• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
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  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

A Daily Line for Veterans Day

#DailyLines #MOBY #WRITTENinMYownHEARTSBlood #ForThoseWhoMaybeDidntWantToDoIt #ButDidItAnyway #ThoseWhoFightAndThoseWhoLoveThem #HappyVeteransDay

He’d come up to the loft and pulled the ladder up behind him, to prevent the children coming up. I was dressing quickly—or trying to—as he told me about Dan Morgan, about Washington and the other Continental generals. About the coming battle.

“Sassenach, I _had_ to,” he said again, softly. “I’m that sorry.”

“I know,” I said. “I know you did.” My lips were stiff. “I—you—I’m sorry, too.”

I was trying to fasten the dozen tiny buttons that closed the bodice of my gown, but my hands shook so badly that I couldn’t even grasp them. I stopped trying and dug my hairbrush out of the bag he’d brought me from the Chestnut Street house.

He made a small sound in his throat and took it out of my hand. He threw it onto our makeshift couch and put his arms around me, holding me tight with my face buried in his chest. The cloth of his new uniform smelled of fresh indigo, walnut hulls, and fuller’s earth; it felt strange and stiff against my face. I couldn’t stop shaking.

“Talk to me, _a nighean_,” he whispered into my tangled hair. “I’m afraid, and I dinna want to feel so verra much alone just now. Speak to me.”

“Why has it always got to be _you_?” I blurted into his chest.

That made him laugh, a little shakily, and I realized that all the trembling wasn’t coming from me.

“It’s no just me,” he said, and stroked my hair. “There are a thousand other men readying themselves today—more—who dinna want to do it, either.”

“I know,” I said again. My breathing was a little steadier. “I know.” I turned my face to the side in order to breathe, and all of a sudden began to cry, quite without warning.

“I’m sorry,” I gasped. “I don’t mean—I don’t want t-to make it h-harder for you. I—I—oh, Jamie, when I knew you were alive—I wanted so much to go home. To go home with you.”

His arms tightened hard round me. He didn’t speak, and I knew it was because he couldn’t.

“So did I,” he whispered at last. “And we will, _a nighean_. I promise ye.”

The sounds from below floated up around us: the sounds of children running back and forth between the shop and the kitchen, Marsali singing to herself in Gaelic as she made fresh ink for the press. The door opened, and cool, rainy air blew in with Fergus and Germain, adding their voices to the cheerful confusion.

We stood wrapped in each other’s arms, taking comfort from our family below, yearning for the others we might never see again, at once at home and homeless, balanced on a knife edge of danger and uncertainty. But together.

“You’re not going off to war without me,” I said firmly, straightening up and sniffing. “Don’t even _think_ about it.”

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17 Responses »

  1. I wish there were more people following the priority list that guided Jamie and Clair:
    First, do what you have to do, then what you should do , and only then, what you want to do.
    Doing the right thing is seldom easy.
    “Lest We Forget”

  2. Great quote. I remember this scene well.

  3. Thank you for the line from MOBY…For Those Who Love Them…my son is a veteran of Afghanstan…my own Scottish Warrior.

  4. That passage made me cry when I originally read it….Then again now. As a Veteran, who volunteered to serve, I get “it”…..the sense of obligation, dedication, and commitment to just do what needs to be done. Thank you Diana.

  5. “Just do what needs to be done” That is the mantra of Jamie & Claires lives I think. It is also the mantra that keeps a lot of todays folks going through their lives.

  6. My father was a veteran who first went to war when I was 8 years old. I remember how much I missed him and how he looked at me and my siblings when he said goodbye. He returned forever changed and although I was too young to understand his emotions at the time (and was angry with him for leaving me), I now understand the sacrifice he made and how hard it was for him. This passage made me cry, for all of those who did what they knew they must, in spite of the cost to them and to their families, and how the fear that they would never return was always part of that obligation.

  7. While researching World War I on pinterest, this photo and caption of a Guy Gabaldon, who’s war experience was reflected in the film “Hell to Eternity,” (I’m paraphrasing the info per the pinterest link) came up. Gotta love how the search filters don’t always work, but sometimes interesting tangential things are yielded -


    Speaking of tangential, the photos on pinterest of ‘Outlander’ are very nice too

  8. Diana,
    Happy Thanksgiving for you and your loved ones!
    All the best!

  9. When did Claire tell Jamie that she traveled through time and the stones?

  10. HELP…. A line in the Lord John Series… Lord John and the Succubus. It seems very out of place. Page 332 of 1326. “Soldiers put great store in dreams involving Jamie Fraser.” Where did this come from…?

  11. Is this the last book? The end felt like it could really end the series.

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