January 21st

Today is January 21st.

If you don't recall the significance of this particular date in the OUTLANDER books, or if you haven't read at least as far as the end of A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES (Book 6 in the OUTLANDER series), there are Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk.









I'm sure I'm not the only one who can't think of today's date without remembering the newspaper clipping about the fire that was supposed to take place on January 21, 1776.
It is with grief that the news is received of the deaths by fire of James MacKenzie Fraser and his wife, Claire Fraser, in a conflagration that destroyed their house in the settlement of Fraser’s Ridge, on the night of January 21 last. Mr. Fraser, a nephew of the late Hector Cameron of River Run plantation, was born at Broch Tuarach in Scotland. He was widely known in the colony and deeply respected; he leaves no surviving children.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "Spark of an Ancient Flame". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

And it was certainly a memorable day, even though things didn't turn out as they expected.
January 21 was the coldest day of the year. Snow had fallen a few days before, but now the air was like cut crystal, the dawn sky so pale it looked white, and the packed snow chirped like crickets under our boots. Snow, snow-shrouded trees, the icicles that hung from the eaves of the house--the whole world seemed blue with cold. All of the stock had been put up the night before in stable or barn, with the exception of the white sow, who appeared to be hibernating under the house.

I peered dubiously at the small, melted hole in the crust of snow that marked the sow’s entrance; long, stertorous snores were audible inside, and a faint warmth emanated from the hole.

“Come along, mo nighean. Yon creature wouldna notice if the house fell down atop her.” Jamie had come down from feeding the animals in the stable, and was hovering impatiently behind me, chafing his hands in the big blue mittens Bree had knitted for him.

“What, not even if it was on fire?” I said, thinking of Lamb’s “Essay on Roast Pork.” But I turned obligingly to follow him down the trampled path past the side of the house, then slowly, slipping on the icy patches, across the wide clearing toward Bree and Roger’s cabin.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "January Twenty-First". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I found the image above on a free clipart site. I think it's just perfect for today, given the significance of this date in OUTLANDER history.


Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , I'm reading "a Breath of Snow and Ashes' right now and I just finished reading that part, very funny that Claire thought Jamie looked like a rabbit , the way he was dressed , I'm glad that nothing happened to them so that us fan can read about Jamie& Claire in more books, please post more soon, Love your Blog. Sincerely Yours .Mary Tormey.

b.helms said...

Love you Karen. You always have the juiciest little tidbits that I missed or, because of my age, have forgotten. Keep 'em coming.

Susanlynn♥ said...

Karen..I just saw a new trailer with some new scenes for Season two on Starz Encore channel ..Jan. 23, 2016

Christi said...

I loved how Diana Gabaldon used the date of the fire as a plot device. The date keeps coming back, first bringing Bree and Roger to the 18th century, then scaring Jamie and Claire, and later, proving that change is possible when time traveling when the date shows up differently when Bree and Roger come back.

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