Outlander Book Club: Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 9 breakdown

Lord John heads to Lavender House in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 9. Here's our breakdown of the chapter.
Outlander Season 7 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 7 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /

It’s time for John to head to Lavender House. This certainly brings up more questions about Joseph in Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 9.

We get to see that Lord John does have a darker past. After the loss of Hector, he turned to some dangerous past times, and I think this is the point we really get to see why he ended up being banished to Ardsmuir. It’s clear that his family learned something and the family name needed to be protected.

However, John knowing about Lavender House is useful. It means that he has an idea of everything that goes on in these places. We also get to meet a man who will become important in later books and in the main Outlander books.

Breaking down Lord John and the Private Matter Chapter 9

Lord John Grey heads to Lavender House. We get an idea of the area along the way, and we find out that the place is along a row of places that are for gay men. It’s a secret part of London, and Lord John knows the place well.

It turns out that after the death of Hector, John was distraught. He turned to alcohol and sex to help soothe the pain, and that led him to these sorts of places. It was dangerous, and I think we get a sense that this is what led to his exile in Scotland.

John finds out that he is not alone. Tom Byrd has followed him believing that John is still on the hunt for anything to do with O’Connell. That’s not the case, and he doesn’t think that Jack will have been here. However, thoughts of O’Connell do come up as he is by the canal and thinks about O’Connell’s body being thrown in there.

When John gets to Lavender House, he decides to use the name George Everett, who happened to be the man who took him here in the first place. The staff here would know of George at the very least, but what about the people?

Well, this is where John meets a few men who he hopes that he can get some information from. One of those is Percy Wainwright, who many will now know from Written in My Own Heart’s Blood and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. I do find Percy’s introduction in those books a flaw as it means we need to know the Lord John books to really understand Percy and John’s backstory.

While talking to Percy and two other men, John explains that he is looking for a woman in a green velvet dress who may go by the name Josephine of Cornwall. Nobody recognizes her.

They are cut off when the proprietor of the house, Richard Caswell, enters. He immediately recognizes John but doesn’t show it. As he leaves, John follows. It’s time for more information. Richard must know something.

Could this chapter be used in the TV series?

As we continue to delve into the matter of Joseph, it’s clear that this chapter would need to be used in a Lord John Grey spin-off. There is no way around it. This is something that helps to lead to more questions about what Joseph was up to—it’s interesting that the feminine version of Josephine is used.

This also leads to John’s sexuality being exposed. Tom Byrd sees John there, and he wants to stick around to make sure there is no foul play. It makes it a little harder for John to get on with what he needs to do to get some answers. What if Tom says something to people? We need to see this threat.

Then there’s the introduction of Percy Wainwright. Considering the type of relationship Percy and John end up having, we need to see Percy’s storyline here play out. This could also help those who meet him later if the main Outlander TV series focuses on Percy’s hunt for Fergus Fraser.

So yes, I do see this chapter being used if there is a series adaptation.

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