Outlander Book Club: Book 2, Chapter 9 breakdown

Outlander Season 2 -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 2 -- Courtesy of STARZ /
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Outlander Season 2 — Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 2 — Courtesy of STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

This chapter starts with Claire and Jamie getting ready for the ball at Versailles. Claire notes how Jamie has made an impression on King Louis, and that’s led to this invitation to the ball. It’s a huge honor and Claire needed a new dress, one that would make her stand out.

Well, she certainly has a dress that stands out. Not only is it bright red, but it is low cut. It’s something Jamie doesn’t like.

We get this reminder that he is certainly a man of his own time in this chapter. He comments on how the dress makes him want to commit rape, and he doesn’t think the Frenchmen will have the restraint that he does. It’s certainly a comment for the time period, but I’m surprised Claire isn’t just a little offended by it.

I guess even in the 1940s, women were blamed for men committing rape, so maybe it wouldn’t sound as offensive as it does to us now. Mind you, the blame is still put on women for men’s actions, because apparently men can’t control themselves. We’re just more likely to point out the flaw in that than we would have done in the past.

Moving on, we get to the ball, which is full of the most influential and important people in French society. Claire mingles (and watches other women’s reactions to Jamie) but eventually gets tired and sits in an alcove. That’s when a Vicomte comes over and tries to start something with her.

A comment about her “size nine feet” pulled me out of the book. I do wonder if this was written for the U.S. audience because Claire probably wouldn’t be a UK size nine at five-foot-six. Size nine in the U.S. is about size six in the UK (I know because I always have to do the conversion). Size nine feet would be large for a woman. And there’s no way that Claire would think in U.S. sizes, especially at this point—maybe had it been in 1968 after years of thinking about the U.S. sizes. I guess this is just one of those things like 1945/1946.

Back to the story, Jamie throws the Vicomte in the fountain (after playing chess with Duverney) and it’s amusing to King Louis. He ends up suggesting that the two remain as his guests overnight, and that then leads to luncheon the next day. There’s a duke from England, and Louis thinks it would be good to have Claire there as an Englishwoman.

Of course, that duke is the Duke of Sandringham. There are a few other dignitaries there, as well as other English people. One of those is Frank…no, wait, it’s Black Jack Randall! He’s alive!

At least, that’s what we’re left to believe…