We stop in at the MacKinnon family farm north of Albany in the Colony of New York to ask Iain, Morgan and Connor questions sent to me by readers. Here's what they had to say. Feel free to post additional questions for the three brothers, and they'll answer.
For Iain: If you had been laird of the MacKinnon clan during the '45,would you have done anything differently, and why/why not?
Iain: Och, well, ’tis an easy thing to look back at a battle that has been lost and quarrel wi’ how it was fough, aye? But ’tis clear that the hielan’ laddies had many misfortunes in the hours afore the battle. If they hadna marched through the night toward Nairn, if they hadna been conflummixt in the dark, if they hadna let that butcher, Cumberland, choose the ground upon which they fought, then perhaps they’d have won at Blàr Chùil Lodair. Even so, that mac-dìolain Cumberland, kennin’ his troop couldna stand to charge of hielan’ men wi’ claidheamh mòr had trained his troops to shoot from afar wi’ muskets. ’Twas our pride that led us to fecht when we were overtired and to let the enemy choose the battlefield, but ’twas their muskets that sent many a good hielan’ man to his grave. If our fathers and grandfathers had kent the Ranger way of fightin’, they’d have won the battle and the crown would now rest on a regal head instead of upon the brow of that German heretic.
For Iain: If you—
Connor: When are you goin’ to be askin’ me a question?
Morgan: Hauld your whist! You’ll ken when she’s askin’ you a question because she’ll be askin’ you a question, aye? Dinnae heckle her!
Um, ok, for Iain: If you had seen Annie and fallen in love with her then, knowing your families to be in opposition, what would you have said/done to convince her of your feelings for her, were she to be (with all due respect to a woman I am guilty of envying, LOL) such a lackwit as to not want to be with you?
Iain: [laughs] Her da’ wouldna ha’ let her speak wi’ me. I’d ha’ claimed her in the old way — by makin’ her my captive and bride. She’d no’ ha’ been pleased, but I’d ha’ won her heart in the end. Once she’d seen the beauty of Skye, aye, and spent a night or two in my bed, she’d ha’ been blythe. [grins]
For Iain: What makes you feel more alive than anything else in the whole world?
Connor: He isna the only MacKinnon here.
Morgan: ’Tis his story the lassies kent when they were asked to gi’ her questions — his and Annie’s.
Connor: When will they be hearin’ my story?
Morgan: If you dinnae shut your gob, they’ll ne’er hear it because I’ll heave your arse in the river!
Iain: What makes me feel alive? Hearin’ my bairns laugh. Hearin’ Annie singin’ little Iain Cameron and Mara to sleep. Wakin’ up wi’ Annie in the morn’. Takin’ to my bed wi’ her at night. Sittin’ by the fire wi’ my brothers and the men, sharin’ a gill or two of rum. After years of fightin’, ’tis the happiness of those I love that matters to me most.
For Iain: How was it growing up with two brothers like Conner and Morgan were there a lot of fights at home? And Conner and Morgan feel free to jump in on this, too!
Iain: They were good lads, but stubborn as oxen, and fights, aye, we had a few. They were always underfoot, always wantin’ to be doin’ whate’er I was doin’. The day I earnt my warrior marks, Morgan picked a fight—
Morgan [grinning]: And struck you in face, blackenin’ your eye.
Iain: He envied me for bein’ a man while he was still a lad.
Morgan: Aye, I did. But you set me in my place soon enough, brother.
Connor: I’m thinkin’ on the time Rebecca first took Iain as her lover. Morgan and I followed them into the forest—
Iain: And made such a bloody din tryin’ to tiptoe after us that I caught you and sent you back to the village wi’ your tails atwixt your legs. Aye, you were always underfoot, as I’ve said.
For all of you: What would they like/need to do/see before dying?
Morgan: If I could, I’d take Amalie and our sons to see Scotland and France.
Iain: I’d take Annie and the bairns to Skye and breathe the sea air again.
Connor: [silent] To see this bloody war ended and have peace on the frontier again.
For all of them: What thing would they miss the most if they were deprived of it? A thing not a person, nor a concept (so not freedom).
Iain: [grins] My wife’s lovin’.
Morgan: [laughs] Aye, that would be it.
Connor: A flask of rum in my hand and a lass in my bed.
Morgan has tasted what French girls are made of. Don’t the others feel they are missing out?
Morgan: [frowns] They’d best curb their curiosity, else I may be forced to geld them.
Iain: [chuckles] Easy, brother. The only woman I’ll ever want or need is my sweet Annie.
Connor: [big grin on his face] It doesna matter to me whether a lassie is French, Scottish, Dutch or even English, so long as she is soft, well made and willing.