So, you’re a woman in 18th century France trying to pull of a dinner party for
14 16 people? Perhaps this handy guide will take some of the pressure off so you can focus on recovering from near-poisoning as you try to avoid the most common party planning pitfalls.
Any successful party brings people together, allowing those not previously acquainted to find new friends. But you’ll need to be careful that you don’t throw together people who are at odds. For example, if you’re hosting Bonnie Prince Charlie, perhaps don’t invite his secretly pregnant ex-mistress and her husband, or else His Royal Highness is likely to be piqued. And definitely don’t reveal her pregnancy to the whole group, or else the Bonnie Prince may do or say something he would regret. If he is at your party to meet and impress potential rebellion financiers (various Dukes and such), this could put his objective at risk.
If, however, a guest rudely exceeds his +1 and invites your mortal enemy, who both tried to poison you and sent a gang of ruffians to assault you, then accept this surprise with aplomb and find a way to accommodate him and his wife so as to maintain the exemplar of a gracious host.
Your seating arrangement should consider who among your guests are acquainted, and who are not; who have something in common to discuss, and who do not. If you have guests whose conversation may disturb the party, seat them as far away as possible, rather than directly across from each other.
If your mortal enemy is present, of course seat him right beside you. That way your respective glares have less distance to travel and you can both utter threats sotto voce.
If you’ve properly delegated the day’s preparations, you should have some time to prepare before the main event. If you get caught up away from home, say, performing orthopedic surgery with the local hangman, take every precaution to ensure your timely arrival at the party. Should your mode of transportation suffer damage, accidental or otherwise, you should still plan enough time to arrive in a timely fashion.
Should you find yourself harboring the victim of an assault orchestrated by your mortal enemy, be sure she is well looked after to minimize the risk that she could awaken frightened, drugged, and mistaking her male caretaker for an assailant. This could cause a disturbance as well as lead to mistaken assumptions about the girl as well as yourself. Nobody wants a party busted up by the gendarmerie.
Disagreements and misunderstandings can happen. Always attempt to resolve these first through dialogue, or by separating the offending parties. Under no circumstances should you shove, punch, whack over the head with a candlestick, or clothesline with a curtain pull, any of your guests. And for God’s sake, don’t stab anyone with your dirk!
Some other things I just can’t help discussing...Let the world rejoice, Jamie and Claire are back in the saddle again! So to speak. I always liked Jamie’s speech about the fortress (actually in the first book), so I’m glad they managed to work it into the show. That whole scene was well done, giving them both an opportunity to have it out, and finally resolving the sexytimes drought the couple had been experiencing. This, after Claire gets more than dirty looks from the Comte St. Germain - not one, but two threats on her life.
The Comte St. Germain makes real his threats against Claire by first trying to poison her (fortunately not with anything fatal thanks to Master Raymond), then by sending a gang masked men to attack her on her way back from the hospital. Fortunately, the men he hired are superstitious and think Claire is some kind of witch (not again!) so she is unharmed. Poor Mary Hawkins is not so lucky; she is attacked and raped during the assault.
Claire goes to see Master Raymond after the Comte’s poisoning attempt; after being assured that he isn’t in league with the Comte, she follows him to a secret room in his shop. The room is filled with skulls and various accoutrements of “magic.” Claire is concerned about Frank given that Jamie has renewed zeal about killing his six-times-great-grandfather, so Master Raymond uses an African ritual to give her some answers about Frank’s fate. It’s not the answer she was expecting - he says Claire will see him again...
Next week, Jamie and Claire go head to head on the fate of Frank Randall. (Plus we get to see that awesome floral dress at Versailles!)
“You’ve given me something to hold on to. Something to look forward to. And that is a gift.” - Jamie, upon realizing he might get to kill Black Jack
“You’re fascinated by things not of this time.” - Master Raymond
“I cannot see his fate, but you have no need to worry. You will see him again.” - Master Raymond, on Frank
“You mean sleep with my husband? But my lover would be furious!” - Louise
C: “Are you referring to that brunette whore Fergus is always talking about?”
J: “No it was a different girl entirely.”
“There was this place inside of me; a place I think everyone has that they keep to themselves. A fortress, where the most private part of you lives. Maybe it’s your soul; the bit that makes you yourself and not anyone else. But after Wentworth, it was like my fortress had been blown apart. The thing that once lived there was suddenly exposed out in the open, without shelter, without...That’s where I’ve been ever since, Claire. Naked. Alone. Trying to hide under a blade of grass.” - Jamie
“In love!? You just said she was sad!” - Murtagh, getting lessons on love from Fergus
“I was looking forward to dessert.” - Duke of Sandringham