The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Section 2 - Force Majeure
Chapter 14 - Fridstool
Summary originally posted February 2012 by Janet23. To read original discussion threads, view the forum here.
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Janet23 wrote:Chapter 14 opens with Jamie feeling a strong need of solitude. The house has servants everywhere. He can find no peace with out an interruption. Jamie thinks the household is worse than Versailles.Every time he turns around he is tripping on someone trying to do something for him. He is confused with the events of the day and needs to sort out what what he thinks and what he knows of the events that have brought him to London.
Jamie decides what he needs is a fridstool. Since the essence of a fridstool is solitude, Jamie rules out the park and heads to the garden. Jamie remembers meeting a elderly nun at Helwater who was recuperating from dropsical dispersion. He muses for a bit with thoughts of Claire and what she would have said about the nuns condition. One day he saw the nun leaning against a fence. When he approached, the nun lost her grip and started to fall. Jamie catches her and carries her to her destination; a secluded summer arbor. The nun teases him about finding herself in the arms of a young man and Jamie asures her that he is of no danger to her. The nun explains that this place is her fridstool. It is a place that she can go to think in solicitude. Jamie is nervous about her condition but agrees to leave her there if she will allow him to return to take her back to the house. Jamie does but is reluctant to leave her unattended.
Jamie finds himself a space between the shed and the garden wall. There is just enough room for him to sit down on a bucket. Jamie spends a moment thinking of the nun and wonders if he should pray to her to keep an eye on William. He takes comfort in knowing that someone else, besides himself will know about William and watch over him. It dawns on him that the only thing that really matters to him is that he gets back to William. This adventure is just an inconvenience, the only worry to Jamie is that he might not get back to William. These thoughts calm him down and he begins to unravel what he knows of the situation.
Why do the Gray's want of Siverly? Was is because John felt a debt of honor to his friend? Could it be just the Gray's sense of family honor? Maybe, Jamie notes that the Gray's sense of honor is why Hal saved him after the battle.
What is Pardloe about? Is he simply supporting his brother: or is it his sense of outrage at Siverly's behavior? Hal seems to have high standards as to the behavior of an officer.
Why him? Could they not have found someone else to translate the letters? Was it a matter of trust or just because the brothers could control Jamie?
Since John was a competent soldier, why did they need Jamie to go to Ireland with John? What use could he be? Suddenly Jamie realizes that possibly they want him to go because they want him to kill Siverly. Jamie is then disposable he could simply disappear into a bog or worse they could try him in a court of law for the killing. No one will miss a prisoner of war. His family could be told that he died of a sickness and they would never know the truth. Jamie is so deep in these thoughts that he is startled by the appearance of John, standing in front of him. Jamie jumps up and grabs John by the shirt.
"What the bloody hell are you doing here?' John replies. "You are with out a doubt the touchiest son of a bitch I have ever encountered! Can you not behave like a civil being for more than ten minutes together?"
Jamie insults John and his honor. He asks him why john and his brother are using him as a Cats-paw. John holds his temper and remains cool and asks Jamie to come with him. Jamie realizes that John has taken a strong hod on his temper. He leads Jamie into the green house where they can talk. John says they have time to be alone because Minnie is with Ben who is reading is latin. John quotes a bit of what ben is studying and Jamie translates it to mean,"Men always believe what they choose to believe." John then asks Jamie to explain himself and Jamie tells John what he is thinking. Jamie explains his conclusions and John curses Hal.
John then proceeds in a very logical manner. He asks Jamie is he believes that John had nothing to do with his abduction. Jamie replies that he does. He asks Jamie if he understands that John is keeping his promise to his friend he by bringing Siverly to justice.
Jamie says he does. He assures Jamie that Hal is not a murder and wishes him no harm. In fact, it may be that Jamie will find is situation improved. Jamie upon hearing this makes a rude sound of disbelief. John says that Jamie must either take him at his word or not. At this point, Jamie notices that John has lost a bit of his cool. He sees a look in Johns eye and remembers the last time they met in the stable at Helwater. He is referring of course to the terrible fight they had when John told Jamie that he could take him to bed and make him scream. Jamie nearly killed John, but fortunately his swing missed. Jamie admits to himself that his anger had more to do with remembering his treatment at the hands of Randel. John and Jamie try to stare each other down.
Jamie asks John why he followed him to the garden and John tells him that he did not. He was only looking for a place of solitude. Jamie gives in and tells John he will take him at his word.
That evening, John is headed to diner when he meets Hal on the stairs. They laugh over a book of poems that Hal is reading. The book is written by Quarry and is full of dubious verse. Jamie joins in the conversation and the three of them have an enjoyable diner together. John is relieved that Jamie appears to have taken him at his word. He begins to look forward to their adventure.
Wow! Lots happens in the chapter. What is the importance of this chapter to the relationship between John and Jamie?
Jamie comes to some pretty desperate conclusions on his own concerning the Grays. Do you think John as really convinced him otherwise?
What about the reference to their last meeting. This is the first time the the was a chance for Jamie to question John on his behavior. Jamie does not. All of his thoughts are in his head. Do you think he will eventually speak allowed? Or has he let it go? Do you think Jamie feels less about the situation than John?
What is the significance of the verse in latin that John quotes. Did he have a reason to choose that verse?
How does the relationship between John and Jamie change after their chat?
What are your feelings about this chapter?