I’ll admit I’ve been on team #SaveMurtagh since season two and as soon as the music changed in the prison cell and the bearded face of everyone’s favorite BFF appeared, I was grinning ear to ear!
That’s right. Murtagh is back!
Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser seems to have nearly as many lives as Jamie. He has survived more battles than anyone cares to count and despite abysmal conditions at Ardsmuir, he is still hanging on. It does seem, though, he could use a little bit of help.
We learn that Murtagh has been struggling in the 9 years since Culloden, suffering frequently from La Grippe as well as festering wounds (from rat bites no less!).
What does this all mean?
La Grippe is a name for influenza, meaning “to seize suddenly,” likely a reference to violent shaking chills accompanying the fevers of an influenza infection. The term Influenza comes from the Medieval Latin “influentia,” from the belief that epidemics of this illness were due unfavorable astrological influences.
With influenza season now starting to revisit the northern hemisphere, we often hear the tips and tricks to try to avoid the flu. In addition to an annual influenza vaccine, we are advised to: avoid close contact, wash your hand frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, avoid crowds. Hmm, that definitely doesn’t bode well for these men living in the squalid, tight quarters of Ardsmuir prison!
And what do these men have to treat influenza? A diet of thin barley brose and the occasional rat? The odds are stacked against them. Jamie is on the right track with his requests for blankets and improved food rations.
Did you miss the Outlander Science Club post and podcast all about La Grippe during the Voyager read along? Check it out here!
What about those festering wounds? Jamie seems to think greens are the answer. He is right!
Murtagh (and likely most of the men on the Ardsmuir diet) are suffering from scurvy. Scurvy is the result of a deficiency in vitamin C, which is required in the production of collagen in the body and plays a significant role in immune function. Without adequate intake of vitamin C, these men will begin to experience fatigue, malaise, inflammation and bleeding of the gums, bruising, joint pain, and poor wound healing. Thanks to his education from Claire, Jamie recognizes that Murtagh’s rat bite wounds are not healing and surmises this is due to a lack of greens in his diet. Watercress to the rescue!
Always the keen negotiator, Jamie has convinced Major Grey to provide Murtagh with needed medical help. I’ll admit I was waiting to see that doctor come in and bleed Murtagh dry in typical 18th century fashion, but it turns out that with help from this doctor and vitamin C rich foods from Jamie, Murtagh is back on his way to health…just in time for a long voyage to the colonies.
See you soon, friend?