#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #Book9 #weeksnow #notmonths #dontworryIllTELLyouwhenitsdone #CSISalisbury #ForensicsAndShopping
Jamie had little business left to conduct in Salisbury; he’d got what he came for and learned what he needed to. Still, Salisbury was a large town, with merchants and shops, and Claire had given him a list. He felt his side pocket, and was reassured to feel the crinkle of paper; he hadn’t lost it. With a brief sigh, he pulled the list out, unfolded it and read,
Two pounds alum (it’s cheap)
Jesuit bark, if anyone has it (take all of it, or as much as we can afford)
½ lb. plaster of Gilead (ask at apothecary, otherwise surgeon)
2 pts. Sweet oil – make sure they seal with wax!
2 g. each of belladonna, [ ], [ ], [ ], [ ], [ ] and [ ]
Bolt of fine linen (underclothes for me and Fanny, shirt for you)
Two bolts sturdy broadcloth (one blue, one brown)
Three oz. steel pins (yes, we need that many)
Thread (for sewing clothes, not sails or flesh) – ten balls of white, four blue, six black.
A dozen needles, mostly small, but two very large ones, please. The length of your middle finger will do.
As for food—
Two loaves sugar
Ten pounds flour (or we can get it from Woolam’s Mill, if too expensive in Salisbury.)
A pound of salt
Ten pounds dry beans
Twenty pounds rice
Spice! (If any and you can afford it. Pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg…?)
Jamie shook his head as he strolled down the street, mentally adding
2 casks gun-powder
½ pig of lead
Decent skinning knife … Someone had taken his and snapped the tip off it, and he strongly suspected Amanda, she being the only one of the children who could lie convincingly.
Aye, well, he had Clarence and Abednego to carry it all home. And enough in miscellaneous forms of money and trade to pay for it. He wouldn’t dream of showing gold in a place like this; ne’er-do-wells and chancers would be following him back to the Ridge like Claire’s bees after sunflowers. Warehouse certificates and whisky would cause much less comment.
Making calculations in his head, he nearly walked straight into Constable Jones, coming out of an ordinary with a half-eaten roll in his hand.
“Your pardon, sir,” they both said at once, and bowed in reflex.
“Heading back to the mountains, then, Mr. Fraser?” Jones asked courteously.
“Once I’ve done my wife’s shopping, aye.” Jamie had the list still in hand, and gestured with it before folding it back into his pocket.
The sight of it, though, had brought something to the Constable’s mind, for his eyes fixed on the paper.
The Constable looked him over carefully, but nodded, apparently thinking him respectable enough to question.
“The dead man ye came to look at last night. Would ye say he was a Jew?”
“A Jew,” Jones repeated patiently.
Jamie looked hard at the man. He was disheveled and still unshaven, but there was no smell of drink about him, and his eyes were clear, if baggy.
“How would I ken that?” he asked. “And why would ye think so?” A belated thought occurred to him. “Oh—did ye look at his prick?”
“What?” Jones stared at him.
“D’ye not ken Jews are circumcised, then?” Jamie asked, careful not to look as though he thought Jones _should_ know that.
“Ehm….” Two ladies, followed by a maid minding three small children and a lad with a small wagon for parcels, were coming toward them, skirts held gingerly above the mud of the street. Jamie bowed to them, then jerked his head at Jones to follow him round the corner of the ordinary into an alley, where he enlightened the Constable.
“Jesus Christ!” Jones exclaimed, bug-eyed. “What the devil do they do that for?”
“God told them to,” Jamie said, with a shrug. “Your dead man, though. Is he….”
“I didn’t _look_,” Jones said, giving him a glance of horrified revulsion.
“Then why d’ye think he might be a Jew?” Jamie asked, patient.
“Oh. Well…this.” Jones groped in his clothes and eventually came out with a grubby much-folded slip of paper, handing it to Jamie. “It was in his pocket.”
Unfolded, it had eight lines of writing, done carefully with a good quill, so each character stood clear.
“We couldn’t make out what the devil it was,” Jones said, squinting at the paper as though that might help in comprehension. “But I was a-showin’ of it to the Colonel in the tavern this morning, and we was studyin’ on it and gettin’ nowhere. But Mr. Appleford happened to be there—he’s an educated gentleman—and he said as how he thought it might be Hebrew, though he’d forgot so much since he learnt it, he couldn’t make out what it said.”
Jamie could make it out fine, though knowing what it said made little difference.
[This excerpt is from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright Diana Gabaldon 2020.]