Quotes from Lord John Books

Quotes by Book: Outlander | Dragonfly in Amber | Voyager | Drums of Autumn | The Fiery Cross | A Breath of Snow and Ashes | Echo in the Bone | Lord John Books

Lord John and the Hellfire Club

Without intent, one hand closed upon his glass, the thumb drawing slowly upward, stroking the smooth, cool surface as though it were another’s flesh.”

‘Why do you seek to entangle yourself in that sordid affair?’ he demanded. ‘Such association cannot but harm your own reputation- such as it is.’

That stung, as it was meant to.

Lord John and the Private Matter

“Lord John pressed two fingers between his throbbing brows and essayed what he hoped was an expression of satiated lewdness.”

She knows nothing of his character, nor of the real nature of marriage, and if she is truly in love with anything at the moment, it is with her wedding dress.”

“Mr. Stapleton, alias Neil the C*nt, gave a short, jerky bow and moved away, eyes flickering to and from Grey with the air of one who has just seen an apparition but hopes it will have the good manners to disappear before the next glance.”

“Jamie Fraser would not have abandoned those who depended on him, not even for the sake of a woman who- Grey was forced to admit- he clearly loved beyond life itself. As for the notion of his stealing another man’s wife, it was inconceivable.”

Lord John and the Succubus

“Neither eyes nor bosom swayed him, and it was clear to him that the princess found considerably more excitement than fear in the notion, but he smiled reassuringly, an Englishman secure in his rationality.”

“The English private, who normally probably knew no more German than ‘ja,’ and ‘nein,’ and the two or three crude phrases necessary to accomplish immoral transactions, was so stricken with fury that he was all but speechless in his own tongue, as well.”

“…and then the disgusting pig of an Englishman, he put his [incomprehensible colloquial expression] into my [unknown gypsy word]! And then…”

‘What did this witch look like?’

The child stared back, uncomprehending.

‘Like a witch,’ he said.

“He shook his head, took the warming pan from his sheets, and crawled between them, reflecting that, of all the men in Gundwitz that night, he at least was safe from the attentions of any roving succubi.”

“Grey shook him harder, then released him, and under the guise of slapping dead leaves from his uniform, leaned closer. ‘If you act like this, they will know,’ he said, speaking in a rapid whisper. ‘For God’s sake, laugh!’ ”

“I assure you, Tom, if the phallus of St. Orgevald does not protect me, nothing will.”

“He could imagine himself some demon of the air, taking wing to haunt the dreams of a man, seize upon a sleeping body and ride it- could he fly as far as England? he wondered. Was the night long enough?”

“Lay watching the play of firelight on the walls, seeing not the flicker of wood flame, but the play of sun upon red hair, the sheen of sweat on a pale bronzed body…”

” ‘I have… an understanding. In England.’ His understanding with James Fraser was that if he were to ever lay a hand on the man or speak his heart, Fraser would break his neck instantly. It was, however, certainly an understanding, and clear as Waterford crystal.”

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

“He felt things shift and stir, unseen, and had the odd feeling that nothing would ever again be the same. This was nonsense, of course; it never was.”

“You intend that we should be dressed alike? In yellow? Olivia, we shall look like nothing so much as a pair of singing canaries.”

“Falling snow whispered secrets to itself. ‘And you are a fanciful idiot,’ he said out loud, and turned away from the window. ‘Be writing poetry next thing.’ ”

“Misshapen flakes fell slow and scattered, spiraled through gray air and brushed his face, tiny cold touches so fleeting as not even to leave a sense of wetness in their wake. Dry tears, he thought. Appropriate to his sense of distant mourning.”

“Don’t go into an alcove with her,” Grey murmured back, already nodding and smiling at the approaching lady. “She’ll have her hand in your breeches before you can say — Lady Beverley! Your servant, madam – may I present you my new stepbrother, Percival Wainwright?”

“Grey was entirely aware that more than one appetite had been stimulated by the recent exercise. The art of swordsmanship obliged one to pay the closest attention to the body of one’s opponent, reading intent in the shift of weight, the narrowing of an eye, looking for a weakness that might be taken advantage of. He’d been attuned to every breath Percy Wainwright had taken for the last hour, and he knew damned well where Percy’s weakness was- and his own.”

“It brought him to the edge again, held him trembling there, gasping and whimpering, and finally dropping him over the side of a sheer precipice he had never suspected was there.”

“I swear I shall be relieved when you are all off to Germany,’she said tartly . ‘I shall worry about you much less, if you’re merely standing in front of cannon batteries, and charging redoubts full of grenadiers.’

“Grey had noticed this female paradox before: women who swooned at the notion of powerful men who would protect them at the same time liked nothing better than an admission of helplessness on the part of any male within their sphere of influence.”

“For God’s sake! he thought, in agonized impatience, can you not die like a man, at least?”

He experienced that peculiar crawling of the flesh that attends any child’s sudden realization that a parent must not only have engaged at some comfortably primeval date in the theoretical carnal act that resulted in his own existence – but was capable of doing it again in the all-too-physical present.

“Percy had been right; it was a great secret, and John felt the weight of his lover’s trust, warm on his heart.”

“The brief and undignified struggle that followed- filled with muffled accusations of insubordination, high-handedness, disobedience, arrogance, contumacy, despotism, mutiny, and tyranny- ended in a truce that left the respective parties on the floor, breathless, flushed, disheveled, panting, and entirely satisfied with the negotiated terms of surrender.”

Woke with a dreadful feeling of shame, heavy in his belly. The sound of dripping water in his ears.
The dripping of rain. The drip of sweat, of blood and seed. Not tears. The man had never wept, even in extremity.
Yet his pillow was wet. The tears were his.

” ‘I am blinded by his glory,’ Percy assured Tom gravely. ‘He’ll be a credit to you, I’m sure.’

‘No he won’t,’ Tom said, standing back with a sigh. ‘He’ll have gravy spilt down his ruffles before the evening’s out. That, or he’ll take a bet from someone and jump that big white bastard of a horse over a wall with his arms crossed, and fall off into a bog. Again. Or-‘ ”

” ‘Have you quite lost your mind, Stephan?’ he inquired politely.

Von Namtzen appeared to consider the question, inhaling the aroma of his brandy.

‘No,’ he said mildly, exhaling. ‘Why do you ask?’ ”

“His fingers were stiff, clumsy; he had difficulty forcing the lighted fuse into the linstock, but forced himself to keep the rhythm, shouting orders in a voice that cracked like broken iron. Sponge. Vent. Load cartridge. Ram. Load wadding. Ram. Check vent. Powder. Fall back! And the hissing small flame at the end of the linstock coming down toward the touchhole, sure and graceful, with no sense at all that his own hand guided it.

That moment of suspended animation and the crash and buck of the gun. The first one left him deafened; he knew he was still shouting only because his throat hurt.”

“It was not melancholy. That abyss was still visible to him, but he resolutely looked away from it, back turned to its beckoning verge.”

“And what do you think love is, then, that it is reserved only to men who are drawn to women?’

“The fact that the idea was patently insane did not bother him particularly; he was a long way past worrying over such things as the state of his own mind.”

‘Would it be better if I ‘d had daughters ,’ she asked the mirror in apparent earnestness. ‘No,’ she answered herself.’They’d only marry men, and there you are.’

Lord John and the Haunted Soldier

“Christ, was he going to die in public, in a pleasure garden, in the company of a sodomite spy dressed like a rooster? He could only hope that Tom was nearby and would remove the body before anybody noticed.”

“The gun you served at Crefeld, Major. You did not know its name?”

“No, sir,” he said, and could not help adding, “we were not formally introduced, owing to the circumstances.”

“I am completely insane.”

“You’ve a kind heart, me lord,” Tom Byrd said reprovingly. “Not the same thing at all.”

“Oh, I am reasonably sure that it is- at least in this instance. Kind of you to give me the benefit of the doubt, though, Tom.”

I love you, he wrote, the strokes light and fast, making scarcely a mark upon the paper, with no ink. I wish it were not so. Then he rose, scooped up the scribbled papers, and, crushing them into a ball, threw them into the fire.”

“Both you and Stapleton know. And for your separate reasons, cannot or will not speak of it to anyone. The odd result of this is that I feel quite free in the company of either one of you, in a way that I cannot be free with any other man. You despise me; Stapleton would use me. And yet, when I am with you or with him, I am myself, without pretense, without the masks that most men wear in commerce with their fellows.”

“You are true north.”

“Go to bed, Tom,” he managed to say. “Don’t wake me in the morning. I plan to be dead.”

“Very good, me lord,” Tom said, and lips pressed tight, went out, holding Grey’s wine-stained, sweat-damp, tobacco-smelling shirt at arm’s length before him.

“Hell was filled with clocks, he was sure of it. There was no torment, after all, that could not be exacerbated by the contemplation of time passing.”

“The trouble with an inquisition was that it seldom went hungry to bed.”

“Not for the first time, Grey wondered at a religion which rejected so many of the things that made tolerable. Perhaps it sprang from an intent to make heaven seem that much more desirable by contrast to a life from which pleasure had been largely removed.”

“He felt his blood rise and his cheeks flush. Nearly half a lifetime. Dear God, how long would he have to live, in order to escape the memory of Prestonpans, and goddamned Jamie Fraser?”

“Outspoken honesty was not a virtue generally prized in a valet, but it was a virtue for all that- and Grey prized it.”

“Filial respect caused Grey to hesitate in passing ex post facto opinions on his mother’s judgment, but after half an hour in the company of either Paul or Edgar, he could not escape a lurking suspicion that a just Providence, seeing the DeVanes so well endowed with physical beauty, had determined that there was no reason to spoil the work by adding intelligence to the mix.”

“Just in time, Grey recalled his mother mentioning that Edgar himself had stood for Parliament in the last by-election, and refrained that personally, he would prefer to be shot outright than to have anything to do with politics.”

Lord John and the Custom of the Army

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied? I hunger, John,” he whispered. “And you thirst. You won’t fail me.” The fingers of Charlie’s secret moved on his skin, a plea, a caress.

“You be careful, Englishman,” he said in a voice with a noticeable French accent, and reaching out, ran his fingers quite casually through Grey’s loose hair. “Your scalp would look good on a Huron’s belt.”

“His heart was racing- go off in company with an Indian he barely knew? It might easily be a trap. He could end up scalped or worse. But electric eels were not the only ones to discern things by means of a sixth sense, he thought.”

“His ferocious, autocratic, dictatorial brother- Colonel of his own regiment, terror of both his own troops and his enemies- had fallen in love with his daughter. The regiment would leave for its new posting within a month’s time. Hal simply couldn’t bear to have her out of his sight.”

“He heard a familiar sound that made him recoil for an instant from the force of memory- wild Highland screams, filled with rage and berserk glee.”

“There was also a sense of injustice, colored by the beginnings of indignation; by God, he had nearly been married! He might, of course, also have been maimed or killed as a result of this imbroglio, but that seemed relatively inconsequent; he was a soldier, after all- such thing happened.”

Scottish Prisoner

“Lord, that she might be safe was his last conscious thought. She and the child.”

“He was the fuse that would detonate this particular bomb. And he was all too familiar with what happened to fuses, once lit.”

“I would not piss on him was he burning in the flames of hell,” Gray said politely.

One of Hal’s brows flicked upward, but only momentarily.

“Just so,” he said dryly. “The question, though, is whether Fraser might be inclined to perform a similar service for you.”

Grey placed his cup carefully in the center of the desk.

“Only if he thought I might drown,” he said, and went out.

“God bless you, ye bloody English bastard,” he said through his teeth. It was his customary prayer when Frank Randall came to his mind- something he tried to avoid happening, but now and then… “Mind them well!”

“But it marks you, killing. No matter why it’s done.”

“Even for Hal, to whom high-handedness was as natural as breathing, this was raw.”

“Nothing is sacred to a man who would rhyme ‘sanguineous’ and ‘cunnilingus,’ I assure you.”

“Harry, belatedly realizing what he’d given away, looked as innocent as it was possible for a thirty-eight-year old colonel of expansive habit, lecherous appetite, and considerable experience to look.”

“Stephan took it, but rather than shake it, drew him close, and the taste of oranges was suddenly in his mouth.”

“James Fraser apes nothing”, he assured her ,feeling an obscure sense of offense on Fraser’s behalf. “He is- or was- a landed gentleman and one of breeding, with substantial property and tenants. —— He is inclined to make his own rules.”

“It had been a long trip from Newmarket, and God knew what might over dinner. An empty bladder and clean hands were as much preparation as it lay within his power to make.”

“While I take the liberty of offense on his behalf, he might be inclined to take action, whereas I would not sully my sword with your blood.”

“Do you know, I believe that is the first time I’ve found myself in a young man’s arms? Quite a pleasant experience; perhaps if I’d had it earlier, I should not have been a nun.”

“You are without doubt the touchiest son of a bitch I have ever encountered,” Grey said, his face flushed. “And I include in that roster such men as my brother and the King of Prussia. Can you not behave like a civil being for more than ten minutes together?”

“There was not easiness between them any longer- but there was honesty. And that was a thing he had had- ever would have- with precious few men.”

There were frogs in the ditches, in the bogs that lay beyond the scrim of trees. They called, high and low, shrill and bass, cascading over one another in a vast, pulsating chorus. At a distance, sitting on a lawn with that chorus as background, watching the stars come out, the sound might be no more than a pastoral, the song of spring.

This close, it was still the song of spring, but that song was revealed to be what the pagans had always known it to be—the blind urge to seize, to mate, to spill blood and seed heedlessly into the earth, wallow in crushed flowers, writhe in the juices of grass and mud. Those bloody frogs were shrieking their passion, raw-throated and triumphant. Hundreds of them. The racket was deafening.

“What kind of flapdoodle is that?”

Grey thought briefly of inquiring whether there was more than one sort of flapdoodle and, if so, what the categories might be, but thought better of it and ignored the question as rhetorical.

“He’d once seen Minnie’s cook take a sharpened spoon and cut the flesh of a melon out in little balls. He felt as though each of Bowles’s words had been a jab of that spoon, slicing out neat chunks of his heart and bowels, one at a time, scraping him to the rind.”

“He felt amazingly self-conscious, like a boy unable to say anything to an attractive girl. He’d be blushing, next thing, he thought, disgusted with himself.”

Then turned his cheek to her reaching hand and touched her through the veils of time.

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