-lipped as the baby he so nearly was. Jamie laid a big hand gently on his shoulder. “Come on, then, laddie. Ye’ve done well to guard your mistress.”He scooped the boy up and laid him against his shoulder, mumbling and sleepy-eyed. “You’re a good man, Fergus, and ye’ve earned your rest. Come on to your bed.”I saw Fergus’s eyes flare wide in surprise, then half-close as he relaxed, nodding in Jamie’s arms. I had opened the shutters and rekindled the fire by the time Jamie returned to the sitting room. He had shed his ruined coat, but still wore the rest of last night’s finery. “Here.”I handed him a glass of wine, and he drank it standing, in three gulps, shuddered, then collapsed onto the small sofa, and held out the cup for more. “Not a drop,”I said, “until you tell me what’s going on. You aren’t in prison, so I assume everything’s all right, but—

Murtagh makes an oath:
However disreputable his appearance, though, Murtagh never seemed to lack for dignity, nor did he now. Back straight as a ramrod, he advanced across the carpet, and knelt formally before Jamie, who looked nonplussed at this behavior. The wiry little man drew the dirk from his belt, without flourishes, but with a good deal of deliberateness, and held it out, haft first. The bony, seamed face was expressionless, but the one black eye rested unwaveringly on Jamie’s face. “I’ve failed ye,”the little man said quietly. “And I’ll ask ye, as my chief, to take my life now, so I needna live longer wi’the shame of it.”Jamie drew himself slowly upright, and I felt him push away his own tiredness as he brought his gaze to bear on his retainer. He was quite still for a moment, hands resting on his knees. Then he reached out and placed one hand gently over the purple knot on Murtagh’s head. “There’s nay shame to ha’fallen in battle, mo caraidh,”he said softly. “The greatest of warriors may be overcome.”But the little man shook his head stubbornly, black eye unwinking. “Nay,”he said. “I didna fall in battle. Ye gave me your trust; your own lady and your child unborn to guard, and the wee English lassie as well. And I gave the task sae little heed that I had nay chance to strike a blow when the danger came. Truth to tell, I didna even see the hand that struck me down.”He did blink then, once. “Treachery—”Jamie began. “And now see what’s come of it,”Murtagh interrupted. I had never heard him speak so many words in a row in all the time I had known him. “Your good name smirched, your wife attacked, and the wee lass …”The thin line of his mouth clamped tight for a moment, and his stringy throat bobbed once as he swallowed. “For that alone, the bitter sorrow chokes me.”“Aye.”Jamie spoke softly, nodding. “Aye, I do see, man. I feel it, too.”He touched his chest briefly, over his heart. The two men might have been alone together, their heads inches apart as Jamie bent toward the older man. Hands folded in my lap, I neither moved nor spoke; it was not my affair. “But I’m no your chief, man,”Jamie went on, in a firmer tone. “Ye’ve sworn me no vow, and I hold nay power ower ye.”“Aye, that ye do.”Murtagh’s voice was firm as well, and the haft of the dirk never trembled. “But—”“I swore ye my oath, Jamie Fraser, when ye were no more than a week old, and a bonny lad at your mother’s breast.”I could feel the tiny start of astonishment as Jamie’s eyes opened wide. “I knelt at Ellen’s feet, as I kneel now by yours,”the little clansman went on, narrow chin held high. “And I swore to her by the name o’the threefold God, that I would follow ye always, to do your bidding, and guard your back, when ye became a man grown, and needing such service.”The harsh voice softened then, and the eyelid drooped over the one tired eye. “Aye, lad. I do cherish ye as the son of my own loins. But I have betrayed your service.”“That ye havena and never could.”Jamie’s hands rested on Murtagh’s shoulders, squeezing firmly. “Nay, I wilna have your life from ye, for I’ve need of ye still. But I will lay an oath on ye, and you’ll take it.”

Chapter 18: Rape in Paris. Malchance begins with Claire helping the hospital to respond to an explosion at the Royal Armory; Mary accompanies her . When Murtagh and Fergus make to escort the ladies home, they are best. Murtagh is knocked unconscious, Mary is raped and Claire is nearly so; her assailants are stopped only by superstitious terror. Alex and Jaime soon arrive, the latter summoned by Fergus. They gather Mary to Jared’s home, where a dinner party is in progress; it does not go well, with Mary’s traumatized ranting leading the guests to believe the house is being used as a brothel. That Silas Hawkins is present , having discussed mercantile matters involving Stuart, does not help matters.

Where Mary is raped:
It was full dark before the last of the victims had been attended to, and the last bandage-swathed body laid gently down among the grubby, anonymous ranks of the Hôpital’s patients. I had dispatched Fergus home with word that I would be late, when I saw the magnitude of the task awaiting the sisters of des Anges. He had come back with Murtagh, and the two of them were lounging on the steps outside, waiting to escort us home. Mary and I emerged wearily from the double doors, to find Murtagh demonstrating the art of knife-throwing to Fergus. “Go on then,”he was saying, back turned to us. “Straight as ye can, on the count of three. One …two …three!” At “three,” Fergus bowled the large white onion he was holding, letting it bounce and hop over the uneven ground. Murtagh stood relaxed, arm drawn back at a negligent cock, dirk held by the tip between his fingers. As the onion spun past, his wrist flicked once, quick and sharp. Nothing else moved, not so much as a stir of his kilts, but the onion leaped sideways, transfixed by the dirk, and fell mortally wounded, rolling feebly in the dirt at his feet. “B-bravo, Mr. Murtagh!” Mary called, smiling. Startled, Murtagh turned, and I could see the flush rising on his lean cheeks in the light from the double doors behind us. “Mmmphm,” he said. “Sorry to take so long,” I said apologetically. “It took rather a time to get everyone squared away.” “Och, aye,” the little clansman answered laconically. He turned to Fergus. “We’ll do best to find a coach, lad; it’s late for the ladies to be walking.” “There aren’t any here,”Fergus said, shrugging. “I’ve been up and down the street for the last hour; every spare coach in the Cité has gone to the Armory. We might get something in the Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, though.” He pointed down the street, at a dark, narrow gap between buildings that betrayed the presence of a passageway through to the next street. “It’s quick through there.” After a short, frowning pause for thought, Murtagh nodded agreement. “All right, lad. Let’s go, then.” It was cold in the alleyway, and I could see my breath in small white puffs, despite the moonless night. No matter how dark it got in Paris, there was always light somewhere; the glow of lamps and candles seeped through shutters and chinks in the walls of wooden buildings, and light pooled around the stalls of the street vendors and scattered from the small horn and metal lanterns that swung from cart tails and coach trees. The next street was one of merchants, and here and there the proprietors of the various businesses had hung lanterns of pierced metal above their doors and shopyard entrances. Not content to rely upon the police to protect their property, often several businessmen would join together and hire a watchman to guard their premises at night. When I saw one such figure in front of the sailmaker’s shop, sitting hunched in the shadows atop a pile of folded canvas, I nodded in response to his gruff “Bonsoir, Monsieur, mesdames.” As we passed the sailmaker’s shop, though, I heard a sudden cry of alarm from the watchman. “Monsieur! Madame!” Murtagh swung round at once to meet the challenge, sword already hissing from its scabbard. Slower in my reflexes, I was only halfway turned as he stepped forward, and my eye caught the flicker of movement from the doorway behind him. The blow took Murtagh from behind before I could shout a warning, and he went sprawling facedown in the street, arms and legs gone loose and nerveless, sword and dirk flying from his hands to clatter on the stones. I stooped quickly for the dirk as it slid past my foot, but a pair of hands seized my arms from behind.
“Take care of the man,” ordered a voice behind me. “Quickly!” I wrenched at my captor’s grip; the hands dropped to my wrists and twisted them sharply, making me cry out. There was a billow of white, ghost-like in the dim street, and the “watchman” bent over Murtagh’s prone body, a length of white fabric trailing from his hands. “Help!” I shrieked. “Leave him alone! Help! Brigands! Assassins! HELP!” “Be still!” A quick clout over the ear made my head spin for a moment. When my eyes stopped watering, I could make out a long, white sausage-shape in the gutter; Murtagh, shrouded and neatly secured in a canvas sail-bag. The false watchman was crouched over him; he rose, grinning, and I could see that he was masked, a dark strip of fabric extending from forehead to upper lip. A thin strip of light from the nearby chandler’s fell across his body as he rose. In spite of the cold evening, he was wearing no more than a shirt that glowed momentarily emerald green in the passing light. A pair of breeches, buckled at the knee, and what amazingly appeared to be silk hose and leather shoes, not the bare feet or sabots I had expected. Not ordinary bandits, then. I caught a quick glimpse of Mary, at one side. One of the masked figures had her in a tight grip from behind, one arm clasped across her midriff, the other rummaging its way under her skirts like a burrowing animal. The one in front of me put a hand ingratiatingly behind my head and pulled me close. The mask covered him from forehead to upper lip, leaving his mouth free for obvious reasons. His tongue thrust into my mouth, tasting strongly of drink and onions. I gagged, bit it, and spat as it was removed. He cuffed me heavily, knocking me to my knees in the gutter. Mary’s silver-buckled shoes were kicking dangerously near my nose as the ruffian holding her unceremoniously yanked her skirt above her waist. There was a tearing of satin, and a loud screech from above as his fingers plunged between her struggling thighs. “A virgin! I’ve got a virgin!” he crowed. One of the men bowed mockingly to Mary. “Mademoiselle, my congratulations! Your husband will have cause to thank us on his wedding night, as he will encounter no awkward obstructions to hinder his pleasure. But we are selfless—we ask for no thanks for the performance of our duties. The doing of service is pleasure in itself.” If I had needed anything beyond the silk hose to tell me that our assailants were not street ruffians, this speech—greeted with howls of laughter—would have done it. Fitting names to the masked faces was something else again. The hands that grasped my arm to haul me to my feet were manicured, with a small beauty mark just above the fork of the thumb. I must remember that, I thought grimly. If they let us live afterward, it might be useful. Someone else grabbed my arms from behind, yanking them back so strongly that I cried out. The posture thus induced made my breasts stand out in the low-cut bodice as though they were being offered on a platter. The man who seemed in charge of operations wore a loose shirt of some pale color, decorated with darker spots—embroidery perhaps. It gave him an imprecise outline in the shadows, making it difficult to look at him closely. As he leaned forward and ran a finger appraisingly over the tops of my breasts, though, I could see the dark hair greased flat to his head and smell the heavy pomade. He had large ears, the better to hold up the strings of his mask. “Do not worry yourselves, mesdames,” Spotted-shirt said. “We mean you no harm; we intend only to give you a little gentle exercise—your husbands or fiancés need never know—and then we shall release you.” “Firstly, you may honor us with your sweet lips, mesdames,” he announced, stepping back and tugging at the lacings of his breeches. “Not that one,” protested Green-shirt, pointing at me. “She bites.” “Not if she wants to keep her teeth,” replied his companion. “On your knees, Madame, if you please.” He shoved down strongly on my shoulders, and I jerked back, stumbling. He grabbed me to keep me from getting away, and the full hood of my cloak fell back, freeing my hair. Pins loosened in the struggle, it fell over my shoulders, strands flying like banners in the night wind, blinding me as they whipped across my face. I staggered backward, pulling away from my assailant, shaking my head to clear my eyes. The street was dark, but I could see a few things in the faint gleam of lanterns through the shuttered shop windows, or in the glow of starlight that struck through the shadows to the street. Mary’s silver shoe buckles caught the light, kicking. She was on her back, struggling, with one of the men on top of her, swearing as he fought to get his breeches down and to control her at the same time. There was the sound of tearing cloth, and his buttocks gleamed white in a shaft of light from a court-yard gate. Someone’s arms seized me round the waist and dragged me backward, raising my feet off the ground. I scraped my heel down the length of his shin, and he squealed in outrage. “Hold her!”ordered Spotted-shirt, coming out of the shadows. “You hold her!” My captor thrust me unceremoniously into the arms of his friend, and the light from the courtyard shone into my eyes, temporarily blinding me. “Mother of God!” The hands clutching my arms slackened their grip, and I yanked loose, to see Spotted-shirt, mouth hanging open in horrified amazement below the mask. He backed away from me, crossing himself as he went. “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti,” he babbled, crossing and recrossing. “La Dame Blanche!” “La Dame Blanche!” The man behind me echoed the cry, in tones of terror. Spotted-shirt was still backing away, now making signs in the air which were considerably less Christian than the sign of the Cross, but which presumably had the same intent. Pointing index and little fingers at me in the ancient horned sign against evil, he was working his way steadily down a list of spiritual authorities, from the Trinity to powers on a considerably lower level, muttering the Latin names so fast that the syllables blurred together. I stood in the street, shaken and dazed, until a terrible shriek from the ground near my feet recalled me to my senses. Too occupied with his own business to pay any attention to matters above him, the man on top of Mary made a gutteral sound of satisfaction and began to move his hips rhythmically, to the accompaniment of throat-tearing screams from Mary. Acting purely from instinct, I took a step toward them, drew back my leg, and kicked him as hard as I could in the ribs. The breath exploded from his lungs in a startled “Oof!” and he rocked to one side. One of his friends darted forward and seized him by the arm, shouting urgently, “Up! Up! It’s La Dame Blanche! Run!” Still sunk in the frenzy of rape, the man stared stupidly and tried to turn back to Mary, who was frantically writhing and twisting, trying to free the folds of her skirts from the weight that held her trapped. Both Green-shirt and Spotted-shirt were now pulling on her assailant’s arms, and succeeded in getting him to his feet. His torn breeches drooped about his thighs, the blood-smeared rod of his erection trembling with mindless eagerness between the dangling shirttails. The clatter of running feet approaching seemed finally to rouse him. His two helpers, hearing the sound, dropped his arms and fled precipitately, leaving him to his fate. With a muffled curse, he made his way down the nearest alley, hopping and hobbling as he tried to yank his breeches up around his waist. “Au secours! Au secours! Gendarmes!” A breathless voice was shouting down the alleyway for help, as its owner fumbled his way in our direction, stumbling over rubbish in the dark. I hardly thought a footpad or other miscreant would be staggering down an alleyway shouting for the gendarmerie, though in my present state of shock, almost nothing would have surprised me. I was surprised, though, when the black shape that flapped out of the alley proved to be Alexander Randall, swathed in black cape and slouch hat. He glanced wildly around the small cul-de-sac, from Murtagh, masquerading as a bag of rubbish, to me, standing frozen and gasping against a wall, to the huddled shape of Mary, nearly invisible among the other shadows. He stood helpless for a moment, then whirled and clambered up the iron gate from which our assailants had emerged. From the top of this, he could just reach the lantern suspended from the rafter above. The light was a comfort; pitiful as was the sight it revealed, at least it banished the lurking shadows that threatened at any moment to turn into new dangers. Mary was on her knees, curled into herself. Head buried in her arms, she was shaking, in total silence. One shoe lay on its side on the cobbles, silver buckle winking in the swaying light of the lantern. Like a bird of ill omen, Alex swooped down beside her. “Miss Hawkins! Mary! Miss Hawkins! Are you all right?” “Of all the damn-fool questions,” I said with some asperity as she moaned and shrank away from him. “Naturally she isn’t all right. She’s just been raped. ”With a considerable effort, I pried myself from the comforting wall at my back, and started toward them, noting with clinical detachment that my knees were wobbling. They gave way altogether in the next moment as a huge, batlike shape swooped down a foot in front of me, landing on the cobbles with a substantial thud. “Well, well, look who’s dropped in!” I said, and started to laugh in an unhinged sort of way. A large pair of hands grabbed me by the shoulders and administered a good shake. “Be quiet, Sassenach,” said Jamie, blue eyes gleaming black and dangerous in the lanternlight. He straightened up, the folds of his blue velvet cloak falling back over his shoulders as he stretched his arms toward the roof from which he had jumped. He could just grasp the edge of it, standing on his toes. “Well, come down, then!” he said impatiently, looking up. “Put your feet over the edge onto my shoulders, and ye can slide down my back.” With a grating of loose roof slates, a small black figure wriggled its way cautiously backward, then swarmed down the tall figure like a monkey on a stick. “Good man, Fergus.” Jamie clapped the boy casually on the shoulder, and even in the dim light I could see the glow of pleasure that rose in his cheeks. Jamie surveyed the landscape with a tactician’s eye, and with a muttered word, sent the lad down the alley to keep watch for approaching gendarmes. The essentials taken care of, he squatted down before me once more. “Are ye all right, Sassenach?” he inquired. “Nice of you to ask, ”I said politely. “Yes, thanks. She’s not so well, though.” I waved vaguely in Mary’s direction. She was still rolled into a ball, shuddering and quaking like a jelly, oozing away from Alex’s fumbling efforts to pat her.

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