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December 20th 1747 Claire’s journal

Finally. Ned heard from the minister reviewing Jamie’s petition. The King’s minister is willing to hear Jamie’s testimony. It’s a terrible risk but we will take it. I have to appear also as I am under suspicion too. We’ll leave Brianna with Jenny and Ian, but Fergus is coming to London with us.

The hearing is scheduled for September and Jamie has parole until then. Ned is bringing it back with him and then Jamie and I have to turn ourselves in to the local garrision for identification and the signing of a loyalty oath.

Ned assured us by letter that we wouldn’t be imprisoned, but that we would probably have restrictions until we are granted official pardons. I hope he’s right. I don’t want to miss more of Brianna’s life than absolutely necessary.


Claire could admit to herself that she was nervous. Scared even. If the local garrison commander was anything like Black Jack, this could all go horribly wrong. Her face must have shown something. Jamie squeezed her hand and kissed it.

“We’ll be alright no nighean donn. Ned is here and will ensure that the law is followed.”

Claire nodded, not trusting her voice. Jamie was carrying Brianna, the Captain had wanted to see her too. Fergus walked between them.

They were ushered into the commander’s office and he stood. Ned was there and he rose to his feet as well.

“I am Captain Oswald George of His Majesty’s Dragoons, and the commander of this garrison.” He bowed to Jamie. “Laird Broch Tuarach.”

If Jamie was surprised, he didn’t show it, just returned the courtesy. “Captain George. Thank you for meeting with us. This is my wife, Lady Claire Fraser.”

“Ma’am.” Captain George bowed and Claire curtsied.

“Please be seated.” Claire sat. Jamie handed her Brianna and then sat taking Fergus onto his lap. The other gentlemen followed. “Your solicitor has provided me with the documents from Minister Pelham’s office. Until you present yourselves to London in the Autumn, I am directed to impose the following conditions on your parole.”

Picking up a parchment, Captain George began to read it.

“You and the Lady Claire may reside in your present home with your children. You will not be permitted to leave your estate. I will send a patrol to your estate every two weeks to ensure that you are abiding by these restrictions. On our side, we will no longer be requisitioning supplies from your estate or tenants. Should a pardon be granted to you and your lady-wife, restitution will be made for the supplies we’ve taken to this point.” Captain George put the parchment down.

“I have to ask Mr. Fraser. Why didn’t you come forward before this? You aren’t required to answer, however, I am most curious. I would have thought you’d want to protect your people.”

“I was wounded during Culloden. I had just finished passing intelligence to Captain Randall when another Scot killed him. As he was falling, I caught him and his sword opened my leg. We fell together and I did’na come fully to my senses until several weeks after. My men had already all been sent home.

I was most fortunate that Colonel Grey recognized me and sent me home to Lallybroch. My wife was delayed by some weeks making her way home, as we had been separated. Without proof that we were loyal, she was afraid of being killed as a traitor. Soldiers were verra quick with the sword in the early days after the battle ye ken.

As soon as she made it home and had retrieved the proof from it’s hiding place at Lallybroch, Claire contacted Ned. I was still in a fever, unable to help. Ned came to Lallybroch and drew up the petition as soon as he could. Then he traveled to London. Since then it’s been a matter of waiting on the Minister.

Claire was with child and we did’na want to risk being arrested until after the bairn was safely born, or I might have taken the risk of turning myself in once I healed.”

“Yes but where were you? We searched Lallybroch many times. We saw neither you nor Lady Fraser.”

“Tis true. Once the bairn came, we stayed in a rundown crofter’s hut deep in the woods. It’s falling apart and does’na look like someone lives in it.”

Jamie gave a wry smile. “It was’na bad. Just peace and quiet with my wife and bairn until Ned brought the parole back. After the previous years trying to stop that idiot Charles Stuart, the rest was a blessed change. My wife is a healer and wit my hunting and her foraging the woods, we had enough to eat without risking the tenants or the rest of the family.”

Claire didn’t say anything. Jamie was such a good storyteller. All she had to do was listen and remember what he was saying so she didn’t trip them up by contradicting him.

“A healer. Are you the famed Stuart Witch then?”

“Some ignorant people have called me that, yes. I’m not a witch, I promise you Captain. I’m a trained healer. There are those who call whatever they don’t understand to be witchcraft. I think the good sisters who trained me would object to the title as well.”

“I meant no disrespect Ma’am. I’m sure an English gentlewoman such as yourself is not given to dabbling in witchcraft.”

“Thank you Captain. That is most reassuring.” Claire worked very hard to keep the sarcasm out of her voice.

The Captain stood. “If there is nothing else, then I should like to introduce you to the members of the patrol that will be checking on you. Sergeant Forrester has requested that his patrol be given the task.

Going to the door, the captain beckoned to someone. A man entered and Claire gasped in surprise.

The Captain turned to look at her. Behind him the sergeant winked at her again. “My daughter just kicked her legs, it took me by surprise.”

The Captain seemed to accept this explanation. “Allow me to present Sergeant Forrester. He and his patrol will be checking in with you every two weeks.”

The sergeant bowed. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Lord Fraser, and to see you again Lady Fraser.

“Have we met Sergeant Forrester?” Claire was a little frightened now.

“It’s quite alright ma’am if you don’t remember. There were so many wounded at Prestonpans. I was only one of the men you treated that day.”

“You were at Prestonpans?”

Sergeant Forrester nodded. “Rather badly wounded too. You got into an argument with some of the Scottish men because you insisted on treating me first.”

“That was you!?”

“Yes. I never did get to thank you properly. The wounded were exchanged before I could. So allow me to express my gratitude now. If it hadn’t been for you I would have bled to death.”

“Yes I remember. A sword wound. I needed to stitch it closed if I remember properly. You lost consciousness about halfway through the process.” When the man blushed Claire continued. “It’s very common with blood loss. Sergeant. The body can only stand to lose so much before it shuts down.”

Forrester looked at her gratefully. “Yes Ma’am.”

“Well. If there is nothing else, would you escort the Frasers and Mr. Gowen to the stables please, Forrester?”


 

 

August 17th 1748 Claire’s journal

We are off to London at last. Since the parole was granted things have been slightly easier. We didn’t have to worry about any of the tenants starving at least. We still suffer under the Dress act and other laws concerning the whole of Scotland. It was hard for the men to give up their plaid, but as I told Jamie. We could still teach the children, we just had to do so quietly. The hearing is set for the seventh of September. After a great deal of discussion, Jamie and I both brought our trunks from France and the clothing we wore then. If we want to be seen as equals by the English, then we need to dress the part.


September 7th 1748 Office of Henry Pelham Minister of England

Claire was seated in front of the Minister in her favorite green dress from Paris, Fergus occupying the other chair. Jamie stood behind her with Ned next to him. Lord Pelham was going over the documents Frank had manufactured and the testimonials they had collected, including one from Sergeant Foresster explaining Claire’s defense and treatment of him at the battle of Prestonpans. It had been witnessed by Captain George.

The two Grey brothers had sent testimonials, explaining their interactions with Jamie.

The last letter was from Mary Randall, stating that she had known of Jamie’s work in France and suggested to her husband that he contact Jamie to spy again. (Claire had visited Mary and asked for her help. Even though Mary had done no such thing, she was happy to help Claire gain Jamie’s freedom.)

“Well. This seems most comprehensive. There is even a statement from a fellow in France attesting to your attempt to stop Charles Stuart from fomenting rebellion in Scotland.” The Prime Minister paused.

“I find myself almost convinced, except for one nagging question. Why? Why would you go against your family and many of your countrymen to spy for the English Crown? You began your relationship with Captain Randall by him having you flogged. Twice if I recall the report. Then he accused you of murder. Why on earth would you then turn around and work with the man?”

Jamie took a deep breath. “I did’na actually work with Captain Randall until the very end Lord Pelham. When my wife and I went to France, my only desire was to gain a pardon. I had not murdered the English soldier, I could’na have, being unconscious at the time. In the process of trying to gain it, I became acquainted with Captain Randall’s brother Alexander.”

“Go on.”

“Alex was the personal secretary to the Duke of Sandringham. He was trying to find proof of the Duke’s Jacobite sympathies. I had met Prince Charles at the French court and Alex approached me to ask for my help in obtaining an audience. I do confess that I did not know he was a spy initially, or that he was related to Captain Randall.

It was only when I encountered Captain Randall at the French court that I was made aware of the connection. Alex overheard me conspiring with a french man to get intelligence on Prince Charles, and realized that we had similar goals. He offered to help me with my pardon if I would spy on the Prince and pass any intelligence on to him.

I agreed for two reasons. I wanted my pardon, and I didn’t want war in Scotland. I’d seen war before. War is devastating no matter which side wins. I didn’t want it coming to my home or my people. The English King was not always the kindest monarch, but at least I knew he would leave us be, if we paid our taxes and did’na rebel. My wife was with child and I wanted peace for my family and tenants. If we could stop Charles from coming to Scotland, the warmongers among us would have no one to rally around.”

“Alright. That explains your behavior in France. Why did you join the Prince in his rebellion in Scotland?”

“At first I had no choice. Charles forged my name on a document of rebellion. Alex had died and I didn’t have any other contacts. It wasn’t until Prestonpans that Captain Randall approached me and asked me to continue spying. I did’na trust him, no completely. Then he gave me a document signed by his commander that attested to my being loyal to King George. I dinna think he trusted me either, but the English needed a spy, and Randall’s wife Mary is a friend to Claire. She suggested me to her husband.

Once I had that document, I was honor bound to try my hardest to bring an end to the rebellion. So I did. I was passing my final report to Captain Randall when the battle on Culloden moor shifted and overtook us. Captain Randall was killed and I was wounded.” Jamie sat back. Either the Prime Minister would believe him, or not.

Lord Pelham turned his gaze on to Claire. “Why did you go to war Lady Fraser? Are you a spy as well?”

Claire laughed at that. “No Lord Pelham. I’d be a terrible spy. My husband often says I have a glass face.

I am a healer. I trained mostly in France under Mother Hildegarde de Gascogne at L’Hopital d’ Anges. I went with Jamie to try and minimize the casualties on both sides. Charles Stuart was an idiot and a braggart.

I couldn’t stop the battles, but I could try and make sure that as few men as possible died due to that man’s ego. Particularly the tenant farmers who didn’t want to fight but were trapped by their oaths of loyalty to their Lairds and the English soldiers doing their duty to King George. I fully supported my husband in trying to stop the rising. We are both loyal subjects of King George II of England and always have been.”

“Quite. According to Captain George you signed the loyalty oath with no hesitation.” Pelham leaned back and sighed.

“Despite the fact that the uprising still happened, it could have been much worse if we had not received intelligence prior to Prestonpans. What was the intelligence you gave to Captain Randall as we never received it?”

“That if the battle failed, Charles Stuart planned to dress as a woman, escape by boat to the Isle of Skye and from there travel back to France.” Jamie said promptly.

“It’s a damned shame Randall was killed then. We could have had Stuart had we known.”

Jamie wisely did not respond except to nod.

Lord Pelham reached for a quill and signed the pardons on his desk. “Lord Fraser. I will give one copy of each pardon to my clerk to file with the relevant office, and one copy for you and your wife to keep on hand. Scotland is rather distant and I’d hate for you to be arrested before the garrisons stationed there, receive word that the warrants against you have been withdrawn. I would recommend that you travel back to your home with the provided escort and stay on your estate until the end of the year at least.”

So saying, Lord Pelham stamped all four copies of the pardon with his seal, handed two to Ned, and called for his clerk to show them out.


Back in their rooms at the inn…

“That was...rather anticlimactic. I expected more questions.” Claire was grateful but a bit bemused.

“I dinna care. We’re free. We can go home and raise Brianna and Fergus and any other bairn God sees fit to send us, in peace at Lallybroch.”

“Any other bairn? Are you asking me something James Fraser?” Claire’s look was naughty.

“Aye.” Jamie pulled her towards him…