Outlander Book Club: Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 17 breakdown

Lord John heads to Southampton in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 17. Here's our breakdown of the chapter.
Outlander Season 6 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 6 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /

Lord John Grey needs to get to Southampton before the ship leaves in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 17. The question is whether he’ll get there in time.

John isn’t feeling 100%, but he has a job to do. He needs to get to Southampton, sure that Trevelyan is going to get on the ship leaving in two days. A lot of the puzzle pieces start to fall together, especially when it comes to the last conversation with Trevelyan. Trevelyan asked for three days, and it’s clear that would mean he would have enough time to get out of England.

There are even more big reveals, making it clear that the book is near the end. The question is whether John can get justice for O’Connell and others.

Breaking down Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 17

The chapter starts with Lord John and Tom on a coach to Southampton. This is where John is sure that Trevelyan is going. After all, everything makes sense. Why else did Trevelyan want three days if he was going to be on a ship in three weeks? This specific ship makes the most sense.

The two do get to Southampton in time. As they get on the ship, they realize that it’s more than Trevelyan heading away from England. Jack Byrd is on the ship, reuniting the brothers. This makes sense since we know Jack had traded shoes for ones that he could wear on a ship.

Scanlon is also there. It turns out that Mrs. Scanlon is already in Ireland. This is when John realizes that he doesn’t know where this ship is going, and when it sets off, he fears that he’ll never get the chance to bring Trevelyan to justice for the murders he committed.

It’s time for the full truth to come out. Trevelyan admits that he did poison John, but didn’t mean to kill him. However, he says that he hasn’t killed anyone else. That is “yet.” Trevelyan shares that he married Maria Mayrhofer in secret on Tuesday. The woman wanted to be married before her fever came on again. She suffers from malaria.

Wait, wasn’t Trevelyan engaged to Olivia? Well, he met Maria before Olivia and found out that she was married. Had she wanted to leave her husband for him, he wouldn’t have pursued Olivia. However, Mayrhofer was a womanizer and an intriguer, who acquired and passed on information.

Hal had also told Trevelyan about O’Connell stealing papers. Trevelyan decided to use all the information that he had and also encouraged sending Jack Byrd to follow O’Connell to get more information. All of this eventually led to Bowles being connected, so Trevelyan turned to Caswell. It turns out that Trevelyan owns Lavender House and the Meacham Street brothel.

How does Scanlon fit into the picture? Well, Scanlon shared that O’Connell was beating his wife and Jack saved her life. They suspected O’Connell hide stolen papers at home. It really is a messy situation that involves everyone. But while Trevelyan had some side dealings, he was not the one to kill O’Connell. That was despite O’Connell following Trevelyan to Lavender House and believing he had some sort of secret on the man.

Instead, it was Maria who killed Mayrhofer. She is too sick to tell the full story. She needs Trevelyan to do that.

What we do find out is that the ship is heading to India. John wonders if he will ever return home. One thing he knows is that at least by sending letters to Quarry and others first, he won’t be viewed as a deserter. They know he was getting on this ship to find Trevelyan.

Could this chapter be used in a TV series adaptation?

This chapter would need to be used if the book was turned into a TV series. This is the only way to bring a conclusion to the story.

I could see this chapter being told through flashbacks, though. There is a lot of information being thrown at us in the chapter. It would work better being shown it, so we could have flashbacks with Trevelyan’s voiceover to narrate that part of the story. With so many names, flashbacks would be helpful to keep track of who knew and did what.

But yes, this chapter would be needed in an adaptation.

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