the whole scene:
I sat in the Visitor‘s chair in Jamie’s study, companionably grating bloodroots while he wrestled with the quarterly accounts. Both were slow and tedious businesses, but we could share the light of a single candle and enjoy each other’s company—and I found enjoyable distraction in listening to the highly inventive remarks he addressed to the paper under his quill.
“Egg-sucking son of a porcupine!” he muttered. “Look at this, Sassenach—the man’s nay more than a common thief! Two shillings, threepence for two loaves of sugar and a brick of indigo!”
I clicked my tongue sympathetically, forbearing to note that two shillings seemed a modest enough price for substances produced in the West Indies, transported by ship to Charleston, and thence carried by wagon, pirogue, horseback, and foot another several hundred miles overland, to be finally brought to our door by an itinerant peddler who did not expect payment for the three or four months until his next visit—and who would in any case likely not get cash, but rather six pots of gooseberry jam or a haunch of smoked venison.
“Look at that!” Jamie said rhetorically, scratching his way down a column of figures and arriving with a vicious stab at the bottom. “A cask of brandywine at twelve shillings, two bolts of muslin at three and ten each, ironmongery—what in the name of buggery is wee Roger wanting wi’ an ironmonger, has he thought of a way to play tunes on a hoe?—ironmongery, ten and six!”“I believe that was a ploughshare,” I said pacifically. “It’s not ours; Roger brought it for Geordie Chisholm.” Ploughshares were in fact rather expensive. Having to be imported from England, they were rare amongst colonial small farmers, many of whom made do with nothing more than wooden dibbles and spades, with an ax and perhaps an iron hoe for ground-clearing.
Jamie squinted balefully at his figures, rumpling a hand through his hair.
“Aye,” he said. “Only Geordie hasna got a spare penny to bless himself with, not until next year’s crops are sold. So it’s me that’s paying the ten and six now, isn’t it?” Without waiting for an answer, he plunged back into his calculations, muttering “Turd-eating son of a flying tortoise” under his breath, with no indication whether this applied to Roger, Geordie, or the ploughshare.
All rights for the Picture of Jamie go to the rightful owner Starz/Sony
Quote and Excerpt by Diana Gabaldon from “The Fiery Cross“
I own nothing but the editing