In Drums of Autumn there are references to Brianna having the second sight. Claire remembers that Brianna was born with a caul and muses about its association with the gift of the second sight. Brianna’s second sight abilities are associated with dreams.
A “silly hoo,” the Scots called it; a lucky hood. A fortunate portent, a caul offered – they said – protection from drowning in later life. And some children born with a caul were blessed with second sight – though having met one or two of those who saw with the third eye, I took leave to doubt that such a blessing was unmixed (Drums of Autumn, ch 23).
Whether lucky or not, Brianna had never showed any signs of that strange Celtic “knowing,” and I thought it just as well (Drums of Autumn, ch. 23).
As expected Claire does not make the connection between Brianna and the Bouassa event from Voyager. This event is a good instance of Brianna’s gift of seeing events that are not only distant but also in the past. The intermediary, Margaret Campbell, enables the communication between Brianna and Jamie.
“There were drums beating, and I knew something was hiding, waiting in the canes; something horrible,” she said. “My mother was there, drinking tea with a crocodile.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 40)
“Then I knew my mother was going to stand up and walk right toward it. I tried to stop her, but I couldn’t make her hear me or see me. So I turned to him, and I called to him to go with her – to save her from whatever it was. And he saw me!” The hand on his arm squeezed tight. “He did, he saw me, and he heard me. And then I woke up.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 40)
In this dream Brianna is witnessing these events through Margaret Campbell’s mind / eyes. The crocodile is Ishmael wearing the crocodile’s head. The horrible entity could be two things: Abandawe or Geillis. I tend to think it is Abandawe. The use of words such as “walk right toward it” is implicit of the time-travelling passage. In fact, there is an entity in Abandawe, trying to communicate with Claire in Drums of Autumn.
Sometimes on the verge of sleep, I would hear the voice of the cave-wind, and the nagging echo of the thought that came in its wake: Where else? (Drums of Autumn, ch. 16)
Furthermore Ishmael mentions in Voyager that Geillis will die at Abandawe, and warns Claire that she will die too if she follows Geillis (ch. 61).
“You ain’ gone do the magic, what the Maggot do. That magic kill her, sure, but it will kill you, too.” He gestured behind him, toward the empty bench. “You hear Bouassa speak? He say the Maggot die, three days. She taken the boy, he die. You go follow them, you die, too, sure.”
The Abandawe cave is more sinister than Geillis, and it seems that women do not survive the passage.
Through her dreams Brianna is able to establish contact with Frank but unable to communicate with him. The possible reason for this happening is that he wanted to let her know about her true parentage and due to his abrupt death, he was not able to do it.
“I couldn’t see his face. I was walking with him, in the woods somewhere. I was following him up a trail, and he was talking to me, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying – I kept hurrying, trying to catch up, so I could hear, but I couldn’t quite manage.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 3)
“But you knew the man was your father?” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 3)
“Yes – but maybe I only thought so because of hiking in the mountains. I used to do that with Dad.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 3)
Her inability to communicate with Frank could be related to the fact that she is missing an intermediary in this dream. However, the ability for her to become a half-ghost like her mother is present.
There is a possibility that Brianna acquired the second sight from her biological father. Certain hints are dropped throughout Drums of Autumn. There is an instance in which Claire tells Jamie about Brianna’s interest in history.
“I never was sure whether she really wanted to read history, or whether she did it mostly to please Frank. She loved him so much – and he was so proud of her.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 21)
What is interesting are Jamie’s questions concerning the possibility that Brianna might find something about them.
“If she goes on wi’ the history – d’ye think she’ll find us? Written down somewhere, I mean.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 21)
“She’ll look,” he said, with certainty. (Drums of Autumn, ch. 21)
Of course, Jamie explains to Claire that Brianna not only loves Frank but also her. That is enough for her to look for them in the history books, which she exactly does, and eventually finds a reference to their death. How could Jamie possibly know this? These quotes may also be a clue to Frank doing research about Jamie.
Closer examination reveals that Jamie’s musings of his daughter looking for them in the future is based on his “dreams.” Once they are home after the incident of the muscle spasm in the snow, Jamie reveals to Claire that he has been having strange dreams.
“All kinds of things.” He sounded a bit shy. “I dreamt of Brianna, now and again.” (Drums of Autumn, ch. 21)
One thing that can be deduced about these comments is that Jamie does not seem to speak openly about his dreams. He dreams about his daughter but reveals only one of them to his wife. It may be also that he does not remember them. However, it seems that he does though. He recalls one in which he kisses his daughter’s diamond-shaped birth mark behind her ear. Basically he is able to remember small details.
These dreams make the reader wonder whether he saw his daughter doing research about them. Is he gifted with the second sight? Can he see events from far away? Was he born with a caul?
It is also possible that Brianna acquired this “gift” from Claire. She dreams a lot too, but hers seem to be of a different type. While Jamie seems to be dreaming often about his daughter without even knowing her at that stage, Claire generally dreams less about her (Drums of Autumn, ch. 21).
I too had dreamt of Brianna in our icy shelter – something I seldom did. (From Claire’s point of view)
Furthermore, the first quote of this post emphasizes that the gift of the second sight is known also as the Celtic knowing. Between her two parents, Jamie is the most “Celtic”, even though I do suspect that Claire has some Celtic background as demonstrated by certain abilities she has (half-ghost, time-traveller).
Next post will be about Jamie Fraser. The featured image was sketched for my blog by Diyora Gulyamova, “Claire and Young Brianna”, and can be shared in social networks as long as proper attribution is given.
Gabaldon, Diana. Voyager. New York: Bantam Dell. 1994. Print.
Gabaldon, Diana. Drums of Autumn. New York: Dell Publishing. 1997. Print.