Outlander Book Club: Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 6 breakdown

Lord John talks to Nessie at a brothel in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 6. 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 puts his focus on getting information about Joseph in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 6. The best place to go is a brothel.

I adore getting to see just how uncomfortable John is in the brothel. He looks everywhere but at the women in there, and I would love to see what the Madame, Mags, thinks of that. Of course, John has to look like he is interested in front of Harry.

John ends up with a prostitute called Nessie. This leads to some thoughts about Jamie, which makes sense considering Nessie is Scottish and had a father and brothers who died at Culloden. The question is whether they can come to an understanding so John can get the information he needs.

Breaking down Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 6

The chapter starts with John and Harry going into a brothel on Meacham Street. Harry is clearly known there, but John isn’t. Mags, the Madame, gets Harry set up with a woman called Peg, while John spends his time looking at the various instruments around the room. There are a few torture devices that are perfect for those interested in bondage and S&M.

Mags sets John up with a girl called Nessie. It turns out that her Scottish accent puts some men off, but John doesn’t mind. He does start thinking of Jamie, though.

Nessie is angry at John at first when she finds out that he was at Ardsmuir. She shares her father and brothers died at Culloden. However, John is able to calm down the situation and makes it clear that he isn’t interested in sleeping with her. He wants information about Joseph, sharing that he has syphilis and would like to know more about him.

Nessie heads off for information, leaving John to think about a few things. Of course, with thoughts of Culloden, he thinks of Hector. Hal wouldn’t let John fight at Culloden, and so he asked Hector what it was like to kill a man. John has since killed a man, and he thinks about what it was like. John had to go around survivors at the battle and kill them if they survived. Hal made it clear that it was a mercy.

We get a chance to hear how John doesn’t seme like other soldiers, but he definitely is. Killing a man for the first time isn’t easy, but John couldn’t show hesitation the first time.

Time passes to the point where the candle goes out and John falls asleep for some time. When he wakes, he is naked in bed with a body next to him. How did that happen? When he looks over, it’s Nessie, but he doesn’t remember being with her. Nessie is also naked, and he sees just how thin she is.

John is uncomfortable, but it’s not because of who Nessie is. It’s who Nessie reminds him of. John is remined of “The Woman,” Jamie’s wife. He refuses to use her name, and he knows that Jamie will never stop thinking of her just like he can never stop thinking of Hector. It’s clear that John is jealous, and I love that we get this view point. It’s needed to see just how he feels when Claire comes back into his life in the Caribbean during Voyager.

Could this chapter be used in the TV series?

If there is a Lord John Grey series, this is the first chapter that I could see being cut down and not used as much. There are a lot of internalized thoughts in this chapter. The only way it would work for a TV series is through the use of flashbacks, but then they need to be used properly and well in a TV show.

The part that is important is John and Nessie’s conversation, as it gets John potentially one step closer to get information about Joseph. After all, his focus here is to see if Joseph should marry Olivia.

We got flashbacks of John with Hector after Culloden. They were used while John was telling Jamie about Hector. This was important as it showed John’s love for Hector instead of us being told about it. We needed to get to know who John was, his sexuality, and his ability to love. However, the memories now are really just memories that offer no major connection to the rest of the story, so they’re not as necessary.

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