Comfort, Humor, Honesty, Insecurity, Possession
malmequers asked: Can you give me your opinion about that scene in Dragonfly In Amber when Jamie comes back from a brothel all scratched and bitten.
Oh, this scene. Jamie and Claire’s deepest feelings - and fears - are beautifully played out. Some key themes:
Jamie and Claire’s physical comfort with each other: After a night spent “defending his virtue,” the first thing Jamie does when he gets home is let Claire strip him naked - and see his entire body. Throughout this scene, Claire remarks to herself just how big - and beautiful - Jamie’s body really is. They always seem to derive the most comfort - and feel the deepest connection - when they’re literally stripped bare to each other.
Jamie’s humor: He tries to defuse Claire’s suspicions by making light - as much as he can - of how he passed the night:
“Surely ye dinna think I’d do such things? I’m a married man!”
“Monsieur Millefleurs isn’t married?”
“He’s not only married, he has two mistresses…But he’s French—that’s different.”
“The Duc di Castellotti isn’t French—he’s Italian.”
“But he’s a duke. That’s different, too.”
“Oh, it is, is it? I wonder if the Duchess thinks so.”
“Considering a few things the Duc claimed he learnt from the Duchess, I would imagine so.”
Jamie’s honesty: He tells Claire everything that happened - even that he wanted to “rut” with the whores, like the men he was with - because of the complete, absolute honesty between them.
Claire’s insecurity: Claire is always in a fundamentally insecure position - after all, she *is* living in the past - and now, she’s in 1744 Paris, with a husband (who she knows is physically striking and attractive) telling her that he spent the night in the company of whores and lecherous men. And she’s pregnant, and self-conscious of how her body is changing. No wonder she immediately fears the worst.
Their bone-deep physical - and emotional - need for each other:
“Claire. To feel the small bones of your neck beneath my hands, and that fine, thin skin on your breasts and your arms… Lord, you are my wife, whom I cherish and I love wi’ all my life, and still I want to kiss ye hard enough to bruise your tender lips, and see the marks of my fingers on your skin…”
The disagreement drives them to even greater honesty - and an amazing reconciliation: As with most of their fights and arguments, they “make up” by learning so much about each other - especially how profoundly and deeply they love each other.
He bent and picked me up, carrying me to the bed. He sank to his knees, laying me amid the rumpled quilts.
“You’ll lie wi’ me now,” he said quietly. “And I shall use ye as I must. And if you’ll have your revenge for it, then take it and welcome, for my soul is yours, in all the black corners of it.”
…And when I had at length taken my last revenge of him, I did cradle him, stroking back the roughened, half-dry locks.
“And sometimes,” I whispered to him, “I wish it could be you inside me. That I could take you into me and keep you safe always.”
His hand, large and warm, lifted slowly from the bed and cupped the small round swell of my belly, sheltering and caressing.
“You do, my own,” he said. “You do.”