Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the last book (10) excerpts



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[Excerpt from Book 10 [Untitled], Copyright 2022 Diana Gabaldon]

 “What are you thinking?”  I asked.  “I know it’s about William.”

 “Oh, aye?”  He glanced at me, mouth curled up at one side.  “And what do I look like if I’m thinking of William?”

 “Like someone’s handed you a wrapped package and you’re not sure whether it’s something wonderful, or a bomb.”

 That made him laugh, and he put an arm around me and pulled me in close, kissing my temple.  He smelled of day-old linen, ink and hay, and the dribble of honey that had dried down the front of his shirt, like tiny amber beads.

 “Aye, well, one look at the lad and ye ken he’ll explode before too long,” he said.  “I only hope he doesna damage himself doing it.”

 “Or you.” 

He shrugged comfortably

“I’m no very breakable, Sassenach.

“Says the man with four—no, five bullet holes in his hide, to say nothing of enough surgical stitching to make a whole crazy quilt.  And if we start counting the bones you’ve cracked or broken…

“Ach, away—I’ve never broken anything important; just the odd finger.  Maybe a rib, here or there.

“And your sternum and your left kneecap.

He made a dismissive Scottish noise, but didn’t argue

We stood for a bit, arms about each other, listening to the sounds outside.  The younger children had fallen asleep under bushes or in their parents’ wagons, their happy screeching replaced by music and the laughter of the dancers, the clapping and calls of those watching.

“He came to me,” Jamie said quietly.  He was trying to sound matter-of-fact, but he’d stopped trying to hide what he was feeling.

“He did,” I said softly, and squeezed his arm.

“I suppose there wasna really anyone else he could go to,” he said, off-handed.  “If he canna find his grace, I mean, and he couldna very well talk to anyone in the army, could he?  Given that….”  He stopped, a thought having struck him, and turned to me.

“D’ye think he knows, Sassenach?”

“Knows what?”

“About—what he said.  The…threat to Lord John.  I mean--”  he elaborated, seeing my blank look, “does he ken that it’s no just a canard.”

“A—oh.”  I stopped to consider for a moment, then shook my head with decision.  “No.  Almost certainly not.  You saw his face when he told us about what Richardson was threatening.   He’d still have been scared—maybe more scared—if he knew it wasn’t an empty threat—but he wouldn’t have looked the way he did.”

Anxious?  Angry?”

“Both.  But Anyone would be, wouldn’t they?  Under the circumstances.”

“They would.  And…determined, would ye say?”

 “Stubborn,” I said promptly, and he laughed.

 “A bomb for sure, then.”

William on the Ridge

#DailyLines   #UntitledBook10    #HappyEaster   #ChagPesachSameach    #or #DeliriousRitesofSpring  #YourPreference  #nospoilers

[Excerpt from (Untitled) Book Ten, Copyright 2022 Diana Gabaldon]

The room was large and dim; someone had tacked part of a burlap sack over the large window, but light filtered through.  So  did a breeze carrying the earthy smell of fresh potatoes through the burlap.  He picked loose a couple of tacks and the breeze, thus invited, cooled his face and rippled through his hair, like the touch of gentle fingers.

“Mother?” he said softly.

It hadn’t happened in some time.  When he was younger, he felt it often; the passing touch of a hand, stroking his head, touching his shoulder, vanished in a moment.  He’d never told anyone about it.

 Maybe she was here, because _he_ was here—Fraser?

Fraser had declined to tell him anything regarding his relations with Mother Geneva, and William was reluctantly obliged to admit that this was gentlemanly of him.

 “I still want to know, though.”

 “Know what?”

He swung round, startled, to find his sister standing in the doorway, her face full of joy and her arms full of quilts.

“I—nothing,” he said, and felt a sudden bounce in his heart.  “Sister.  I—it’s good to see you.”   The smile on her face was on his own, and she dropped the bedding and hugged him tight.  The smell of her was different from the last time he’d seen her.  The pungent scents of turpentine and linseed oil were gone, replaced by an oddly disorienting scent that he tentatively identified as milk and baby-shit.

 “You’ve had a child?” he blurted, letting go.  “Another, I mean?” It wasn’t surprise at the revelation, as much as the fact that the scents of motherhood were inextricably linked with Amaranthus in his mind.

 “You have a new nephew,” she said, laughing at him.  “Davy.  David William James Fraser MacKenzie, to be exact.”

 “William?”  He could feel his lips twitching, not sure whether he should assume that…

 “Yes, we named him for you,” she assured him.  “Partly.”

 “Well, I’m entirely grateful,” he said, smiling.  “And most sensible of the honor…sister.”

 “Brother,” she said softly, and reached out to touch his face.  “It’s good to see you.  Will you stay awhile?”

"Jamie's dream"

Aaaand....Happy Birthday to James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, born May 1st, 1721!

#DailyLines #UntitledBook10  

“Did your Mam ever tell ye of the dream I had? Soon after ye…went away.” He couldn’t help glancing over his shoulder, to be sure no one was in earshot.

“No.” She was looking at him with deep interest, a small line between her brows, and he couldn’t help smiling at her. “Was it a funny dream?” she asked.

“Och, no. I was only smiling because ye looked so much like Claire, there. When she’s trying to puzzle out what’s the matter with someone, I mean.”

She didn’t laugh, but the transitory dimple that sometimes appeared in her right cheek flashed for an instant.

“Nobody ever says I look like Mama,” she said. “They carry on all the time about how much like _you_ I look.”

“Oh, ye look like your mother often,” he assured her. “It’s just that it’s no a matter of hair or eyes or how tall ye are. It’s the look on your face when ye touch Jem or Mandy—or when ye’re talkin’ with Roger Mac in the evening on the porch, and the light of the moon in your eyes.”  

 His own voice had gown soft and husky, and he looked down at the ground, the plastering of layer upon layer of dead leaves, like dying stars beneath his boots.

“Ye look like your mother in love, is all I mean. Exactly like her.”

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