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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

The Fourth Sunday of Advent!

4th-Sunday-advent-DianaGabaldonIt’s a short Advent season this year, Christmas coming so soon after the Fourth Sunday, but we are the more expectant in our anticipation, and deeper in our gratitude for the blessings of home and family.

May the blessings of the season be with you and yours!

This excerpt is from the end of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER (aka DIE FACKELN DER FREIHEIT, in German).

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #FourthSundayofAdvent, #Rejoice

It was cold in the loft, and his sleep-mazed mind groped among the icy drafts after the words still ringing in his mind.

“Bonnie lad.”

Wind struck the barn and went booming round the roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted below, grunting and whickering. Helwater. The knowledge of the place settled on him, and the fragments of Scotland and Lallybroch cracked and flaked away, fragile as a skin of dried mud.

Helwater. Straw rustling under him, the ends poking through the rough ticking, prickling through his shirt. Dark air, alive around him.

Bonnie lad…

They’d brought down the Yule log to the house that afternoon, all the household taking part, the women bundled to the eyebrows, the men ruddy, flushed with the labor, staggering, singing, dragging the monstrous log with ropes, its rough skin packed with snow, a great furrow left where it passed, the snow plowed high on either side.

Willie rode atop the log, screeching with excitement, clinging to the rope. Once back at the house, Isobel had tried to teach him to sing “Good King Wenceslaus,” but it was beyond him, and he dashed to and fro, into everything until his grandmother declared that he would drive her to distraction and told Peggy to take him to the stable, to help Jamie and Crusoe bring in the fresh-cut branches of pine and fir. Thrilled, Willie rode on Jamie’s saddle-bow to the grove, and stood obediently on a stump where Jamie had put him, safe out of the way of the axes while the boughs were cut down. Then he helped to load the greenery, clutching two or three fragrant, mangled twigs to his chest, dutifully chucking these in the general direction of the huge basket, then running back again for more, heedless of where his burden had actually landed.

Jamie turned over, wriggling deeper into the nest of blankets, drowsy, remembering. He’d kept it up, the wean had, back and forth, back and forth, though red in the face and panting, until he dropped the very last branch on the pile. Jamie had looked down to find Willie beaming up at him with pride, laughed and said on impulse, “Aye, that’s a bonnie lad. Come on. Let’s go home.”

William had fallen asleep on the ride home, his head heavy as a cannonball in its woolen cap against Jamie’s chest. Jamie had dismounted carefully, holding the child in one arm, but Willie had wakened, blinked groggily at Jamie and said, “WEN-sess-loss,” clear as a bell, then fallen promptly back asleep. He’d waked properly by the time he was handed over to Nanny Elspeth, though, and Jamie had heard him, as he walked away, telling Nanny, “I’m a bonnie lad!”

But those words came out of his dreams, from somewhere else, and long ago. Had his own father said that to him, once?

He thought so, and for an instant—just an instant—was with his father and his brother Willie, excited beyond bearing, holding the first fish he’d ever caught by himself, slimy and flapping, both of them laughing at him, with him in joy.

“Bonnie lad!”

Willie. God, Willie. I’m so glad they gave him your name. He seldom thought of his brother; Willie had died of the smallpox when he was eleven, Jamie, eight. But every now and then, he could feel Willie with him, sometimes his mother or his father. More often, Claire.

I wish ye could see him, Sassenach, he thought. He’s a bonnie lad. Loud and obnoxious, he added with honesty, but bonnie.

What would his own parents think of William? They had neither of them lived to see any of their children’s children.

He lay for some time, his throat aching, listening to the dark, hearing the voices of his dead pass by in the wind. His thoughts grew vague and his grief eased, comforted by the knowledge of love, still alive in the world. Sleep came near again.

He touched the rough crucifix that lay against his chest and whispered to the moving air, “Lord, that she might be safe; she and my children.”

Then turned his cheek to her reaching hand and touched her through the veils of time.

[end section]

Want to read more? Click here for my “Fourth Sunday of Advent” blog from 2012, which features an excerpt from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLODD.

Copyright © 2018 and © 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All Rights Reserved.

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9 Responses »

  1. I love your books. I can read any part of a book and fall thru time to that time!
    I’ll be totally absorbed in their life in seconds!

  2. Ms.Gabaldon………………Many Thanks for writing the Books!!!!!!!!am Eagerly awaiting Book 9…….and I Do love the way Sony/Starz has done with Outlander……also Thanks to Mr. Moore!!!!!!!!!!!!! These last few Seasons Have Been So Great!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cannot wait for this Sunday!!! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New year to You and Yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Regina F. Newman

  3. I love reading your books. I also love outlander on Starz. I watch several times a week. My husband laughs because he thinks I am obsessed with the show but when I read the books it is hard to put them down I am almost done with drums of autumn and getting ready to read the fiery cross. I have a question for you I was wondering if you will ever do a book signing in Kansas city mo. I would love to get my book signed by you?

    • Hi, Georgia,

      Diana’s Webmistress here. To see Diana’s upcoming book signings, talks, and other events, you have to check her only official appearances page periodically at:


      New appearances and book signings are added to Diana’s website as they are confirmed.

      As to whether Diana will “ever” come to Kansas City… without time travel or psychic abilities, that would be hard to tell. :-)

      Another option for books autographed by Diana, the Poisoned Pen bookstore sells new copies of her books with her signature, and they ship to anywhere in the world. There is no extra charge for Diana’s signature, only the cost of the book(s) and shipping. Look under Diana’s Resources menu on this website for more information.


  4. We discovered your epic stories by accident, attending a Highland festival to link with our roots. I have read nine books [including Seven Stones],some of them twice and am desperately awaiting “…the Bees”. I am also starting the Lord John series while I wait. My husband is reading them as well and we have watched years 1-3 twice! We are both in our 70′s and your magnificent creation has rejuvenate our interest in life beyond sailing! We plan to visit Scotland and Ireland to follow our roots in 2020, hoping for some of the magic to rub off! Thank you for the inspiration!

  5. Wishing you a wonderful birthday! Have a great day!

  6. Happy Birthday, Diana!

  7. I’ve read all your books several times. Each time they move me. I cried again just now with empathy for the enormous heart-bursting love that a parent has for their child. Thank you again Diana.

  8. Dear Diana,

    I’m a french woman, so first I apologize for the mistakes I may write. I do my best but I know it’s not perfect.
    I’ve just finished the last book of the serie Outlander (I’ve read it in french, it would have take too long to read it in english. The french translation is really good!) and I wanted to thak you for the hours I spent with Claire and Jamie and the beautiful journey I had thanks to your writing.
    By chance, I watched the serie on Netflix one night. My husband and I fell in love with it at first sight. Then one of my english student told me about the books and I was offered the first one for Christmas. I bought the whole collection quickly after because I could’nt stop reading it! My husband has almost finished also…
    I am 51 and I felt as if I was 15 while reading the books. Now, my new challenge is to learn scottich gaelic. I fell in love with the sonority of that language. I wish I could visit Scotland as well, as soon as possible.
    So, now I’m starting to read “Seven stones to stand or fall” because I can’t leave the characters you made me discover and love.
    I swear I’ll try one of your books in english one day!
    I must say it in french to finish : BRAVO!!! Outlander is one of the most beautiful love story and you are a remarkable writer.

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