TFC: Chapter 4: Wedding Gifts

audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

January 22nd, 2013, 3:19 pm #1



:bagpipe: The discussion is open to Outlander, The Exile, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, all of the Lord John stories, The Scottish Prisoner, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross and The Outlandish Companion. The spoiler policy can be found here. If you would like to discuss topics which cover subsequent books, please go here: The Fiery Cross Spoiler Thread


The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

Part 1: In Medias Res
Chapter 4: Wedding Gifts


Roger is contemplating what to get Brianna as a wedding gift and remembers an amusing scene from his youth in which a man got his wife a new iron and she hit him with it and thought she killed him. Brianna is practical, while Roger has a romantic streak, but he decides that romantic is better for a wedding gift.

He is surprised to discover Duncan Innes, who wishes to speak to him. Apparently Duncan, like Roger, is a Presbyterian and is wondering whether he needs to tell Jocasta and Jamie before the wedding that evening because he has heard Jamie speaking of Roger’s religion. Roger concludes that he need not tell – they wouldn’t want to baptize Duncan as he feared, after all, and the marriage service will not be a mass. Plus, the main issue the Catholic priest brought up to Roger was raising the children Catholic, and children aren’t an issue for Duncan and Jocasta. Duncan brings up the "for richer, for poorer” part and for the first time Roger realizes that, like Duncan, he is marrying a rich – or potentially rich – woman, whereas he himself has almost nothing, and that people are certainly gossiping about that.

Duncan requests a yard of velvet, intending to get lavender from Claire and ask Lizzie to sew a pillow for Jocasta. Jocasta has trouble sleeping due to “megrims” and Duncan’s mother slept better on a lavender pillow. Roger is touched by Duncan’s thoughtfulness.

Roger finally decides that although Bree has the cabochon ruby ring, that is her father’s ring and he wants her to have one from him. He purchases a cheap copper and brass one that will likely turn her finger green, but that will just mark her as his even if she takes it off.


- Were you surprised that this was Roger’s point of view after the first three chapters were Claire’s? Would you have expected to get Jamie’s or Brianna’s POV before Roger’s? On the other hand, if I remember correctly, we got Roger’s POV earlier than both of theirs in Dragonfly in Amber, so maybe this is just following that pattern.

- Did you expect Duncan to think of such a sweet and considerate gift for Jocasta? What have you thought about their relationship and plans to marry? Has this gift changed that at all?

- What did you think about keeping Duncan’s religion a secret from Jocasta and Jamie? Were you surprised that that was Roger’s conclusion? Do you think this decision could come back to haunt Duncan or even Roger in the future? Does this last minute concern of Duncan’s foreshadow a different last minute concern that comes up before the wedding at River Run later in this book?

- Is a ring the best gift for Brianna? I understand Roger’s desire to give her one that was just from him, but could he have come up with something both romantic and practical for his very limited funds?

- Had you thought about the relative wealth of Roger and Bree – at least potentially - in this time, and the fact that people would be gossiping about that? Their prospects were far more balanced in the 20th century, where Brianna had wealth left her by her parents and could get a good job, and Roger was both a history professor and performer. It wouldn’t have been an issue in their own time, but here Roger lacks wealth and the skills to gain it, so they do seem much different in that respect and Roger looks like he could be marrying for money/property.

- Initially, I thought the title had just the obvious meaning, since both Duncan and Roger purchased wedding gifts for their brides. However, just having typed the previous comment/question about wealth, I was wondering whether there is also the gift to the men of their wives’ wealth, as well as whatever the women see in their grooms-to-be, as Roger mentions. What do you think? Am I twisting things too far to find deeper meaning? :bigsmile:
Quote

DLT
Clan Fraser
DLT
Clan Fraser
Joined: May 26th, 2012, 7:06 am

January 22nd, 2013, 3:59 pm #2

I don't think it would be possible to keep a secret from Jocasta and Jamie for long, so surely it would have been better to sort out any differences of religion before they tied the knot.

I did think it strange that Roger chose a ring as a wedding gift, especially as she already had one and the one he bought is very plain, but perhaps there was not much available at the gathering. Come to think of it, where did Roger get the money for the ring?
I don't recall this ring ever being mentioned again in the book, so perhaps it is more of a token of love.
Quote

Joined: September 9th, 2011, 7:02 pm

January 22nd, 2013, 4:12 pm #3

ABL, I had not thought about the POV - I would like to get more of Roger's POV throughout the books. His perspective always adds a certain richness, IMHO.

Duncan's gift for Jocasta was very touching, and it definitely changed my opinion of their relationship. There seems to be a genuine fondness, at least on Duncan's part. We will have to wait and see about Jocasta. Duncan is such a dear, gentle soul. :hug:

I'm not sure about the religion issue. It seems to me that Jamie would know Duncan's religious affiliation since they spent so much time and Ardsmuir, and religion was definitely an issue among the men there.

Roger's thought process in selecting Brianna's gift is delightful. Imagine the difference had he been searching for her gift in their own time! The choices would have been completely different, and, yet, the fact that Roger has to give so much thought about just the right item because of lack of funds and gift choices, is so much more meaningful than going to a department store and making an easy selection. Loved the story about the iron!!!

Your observation about the title and the gifts the women were bringing to the men was great! I had not thought about that, but it is definitely a consideration and not "twisting things too far"! Another gift the men are bringing to the women is their devotion, which is shown by their desire to find pleasing, meaningful gifts for their wives. :<3:
Quote

audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

January 22nd, 2013, 5:06 pm #4

DLT - Good question about where Roger got even the small amount of money he had. I wondered that too. :thinking: And, I also don't recall this ring being mentioned again. I'll keep an eye out for it, but after all this debate and decision on Roger's part, it seems like something that might have been mentioned again somewhere, if briefly. Hmmmm.

TrudyJ - Duncan specifically indicates that he didn't mention his religion at Ardsmuir because he knew it could be an issue and didn't want to make it one in close quarters. And, that it never came up with Jamie later since Jamie never asked Duncan to attend Mass with him or anything. So, I really don't think Jamie is aware of it. I suspect he never gave it much thought and just assumed Duncan was Catholic. Interesting thought about how different gift whopping would have been in the 20th century. Glad you didn't think I was twisting things too far with my thoughts on deeper meaning for the chapter title. :D
Quote

Joined: July 26th, 2012, 9:00 pm

January 22nd, 2013, 6:26 pm #5

audiobooklover wrote: - Were you surprised that this was Roger’s point of view after the first three chapters were Claire’s? Would you have expected to get Jamie’s or Brianna’s POV before Roger’s? On the other hand, if I remember correctly, we got Roger’s POV earlier than both of theirs in Dragonfly in Amber, so maybe this is just following that pattern.
Claire is the default POV in Outlander. She not only narrates what she sees through her eyes but almost always is the anonymous third person when DG switches to that. I'm always surprised when we see something from another's point of view. POV with DG is always interesting. I find it helpful that Davina Porter narrates the third party POV in Claire's voice.

I find it interesting that Roger realizes that he is marrying a potentially wealthy woman, comparable to Duncan marrying Jocasta. This is the first time Roger comes to grips with this and it's interesting how he wonders others will view his marriage....will it be in this light?
Jerry


"Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha' been a good deal easier if you'd only been a witch."
Quote

repoman
Clan Fraser Veteran
Joined: February 16th, 2011, 9:47 am

January 22nd, 2013, 6:40 pm #6

ABL, Thank you for your thoughtful discussion of this chapter. I found the similarities between Duncan and Roger quite ironic, both Presbyterian males marrying women related to Jamie, and both nearly penniless.

Where did Roger get the coins? Maybe from entertaining in the evenings during the Gathering? Claire did not seem to get coin for her services... Well, this is one place where we must grant Diana Gabaldon some artistic license, I guess.

I don't think that religion was all that important in either relationship, considering the lack of clergy in either of their communities. And, none of the partners in the two marriages seemed to be too fanatical about religion. Even Jamie discloses to Claire that he was using his objection for his own purposes.

I was definitely impressed with Duncan's thoughtfulness in designing a gift that recalled his mother and would be helpful to Jocasta. His consideration of her comfort does seem to merit Jocasta's selection of him as her mate, in addition to practical business considerations.

As for Roger's relationship with Brianna, they had decided their mutual attraction long before. In Drums of Autumn, Chapter 3, they both declare their feelings.

Sorry, Jerry, I disagree about Roger first considering the difference in their wealth here. Roger had those thoughts back in Drums, Chapter 4, when visiting Brianna in Boston, he considered Brianna's designer jeans and new Mustang in relation to his faculty salary supplemented with minstrel duties. I think that Roger did not consider his lack of wealth here, until Duncan's comment, because he had resolved this issue in his own mind long before. Besides, HE knew the tenuous nature of Jamie's apparent wealth.

I am also curious about Roger's selection of a ring and any future appearance. I do think that he chose wisely. The ring is the symbol of their marriage and should be from him. The copper coloring her finger has some interesting symbolism. The copper oxidation turning her hand green is a reminder of his green eyes. This especially contrasts with Brianna's red hair and complexion.
Quote

Anam-Charaid
Clan Fraser
Joined: September 19th, 2009, 5:20 pm

January 22nd, 2013, 9:42 pm #7

Wonderful summary, ABL :bow: Thank you.

After everyone's astute comments I have two of my own. I loved the change in POV to Roger. I love being in Roger's head, the switch enhanced the telling and opened the story a bit.

As for the gift, I wholeheartedly approved of Roger's choice I even chuckled when he thought it would turn her finger green. I didn't think it was a tie to his eyes, but rather a very masculine, territorial reaction. The woman is his and he's leaving his mark. Good for him! :flower:

But the wine had been too strong for her, as it had for the others; and like the others she had stepped from the safe shores of friendship. She stood now in another country, whose sun burned and whose air was too rare for her breathing. Checkmate
Quote

audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

January 22nd, 2013, 9:49 pm #8

Awwww, thanks A-C. :oops:

Oh, and one more random little thing: Duncan plans to ask Lizzie to sew the pillow for him. I wondered when Duncan got to know Lizzie to ask her a favor like that - not that she'd mind, but I might have thought he would have asked one of the slaves or someone that he knows better. I guess he did visit the Ridge when he announced the wedding plans, so maybe it was then? :thinking:
Quote

repoman
Clan Fraser Veteran
Joined: February 16th, 2011, 9:47 am

January 22nd, 2013, 11:03 pm #9

RE: Duncan and Lizzie. Yes, Duncan did visit Fraser's Ridge and more than once. Recall that he has been acting as Jamie's agent in recruiting settlers for the Ridge. I am guessing that the MacGillivrays and the Chisholms were referred by Duncan? In return, Jamie promised him a plot of land at Fraser's Ridge. I suppose that Duncan will not need that now?

Also, Duncan was likely at River Run when Brianna and Lizzie first arrived there.

ABL, you do ask a good question about Duncan having one of the River Run servants sew the pillow. I am guessing that Duncan wanted to keep this a surprise from Jocasta by keeping it out of their camp. Also, Duncan planned to get the lavender from Claire. So, the pillow would be nearby for Lizzie to add the lavender when it is sewed up.
Quote

audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

January 23rd, 2013, 12:16 am #10

Was Lizzie at River Run when Brianna first arrived there? I thought Lizzie was ill and stayed with a kind couple while Brianna went to Fergus' trial to find Jamie and then went to River Run with Jamie, but still without Lizzie. Maybe she joined Bree there? I'm not sure it was clearly explained actually, but I assume Lizzie went up to the Ridge with Ian and Fergus after Jamie and Brianna rushed back to see Claire.

And, I agree that in order to keep it a secret from Jocasta, Duncan would have liked to have it made outside their camp.
Quote

repoman
Clan Fraser Veteran
Joined: February 16th, 2011, 9:47 am

January 23rd, 2013, 1:00 am #11

ABL - You are referring to Drums of Autumn, Chapter 41, Journey's End. Yes, Hans Viorst, the boatman, took Brianna and Lizzie to the home that he shared with his sister, Hanneke, downstream from (short of) Cross Creek due to Lizzie's illness. Hanneke cared for Lizzie whileBrianna borrowed the Viorsts' mule to scout Cross Creek where she met her father at a tavern. My assumption is that Jamie and Brianna meet Ulysses in town and take the wagon to the Viorsts' home. (And return their mule.)

(Sadly, I don't think that we hear from the kindly Viorsts again.)

In the next scene of that chapter, "a sturdy black groom with an improbable Scottish accent" (Ulysses?) carried Lizzie to her father's wagon piled with glass and fragrant wood. They traveled to River Run where Brianna is overwhelmed by hands everywhere caring for them as if by magic.

That next Monday Brianna went to court with Jamie and with "peculiarly familiar" Marsali for Fergus' trial. During the trial, Lizzie was being cared for at River Run. She was treated with the "Jesuit bark" that she desperately needed.

After the trial and a celebration at River Run, Ian, Fergus, and Marsali took the wagon back to the Ridge while Jamie and Brianna rode ahead. You are correct that Lizzie stayed at River Run to be nursed to health. During that time she was likely to have made the acquaintance of Duncan Innes. Meanwhile, Brianna met her mother at Fraser's Ridge. Lizzie appeared at the Ridge in Drums, Chapter 43 with Ian.
Quote

audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

January 23rd, 2013, 2:21 am #12

Thanks repoman. Very thorough explanation. Glad I remembered some of it accurately. ;)
Quote

Lady Jayne
Clan Fraser
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 7:41 pm

January 23rd, 2013, 3:00 am #13

Very nice summary, Audiobooklover, and as usual wonderful discussions, everyone.

Did anyone else feel that Duncan was hiding in the bushes? At first we have Roger walking amidst a plume of smoke ("clouds of woodsmoke billowed ghostlike through the trees") and as he continues on his trail he thinks he sees a flash of red, "like the glimpse of a cardinal. Bigger than the average bird though." (This wording makes me think of Big Bird on Sesame Street :) ). Duncan, who is wearing the Campbell tartan, appears nodding shyly. As they proceed to the tinkers, the trail is now clear of smoke. They can see clearly now. Perhaps this is a reference to both men having a chance to talk frankly as they head off to buy wedding gifts for their respective brides.

I also thought the copper and brass ring was a suitable gift. Roger and Brianna have come full circle and the ring is a symbol of their unbroken love. This ring also makes me think of the ring Jamie gives to Claire when they return to Castle Leoch from their "honeymoon." Jamie had also used his father's ruby ring to wed Claire, but he wanted to present her with his own ring. :<3:
Quote

Joined: January 14th, 2012, 8:49 pm

January 23rd, 2013, 5:13 am #14

Thanks abl for the summary! Great thoughts on this short and sweet little chapter. I mentioned that I've been listening to TFC this time around, and it's funny that you asked about the change in narrative perspective because I found it confusing in the audio version. After I figured out that Chapter 4 is in Rogers's perspective and not just Claire explaining something about Roger, I quite enjoyed it. When I first started reading this series, I really didn't like when DG introduced the narrative shifts, but she does them really well and uses them to her advantage.

Duncan is so sweet. I was surprised that he wanted to give Jocasta such a thoughtful gift because I didn't realize that he had feelings for her, but it's obvious that he respects and cares for her, and i find that so touching. What a nice man.

As for Rogers's gift idea, it seemed logical to me. Not particularly original, but it makes sense for Bree to wear his ring and it's symbolic in its own right especially with regards to her potential wealth. By Bree accepting his cheap trinket instead of wearing the ruby, she's accepting him despite his lack of wealth. Like Roger, I hadn't even thought about how their union looks to everyone else. I feel bad for him that he has to be the subject of gossip, especially after everything he's had to go through to be with Bree!

Good catch with the double meaning in the chapter title. :)
Quote

repoman
Clan Fraser Veteran
Joined: February 16th, 2011, 9:47 am

January 23rd, 2013, 8:46 am #15

Shall we consider Duncan Innes? Duncan was a fellow prisoner with Jamie at Ardsmuir. He was a former fisherman who lost an arm. He had no other skill and no way to earn an honest living, but Jamie was willing to take him into the smuggling ring (although he could not heave a cask and likely couldn't shoot or reload a weapon). By following Jamie to America, Duncan is now Jamie's agent to look for settlers at the Ridge with a promise of a cabin of his own. But, Duncan also proves helpful, and trustworthy, at River Run in fulfilling a job, that Jamie found distasteful, carrying out Jocasta's wishes in running River Run. Remember that Ulysses has the record keeping and much of the running of the plantation, but is limited by the color of his skin. Duncan can be the front man though. Apparently, Jocasta has found Duncan to be likeable and trustworthy. So, Duncan has an opportunity for a position beyond his wildest dreams.
Quote