“Not for the first time, I mourned Mrs. Bug’s abilities as a cook, though of course I did miss her for her own sake. Amy McCallum Higgins had been raised in a crofter’s cottage in the Highlands of Scotland and was, as she put it, “a good plain cook.” Essentially, that meant she could bake bannocks, boil porridge, and fry fish simultaneously, without burning any of it. No mean feat, but a trifle monotonous, in terms of diet.
My own pièce de résistance was stew— which, lacking onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes, had devolved into a sort of pottage consisting of venison or turkey stewed with cracked corn, barley, and possibly chunks of stale bread. Ian, surprisingly, had turned out to be a passable cook; the succotash and squash pie were his contributions to the communal menu. I did wonder who had taught him to make them, but thought it wiser not to ask.
An Echo in the Bone (Chapter 8 – Spring Thaw) Read More
An Echo in the Bone
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
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