Outlander Book Club: Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 18 breakdown

Lord John learns more about Jack Byrd in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 18. Here's our breakdown of the chapter.
Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ
Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of Aimee Spinks/STARZ /

We pick up in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 18 eight days after the end of the previous chapter. John is stuck on the ship to India.

This allows us time to learn more about Maria and Jack. We get to see what John thinks of Maria, seeing that he is always able to look past the looks of women at their personalities.

There is a bit of hope for John in this chapter. A ship coming toward them is heading for Europe, offering John a chance to get back home.

Breaking down Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 18

The chapter starts with us learning more about Maria, who has had two bouts of malaria on the ship. She has been close to death, but she is still fighting through. Lord John notes that Maria is a strong woman. He’s sure she’ll get through this if she wants to.

When there’s a commotion upstairs, he and Tom Byrd head up. There’s a ship coming toward them. When John finds out that this ship is call The Scorpion, he knows that its heading to Europe. He has a bit of hope to get back in the right direction to home. However, as he heads back down below deck, he slips, falls, and knocks himself out.

When he comes to, Jack Bryd is watching over him. This is a chance for Jack and John to get to know each other. Jack shares that he is attached to Trevelyan, and John understands what Jack really means. The man has feelings for Trevelyan, although it’s clear those feelings aren’t returned. Jack doesn’t feel like he can leave Trevelyan, though, being with the man since he was 12.

I get a sense that we have some foreshadowing here. Despite knowing that Jamie doesn’t feel the same way about him, John can’t pull himself away from the man. There’s also that hint of foreshadowing when we learn Jack has never mentioned Maria’s name because of his love for Trevelyan. It takes a long time for John to see Claire as anyone other than Jamie’s wife.

Jack does want to be there for Trevelyan should something happen to his wife. While both Jack and John agree that Trevelyan isn’t the type of man to kill himself in his grief, Jack still wants to be there for him.

Could this chapter be adapted in a TV series?

If there was a TV series, I’m in two minds about whether this chapter would end up being used in full. While it is great to learn more about Jack considering what we heard from Tom, this conversation isn’t really about him. It’s more of that hint of foreshadowing of how John is with Jamie and Claire.

The big reveal of who the murderer was in the previous chapter would end up being the big reveal of an episode. The ending would be more about bringing those involved to justice, if that is something John would still want once he learned the full truth. It would also be about getting John back home.

I guess this would depend also on whether the Byrds stay in the story. I do admit again that I don’t remember all the Lord John Grey books. In fact, I haven’t read them all, so I’m just not sure at this point.

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