The one with Claire’s life
“I had never actually had a home. Orphaned at five, I had lived the life of an academic vagabond with my uncle Lamb for the next thirteen years. In tents on a dusty plain, in caves in the hills, in the swept and garnished chambers of an empty pyramid, Quentin Lambert Beauchamp, M.S., Ph.D., F.R.A.S., etc., had set up the series of temporary camps in which he did the archaeological work that would make him famous long before a car crash ended his brother’s life and threw me into his. Not one to dither over petty details like an orphaned niece, Uncle Lamb had promptly enrolled me in a boarding school.
Not one to accept the vagaries of fate without a fight, I declined absolutely to go there. And, recognizing something in me that he had himself in abundant measure, Uncle Lamb had shrugged, and on the decision of a heartbeat, had taken me forever from the world of order and routine, of sums, clean sheets, and daily baths, to follow him into vagabondage.
The roving life had continued with Frank, though with a shift from field to universities, as the digging of a historian is usually conducted within walls. So, when the war came in 1939, it was less a disruption to me than to most.
I had moved from our latest hired flat into the junior nurses’ quarters at Pembroke Hospital, and from there to a field station in France, and back again to Pembroke before war’s end. And then, those few brief months with Frank, before we came to Scotland, seeking to find each other again. Only to lose each other once and for all, when I had walked into a stone circle, through madness, and out the other side, into the past that was my present.
- Dragonfly in Amber