As some of you who follow the discussions on Compuserve may be aware, in recent weeks I have been reading CROSS STITCH for the first time (thanks again to Judy Lowstuter for bringing me a copy from Scotland!) and finding myself alternately fascinated and horrified by the differences between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH. (And I'm not the only one, judging by the reaction on Compuserve.)

I had always thought that the only difference between the two books (aside from minor changes in spelling, punctuation, and word choice to conform to British standards -- "vacation" becomes "holiday", single quotes used instead of double quotes in dialogue, and so on) were a half-dozen added references to Frank, and the sex scene in Chapter 22 ("Raiders in the Rocks") which was deleted from CROSS STITCH at the UK editor's request. And in fact, those are the only changes that Diana usually mentions, when asked about the differences.

Much to my surprise, I'm finding quite a few other changes, most of them minor, but some that change the entire tone or emphasis of a scene from the way it appears in the original.

I won't attempt to list every single difference here! I didn't write most of them down, for one thing, and for another, I have no interest in combing through the text word-by-word looking for every single place where changes occurred! The examples I've listed here are things that have jumped out at me during the reading of CROSS STITCH.

The first thing I noticed was that the "horses" in OUTLANDER have become "ponies" in CROSS STITCH. Almost as though someone did a search-and-replace throughout the whole book. Very odd.

A few of the characters' names are spelled differently in CROSS STITCH: Alick instead of Alec, and Callum instead of Colum. And if you've read the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, you won't be surprised to hear that the date at the beginning of CROSS STITCH says 1946, not 1945. (Personally, I think 1946 makes a lot more sense.)

Here are some of the specific examples I've noticed where OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH are different. Please note, all quotes from OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH listed below are copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.


The scene where Claire sees Jamie's scars for the first time is missing about a page in CROSS STITCH:

"Lobsterbacks. For escape and theft." I didn't know what to say to this, so said the first thing that came to mind. "What were you escaping from?" (CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, p. 95)
"Lobsterbacks. Flogged me twice, in the space of a week. They'd ha' done it twice the same day, I expect, were they not afraid of killing me. No joy in flogging a dead man."
I tried to keep my voice steady while I sponged. "I shouldn't think anyone would do such a thing for joy."
"No? You should ha' seen him."
"The redcoat captain that skinned my back for me. If he was not precisely joyous, he was at least verra pleased with himself. More nor I was," he added wryly. "Randall was the name."
"Randall!" I couldn't keep the shock from my voice. Cold blue eyes fixed on mine.
"You're familiar with the man?" The voice was suddenly suspicious.
"No, no! I used to know a family of that name, a long time, oh, a long time ago." In my nervousness, I dropped the sponge cloth.
"Drat, now that will have to be boiled again." I scooped it off the floor and bustled to the fireplace, trying to hide my confusion in busyness. Could this Captain Randall possibly be Frank's ancestor, the soldier with the sterling record, gallant on the field of battle, recipient of commendations from dukes? And if so, could someone related to my sweet gentle Frank possibly be capable of inflicting the horrifying marks on this lad's back?
I busied myself at the fire, dropping in a few more handfuls of witch hazel and garlic, setting more cloths to soak. When I thought I could control my voice and face, I came back to Jamie, sponge in hand.
"Why were you flogged?" I asked abruptly.
It was hardly tactful, but I badly wanted to know, and was too tired to phrase it more gently.
He sighed, moving his shoulder uneasily under my ministrations. He was tired, too, and I was undoubtedly hurting him, gentle as I tried to be.
"The first time was escape, and the second was theft--or at least that's what the charge sheet read."
"What were you escaping from?" (OUTLANDER, pp. 60-61 hardcover ed.)

I think the altered scene comes off as MUCH less horrific than the original.


In the scene where Claire meets Geillie, she's collecting wood sorrel instead of the scarlet-capped Ascaria mushrooms in OUTLANDER:

"Those kind are poison," said a voice from behind me." (OUTLANDER, p. 117 hardcover ed.)
"Those are good for helping the monthlies," said a voice from behind me." (CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, p. 171)

I don't like this change at all, because it seems to make Claire less...exotic? dangerous? In OUTLANDER, Claire is collecting poisonous mushrooms. On purpose (!) And she explains to Geillie exactly what she intends to do with them. In CROSS STITCH, Claire is just collecting medicinal herbs, which would not be at all unusual for the time. That little scene has a different feel, in the original, at least to me.


In the scene just before the wedding, when Claire is walking with the others toward the chapel where she and Jamie will be married, she has a flashback of her wedding to Frank, which is definitely not in my OUTLANDER hardcover:

Thus inescapably pinioned, I squelched up the path to my wedding. Last time -- next time? -- I had been married in a white linen suit with alligator pumps. Frank had worn grey Harris tweed. I caught myself thinking wildly of Uncle Lamb, who had witnessed the wedding. 'Pity to waste the surroundings with this modern stuff,' he had said, casually patting Frank's tweed sleeve. 'It's a genuine eighteenth-century Scottish chapel, you know. You ought to have got yourselves up appropriately, kilts and dirks and long gowns and such.' Looking up at the formidable sight of my intended bridegroom, I had a sudden unhinged vision of Uncle Lamb nodding approvingly. 'Much better,' he said, in my imagination. 'Just the thing.' Rupert and Murtagh were waiting for us in the chapel.... (CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, pp. 273-274)
The part in red above is completely new to me. And interesting, because I see echoes of future events in the series here. Uncle Lamb being present "in spirit" at Claire's wedding to Jamie, just as Frank was present, in spirit, at Bree's wedding in FIERY CROSS. And Claire's fetch standing between Jamie and Laoghaire, at their wedding. I think it's a nice touch to have Claire thinking of Uncle Lamb here.


Here's the bit from chapter 18 ("Raiders in the Rocks") that got cut out of CROSS STITCH:

"Fun, I said, a little faintly. "Yes, quite." His arms tightened around me, and one of the stroking hands dipped lower, beginning to inch my skirt upward. Clearly the thrill of the fight was being transmuted into a different kind of excitement.
"Jamie! Not here!" I said, squirming away and pushing my skirt down again.
"Are ye tired, Sassenach?" he asked with concern. "Dinna worry, I won't take long." Now both hands were at it, rucking the heavy fabric up in front.
"No!" I replied, all too mindful of the twenty men lying a few feet away. "I'm not tired, it's just--" I gasped as his groping hand found its way between my legs.
"Lord," he said softly. "It's slippery as waterweed."
"Jamie! There are twenty men sleeping right next to us!" I shouted in a whisper.
"They wilna be sleeping long, if you keep talking." He rolled on top of me, pinning me to the rock. His knee wedged between my thighs and began to work gently back and forth. Despite myself, my legs were beginning to loosen. Twenty-seven years of propriety were no match for several hundred thousand years of instinct. While my mind might object to being taken on a bare rock next to several sleeping soldiers, my body plainly considered itself the spoils of war and was eager to complete the formalities of surrender. He kissed me, long and deep, his tongue sweet and restless in my mouth.
[etc.... <g>]
I was mildly shocked to realize that I was not even embarrassed. I wondered rather dimly whether I would be in the morning, and then wondered no more.

In the morning, everyone behaved as usual....
(OUTLANDER pp. 250-251 hardcover ed.)

The part in red is all that's left in CROSS STITCH. Really a shame that this scene got cut out!


Another major difference appears to be an attempt to correct (?) the geographical references in chapter 20 ("Deserted Glades").

So that was east. My heart began to beat faster. East was over there, Lag Cruime was directly behind me. Lag Cruime was four miles to the north of Fort William. And Fort William was no more than three miles due west of the hill of Craigh na Dun.
So, for the first time since my meeting with Murtagh, I knew approximately where I was--no more than seven miles from that bloody hill and its accursed stone circle. Seven miles--perhaps--from home. From Frank.

I started back into the copse, but changed my mind."
(OUTLANDER p. 268 hardcover ed.)
So that was east. My heart began to beat faster. If we were as close as I thought to Fort William, then if I followed this small stream, I would eventually reach the Great Glen. And the Great Glen, whatever dangers it held in terms of wild beasts, outlaws and potential starvation, also provided a direct connection between Fort William and Inverness. And near Inverness was the hill I had dreamed of for weeks -- Craigh na Dun. I clenched my fists, feeling the nails dig into my palms. It was the hell of a risk. It could take weeks to make that journey on foot. And I had no shelter other than the cloak I wore, and no food whatever. I would have to depend on what I could find, steal or beg. And run the risks attendant on stealing or begging; any cottars in the Glen were unlikely to receive me with less caution than had Callum MacKenzie.
I started back into the copse, but changed my mind." (CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, p. 374)
I can understand the details being changed in order to make the distances and locations more realistic to readers familiar with Scotland (and I know very little about Scotland's geography so I can't comment on that <g>), but I think the idea that Claire would set out on foot, with no food or water, no shelter, no NOTHING, for a journey that might take weeks, is ridiculous. In OUTLANDER, it makes sense, because she's only a short distance from Craigh na Dun and therefore food, water, and shelter won't be a consideration. In CROSS STITCH, the situation as described above makes her look like a reckless fool, IMHO, which we know she's not. <g>


In the story that Jamie tells about the incident where he was beaten by Angus in Colum's Hall at the age of 16, the reference to Mrs. Fitz is completely gone from the scene in CROSS STITCH, and Jamie's description of what happened is missing many of the details:
"So one day I went too far. Said the wrong thing to the wrong person and came up for judgement before Callum at Hall." He chuckled to himself.
[description of Angus beating him]
He shuddered reminiscently.
[next paragraph is identical in both versions]
"Then I was plunked down on a stool next to Callum, and bid to sit there till Hall was ended."
(CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, pp. 414-15)
"So one day I went too far. I was with a couple of the other lads, going down a corridor when I saw Mistress FitzGibbons at the other end....[then the bit about what Jamie said about her] I didn't know she'd heard, until she got up at the Hall gathering next day and told Colum all about it."
"Oh, dear." I knew how highly Colum regarded Mrs. Fitz, and didn't think he would take any irreverence directed at her lightly. "What happened?"
"The same thing that happened to Laoghaire--or almost." He chuckled.
[description of Angus beating him]
He shuddered reminiscently. "I had the marks for a week."
[next paragraph is identical in both versions]
"Well, I wasna allowed just to go quietly away and tend to my wounds, either. When Angus finished wi' me, Dougal took me by the scruff of the neck and marched me to the far end of the Hall. Then I was made to come all the way back on my knees, across the stones. I had to beg Mrs. Fitz's pardon, then Colum's, then apologize to everyone in the Hall for my rudeness, and finally, I'd to thank Angus for the strapping. I nearly choked over that, but he was verra gracious about it; he reached down and gave me a hand to get up. Then I was plunked down on a stool next to Colum, and bid to sit there till Hall was ended." (OUTLANDER p. 296-97 hardcover ed.)
Again, this seems to be a scene that got toned down for the UK market. Very strange.

If you find this interesting, please check out my other posts in this series:




Anonymous said...

WOW, thanks for all the effort you put into this Karen! I always thought the differences would be so minor it wouldn't be worth the effort to try and track down my own copy of Cross Stitch. I think I'll have to now.
Thanks AGAIN!

Clau said...

Considering the change in the year Claire first travels to the past, I see that if she travels in 1946 and returns two years later, after living in the past for 3 years (1743-46) when she returns to the present she would be 1 year older than she is supposed to be. Or should the date of coming back to the present be changed as well?

Rainer Movinon said...

Thank you Karen, I am actually surprised that Diana agreed to the changes. She doesn't usually write a word without tremendous forethought and meaning behind her work - I am often entertained as she defends different literary segments with such vigour and passion. I can't see the book written any other way. The Raiders scene was pretty tame compared to many of the other sexual interludes =) so why remove it??? It is Jamie and his young and vital personality "exerting" itself. His Viking instincts showing through! I do like the Uncle Lamb wedding section though!

Karen said...

I found the date difference odd as well. Has it ever been explained? 1945 doesn't make much sense because here they are in the highlands in April 1945 and the war didn't end in Europe until May I believe. Maybe it had wound down in the year after D-Day and Frank was already out of the service, but I think 1946 makes more sense. I think the difference throws off Claire's age. Some people say she is 26 and some say 27 when she goes through the stones. In April 1945 she would be 26 if she was born in Oct. 1918, while she would be 27 in 1946. Very puzzling.

Karen Henry said...

Well, Diana Gabaldon admits that she is very bad at dates. I just try to ignore the inconsistencies in the dates in the early books. The editor of CROSS STITCH was right that 1946 would make more sense, though.


Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading Cross Stitch and the Waterweed scene was definately in the book...

Margie said...

Thanks for this very interesting comparison, Karen. In Australia we have Cross Stitch but when I realised there were differences I got Outlander as well (also my 20 year old copy of CS was falling apart) and I think I prefer it especially the waterweed scene lol!
Now that we have the fabulous TV series, interesting to note that almost all of the dialogue is from Outlander, especially noticeable in the scene where they get back to tLeoch and Jamie explains his scars. Truly fascinating to an Outlander tragic! Love your blog.

Claudie said...

I'm so confused... I have outlander (TV tie in) and it doesn't have the waterweed scene :(
Wish it was clear what are buying when you get them... Have reverted to hard copies - but the rest of the series doesn't have lots of differences does it?

Anonymous said...

I have the TV tie in version, too, and I was really annoyed that my husband, who is reading the German version right now on my behalf, gets more sex than I do! :-)
The German version goes into even more detail about how fighting has certain "effects" which somehow makes sense when you compare it to the farewell scene in "Dragonfly".
Guess, I´ll have to try and lay my hands on "Outlander" as well.

Sassenach said...

I am up to Fiery Cross. Outlander through Voyager was the best. I liked Drums better than Fiery Cross which is a little boring. I do enjoy the domestic life of J/C, but not the constant upheaval that follows. She should have ended the series after Drums with the ghost etc. The same phrases, plots, and words used over and over. They ring in my ears each time. I think there is something strange about everyone having a "husky" voice. She also gives me the impression she is trying to reach a varying audience relating to sexual techniques, preferences, and rape sequences. Somewhat odd. DG has an interesting range of thought process. I like reading about J/C's private times but the rest is a little much. For me I could do without the horrid rape scene so detailed. I stopped reading it was so horrible.

Nicole said...

I've been fascinated by the changes reading this. I first read the Outlander book 20 years ago. Although a UK native I originally read Outlander rather than Cross Stitch as I was given the book by an American friend.

Recently I have been re-reading the books after watching the TV series. I have noticed a number of changes between the both books and the TV show.

The more obvious changes to me have been in the medicinal plants. I attributed some of these changes to location. I guess DG originally choose American plants rather than those that would have been found in Scotland or, at least, the UK at that time. However, I hadn't quite realised there were so many differences.

Thanks for posting.

Unknown said...

Cross stitch was released in 1991 before outlander and is therefore the "original" version - so the comparisons karen makes is backward, outlander should be compared to cross stitch as its the version that first came out. Maybe due to the popularity of the books to make them more 'commercially acceptable' the changes were made? And the first book title was changed to match the tv series again to make it more commercially viable! This happens quite a lot in movies, tv and books eg: australian movie "the castle" the father says to one of his sons to move said number of holden (gmh) branded vehicles, in the american version the cars all received american gmh branded names......

Karen Henry said...

No - that is factually incorrect. OUTLANDER was published first, in the US, and CROSS STITCH was published in the UK a short time later.

I agree with you that CROSS STITCH was renamed OUTLANDER after the TV series came out, to make it more commercially viable. But the US edition of the book came first.


Thorunn Sleight said...

It must have been re-added in a later edition.

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