I will be writing several Outlander posts in the next few weeks since I am almost done rereading the first half of Voyager. As usual, the most important details are given in the first half of the novel. For today’s post, I will concentrate on some notable quotes and Jamie’s arrival to Hellwater.
There is the event in which Lord John decides to write a letter to his brother, Hal, requesting information about Jamie’s relatives. He believes that Jamie knows the location of the Frenchman’s gold but does not want to reveal it. Therefore, he needs to intimidate Jamie. Of note is how Lord John compares Jamie to a red stag.
Grey stopped, seeing once more the windswept figure of James Fraser , wild as the red stags and as much at home on the moor as one of them (ch. 10).
What I like about this quote is the association of Jamie with the red color. The passage also brings to mind how Jamie felt when he was hiding in the cave near Lallybroch. In one of my former posts, Second Sight, the Hidden Laird and More, I analyzed one of the reasons why Jamie felt “less than human” during those years he lived in the cave. There was a disconnection between the mind and the body. His life at the cave was mainly lonely but intellectual. No physical activity was involved. While hunting in the night, he felt wild, which I understood as something more physical and instinctive. There was only a body and mind connection every time he entered Lallybroch to interact with his family. I guess the same analogy can be translated to the years that he was a prisoner at Ardsmuir. He still has an intellectual life in prison because of the discussions that he holds with Lord John. During the time that they are together, they play chess and discuss books. At the same time, other prisoners consider him their leader. Jamie transmits their needs to Lord John. He is a “Laird” outside of Lallybroch. Therefore, it is possible to assume that there is a mind-body connection at Ardsmuir, and he is feeling “human.” The physical aspect associated with freedom is missing. One can only imagine a “wild” Jamie in the moor in search of the Frenchman’s gold during those days he was a fugitive.
Subsequently, Jamie reveals that he found a box with jewels and coins. As proof, he gives Lord John a sapphire.
It was a sapphire, dark blue as Fraser’s own eyes, and a good size, too (ch. 10).
There is a strong association between Claire and sapphires. In book 4, the Amerindians describe a sapphire as a “healing stone.” Blue is the color of the healers. The association of this particular sapphire with Jamie’s eye color is not clear.
Finally, I would like to share this musing straight from Lord John’s head.
The fierce loyalties of the Scottish Highlanders were legendary. A Highlander who had seen those cots in flames might well choose to suffer prison, irons, or even flogging, to save his family a visitation from English soldiers (ch. 10).
This passage is a description of what Jamie did to save Lallybroch. Furthermore, he will sacrifice himself to be flogged to protect one of his men from Ardsmuir. However, this feeling of responsibility seems to be typical of many Highlanders at that time.
Jamie is not looking forward going to Helwater. First, he is leaving the Highlands without knowing whether he will be back. He is separated from his men at Ardsmuir. They were taken to the American colonies and sold as indentured servants with no hope of coming back. Jamie relates:
. . . Indenture in America was a sentence tantamount to permanent exile from Scotland (ch. 14).
Of course, the English wanted to dismantle the clan system to avoid another uprising. By sending Jacobite prisoners away, the chances of another uprising were small. At the same time, it was cost-effective for them.
Furthermore, Jamie is heading to a place where people are afraid of the Scottish Jacobites. On the way to Helwater, Lord John suggests Jamie to use another name since Lord Dunsany does not like Jacobites. His only son, Gordon, died at Prestonpans. Lord Dunsany narrates:
. . . “I haven’t told Louisa who he is,” the baronet muttered. “All that scare about the Highlanders during the Rising – country was quite paralyzed with fear, you know? And she’s never got over Gordon’s death. (ch. 14)”
This passage demonstrates how everybody at Helwater feels about Jamie. They are scared of him, and one of the reasons why he hardly interacts with anybody there. In regards to Louisa, I think she eventually will change her mind in regards to Jamie. This fear for him is reflected in Isobel’s reaction when seeing Jamie for the first time:
. . . “There’s a huge man in the hall! He watched us all the time we were coming down the stairs! He’s scary-looking! (ch. 14)”
I guess that Jamie’s anger caused by being away from home and not knowing the fate of his men is reflected in his demeanor. He looks somber to others. However, Geneva seems to be the exception in the whole household. She is not scared of him, and that could be one of the reasons why Jamie describes her as brave or courageous to William when he is questioned about her in book 8. Jamie’s gloomy demeanor starts to dissipate once he starts to work with the horses, something that he enjoys doing.
Of note is Lord Dunsany’s concern about Jamie “molesting” the girls. He asks Lord John about Jamie so that he can provide some information to his wife about him.
“I’ll just tell her the man’s a servant you’ve recommended to me. Er . . . he’s safe, of course? I mean . . . well, the girls . . . ” . . . (ch. 14)
This question is a good indication of the biases that the English used to have about the Scottish Highlanders, who were considered barbarians. It reminds the reader about the mindset that Lord John used to have just before Prestonpans. He simply could not understand how an educated English woman could be with a Scottish barbarian.
” . . . Everyone said that Highlanders indulged in rapine at every opportunity, and took delight in dishonoring Englishwomen; . . . (ch. 8).”
Of course, Lord Dunsany’s question also foreshadows what will happen between Jamie and Geneva, the topic of my next post. Thanks for reading!
Gabaldon, Diana. Voyager. 1994. New York: Bantam Dell. 2002. Print.