80 SHADES OF GREY – World OUTLANDER Day!

What a show! And what a writer Diana Gabaldon is! I have read and enjoyed all 10 books. I have watched and enjoyed every OUTLANDER program. Casting, script, costumes, environment are all excellent.

Here is the beginning of Book 1 OUTLANDER Published in July 1992 by Dell/Random House:

“People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances re bread-and-butter to journalists.

Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars.

Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.

Usually.

PART ONE Inverness, 1945

It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. Mrs. Baird’s was like a thousand other Highland bed-and-breakfast establishments in 1945: clean and quiet, with fading floral wallpaper, gleaming floors, and a coin-operated hot-water geyser in the lavatory. Mrs. Baird herself was squat and easygoing, and made no objection to Frank lining her tiny rose-sprigged parlor with the dozens of books and papers with which he always traveled.

I met Mrs. Baird in the front hall on my way out. She stopped me with a pudgy hand on and my arm and patted at my hair.

“Dear me, Mrs. Randall, ye canna go out like that! Here, just let me tuck that bit in for ye. There! That’s better. Ye know, my cousin was tellin’ me about a new perm she tried, comes out beautiful and holds like a dream; perhaps ye should try that kind next time!”

I hadn’t the heart to tell her that the waywardness of my light brown curls was strictly the fault of nature, and not due to any dereliction on the part of the permanent-wave manufacturers. Her own tightly marcelled waves suffered from no such perversity.

“Yes, I’ll do that, Mrs. Baird,” I lied. “I’m just going down to the village to meet Frank. We’ll be back for tea.” I ducked out the door and down the path before she could detect any further defects in my undisciplined appearance. After four years as a Royal Army nurse, I was enjoying the escape from uniforms and rationing by indulging in brightly printed light cotton dresses, totally unsuited for rough walking through the heather.

Not that I had originally planned to do a lot of that, my thoughts ran more on the lines of sleeping late in the mornings, and long, lazy afternoons in bed with Frank, not sleeping. However, it was difficult to maintain the proper mood of languorous romance with Mrs. Baird industriously Hoovering away outside our door.

“That must be the dirtiest bit of carpet in the entire Scottish Highlands,” Frank hand observed that morning as we lay in bed listening to the ferocious roar of the vacuum in the hallway.

“Nearly as dirty as our landlady’s mind,” I agreed. “Perhaps we should have gone to Brighton after all.” We had chosen the Highlands as a place to holiday before Frank took up his appointment as a history professor at Oxford, on the grounds that Scotland had been somewhat less touched by the physical horrors of war than the rest of Britain and was less susceptible to the frenetic postwar gaiety that infected more popular vacation spots.

And without discussing it, I think we both felt that it was a symbolic place to reestablish our marriage; we had been married and spent a two-day honeymoon in the Highlands, shortly before the outbreak of war seven years before. A peaceful refuge in which to rediscover each other, we thought, not realizing that, while golf and fishing are Scotland’s most popular outdoor sports, gossip is the most popular indoor sport. And when it rains as much as it does in Scotland, people spend a lot of time indoors.

“Where are you going?” I asked, as Frank swung his feet out of bed.

“I’d hate the dear old thing to be disappointed in us,” he answered. Sitting up on the side of the ancient bed, he bounced gently up and down, creating a piercing rhythmic squeak. the Hoovering in the hall stopped abruptly. After a minute or two of bouncing, he gave a loud, theatrical groan and collapsed backward with a twang of protesting springs.

I giggled helplessly into a pillow, so as not the disturb the breathless silence outside.

Frank waggled his eyebrows at me. “Your’re supposed to moan ecstatically, not giggle,” he admonished in a whisper. “She’ll think I’m not a very good lover.”

“You’ll have to keep it up for longer than that, if you expect ecstatic moans,” I answered. “Two minutes doesn’t deserve any more than a giggle.”

“Inconsiderate little wench. I came here for a rest, remember?”

“Lazybones. You’ll never mange the next branch on your family tree unless you show a bit more industry than that.”

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