My name is Faith Julia Fraser. I was born on May 12th 1744 at L’Hôpital des Anges in Paris, France.
My parents are Jamie and Claire Fraser. Although, I was raised by my Aunt Jenny and Uncle Ian and their family since before I was even two years old. Da was one of the more senior officers involved in the Jacobite uprising of 1745. According to my older brother Fergus, my Ma rarely left my fathers side. She travelled up and down the country with Da and the army as they battled the British.
For a long time, all I knew of my parents was their names. Aunt Jenny told me a few stories over the years about Da, but she was always reluctant to speak about my mother. It was Fergus that made sure to tell me all he knew of my mother. All that really stuck in my head about my parents though, was my father was a prisoner and my mother had just vanished, leaving both Fergus and I behind.
My Da was a lucky son of a gun, and instead of being shot along with all the other traitors involved with the Jacobites, he was brought back home to Lallybroch. For seven long years after the battle of Culloden, Da stayed hidden in a cave on our land. He would come by the house every once in a while to wash and eat. He came very late at night, so no one would see him approach the house. He would sometimes bring game he managed to hunt, for all of us at the house to enjoy as a meal. He didn’t come too often though, as it was too dangerous. The British had been searching for him the whole time. I never really had the opportunity to build a proper relationship wi’ Da during those years. I knew he was my father though. This creepy, hairy, hermit who I would see at the house some nights when I couldn’t sleep. He would try and hold me. Try and soothe me and tell me bedtime stories, but to be honest, until he was able to wash and shave, I was terrified of the man. I knew it hurt his feelings. It hurt me too. All I really wanted was to crawl in to his arms and have him rock me to sleep, but I was truly wary of him until I was around eight years old.
By the time I was eight, and I was used to Da’s unusual way of living, I really looked forward to the nights he would come by the house. I remember asking Aunt Jenny to wake me if he ever came by, but she refused to. She didna want my sleeping to be disturbed and then have that disturb me the next day when I was supposed to be doing my chores or lessons.
I got Fergus to visit Da at the cave one evening and ask him to come and wake me when he next came to the house. Fergus told Da I was getting used to our unusual situation, and I really wanted to spend some time wi’ him. Ever since that night, Da made it to the house more often than what he and Aunt Jenny and Uncle Ian had originally agreed. He wanted to be a Da to me. He wanted to get to ken me and he wanted me to ken him too. He wanted to do everything he possibly could to make sure I kent I was loved. Not only by him, but Ma too.
He didna talk about Ma all that often, but when he did, I could tell it tore him apart. His eyes always filled with tears and he would hold me all the tighter as he told me how beautiful and funny she was. She was an English woman, so Da called her Sassenach. When he first told me that, I was taken aback. I quickly came to realise that he meant the nickname with deep affection. Da told me how they first met. He had dislocated his shoulder and Ma popped it back in to place for him. I’m sure there was a lot more to the story, but I was only eight when he told me the story of their first meeting.
Da said they had to ride a few days all the way to Castle Leoch. Ma sat in front of Da on the horse the whole way there. Apparently she kept thumping her head against his chest. Da didna mind so much though. He just wanted to keep her safe.
Somehow, Da got shot at some point on the way to Castle Leoch. It was Ma that saved him. He didna let her ken right away that he had been shot though. It wasna until he lost consciousness and fell off the horse and Ma saw he was bleeding and saw the gunshot wound. She was really annoyed wi’ him that night. When Da woke up, she made it known to him she wasna happy wi’ him. Da knew at that moment that he wanted her. As soon as they got to Castle Leoch, she insisted that she take a proper look at the wound and make sure it was cleaned properly. They got to talking about things, and my Ma wept in my Da’s arms. I’m no sure what was wrong wi’ her, but my Da held her and promised that she was safe wi’ him. He knew at that moment that he was in love wi’ her.
Every time Da came to the house, he would wake me and tell me more stories about him and his life and some stories about him and Ma and their life together. Whenever I asked about where she was or why she left, he would go all quiet and change the subject. After the fourth time of me asking him about her, I just stopped. If these were the only times I got to spend wi’ Da, I didna want to upset him.
Around a year after Da and I really got to ken each other and had really started to build a relationship between us, Da decided to have Aunt Jenny turn him in to the British. There was a price on Da’s head, and the money rewarded would really help Aunt Jenny and Uncle Ian, as well as the tenants. It wasna a decision Da came to lightly, and Aunt Jenny thought him a fool for a really long time, but it was the only thing Da could think of to help everyone. There was a shortage of food and money after the rebellion, so this was Da’s way of trying to help. He had Aunt Jenny turn him in and he was arrested.
The last time I saw Da before he was taken away to prison was two weeks before. He came by the house and woke both Fergus and I to tell us one last story. This story was about Ma. It wasna a made up fairytale like some of the other stories he would tell us, but this story was real. He made us both promise no to tell a soul. No even Aunt Jenny or Uncle Ian. No one was to ken.
He told us about how Ma was a time traveler. She travelled from the year 1945 to 1743, when she met Da. When he told us about Ma traveling through stones at Craigh na Dun, Fergus and I thought he was mad. He told us about the buzzing she heard whenever she was around the stones, like they were calling to her. Da said he was with her at the stones twice, but he couldn’t hear the buzzing.
Sometime after they were married and Ma told him the truth about her coming from the future, Da took her back to the stones so she could return to her own time. She chose to stay though. She chose Da over her first husband, Frank.
Da took Ma back to the stones before he went to fight in battle at Culloden. It was after he sent Fergus home to Lallybroch, he took Ma to the stones and begged her to go back to her own time. Apparently she was expecting another child, and Da didna want any harm to come to her or the child. She didna want to leave apparently. She begged him to let her come back to Lallybroch for Fergus and I, but he said it was too late. She needed to go. He told us it broke her heart, his too, but after a deep discussion, she agreed to do as Da asked of her. Da was certain he was gonna die on that battlefield. He knew that Ma would be hunted for being the wife of a traitor, whether she was wi’ child or no. Da knew that Aunt Jenny and Uncle Ian would take good care of both Fergus and I.
It was a lot to take in for a nine year old, but I accepted that that was what happened between my mother and my father. That that was the reason my mother wasna wi’ me. It still hurt me though. I mean, why didn’t she come back for us? After she had the bairn or even five years later? Did she not love us enough to come back for us?
The older I got, the more thoughts I had on the subject. What mother could possibly just abandon her children for so many years wi’out even attempting to come back for them. She thought Da was gonna die in battle, just like he said he would. Why wasn’t that enough to make her come back for the two children she already had. We were losing a father, why did we have to lose our mother too? It just didna make sense to me.
Da served three years in Ardsmuir prison before being sent down to Helwater, in the Lake District, to serve his parole. I was twelve years old by the time he went to Helwater.
And I was twenty years old when he returned home.
Da came home in 1764.
I was a grown woman. So grown, my Aunt Jenny had taken to try and find me a suitor and marry me off so I could start a family of my own. By the time Da came home from Helwater, I managed to run away four times to avoid a marriage arranged by my Aunt. I knew she was only doing what she thought was right, but it wasna what I wanted. I wanted to leave Lallybroch and go out and experience the world. I didn’t need a man for that. Especially one who wouldn’t support me, or allow me to follow my dreams.
Fergus and Da had both told me about how Ma was a healer. The best healer around for miles. Fergus would go in to great detail of telling me various stories of how Ma worked in the hospital I was born in when she was pregnant with me and told me all about how many men she saved during the Jacobite rising of 1745. Fergus had even found papers in my parents’ bedroom at Lallybroch, in my mothers handwriting. The papers were filled with Ma’s ideas for treating illnesses.
Since Aunt Jenny didn’t like to speak about Ma, Fergus kept the papers hidden and he would read them to me over the years. When I was around twelve years old, I took an even deeper interest in the papers my mother had left behind. I didna ken why she left or why she didna come back for me, but I knew, from Fergus’ stories, that she was a woman I really wished I knew. I wanted to be a healer just like her.
I knew, that if Aunt Jenny had managed to secure me a husband, they wouldn’t want me to be out there trying to help people. I kent what a husband wanted from his wife, and I just wasna prepared to settle for someone I barely knew, never mind didna love. I wanted to live my life for me. I wanted to explore the world and learn to be the best healer I could be.
When Da came home, I told him of Aunt Jenny’s intention of marrying me off to Alexander Duncan from down in the village. I was relieved to hear that Da wasna standing for it. He told her under no circumstances would I be forced to wed if I didna want to.
That’s why it really confused me when Aunt Jenny arranged for Da to marry Laoghaire and he went along wi’ it. I ken he felt sorry for her and her two lassies, but that still didna mean he had to marry her. Especially at Aunt Jenny’s say so. He said Claire was the love of his life, and he’d never love anyone like he loved her. Why was he so quick to agree to marry Laoghaire?
Laoghaire positively hated me. She made it clear after she and Da were married, that she didna want me moving in to her home as well. Of course Da said there was no way he was being separated from me again.
The marriage didna last long. I ken they argued. A lot. But I dinna ken what about or why. All I ken is that after less than a year, Da had packed up and brought Fergus and I to Edinburgh wi’ him to start our new life.
He and Laoghaire are still married on paper, but they dinna live like man and wife. I was relieved, that’s for sure when Da said we were leaving Laoghaire behind. I didna like the woman. I dinna ken why she had it in for me so bad, but she did. I was just happy to be away from her and her snide remarks. I just wished da hadna married her in the first place.
So now Da, Fergus and I are happily living in Edinburgh. Well, I say happily...
Da opened a Print shop. He doesna make all that much money from it though, and I’ve since discovered that he does a wee bit of smuggling alcohol on the side.
It’s Da’s life, and I dinna want to interfere, but sometimes I just wish he was a normal father. He’s been arrested a number of times in the last few months, and it doesna do me any favours.
As much as I tried to become a healer, no one would take me seriously because I’m a woman. I honestly don’t ken how Claire managed it.
I did however, manage to be taken seriously as a midwife. It’s no the same, but at least I still get to help women and see them bring new life in to the world. It just doesna always go down too well when their husbands find out I’m “Alexander Malcolm’s” daughter.
Another thing people have against me, is the fact I live in a brothel.
Aye. I live in a brothel.
Da refuses to spend what money we have on a house for the three of us, so instead, he organised rooms for us at Madame Jeanne’s. His excuse is he wanted somewhere for us to have a comfy bed and a warm meal when we needed it.
I dinna ken if he has other agreements wi’ Madame Jeanne or any of the lassies who work for her, and I dinna really want to ken, but it is embarrassing.
Fergus and I both asked Da a number of times if we could look for a wee cottage or something to rent, but he insisted we’re fine as we are.
I just hope that one day soon, I will be able to have saved enough money of my own to go and live the life I really want.
As grateful as I am to Aunt Jenny and Uncle Ian for raising me, and no matter how much I love Da and I am thankful that we are now a part of one another’s lives, I want to go out in the world and find out who I truly am.