16 October 2009

pewter cups of milk.

I am currently reading the fifth book in the 'Outlander' series by Diana Gabaldon, 'The Fiery Cross'. I am not very far into it, maybe a couple of hundred pages out of over 1,000, but last night a passage struck me.

I am going to share it with all of you.

Now, is the time I give you all a warning that it's about breastfeeding. Although, it is quite graphically written, it is also beautifully done. I have never read an account of male/female relations while the woman is nursing so poignantly described.

Let me know if you share my sentiments...


"Tonight he had said them (wedding vows) in the blaze of firelight, before the face of God and the world, her people and his. His heart had been hers, and whatever else he had-but now there was no question of him and her, his and hers. The vows were given, his ring put on her finger, the bond both made and witnessed. They were one body.

One hand of their joint organism crushed a breast a little too hard, and one throat made a small sound of discomfort. She drew back from him a little, and he felt rather than saw her grimace. The air came cold between them and his own skin felt suddenly raw, exposed, as though he had been severed from her with a knife.

'I need-' she said, and touched her breast, not finishing. 'Just a minute, okay?'

Claire had fed the child while Brianna went to make her overtures with the Reverend Caldwell. Bursting with porridge and stewed peaches, Jemmy could scarcely be roused to suckle briefly before relapsing into somnolence and being taken away by Lizzie, his wee round belly tight as a drum. That was as well for their privacy-drugged into such a gluttonous stupor, it was unlikely the bairn would wake before dawn. The price of it, though, was the unused milk.

No one living in the same house with a nursing mother was likely to be unaware of her breasts, let alone her husband. They had a life of their own, those breasts. They changed size from hour to hour, for the one thing, swelling from their normal soft globes into great round hard bubbles that gave him the eerie feeling that if he touched one it would burst.

Now and then, one did burst, or at least gave that impression. The ridge of soft flesh would rise like kneaded bread, slowly but surely pushing above the edge of Brianna's bodice. Then suddenly there would be a big, wet circle on the cloth, appearing magically, as though some invisible person had thrown a snowball at her. Or two snowballs-for what one breast did, its fellow rushed at once to follow suit.

Sometimes the Heavenly Twins were foiled, though; Jemmy drained one side, but inconsiderately fell asleep before performing the same service for the other. This left his mother gritting her teeth, gingerly taking the swollen orb in the palm of her hand, pressing the edge of a pewter cup just under the nipple to catch the spray and dribble as she eased the aching fullness, enough to sleep herself.

She was doing it now; modestly turned away from him, an arisaid gathered around her shoulders against the chill. He could hear the hiss of the milk, a tiny chime against the metal.

He was reluctant to drown the sound, which he found erotic, but nonetheless picked up the guitar, and put his thumb to the strings, his hand on the frets. He didn't strum or strike chords, but plucked single notes, small voices to echo his own, the thrum of one string singing through the chanted line.

A love song to be sure...(edit)

She never asked him not to, never turned away-and yet he could tell by the faint intake of her breath that, often, she was bracing herself not to flinch when he touched her breasts.

Was it only tenderness? he wondered. Did she not trust him to be gentle?"


Who knew an account of that sort could be so moving?

And, to all the nursing mommas...is it not, about, 110% accurate?


I cannot express to you how beautiful these books are. I'm not sure how Miss Gabaldon does it. They are truly moving. For historical fiction, they are so relevant, and so profound.

Hope I didn't offend anyone. I mean, I DID give fair warning!


1 comment:

  1. i could seriously read these books again and again. ok, i admit it, i have! anyway, this is exactly why, so many scenes touch me with their relevance. they make me laugh, they make me cry, and everything in between!


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