As it turns out, thwarting a rebellion isn’t the full-time pursuit Claire imagined it to be. Sure, Jamie is staying out until all hours hobnobbing at the Maison de Madame Elise in order to earn Prince Charles’ trust — this on top of his duties running cousin Jared’s wine business — but our time-traveling heroine is feeling unfulfilled. Tea with Louise hardly compares to Claire’s former life-or-death responsibilities.
Though, to be fair, those audiences with Louise do provide a certain amount of amusement. Take, for instance, the pair’s latest chat with house guest Mary Hawkins, who you’ll remember is in Paris to be set up with a much-older widower. The usually soft-spoken lass makes a startling declaration:
“I can’t marry a Frenchman!” she sobs to Louise and Claire.
You see, Mary has heard about what Frenchmen do in bed. And, well, it’s scandalous. An Englishman would never do such a thing to his bride! (Oh, young naive, Mary.) Claire is about to take her aside to explain the birds and the bees and such, when she has a flashback to a moment with Frank in which the two examined his family tree. And now Claire remembers with a start where she’s heard of Mary Hawkins: She eventually marries Jonathan Randall. She’s Frank’s ancestor! Which means Black Jack needs to stay alive for at least the next year in order for them to wed and for Mary to conceive. Which means Claire must continue to keep this secret from Jamie.
But she does confide in one Scotsman: Murtagh. After finding him in bed with her maid, Suzette, Claire is not amused. She eventually apologizes to Murtagh for her rude response, explaining that she isn’t feeling like herself. It’s then that she reveals Jack Black’s fate. Murtagh is stunned: He saw him trampled! Murtagh insists Claire not tell Jamie for fear he’d run back to Scotland to seek vengeance.
Claire agrees, for now, and heads to Master Raymond’s to buy the 18th-century equivalent of Plan B on Suzette’s behalf. But to Claire’s surprise, she meets the Comte on the herbalist’s doorstep. After a few not-so pleasantries with the Comte, Claire reveals the purpose of her visit to Master Raymond, along with her misgivings about her life in France and how every day in Paris makes her feel a little more conventional. Master Raymond suggests she volunteer her considerable skills at the local charity hospital, where they’re in dire need.
Meanwhile, Jamie has convinced French minister of finance Duverney to take a meeting with Bonnie Prince Charlie at a location of the utmost discretion: the Maison de Madame Elise. And despite being one of Charles’ most-trusted confidants, Jamie learns a bit of previously unknown intel from the the exiled royal: He’s secured funding from a handful of English aristocrats and has close to what he needs to mount an uprising. In exchange for King Louis’ financial support in this matter, Charles is ready to offer France an alliance with Britain. (After the battle, of course.) Duverney agrees to speak to the King on Charles’ behalf. Not good for Claire and Jamie’s plans…
NEXT PAGE: A difference of opinion