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Roger Wakes In A New Old Place (BEES)


On March 6th, 1988, I started writing a book for practice. That turned out to be OUTLANDER, and now look where we are….! So in honor of the occasion <cough>, here is (what I think will be) Roger’s first scene from BEES…

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2018-03-bee-SueGraftonSheer exhaustion made Roger sleep like the dead, in spite of the fact that the MacKenzies’ bed consisted of two ragged quilts that Amy Higgins had hastily dragged out of her piecework bag, these laid over a week’s worth of the Higginses’ dirty laundry, and the MacKenzies’ outer clothing as blankets. It was a warm bed, though, with the heat of the smoored fire on one side, and the body heat of two children and a snuggly wife on the other, and he fell into sleep like a man falling down a well, with time for no more than the briefest prayer—though a profound one-—of gratitude.

We made it. Thanks.

He woke to darkness and the smell of burnt wood and a freshly-used chamber-pot, feeling a sudden chill behind him. He had lain down with his back to the fire, but had rolled over during the night, and now saw the sullen glow of the last embers a couple of feet from his face, faint crimson veins in a bank of charcoal and gray ash. He put a hand behind him; Brianna was gone. There was a vague heap that must be Jem and Mandy at the far side of the quilt and the rest of the cabin was still somnolent, the air thick with heavy breathing.

“Bree?” he whispered, raising himself on one elbow. She was close—a solid shadow with her bottom braced against the wall by the hearth, one foot raised as she pulled on a stocking.

She put down the foot and crouched beside him, fingers brushing his face.

“I’m going hunting with Da,” she whispered, bending close. “Mama will watch the kids, if you have things to do today.”

“Aye. Where did ye get—” he ran a hand down the side of her hip; she was wearing a thick hunting shirt and loose breeches, much patched; he could feel the roughness of the stitching under his palm.

“They’re Da’s,” she said, and kissed him, the tinge of ember-light glisking in her hair. “Go back to sleep. It won’t be dawn for another hour.”

He watched her step lightly through the bodies on the floor, boots in her hand, and a cold draft snaked through the room as the door opened and closed soundlessly behind her. Bobby Higgins said something in a sleep-slurred voice, and one of the little boys sat up, said “What?” in a clear, startled voice and then flopped back into his quilt, dormant once more.

The fresh air vanished into the comfortable fug and the cabin slept. Roger didn’t. He lay on his back, feeling peace, relief, excitement and trepidation in roughly equal proportions.

They really had made it.

All of them. He kept counting them, compulsively. All four of them. Here, and safe.

Fragmented memories and sensations jostled through his mind; he let them flow through him, not trying to stay them or catch more than an image here and there: The feel of a small gold bar in his sweaty hand, the lurch of his stomach when he’d dropped it and it slid out of his reach across the tilting deck. The warm steam of parritch with whisky on it, fortification against a freezing Scottish morning. Brianna hopping carefully down a flight of stairs on one foot, the bandaged one lifted and the words of “My Dame Hath a Lame, Tame Crane” coming irresistibly to his mind. The smell of Buck’s hair, acrid and unwashed, as they embraced each other on the edge of a dock and a final farewell. Cold, endless days and nights in the lurching hold of the Constance on their way to Charles Town, the four of them huddled in a corner, deafened by the smash of water against the hull, too seasick to be hungry, too exhausted anymore even to be terrified, hypnotized instead by the rising water in the hold, watching it inch higher, splashing them with each sickening roll, trying to share their pitiful store of body heat to keep the kids alive…

He let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, put his hands on the solid wooden floor to either side, closed his eyes and let it all drain away.

No looking back. They’d made their decision, and they’d made it here. To sanctuary.

So now, what?

He’d lived in this cabin once, for a long time. Now he supposed he’d build a new one; Jamie had told him last night that the land Jamie had given him was still his, registered in his name.

A small glow of anticipation rose in his heart. The day lay before him; what should he do first?

“Daddy!” a voice with a lot of spit whispered loudly in his ear. “Daddy, I haveta go potty!”

He sat up smiling, pushing tangled cloaks and shirts out of the way. Mandy was hopping from foot to foot in agitation, a small black chickadee, solid against the shadows.

“Aye, sweetheart,” he whispered back, and took her hand, warm and sticky. “I’ll take ye to the privy. Try not to step on anybody.”

[end section]

[And many thanks to Sue Gunston for the lovely bee photo!]

Click to visit my official webpage for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE for links to information and more Daily Lines (excerpts).


I first posted this excerpt (Daily Lines) on my official Facebook page and my official Twitter feed on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. You may share the URL (link above) to this excerpt, but please do not copy and paste the entire text and post it elsewhere. Thank you. -Diana

This text is copyright © 2018 by Diana Gabaldon. All Rights Reserved. This blog post was last updated on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 7:10 a.m. (PT) by Diana’s Webmistress.

49 Responses »

  1. Thank you! This made me so happy!

  2. Diana,

    Thank you for writing that first practice novel that has become s Masterpiece. I have loved every one of them and am waiting patiently for Go Tell The Bees. I cherish every one of these characters you’ve given us. Thank you for your beautiful mind.

    Patty

  3. I read through the entire series in less than a year. Now I wish I had spaced it out but, bless you, this little tickler was a fulfilling, for now, treat. Love the characters, historical accuracy, everyday activities, medical use of plants and herbs, and family centered relations/interactions. Thank you from Phoenix.

  4. Thank you. I re-read so many of these daily lines – can’t wait for you to finish – but I know the wait. Been reading your books since the beginning – back when I had to stop in a book store each month to see IF there would be a new book to read.
    Thanks again.
    bev fink

  5. I am so excited to read the full reunion of Jamie and Claire and Brianna and Roger and the kids! So much joy!

  6. I have read all 8 Outlander books in sequence. Waiting patiently for number nine. I have really enjoyed the story of Clare’s family from the beginning of the series, and the historical content concerning Scotland , England and the Colonies in the USA. I can remember my elderly spinster aunt who lived with my grandparents using the title of your coming book when someone close to us or in our family would die. “Someone go tell it to the bees “.

  7. Wonderful series of books, the TVs adaptation is first class, perfectly chosen actors, authentic costumes and settings, I have all the books, and DVDs, I read and watch whenever I can, there is always something new I learn from them, looking forward to the new book, bees, when is it likely to be published?
    I will read and watch forever!
    Regards
    Jenni Williams

  8. I’m so excited to read this next book. These excerpts are great. There is something about your writing that captivates. I’ve read all of the Outlander and Lord John books in the past couple months (well technically I listened to them) and I just love the way you write. It’s so believable, the details and simple things about daily life make the story come alive. By the way, I really hope you publish a new Lord John book soon I’m interested in what he was up to with Willie in Virginia in between age 10 and 18. Thank you

  9. Hello Diana
    Thank you for sharing again a part of Bees with us. Can’t wait to get the book into my hands and start to read, even though I have to admit that I’m a little bit scared because of the title (sounds like someone may die). For now I’ve started to reread the other books again, that helps me to stay patient.
    Best wishes from Germany

  10. When will season 4 air.

    • Starz, the cable channel which produces the Outlander TV series, has not announced yet when season four will air.

      When Starz does decide upon a release date, it will be publicized widely by Starz, and will also be announced on Diana’s webpages.

      Each season, the Outlander series is released first in the U.S.A. on the Starz network, then is released to other cable channels in viewing areas around the world on different schedules. Sony is in charge of distribution of the Outlander TV series to global cable outlets, as well as release dates for DVDs in the U.S. and other countries.

  11. Oh how this thrills me!!!!! Goosebumps from the sweetness…waiting on I can’t wait to read it all

  12. Curious
    Why does it say one of the BOYS sat up?
    Surely ther is one boy and one girl.

  13. I loved every single one of the Outlanders ands am looking forward to more
    I read the little teaser Diane G put out here to tease us on

    Siuncerely Ann Reed

  14. I started reading Outlander in 1987 or so and have the full series -most signed by the author. I loved meeting and talking to her. I remain enthralled and wait for each new one with bated breath. Love the STARZ production as well. This new excerpt reinforces my feeling- pretty amazing for an experiment book!

    • Hi, Julie,

      OUTLANDER was published in 1991. I was still working as a professor in 1987, and hadn’t written it yet. <g>

      Glad you like my books and the TV series.

      Thanks,
      Diana

  15. I love the series so much as soon as I watch the end of season 3, I start all over again, for the 3rd time, lol. I also started the books , which I have read all 8, and even Lord John tales. Thank you for wonderful reading and entertainment.♥️

  16. Hoping for Starz announcement soon!! What about a release plan for DVD of Season 3??

    • Laurie,

      Update: Sony International has shared a list of global release dates of sales for Season 3 in Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital formats. In the U.S., the release date is April 10.

      Cheers,
      Loretta

  17. Loved this post! Thank you.

  18. Thank you Diana for writing this series. It’s addicting, relatable, inspiring and so much more. So looking forward to ‘Bees’. Much love, from Canada!

  19. I can not wait for your 9th book in this series, Go tell the bees I have gone. I have read all of the books in this series twice, and I know I am not the only one. Thank you for creating such a wonderful story and characters.

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