Outlander, Diana Gabaldon


He stood up, looked down at me consideringly for a moment, then walked around the table, extended his hand, and drew me to my feet.

"Corporal Hawkins," he said, still staring at me, "I shall require your assistance for a moment."

The youth by the wall looked profoundly uneasy, but sidled over to us.

"Stand behind the lady, please, Corporal," Randall said, sounding bored. "And take her firmly by both elbows."

He drew back his arm and hit me in the pit of the stomach.

I made no noise, because I had no breath. I sat on the floor, doubled over, struggling to draw air into my lungs. I was shocked far beyond the actual pain of the blow, which was beginning to make itself, felt, along with a wave of giddy sickness. In a fairly eventful life, no one had ever purposely struck me before.

The Captain squatted down in front of me. His wig was slightly awry, but aside from that and a certain brightness to his eyes, he showed no change from his normal controlled elegance.

"I trust you are not with child, Madam," he said in a conversational tone, "because if you are, you won't be for long."

I was beginning to make a rather odd wheezing noise, as the first wisps of oxygen found their way painfully into my throat. I rolled onto my hands and knees and groped feebly for the edge of the table. The corporal, after a nervous glance at the captain, reached down to help me up.

Waves of blackness seemed to ripple over the room. I sank onto the stool and closed my eyes.

"Look at me." The voice was light and calm as though he were about to offer me tea. I opened my eyes and looked up at him through a slight fog. His hands were braced on his exquisitely tailored hips.

"Have you anything to say to me know, Madam?" he demanded.

"Your wig is crooked," I said, and closed my eyes again.

Outlander vol. 1 Gabaldon, Diana Google Books

March 29, 2022 9:25 PM