Grey meets Manoke, an Indian scout working for the English army, when he arrives in Canada to testify at Charlie Carruthers's court-martial in 1759. Manoke is described as amused with Grey's appearance; he calls him "Englishman" and often smiles at him. One morning, Grey wakes up and finds Manoke lying on his bed, and the Indian kisses him and leaves. Having some time to kill, as the date of the court-martial hasn't been set, Grey joins Manoke on a two-week fishing expedition during which they become lovers.

In 1778, Grey tells Claire Fraser that he has for many years enjoyed a physical relationship with Manoke, who works as his cook at Mount Josiah plantation in Virginia. There is true liking between him and the Indian, but no sense of possession – Grey compares Manoke to a beautiful deer that comes to his plantation from time to time, and says that its coming is a gift, but when the deer leaves, there is no sense of abandonment.

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