• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —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.

8 Responses »

  1. Wishing you the very happiest birthday, Diana!

  2. hi
    I’m French now a retired English teacher . I came across your books through the Netflix serie Outlander which I enjoyed very much. Then I bought the books which were not part of the serie and I have read them all “thanks” to the lockdown we faced last spring and again this fall . Now Iam dying to read the last one “go and tell the bees ” but unfortunately the epidemic seems to have put a lot of things at a stand still . So as a way to help me wait I read the excerpts you allow us access to but Iam still eager to know when the book is due to be published as apparently the new season of Outlander seems to suffer delays due to that same virus
    friendly yours

    • Hi,

      Nice to hear from you!

      But as Diana and I have said a quad-jillion times, the publication date will be prominently announced on her webpages when known!

      To all dear readers who ask this question: I feel like I am stuck in a time loop, running round and round in a giant gerbil wheel, answering the same question over and over. Many readers asking when BEES will be released over and over does NOT make the process any faster! Please free me by reading the posts Diana has written about the publishing process, etc.

      Love you all, but my legs are tired… :-)

      Ever hopeful,

      Loretta M.
      Diana’s Webmistress

      P.S.: Lately I’m answering and approving many readers’ web comments because Diana is busy finishing BEES — and today she is enjoying chocolate on her 69th birthday. She does read all of your comments submitted.

      • Thank you for the work you do, Loretta! Happy New Year to you too! Love these tidbits provided under the Daily Lines! I am being patient (as patient as is possible!) so please give your legs some rest!

        Thank you again!

  3. Happy Birthday Diana.

    I have been working my way though the audiobook versions of the books again. Even though I have read or listened to them many times I always discover something new. I am continually (thrilled, impressed, delighted) by the depth and richness of the stories. I feel as though I am visiting with old friends. I’m glad for the little snippet from Bees that have been posted, but I’ll be patient waiting for the book because I’m sure the next book will be as full of deliciousness as the others.

  4. Happy happy birthday Diana,
    I am so grateful for these little snippets getting us through until the next book is ready for us- I know we are so ready for it! I really appreciate the amount of depth and research that goes into these artworks and so I keep reminding myself of how much goes into writing and birthing a book. So wonderful to have you here on this earth Diana and to see what an impact you and your stories have had on so many. Enjoy your chocolate and hope you have a very sweet cozy capricorn day. My birthday was only a few days ago so sweet to think that we are both Capricorns :)

  5. Diana,
    The happiest of Birthdays To you!! Hope it has been a day of joy and health spent with the ones you love! All the best!

    Brenda Peterson

  6. Happy birthday Diana. Hope you enjoyed your family and have a good and peacefull year. I too had my birthday at 11 january, actual 57 years. I enjoy your books and read them in spanish and english a lot of times. I am a Doctor, pediatrician, in Chile, and love your search and well described diseases and treatment available on those times.

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