One of the most enigmatic character associations is the one between Geillis and the Duke of Sandringham. In Voyager Geillis acknowledges openly that she was acquainted with the Duke. This post will concentrate mainly on the silkies’ treasure, but I will also discuss other minor characters too.
The most interesting link between Geillis and Sandringham are the coins belonging to the silkies’ treasure. When Claire and Jamie were trying to track the origins of this treasure, Mayer mentioned that the coins were purchased by the Duke of Sandringham in 1745. Mayer’s uncle bought the Duke’s collection of coins from his heirs in 1746 without the tetradrachms. Here is an interesting detail from Voyager (618) concerning these particular coins.
“These,” he said. “Fourteen of the gold ones, and ten of the ones with two heads.”
“Ten!” Mayer’s bright eyes popped wide with atonishment. “I should not have thought there were so many in Europe.”
Jamie nodded. “I’m quite certain – I saw them closely; handled them, even.”
“These are the twin heads of Alexander,” Mayer said, touching the coin with reverence. “Very rare indeed. It is a tetradrachm, struck to commemorate the battle fought at Amphipolos, and the founding of a city on the site of the battlefield.”
Because of their rarity, tetradrachms are costly. It can be deduced that somebody remained with the tetradrachms or stole them from the Duke’s collection. Could this person be Geillis? It seems that Geillis later on bought the other coins belonging to the Duke’s collection from Mayer’s family. Of course, this detail is not given since the name of the buyers was kept confidential. The exception to this was the Duke since he was dead at the time of the inquiry.
Another character association is the one between Geillis and the Bruja’s pirates. Here is the description of the pirate who attacked Claire.
He was hugely obese, the rolling layers of his fat decorated with a stiple of tattoos, a jangling necklace of coins and buttons hung around his neck. Marsali slapped at him, shrieking, and he jerked his face away, impatient. (“Voyager” 843)
When his corpse was found, one of the coins on his necklace was a tetradrachm. It seems that in this particular case Geillis was using the treasure’s coins to pay the pirates for disposing of both Jamie and Claire. Here is a description of the pirate’s facial expression when meeting Claire for the first time.
“Then he caught sight of me, and his eyes widened. He had a wide, flat face, and a tarred topknot of black hair. He grinned nastily at me, showing a marked lack of teeth, and said something that sounded like slurred Spanish.”
It looks like this pirate was looking for somebody in particular, Claire. This same pirate injured Claire’s arm; a deep injury that caused her to bleed excessively at the beginning and that eventually gave her a fever. Based on Jamie’s description, it seems that the injury could had been serious (“Voyager” 847).
“D’ye ken ye came damn close to dying?” he demanded. “Ye’ve a bone-deep slash down your arm from oxter to elbow, and had I not got a cloth round it in time, ye’d be feeding the sharks this minute!”
This notion of Geillis sending the pirates to kill both Jamie and Claire is further supported by their perception that they were expected at Rose Hall when they went there to inquire about Young Ian. Furthermore, Young Ian confirmed that he confessed about his background to Geillis.
“Well, all about my home, and my family – she asked the names of all my sisters and brothers, and my aunts and uncles” – I jerked a bit. So that was why Geillie had betrayed no surprise at our appearance! (“Voyager” 1036)
Readers have a tendency to whitewash Geillis due to her comments about Claire being innocent during the witchcraft trial. She took all the blame herself. She also warned Claire about the ill-wish that Laoghaire bought from her. Those were noble acts of her. However, she had a different agenda, and to accomplish her goals, she was capable of killing. I guess she saw both Jamie and Claire as an impediment to her goals at certain point.
How was Geillis able to afford this treasure? She stole money from her second husband, Arthur Duncan.
“Oh, I had plenty of money,” she said, with a note of satisfaction. “I knew where Arthur kept the key to all his papers and notes, ye ken. And the man wrote a fair hand, I’ll say that for him – ’twas simple enough to forge his signature. I’d managed to divert near on to ten thousand pound over the last two years.” (“Outlander” 384)
The Duke was offering Charles fifty thousand pounds. I guess that part of that money is from what Geillis stole from her husband. Dougal probably contributed a certain amount. There were also other contributors too, which are not revealed at this stage, but Sandringham could had been one of them. What needs to be determined is whether the silkies’ treasure represents only Geillis’ contribution of stolen funds or the whole thing that was promised to Prince Charles.
Another link between the Duke and Geillis is no other than Monsieur Forez. In a former post, I discussed the possibility that he was sent by the Duke to intimidate Jamie, and I established a connection between Forez and Geillis. Here is the link to the post, and I will just include the part of that post that is of interest for this topic.
He gives Claire a jar containing the fat of hanged criminals, which is used to alleviate rheumatism and pain in the joints. The lid has a fleur-de-lys on it. In the third book, Voyager, there is a reference to this fleur-de-lys; Geillis’ slaves seem to have a mark that looks like a fleur-de-lys. However, closer observation reveals that it is a sixteen-petaled rose, the Jacobite emblem of Charles Stuart. Did Geillis prepare this particular ointment for Monsieur Forez? This question will be discussed in a subsequent post. What is important here to consider is that the realization of the slaves’ mark being the emblem of Prince Charles is something that both Claire and Jamie do not notice at first glance, and the same might be applied to this particular lid.
Another link is Sandringham’s valet, Albert Danton, sent by the Duke to murder Claire. Of course, he did not follow the Duke’s instructions and did things his own way. Sometime during the assault, he calls Claire “La Dame Blanche.” I guess he saw her vaccination scar, something the she shared with Geillis. He became distressed and started to cross himself.
Spotted-shirt was still backing away, now making signs in the air which were considerably less Christian than the sign of the Cross, but which presumably had the same intent. Pointing index and little fingers at me in the ancient horned sign against evil, he was working his way steadily down a list of spiritual authorities, from the Trinity to powers on a considerably lower level, muttering the Latin names so fast that the syllables blurred together (“Dragonfly” 321).
He does the same thing again in their second encounter. This reaction makes me believe that Danton knew Geillis well enough, and was familiar with some of her dishonest and possibly violent activities. Therefore, it is likely that the Duke and Geillis were more than acquaintances. They were not friends though, but something more like co-workers. Danton is also the link between the Duke and the Comte of St. Germaine. Of course, this association between the Duke and Geillis brings to mind certain things: Did she convince the Duke to instigate rebellion by sending Black Jack to perform certain depraved activities? Who is the most villainous character in the series? I wrote a little bit about this in a former post. I tend to think Geillis is at the same level with Black Jack.
My next posts will be about Drums of Autumn. I am still collecting information, but it will take me another week to start writing down some ideas that are circulating in my head.
Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander. New York: Bantam Books, 1991. Print.
Gabaldon, Diana. Dragonfly in Amber. New York: Bantam Dell. 1993. Print.
Gabaldon, Diana. Voyager. New York: Bantam Dell. 1994. Print.