Category Archives: Drums of Autumn

No local anesthesia because it didn’t exist.

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

“Hold on tight,” I instructed them. “This is the nasty part.” I didn’t look up, but worked quickly, opening the half-healed wounds cleanly with a scalpel, pressing out as much pus and dead matter as I could. I could feel the tension quivering in his leg muscles, and the slight arcing of his body as the pain lifted and bent him, but he didn’t say a word. “Do you want something to bite down on, Roger?” I asked, taking out my bottle of dilute alcohol-water mixture for irrigating. “It’s going to sting a bit, now.”

He didn’t answer; Brianna did. “He’s all right,” she said steadily. “Go ahead.”

He made a muffled noise when I began to wash out the wounds, and rolled halfway onto his side, his leg convulsing. I kept tight hold of his foot and finished the job as quickly as possible. When I let go and recorked the bottle, I looked up toward the head of the bed. She was sitting on the bed, her arms locked tight around his shoulders. His face was buried in her lap, his arms around her waist.

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“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

“If this MacKenzie wished it, he might claim Brianna as his wife by right of common law, with the coming bairn as evidence of his claim. A court of law would not necessarily force a woman to wed a rapist, but any magistrate would uphold the right of a man to his wife and child—regardless of the wife’s feelings in the matter.”

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Still the Conservative view of addiction

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

““I mean,” she said, “it seems wrong to encourage people to drink, who can’t stop drinking if they start.” She looked at me, a little helplessly. I shook my head.

“ ‘Alcoholic’ isn’t a noun yet,” I said. “It’s not a disease now—just weak character.”

Jamie glanced up at her quizzically. “Well, I’ll tell ye, lass,” he said, “I’ve seen many a drunkard in my day, but I’ve yet to see a bottle leap off a table and pour itself down anyone’s throat.””

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Why withholding information NEVER works!

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

“He should have known better. He wasn’t listening to her half-choked explanation; he was too busy cursing himself. He should have known she was too stubborn to be dissuaded. All he’d done with his fatheaded interference was to drive her into secrecy. And it had been he who’d paid for that—in months of worry.”

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My husband is trying to quit smoking. He withholds his cigarette count from me and all it does is piss me off and make me worry more. I’d be much more understanding if he told me the whole truth when I ask (better if before i ask) instead of me having to scream at him to get him to tell me bits and pieces.

Smallpox on a boat

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

“Reflex alone made Roger lunge forward, grabbing the child like a rugger ball as the seaman threw his arms out in a last effort to save himself. Entangled like lovers, man and woman fell backward together into the open maw of the hatchway. There was a crash and more screams from below, then the sudden, momentary silence of shock. Then the outcries began again, below, and a muttering babble around him.

Roger righted the child, trying to stop its whimpering with awkward pats. It seemed curiously loose-jointed in his arms, and it felt hot, even through its layers of clothes. Light flashed over Roger as the bosun lifted his lantern high, looking at the child with distaste.

“Hope you have had the pox, MacKenzie,” he said.

It was wee Gilbert, the lad with sore eyes—but two days had made such a change that Roger scarcely recognized him. The boy was thin as a wraith, the round face gone so thin that the skullbones showed. The fair, dirt-smudged skin had gone, too, submerged under a mass of suppurating pustules so thick that the eyes were mere slits in the lolling head. He had barely time to register the sight before hands plucked the small, burning body from him. Before he could grasp the sudden emptiness in his arms, there was another splash to port.”

Yes, they are throwing the infected people overboard, including the children.

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An author’s error?

Or done on purpose to make this letter more realistic?!?

I studied history in college and read enough primary sources from 1700 to 1900 to easily recognise this letter as being extremely probable, a very welcome sight in a piece of historical fiction!

The interesting tidbit is this line below. If I remember correctly, Lord John told Jamie that the land was from his wife’s family. I even went back and checked to be sure (by the way, I love this latest update for some (all?) Kindle books that let’s you easily flip through pages quickly!).

In actuality (within this book, at least) the property was bequeathed to her son, Lord John’s stepson, but as would be very normal at the time and today, Lord John would be its executor until the child comes of age and back then, this wording would be common since as head of household, the husband would be considered the owner regardless of actual standing.

So, has Ms. Gabaldon forgotten the specifics of her story? Or has she purposely changed the tale to not only show a more real character (one who shares information as he interprets it), but also shows one of the problems of studying history–the trustworthiness of our primary sources, especially when it comes to information about women and children.

Based on other hints and circumstances I’ve come across in this book and its predecessors, I’m extremely confident that the latter is the case, which is also a little surprising since I’m pretty sure Ms. Gabaldon doesn’t include studying history in her author blurb.

And, as a side note, while drawing this line (below) with the – character, I learned that my Amazon Fire on screen keyboard has even more characters than I thought! The dash (-) kept giving me an underscore (_) whenever I tried to hold the key down to make it “run away” which was very confusing so I went to investigate what was happening. By depressing a character key for a full second, such as the dollar sign, it pulls up 5 more currency characters! And there are many other examples! Including percentages! I’m a dork, haha.
Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4) by Diana Gabaldon –

“Lord John determined that the lad must go to Virginia, where Lord John’s family has Substantial Property”

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