Outlander Book Club: Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 10 breakdown

Lord John brings up the story of the Hellfire Club in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 10. Here's our breakdown of the chapter.
Outlander Season 7 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 7 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /

To get information from Richard Caswell, John needs to share what happened to George Everett. It all takes place in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 10.

It’s pretty normal to need to share something to get something. Lord John knows how it works. He also knows that he needs to be careful with the information he shares and the fact that Caswell won’t likely share everything he knows. Caswell has no reason to.

This chapter certainly brings out more of John’s backstory. This is a part where I could see some of the memories from a previous chapter coming up in an adaptation, and I’ll share my thoughts on that in the adaptation section.

Let’s dive into this chapter.

Breaking down Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 10

John and Caswell retire to Caswell’s private room. This is a chance for them to reconnect, as it’s clear that John has been here before. The two talk about how Caswell has aged but John has not. Even before this, I’ve always envisioned Lord John Grey as a little like Louis from Interview with the Vampire, and I guess this helped to add to that feeling.

It’s useful to know about the Hellfire Club for this chapter in full. After all, George died in that short story, and John knows all the details. That’s the price set for information about Joseph, who definitely comes to the place dressed as a woman. John wants to find out why, and Caswell wants to know the details of George’s death. Caswell is just happy that all John wants is to stop a wedding and not cause harm to anyone else.

There’s no point in us rehashing the details of George. You can check out Lord John and the Hellfire Club Part 3 to get those details. Let’s just focus on Joseph, who arrives at the house dressed as a woman. The servants are kept ignorant of Joseph’s companion and there is a generous amount of red German wine delivered to Joseph’s suite.

We learn that Joseph meets his guest, who arrives on a sedan chair, outside. This guest is a woman with a lot of curves, dark hair, and heavy make-up.

John decides to get a little more information about Jack, who is connected to Joseph as well as O’Connell. It turns out that Jack was seen in April with Joseph at Lavender House. He delivered a message to an important businessman Joseph dealt with. That message was that Austria defeated Prague. Joseph and his companion left that night and Jack was sent to the kitchen so he wasn’t seen at the business side of the house.

At the end, we see that John can’t say no to his sexual needs all the time. As he tries to leave, there’s a man who invites John into his room. John hesitates for a second and then decides to head into the room. We need to see this. After all, we know that John will sneak around places as we learned in Drums of Autumn at Jocasta’s house. We also know that he is human and he has needs, so it’s good to see this play out here to be reminded of that.

Could this chapter be used in the TV series?

Of course, this chapter would need to be used in an adaptation. There’s no way around it considering all the information that is needed. I don’t think the show would need to offer everything from the Hellfire Club, unless that short story wasn’t used for an episode of a series adaptation.

I would like to see the ending to the chapter used as well. It would be that reminder to the audience that John is human. We get to see that he has needs, and that he doesn’t always turn down sexual opportunities. Why would he?

There is too much in this chapter that’s needed to skip over it. I also see some opportunities for memories to pop up. When John and Caswell are talking of aging, they’re also talking of when John used to come into the place—when he was 18 or so—which would then help to bring up everything with Hector and why he turned to places like this.

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