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Copyright © 2019 by Diana Gabaldon. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy and share this excerpt yourself, in whole or in part (details about sharing and copyrights are below).

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Image of bee on yellow flower.Ian didn’t pretend not to know why she asked.

“Small,” he said, holding his hand about three inches above his elbow. Four inches shorter than I… “Neat, with a—a pretty face.”

“If she is beautiful, Ian, thee may say so,” Rachel said dryly. “I am a Friend; we aren’t given to vanity.”

He looked at her, his lips twitching a little. Then he thought better of whatever he’d been about to say. He closed his eyes for an instant, then opened them and answered her honestly.

”She was lovely. I met her by the water—a pool in the river, where the water spreads out and there’s not even a ripple on the surface, but ye feel the spirit of the river moving through it just the same.” He’d seen her standing thigh-deep in the water, clothed but with her shirt drawn up and tied round her waist with a red scarf, holding a thin spear of sharpened wood and watching for fish.

“I canna think of her in—in her parts,” he said, his voice a little husky. “What her eyes looked like, her face…” He made an odd, graceful little gesture with his hand, as though he cupped Wakyo’teyehsnohsa’s cheek, then traveled the line of her neck and shoulder. “I only—when I think of her—” He glanced at her and made a hem noise in his throat. “Aye. Well. Aye, I think of her now and then. Not often. But when I do, I only think of her as all of a piece, and I canna tell ye in words what that looks like.”

“Why should thee not think of her?” Rachel said, as gently as she could. “She was thy wife, the mother of—of your children.”

“Aye,” he said softly, and bent his head. She thought she might have chosen her place better; they were in the shed that served as a small barn and there was a farrowing sow in a pen right in front of them, a dozen fat piglets thrusting and grunting at her teats, a testament to fecundity.

“I need to tell ye something, Rachel,” he said, raising his head abruptly.

“Thee knows thee can tell me anything, Ian,” she said, and meant it, but her heart meant something different and began to beat faster.

And thanks to Amy Bettenhausen for the lovely bee photo!

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This excerpt is from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2019 by Diana Gabaldon, the ninth book in my Outlander series of novels. All rights reserved.

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This excerpt (or “Daily Lines”) was released on July 14, 2019. This webpage was last updated on Thursday, August 8, 2019, at 9:15 p.m. (Pacific Time) by Diana Gabaldon or Diana’s Webmistress.