I shivered, as much from thought of old Arch, living wraithlike in the forest, surviving on the heat of his hatred, as from the cold that had come in with Jamie. He’d let his beard grow for warmth — all the men did in winter, on the mountain — and ice glimmered in his whiskers and frosted his brows.
“You look like Old Man Winter himself,” I whispered, bringing him a bowl of hot porridge.
“I feel like it,” he replied hoarsely. He passed the bowl under his nose, inhaling the steam and closing his eyes beatifically. “Pass the whisky, aye?”
“You’re proposing to pour it on your porridge? It’s got butter and salt on , already.” Nonetheless, I passed him the bottle from its shelf over the hearth.
“Nay, I’m going to thaw my wame enough to eat it. I’m solid ice from the neck down.”
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (Chapter 8 – Spring Thaw) Read More
An Echo in the Bone
I put down my cup and stared at him.
“You don’t mean you aren’t planning to go ho-to go back to the Ridge?” I had a sudden empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, remembering our plans for the New House, the smell of balsam fir, and the quiet of the mountains. Did he really mean to move to Boston or Philadelphia?
“No,” he said, surprised. “Of course we shall go back there. But if I mean to be in the printing trade, Sassenach, we shall need to be in a city for a time, no? Only ’til the war is over,” he said, encouraging.
“Oh,” I said in a small voice. “Yes. Of course.” I drank tea, not tasting it. How could I have been so stupid? I had never once thought that, of course, a printing press would be pointless on Fraser’s Ridge. In part, I supposed, I simply hadn’t really believed he would get his press back, let alone thought ahead to the logical conclusion if he did.
But now he had his Bonnie back, and the future had suddenly acquired a disagreeable solidity. Not that cities didn’t have considerable advantages, I told myself stoutly. I could finally acquire a decent set of medical instruments, replenish my medicines — why, I could even make penicillin and ether again! With a little better appetite, I took a Scotch egg.
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (Chapter 74 – Twenty-Twenty)
He passed the Free North Church and half-smiled at it, thinking of Mrs. Ogilvy and Mrs. MacNeil. They’d be back, he knew, if he didn’t do something about it. He knew their brand of determined kindliness. Dear God, if they heard that Bree had gone to work and — to their way of thinking — abandoned him with two small children, they’d be running shepherd’s pies and hot stovies out to him in relays. That mightn’t be such a bad thing, he thought, meditatively licking his lips — save that they’d stay to poke their noses into the workings of his household, and letting them into Brianna’s kitchen would be not merely playing with dynamite but deliberately throwing a bottle of nitroglycerin into the midst of his marriage.
“Catholics don’t believe in divorce,” Bree had informed him once. “We do believe in murder. There’s always Confession, after all.”
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (Chapter 16 – Unarmed Conflict)
The pandemonium grew worse. There were bangs from two or three pistols, and Rollo dropped writhing to the ground with a yelp. Colonel Martin jerked back, cursing and clutching his injured wrist, and Jamie drew back and punched him in the belly. Ian was already rushing toward Rollo; Jamie grabbed the dog by two legs, and, between them, they made off into the darkness, followed my Rachel and me.
We made it to the edge of the wood, heaving and gasping, and I fell at once to my knees beside Rollo, feeling frantically over the huge shaggy body, hunting for the wound, for damage.
“He’s not dead,” I panted. “Shoulder…broken.”
“Oh, God,” Ian said, and I felt him turn to glance in the direction from which pursuit was surely headed. “Oh, Jesus.” I heard the tears in his voice, and he reached to his belt for his knife.
“What are you doing?” I exclaimed. “He can be healed!”
“They’ll kill him,” he said, savage. “If I’m no there to stop them, they’ll kill him! Better I do it.”
“I –” Jamie began, but Rachel Hunter forestalled him, falling to her knees and grabbing Rollo by the scruff.
“I’ll mind thy dog for thee,” she said, breathless but certain. “Run!”
He took one last despairing look at her, then at Rollo. And he ran.
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone, Chap 68
SHE WAS SMALLER than I had remembered, and thinner, her hair with a little more gray in it though still darkly vibrant — but the deep-blue-cat-eyes were just the same, as was the natural air of command she shared with her brother.
“Leave the horses,” she said briskly, wiping her eyes on the corner of her apron. “I’ll have one o’ the lads take care of them. Ye’ll be frozen and starving — take off your things and come into the parlor.” She glanced at me, with a brief look of curiosity and something else I couldn’t interpret — but didn’t met my eyes directly or say more than “Come,” as she led the way to the parlor.
The house smelled familiar but strange, steeped in peat smoke and the scent of cooking; someone had just baked bread, and the yeasty smell floated down the hall from the kitchen. The hall itself was nearly as cold as the outdoors; all the rooms had their doors closed tight to keep in the heat from their fires, and a welcome wave of warmth eddied out when she opened the door to the parlor, turning to pull Ian in first.
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone, Chapter 76