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    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

“I’m a Doctor, Not An Escalator!”

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #MyBirthday, #ImHappyToHaveMadeItThisFar, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #NOitsnotfinished, #Illtellyouwhenitis, #RightNowImEatingChocolate

2021-01-11-bees-photoThe first floor had now been walled in from the outside, though much of the inside was still just timber studs, which gave the place rather a nice sense of informality, as we walked cheerfully through the skeletal walls.

My surgery had no coverings for its two large windows, nor did it have a door—but it did have complete walls (as yet unplastered), a long counter with a couple of shelves over it for my bottles and instruments, a high, wide table of smooth pine (I had sanded it myself, taking great pains to protect my future patients from splinters in their bottoms) on which to conduct examinations and surgical treatment, and a high stool on which I could sit while administering these.

Jamie and Roger had begun the ceiling, but there were for the moment only joists running overhead, with patches of faded brown and grimy gray canvas (salvaged from a pile of decrepit military tents found in a warehouse in Cross Creek) providing actual shelter from the elements

Jamie had promised me that the second floor—and my ceiling—would be laid within the week, but for the moment, I had a large bowl, a dented tin chamber-pot and the unlit brazier strategically arranged to catch leaks. It had rained the day before, and I glanced upward to be sure there were no sagging bits in the damp canvas holding water overhead before I took my case-book out of its waxed-cloth bag.

“What ith—is that?” Fanny asked, catching sight of it. I had put her to work picking off and collecting the papery skins from a huge basket of onions for steeping to make a yellow dye, and she craned her neck to see, keeping her onion-scented fingers carefully away.

“This is my case-book,” I said, with a sense of satisfaction at its weight. “I write down the names of the people who come to me with medical difficulties, and describe each one’s condition, and then I put down what it was that I did or prescribed for them, and whether it worked or not.”

She eyed the book with respect—and interest.

“Do they always get better?”

“No,” I admitted. “I’m afraid they don’t always—but very often they do. ‘I’m a doctor, not an escalator,’” I quoted, and laughed before remembering that it wasn’t Brianna I was talking to.

Fanny merely nodded seriously, evidently filing away this piece of information.

I coughed.

“Um. That was a quote from a, er, doctor friend of mine named McCoy. I think the general notion is that no matter how skilled a person might be, every skill has its limits and one is well advised to stick to what you’re good at.”

She nodded again, eyes still fixed in interest on the book.

“Do you… think I might read it?” she asked shyly. “Only a page or two,” she added hastily.

I hesitated for a moment, but then laid the book on the table, opened it, and paged through to the spot where I had made a note about using gall berry ointment for Lizzie Wemyss’s malaria, as I hadn’t any Jesuit’s bark. I had told Roger about the need, but so far none had turned up. Fanny had heard me talk about the situation to Jamie, and Lizzie’s recurrent ague was common knowledge on the Ridge.

“Yes, you may—but only the pages before this marker.” I took a slim black crow’s feather from the jar of quills and laid it next to the book’s spine at Lizzie’s page.

“Patients are entitled to privacy,” I explained. “You oughtn’t to read about people that are our neighbors. But these earlier pages are about people I treated in other places and—mostly—a long time ago.”

“I prrromise,” she said, her earnestness giving emphasis to her r’s, and I smiled. I’d known Fanny barely a year, but I’ d never once known her to lie—about anything.

[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2021 Diana Gabaldon.]

Visit my official GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE webpage for access to other excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from this book.

Many thanks to Janet Boren Campbell for the lovely bee photo!

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page on Monday, January 11, 2021.

42 Responses »

  1. Hi Diana
    I hope Bees is progressing well.
    I read Seven Stones & I think my favourite was Fugitive Green. I’m hoping that you may be able to write more about Hal & Minnie from where Fugitive ended as I think many of us would love to know more abiut them & their children in between that time & when they appear in outlander books & Lord John books.
    They really are a part of the fabric of that universe, at least in my opinion. Hope this isn’t to presumptuous.
    All the best & happy belated birthday Diana.
    From Australia

  2. Happy New Year and a belated Happy Birthday to you Diana. I have a question, please. I would like to know the spelling and meaning of the Galic name Jamie calls FERGUS at times. To me it sounds like he is saying “office”.
    Thank you for all you do. I love your Outlander books, have read them many times, currently rereading “Dragonfly and Amber”.

    PS: I love the TV Show, also. Have fallen in love with the cast and crew, especially Sam (Jamie Frazer) and Cat (Claire Fraser).

    Be safe and healthy this 2021. God Bless!

    Barbara Jordan

    • Hey Barbara, Jamie calls Fergus „mon fils“, which is frech and means „my son“.
      Sounds a bit like ,office‘… (mo:fis).
      Hope I could help, Sue

  3. The canvas roof. We did that while adding onto our house. The tarp in a rain storm filled with water and I tried to push it out with the broom. Instead it fell into the house, gallons of water and rained all night in the house. I sat down with my two year old and just laughed. What else could I do? Outlander has been such a blessing thru the pandemic, thank you. Debbie

  4. I am still looking for book nine, “Go tell the bees that I am gone”, in audible form. I have all the others 8 books from the Outlander series. However, with age the eyes are about gone and I can no longer read. I have been checking with Audible Books for a release but to date there have been none. Can you tell me how to obtain this book in audible form.

    If it is available through another audible company I would like to purchase it.
    thank you for you timely response.

    Reba W. L.

    • Hi, Reba,

      The audio version of BEES cannot be created until Diana finishes writing the book! :-)

      As it turns out, Diana announced she had finished writing BEES on March 27, 2021. Now the book has to go through the publication process, which will likely take several months. Her publishers will set the release date for the hardcover version of the book as well as the audio and digital editions. The publication date, or release date, is the date that the book will first go on sale.

      So begin looking for the audible version of BEES on and after the publication date, when it is announced. Sometimes the audio versions of Diana’s books are available soon after the hardcover edition, and sometimes it isn’t available until a few weeks after the hardcover is released.

      Diana discussed the publication process more detail in this blog, if you’re interested:


      Any other questions or concerns, please send me an email.


      Loretta M.
      Diana’s Webmistress

  5. Hello and happy belated birthday, Diana Please add me to the long list of Outlander enthusiasts — both the TV series and the books came into my life just as COVId was entering the world, and I don’t know what I would have done without them. And speaking of birthdays, Jamie’s 300th birthday is fast approaching… don’t you think that calls for something special? It is a pretty big one after all!

  6. Your home page needs updating. Your estimate of a publication date of 2020 for Bees was missed.

  7. Happy Belated Birthday Diana! I hope you and your growing family are having a wonderful time. Seems so whenever I check back for the beloved Daily Lines.

    I savor them and cannot tell you how thankful I am that you make this effort for those of us who enjoy your work so much. These anachronisms always make me laugh out loud and makes my husband ask about the cause so he enjoys these nearly as much as I do.

    I don’t mind the wait – anticipation as you’ve stated is a pleasure ;-) Besides your methadone list has provided a slew of diversions and I’ve found other authors through those lists whose work I love nearly as much as I love yours.

    I have lots of flowers and lots of bees but haven’t been able to capture anything worthy enough to submit. I’ll keep trying…I hope I am successful before Book 10 gets it’s own site and another theme!

    Thank you again for cultivating this community!

  8. Right around the time of the beginning of the Covid pandemic, I picked up a used paperback named Outlander. Having now finished all eight of the series and the Lord John series for the second time, I may possibly get back to cooking, cleaning, general housekeeping and actually seeing friends! A little worried about withdrawal, though. Your characters have become friends and family. You are just amazing and I am so thankful that I got to the party, although late!

  9. This is my absolute FAVORITE Dr. McCoy quote!
    Can’t wait to read the new book!

  10. Have read all your books many times plus the companion books, Lord John etc. Will much enjoy this next one as at 75 doubt I will see the last one in the series. You are truly gifted.

  11. Hello,
    Anything you can do to accelerate book#9 being published,
    would be appreciated, as I am 85 years old.
    Bob H.

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