Happy Birthday, Mandy!

Happy Birthday

Wishing a very happy birthday to Amanda Claire Hope MacKenzie, aka Mandy, who was born on April 21, 1776. That would make her 246 years old, which is rather mind-boggling to contemplate, considering that she was barely five years old when last seen in BEES.

In honor of her birthday, I've updated this collection of some of my favorite quotes by and about wee Mandy, adding a couple of new ones from Diana Gabaldon's latest book. Hope you enjoy them!

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

If you haven't read ALL of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, up to and including GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, there are Major Spoilers below. Read at your own risk!

1) Roger holds his baby girl for the first time.

Roger had never felt so terrified as he did when his newborn daughter was placed in his arms for the first time. Minutes old, skin tender and perfect as an orchid’s, she was so delicate he feared he would leave fingerprints on her--but so alluring that he had to touch her, drawing the back of his knuckle gently, so gently, down the perfect curve of her fat little cheek, stroking the black cobweb silk of her hair with an unbelieving forefinger.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

2) We get our first hint that baby Mandy may have inherited her parents' time-travel gene:

Jamie Fraser took his father’s ruby ring, and held it over the face of his granddaughter. Amanda’s eyes fixed on it at once, and she stuck out her tongue with interest. He smiled, despite the heaviness of his heart, and lowered the ring for her to grab at.

“She likes that well enough,” he said, skillfully removing it from her grip before she could get it into her mouth. “Let’s try the other.”

The other was Claire’s amulet--the tiny, battered leather pouch given to her by an Indian wisewoman years before. It contained assorted bits and bobs, herbs, he thought, and feathers, perhaps the tiny bones of a bat. But in among them was a lump of stone--nothing much to look at, but a true gemstone, a raw sapphire.

Amanda turned her head at once, more interested in the pouch than she had been in the shiny ring. She made cooing noises and batted wildly with both hands, trying to reach it.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

3) Roger and Claire, not long before the MacKenzies returned to the 20th century.

"Mandy's got my mother's hair."

"Oh, good," Claire said dryly. "I'd hate to think I was entirely responsible for it. Do tell her that, when she's older, will you? Girls with very curly hair invariably hate it--at least in the early years, when they want to look like everyone else."

Despite his preoccupation, he heard the small note of desolation in her voice, and reached for her hand, disregarding the fact that she still held a plant in it.

"I'll tell her," he said softly. "I'll tell her everything. Don't ever think we'd let the kids forget you."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "The Minister's Cat". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

4) Jemmy and Mandy at Lallybroch:

"But Mama! Mandy hit me!” came an indignant report from the top of the stairs. Looking up, she could see the top of his head, the light from the window glowing on his hair.

“She did? Well--”

“With a stick!”

“What sort of--”

“On purpose!”

“Well, I don’t think--”

“AND …”--a pause before the damning denouement--“SHE DIDN’T SAY SHE WAS SORRY!”

[...]

“MANDY,” she bellowed. “Say you’re sorry!”

“Non’t!” came a high-pitched refusal from above.

“Aye, ye will!” came Jem’s voice, followed by scuffling. Brianna headed for the stair, blood in her eye. Just as she set her foot on the tread, Jem uttered a piercing squeal.

“She BIT me!”

“Jeremiah MacKenzie, don’t you dare bite her back!” she shouted. “Both of you stop it this instant!"

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, Epilogue I, "Lallybroch". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

5) This scene from ECHO hit me like a gut-punch the first time I read it. Mandy may be only a toddler, but I think she does an amazing job of telling her parents what's wrong and communicating the urgency of the situation. Thank God Bree and Roger took her hysteria seriously!

He made it to Amanda’s room a half step before Brianna and scooped the child out of her bed, cradling her against his pounding heart.

“Jemmy, Jemmy!” she sobbed. “He’s gone, he’s gone. He’s GONE!!” This last was shrieked as she stiffened in Roger’s arms, digging her feet hard into his belly.

"Hey, hey,” he soothed,trying to rearrange her and pet her into calm.“It’s okay, Jemmy’s fine. He’s fine, he’s only gone to visit Bobby overnight. He’ll be home tomorrow.”

“He’s GONE!” She squirmed like an eel, not trying to get away but merely possessed by a paroxysm of frantic grief. “He’s not here, he’s not here!”

"Aye, like I said, he’s at Bobby’s house, he--”

“Not here,” she said urgently, and thumped the palm of her hand repeatedly on the top of her head. “Not here wif me!”

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 85, "Son of a Witch". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

6) Some of you may recall that Diana Gabaldon said repeatedly that she wanted an octopus on the cover of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD. She didn't get that, but I knew there would be an octopus reference in the book somewhere:

Mandy unbuckled her seat belt and popped up on her knees. She’d pulled her arms out of her sweater so they flopped around, and now just her face was poking out of the neckhole.

“I’m an ottopus!” she said, and shook herself so the sweater’s arms danced. Jem laughed, in spite of himself. So did Mam, but she waved Mandy back down.

“Octopus,” she said. “And put your seat belt back on right now. Octo means eight in Latin,” she added. “Octopuses have eight legs. Or arms, maybe.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 99, "Radar". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

7) In spite of the seriousness of the situation, Mandy's counting makes me laugh.

"Go, Mandy. Right now. Mummy will be there before you can count to a hundred. Start counting now. One...two...three..." She moved between Cameron and Mandy, motioning firmly with her free hand.

Reluctantly, Mandy moved, murmuring, "Four...five...six...seven..." and disappeared through the back kitchen door.

[....]

"Think fast,” he shouted up at her. “Your wee lass will hit a hundred and be back any second!”

Despite the situation, Brianna smiled. Mandy had very recently been introduced to the idea that numbers were infinite and had been enchanted by the concept. She wouldn’t stop counting until she ran out of breath or someone stopped her.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 26, "A Step Into the Dark". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

8) I don't have words to express how relieved and grateful I am that the MacKenzies found each other at last.

"Think ye might have lost something,” Buck said gruffly, and handed Mandy carefully down to him. She was a heavy, lively weight in his arms--and smelled of goats.

“Daddy!” she exclaimed, beaming at him as though he’d just come in from work. “Mwah! Mwah!” She kissed him noisily and snuggled into his chest, her hair tickling his chin.

[....]

Roger was crying again, couldn’t stop. Mandy had burrs and foxtails stuck in her hair and in the fabric of her jacket, and he thought she might have wet herself somewhere in the recent past. Buck twitched the reins, as though about to turn and go, and Roger reached out a hand and grabbed his stirrup.

“Stay,” he croaked. “Tell me it’s real.”

Buck made an incoherent noise, and, looking up through his tears, Roger could see that Buck was making an inadequate attempt at hiding his own emotion.

“Aye,” Buck said, sounding almost as choked as Roger. He looped his reins and, sliding off into the road, took Jem very gently into his own arms. “Aye, it’s real."

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 108, "Reality is That Which, When You Stop Believing in It, Doesn't Go Away". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

9) Mandy's encounter with Mrs. Cunningham is just priceless:

“You are a very impertinent child and your father should beat you.”

Mandy went very red in the face and scrambled to her feet, standing on her new seat.

“You go away!” she said. “I fwush you down the toilet!” She slapped her hand at the air, miming a handle. “WOOOSH!”

“What in the name of perdition do you mean by that, you wicked child?” The woman’s face was growing rather red, too. I had stopped in fascination, but now set down the buckets, feeling that I had better take a hand before things escalated. Too late.

“I put you in the toilet and I fwush you like POOP!” Mandy shouted, stamping her feet.

(From GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15, "Which Old Witch?" Copyright© 2021 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

10) Mandy seems to have some abilities that her parents do not. Her ability to sense other people fascinates me. I think it's probably a double dose of the time-travel gene that causes that.

“Is it only her and Jem?” I asked. “Or can they, um, hear other people, too? Like their parents, I mean.”

“I asked her that, and she said they can, aye--but not everybody. Just each other and their parents. And you, but not so much.”

That gave me a shiver that had nothing to do with cold.

“Do they, er, hear you?”

He shook his head.

“Nay, I asked. She says I’m a different color in her head. She kens when I’m near her, but canna feel me at a distance.”

“What color are you?” I asked, fascinated.

He made a small sound of amusement. “Water,” he said.

(From GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 143, "Will I Tell You Something?". Copyright© 2021 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

That's a pretty good analogy for a child her age to come up with. Water is colorless, presumably unlike the glowing "presence" in her mind when she thinks of Jem.

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I hope you enjoyed this collection! Happy Birthday, Mandy MacKenzie, and many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating her!

2 comments

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the Mandy segments, Karen. She is such an unstoppable force of nature, and you have captured her essence in these quotes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Karen! Love our wee Mandy!
-Barb Aanderud

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