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[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE Copyright © 2020 by Diana Gabaldon.]
Jamie had told everyone over dinner about Sylvia Hardman, a Quaker woman he’d met by chance at her house near Philadelphia, and who had cared for him for several days, his back having chosen to incapacitate him.
“Besides her great kindness,” he said, “I was taken by her wee daughters. They were as kind as their mother—but it was their names I liked most. Patience, Prudence, and Chastity, they were called. So I’d meant to ask ye, Rachel—do Friends often call their children after virtues?”
“They do,” she said, and smiling at Jemmy, who had started to twitch a little, added, “Jeremiah—if thee wasn’t called Jeremiah, what name would thee choose? If thee were to be named for a virtue, I mean.”
“Whassa virtue?” Mandy had asked, frowning at her brother as though expecting him to sprout one momentarily.
“Something good,” Germain had told her. “Like…” he glanced dubiously at Rachel for confirmation, “… ‘Peace?’ Or maybe ‘Goodness?’”
“Exactly,” she’d said, nodding gravely. “What name would thee choose, Germain, while Jemmy is thinking? ‘Piety?’”
“No!” he’d said, horrified, and amid the general laughter, people had begun proposing nommes-de-virtu, both for themselves and various family members, with ensuing outbursts of laughter or—once or twice—heated discussions regarding the appropriateness of a suggestion.
“You started it, Da,”
Brianna said now, amused. “But I noticed you didn’t pick a virtuous name.”
“He’s already got the names of three Scottish kings,” Roger protested. “He’ll be gettin’ above himself if ye give him any more names to play with.”
“You didn’t pick one either, did you, Mama?” I could see the wheels turning in Bree’s mind, and moved to forestall her.
“Er…. how about ‘Gentleness?’” I said, causing many of those present to burst into laughter.
“Is ‘Ruthlessness’ a virtue?” Jamie asked, grinning at me.
“Probably not,” I said, rather coldly. “Though I suppose it depends on the circumstances.”
“True,” he said, and taking my hand, kissed it. “‘Resolve,’ then—or maybe ‘Resolution?’”
“Well, ‘Resolution Fraser’ does have a certain ring to it,” I said. “I have one for you, too.”
He didn’t stop smiling, but a certain look of ruefulness came into his eyes.
“Aye,” he said. “That”ll do.”
Return to my official webpage for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE for links to information and more Daily Lines (excerpts).
And many thanks to Lisa LeVasseur for the magnificent bumblebees on lavender chives!
This excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2020 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.
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