Below is an excerpt from Book Nine of the OUTLANDER novels, which I am currently writing. Note that there are SPOILERS…
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“What do you mean, I can’t? Whose business is it whether I renounce my title or not?”
Uncle Hal looked at William with an affectionate impatience.
“I’m not speaking rhetorically, blockhead. I mean it literally. You can’t renounce a peerage. There’s no means set down in law or custom for doing it, ergo, it can’t be done.”
“But you—” William stopped, baffled.
“No, I didn’t,” his uncle said dryly. “If I could have at the time, I would have, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t. The most I could do is stop using the title of “Duke,” and threaten to physically maim anyone who used it in reference or address to me. It took me several years to make it clear that I meant that,” he added off-handedly.
“Really?” William asked cynically, glancing at his uncle. “Who did you maim?”
He actually had supposed his uncle to be speaking rhetorically, and was taken aback when the once and present Duke furrowed his brow in the effort of recall.
“Oh…several scribblers—they’re like roaches, you know; crush one and the others all rush off into the shadows, but by the time you turn round, there are throngs of them back again, happily feasting on your carcass and spreading filth over your life.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you have a way with words, uncle?”
“Yes,” his uncle said briefly. “But beyond punching a few journalists, I called out George Washcourt—he’s the Marquess of Clermont now, but he wasn’t then—Herbert Villiers, Viscount Brunton, and a gentleman named Radcliffe. Oh, and a Colonel Phillips, of the 34th—cousin to Earl Wallenberg.”
“Duels, do you mean? And did you fight them all?”
“Certainly. Well—not Villiers, because he caught a chill on the liver and died before I could, but otherwise…but that’s beside the point.”
This excerpt was posted by Diana as one of her "Daily Lines"on October 11, 2015 at 1:50 a.m. (PT), on her FaceBook page.
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