Outlander Imagined 310 Onwards To Jamaica
I feel this section of the story is our opportunity to skim over the details, perhaps in a quick succession of shots, reflecting the trials and tribulations of the men Claire attended to on the HMS Porpoise. I for one don’t want to spend too much screen time on seeing the desperately ill and dying, but we do need to see Claire doing her best to help. The story is more about her obligation to help causing her separation from Jamie, so it has to be worth it. Then of course we have the issue of the sailor who knows a little too much about Jamie. The young acting Captain Leonard, by a slip of the tongue reveals he knows Claire is Claire Fraser and not Claire Malcolm despite using that name in the ships logbook. Claire seizes an opportunity to read the logbook and sees an entry regarding a seaman named Harry Tompkins recognising Jamie as being Jamie Roy as well as the printer Alexander Malcolm, the known criminal and seditionist and smuggler. They plan to arrest Jamie when they meet the Artemis again to return Claire.
Claire’s next mission is to discover the man known as Harry Tompkins. She hears he was press ganged into the ship in Edinburgh, and was very angry about it, pleading he was a customs agent working for Sir Percival Turner. But having no papers his pleas were disregarded. However, she has still not seen the man. This situation is remedied when he is brought to her cabin with an injured leg. His face bears the scars of burns, he has only one functioning eye. This is he man Young Ian thinks he killed, the man with whom he fought in the printshop, causing it to burn down. He knows who Claire is, they are both wary. By use of subtle “medical” threats, Claire gets him to talk, revealing Sir Percival’s plan to arrest Jamie, smuggler, seditionist, and Jacobite all, as a self-serving way to get ahead.
Days pass with scant progress in halting the disease, Claire identifies the source of infection. In a moment of calm Claire finds some peace watching the sun setting over the ocean.
Claire’s young assistant, Elias Pound, succumbs to the disease. Claire, depressed and sad at the passing of the young man and the futility of the whole situation finds a secluded place on deck. In frustration she begins to pound on the rail with her bare hands, but is stopped by a man she has never seen before. He is obviously a gentleman, dressed well, if not in fresh clothes. They talk of the responsibility of holding men’s lives in their hands, a responsibility not to be taken lightly. They feel the weight of it. He notices Claire’s reddened, cracked hands and feels shamed that he has been keeping himself locked away in his cabin. A passing steward notices the man, shocked that he is out of his cabin, he convinces the man to return at once. After he has left, Claire asks who the man is. She is informed that he is, the new Governor of Jamaica, Lord John Grey.
Land is not far away as Claire seeks assistance, from the Swedish woman who is looking after the goats, to escape the ship without the knowledge of the Captain. Claire’s first attempt is thwarted. Realisation dawns, there is only one way to leave the ship – she must jump overboard. This she does at night, relying on the currents to draw her near to land. Hispaniola awaits her as she spends hours drifting in the warm ocean current. Washing up on a muddy mangrove lined shore, weak from work and worry, Claire disentangles herself from the ropes which bound her to the casks which allowed her to float. As the sun rises, Claire begins to struggle with the heat.
Claire continues through the seemingly never ending mangroves, becoming at first thankful for shade, then alarmed when she sees the massive clouds forming thunderheads as a storm approaches. Skin drenching sheets of rain hit as the sea level rises. Claire finds shelter in a large tree as lightning strikes and wind screams around her. She wedges herself into the tree aside a small stream. Exhausted she drifts off to sleep, waking in bright sunlight. Dirty, disheveled, dehydrated and desolate she ponders what happened to the Porpoise in the storm, and wonders how she will ever find Jamie (whose vessel is presumably far behind).
The thick vegetation makes walking in the stream the only viable option. Upon resting she absentmindedly speaks to a mudskipper, which surprisingly, seems to answer back. Thankfully the fish did not speak, but a man did. He is stunned to see Claire. The man is Lawrence Stern, Doctor of Natural Philosophy from Munich, a naturalist. Claire introduces herself as Claire Fraser, Mrs James Fraser, a Doctor of Medicine. Mr Stern is gracious, taking her to a home owned by his acquaintance, Father Fogden.
Father Fogden is rather odd, perhaps a combination of dementia, grief and alcoholism is to blame. His housekeeper, Mamacita is decidedly worse, apparently a quite malevolent being. She is the mother of Father Fogden’s late wife. Father Fogden himself is upset over the loss of a beloved sheep. Sailors have slaughtered and cooked her. Stern asks Claire if she knows James Fraser of Edinburgh. He met Jamie in a drinking establishment, and they had discussions regarding spiders. Stern mentions one of the sailors who killed the sheep wore a hook for a hand. Claire drops a cup in shock, fearful she will find they have left. Stern finally manages to convey the fact that the ship and sailors are still on the beach.
Stern and Father Fodgen take Claire along the path to the beach. The ship is the Artemis. Claire runs towards it, eyes searching for Jamie. She see Fergus and Marsali. Claire is chilled to her core despite the tropical heat – Jamie is not there – Fergus doesn’t know where he is. Jamie had boarded the Porpoise to rescue Claire, and found her gone. He is knocked out and captured. Upon awakening he attacks the Captain who says Claire is lost overboard. Jamie is knocked out again, this time not caring if he ever wakes.
But wake he does, with the ship in the throes of the same storm which drenched Claire. Alone in a room he is buffeted from one side to the other as the ship is tossed around. He is longing to die, to join Claire when the door opens. It is the goat lady, pulling him out she tells him Claire is not dead, as she guides him to the rail and pushes him overboard telling him to go find her.
Jamie wakes surrounded by children. They speak in heavily accented Creole French teasing each other about the ships they have seen, one of which is the Bruja. Hope now dwells within him, firstly that Claire may still be alive and secondly that he on the trail of the Bruja – the vessel which abducted Young Ian. The children take him to their mother’s taverna.
Meanwhile repairs to the Artemis are almost complete. Marsali endears herself to Father Fogden by sharing a Scottish sheep dip recipe. Claire is almost unable to function fearing what has happened to Jamie. While they are inspecting the vessel soldiers appear, Fergus sends Marsali and Claire to hide in the bushes as the soldiers approach the ship. By some strange unknown miracle the leader of the soldiers is Jamie who orders everyone to remain quiet while he speaks to Fergus. The soldiers are to assist the crew to relaunch the ship. The crew are confused by Jamie’s sudden reappearance as a French soldier, fearful they will give Jamie away Fergus orders the men to sing as they rig the ship to sail. Claire and Marsali remain hidden as the work progresses. Eventually Jamie needs to relieve himself and heads to the bushes. Claire moves through the undergrowth making herself visible to Jamie who screams, then has to make excuses to the other guards that he has seen a snake. Jamie and Claire converse briefly, mainly asking why Claire did the things she did, like jumping overboard. But their discussion will have to wait. Jamie must get back to the beach. He orders Claire and Marsali to stay at threat of a beating, he dashes towards the beach. Claire is catching her breath as he pushes back through the foliage, taking her in his arms and kissing her thoroughly, saying “I forgot. I love you,” he said, giving me another shake for emphasis. “And I’m glad you’re no dead. Dinna do that again!” Jamie releases her and he crashes back into the brush and disappeared
Still unsure of what is happening Claire and Marsali obey until it clear they can approach the ship. The soldiers helped get the vessel afloat, then Jamie ordered them to board, as they did so they were tied up and put below deck. Jamie is now the ship’s captain. Claire enters his cabin, finding him naked (well we’ll look forward to THAT won’t we), as he washes he tells Claire of his plan for her, to get her naked, then he’ll make her start to make squeaking noises, then pant, then bleat, then see what other noises she “doesn’t” make…
Marsali interrupts them, determined, she needs Jamie to keep his promise – she wants Fergus. They have reached the Indies she and Fergus must now be married. Father Fogden can perform the ceremony. It is settled and arranged. Dresses are organised, people are cleaned up to look their best. In the dark of night, on the beach, their wedding takes place. Marsali Jane MacKimmie Joyce is joined in marriage with Fergus. Jamie himself confirms Fergus’s name. It is Fergus Claudel Fraser. He is Jamie’s son. Jamie cannot imagine what Marsali is going to write to Laoghaire explaining the marriage.
Marriage means responsibilities and Fergus must now earn something to keep himself and Marsali. He has arranged for a cargo of foul smelling bat guano to be taken from Barbados to Jamaica, earning 50% the profit. The recipient of the fertiliser is a sugar planter named Mr Grey.
Claire is to be faced with a cultural challenge surpassing any she has endured in her leap between centuries. A slave market. She, Fergus, Marsali and Murphy walk to the market to search for Young Ian. It is degrading beyond belief. Claire is outraged at the inhumanity and indignity she sees. She becomes separated from the others and finds herself in a crowd where a one armed slave is to be auctioned. Claire cannot restrain herself and hits the auctioneer with the parasol Murphy insisted she use. Murphy and Fergus come to her aid, as well Jamie arrives just in time. The only way to save any violence is for Jamie to buy the one armed slave. His name is Temeraire. Claire is now shocked to find they are now slave owners. Jamie has also had information from Jared’s Masonic contacts regarding slaves sold from the vessel on which Young Ian is being held. The name Mr Abernathy of Rose Hall Jamaica is listed in slave contract paperwork.
They prepare to leave the harbour continuing their search for the ship carrying Young Ian. A stench worse than the bat guano reaches them. It is coming from the burning grounds, the place dead slaves are burned. Jamie has the ship turn about so they can check for Young Ian. The pyres are just beginning to burn as Jamie and Claire enter. Jamie plunges into the smoke, clawing at the bodies and fire. Young Ian is not there. Jamie is horror stricken and dives into the water to try and cleanse himself of the stench and soot.
The wind freshens and they sail for Jamaica.