7 hours ago
Cottonwood saplings shot like spears through the beams of the fallen roof, and a hollybush sprouted through a large crack in the hearthstone. The walls were half collapsed, black with rot and furred with green moss and rusty fungus. There was no telling how long the place have been abandoned, but it was clear that both cabin and clearing would be swallowed by the wilderness within a few years, nothing left to mark its existence save a tumbled cairn of chimney stones.
However, flourishing incongruously among the invading trees were the remains of a small peach orchard, the fruit of it burstingly ripe and swarming with bees. We had eaten as much as we could, slept in the shelter of the ruins, then risen before dawn and loaded the wagon with heaping mounds of smooth gold fruit, all juice and velvet.
We had sold it as we went, and consequently had arrived in Wilmington with sticky hands, a bag of coins — mostly pennies — and a pervasive scent of fermentation that clung to hair, clothes and skin, as though we had all been dipped in peach brandy.
“You take this,” Jamie advised me, hanging me the small leather sack containing our fortune. “Buy what ye can for provisions — dinna buy any peaches, aye? — and perhaps a few bits and pieces so we dinna look quite such beggars when we come to my kinsman. A needle and thread, maybe?” He raised a brow and nodded at the large rent in Fergus’s coat, incurred while falling out of a peach tree.
“Duncan and I will go about and see can we sell the wagon and horses, and inquire for a boat. And if there’s such a thing as a goldsmith here, I’ll maybe see what he’d offer for one of the stones.”
DianaGabaldon, DOA Ch 6
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