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Mo duinne. Mo chridhe. Ye werena the first lass I kissed, but I swear you'll be the last. Don't be afraid. There's the two of us now. Judging by the state of your hair, Sassenach, I should say that it's going to rain verra soon now. Highlanders loved stories, and Jamie was no exception. When had the right to live as one wished ever been considered trivial?

An Englishman thinks a hundred miles is a long way; and American thinks a hundred years is a long time. Tulach Ard! And so he and Ian—who, it turned out, could also knit and was prostrated by mirth at my lack of knowledge—had taught me the simple basics of knit and purl, explaining, between snorts of derision over my efforts, that in the Highlands all boys were routinely taught to knit, that being a useful occupation well suited to the long idle hours of herding sheep or cattle on the shielings. Did ye know that the silkies put aside their skins when they come ashore, and walk like men? And if ye find a silkie’s skin and hide it, he—or she— canna go into the sea again, but must stay with ye on the land.

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