Mary Robinette Kowal
Jane is escorted to a small dinner party by the Prince Regent. He has hired her and Vincent for a glamural, which has just recently been finished. He leads her to the dinning room ahead of the others so she can watch their faces as they enter. After they sit down, the Prince Regent and Jane start talking about artists. One of the other men, Skiffy, changes the subject to tailors and ends up insulting the clothes the Prince Regent is wearing. Jane notices that a piece of the glamural she worked on is coming undone and is distracted. The Prince Regent (who insists on being called Prinny in small groups) tells of when they were younger and Vincent made a clock on a tower go backwards. Jane gets up to fix the glamural and alarms everyone. Vincent joins her, but she tells him she can handle it. After she reties the thread with a sturdier knot, she rejoins the dinner.
There is talk around the table about Jane and Vincent going to the continent. Jane is warned to stay out of certain areas because there are still people loyal to Napoleon in France. Jane had no idea they were going that far. The ladies go to the blue room, but Jane isn’t impressed with their gossip. They ignore her and she studies the paintings on the walls. Lady Hertford comes to admire Jane’s work. Jane comes to find out Lady Hertford is the Prince Regent’s mistress and is pregnant, despite having a husband. The men join them and Prinny makes mentions changes to the glamural. Jane offers to help Vincent, but the Prince Regent insists she let Vincent do it. Jane feels like her work is inadequate.
Jane waits a long time for Vincent to complete his fixes to the glamural. After it has just been her, Lady Hertford, and Prinny for some time, Prinny sends her home in his carriage. When Vincent comes home, he doesn’t look well. Jane takes care of him and scolds him for working himself too hard. She apologizes for making him have to fix her mistakes. He explains that he didn’t correct her work, but was asked to replicate the school of fishes she had done. He also tells her he had to make a correction of his own work during dinner, but he has learned to do so from his seat. Jane is relieved and they have sex. Afterwards Jane asks Vincent if they are going to the continent. He says he has thought about it since the war against Napoleon is now over. His friend, Chastain, who was taught by his same teacher (Herr Scholes) is working on a new technique and has been writing him about it. He is trying to create two glamours in one where it would appear to change from one object to another based on the viewer’s perspective. Jane admits she would love to see this, but asks they have dinner with her family first. She will have to tell her parents they are not returning to Long Parkmead. Vincent explains he doesn’t know how he fits into his own family, let alone hers. She promises they will practice together.
The Vincents have Jane’s parents and sister, Melody, over for dinner. Mrs. Ellsworth makes a huge fuss about Jane not using glamour anymore. Jane is confused until Melody explains their mother wants grandchildren. Jane is surprised, especially since she and Vincent have not discussed it yet. Jane tells her family they plan to go to Brussels. Her mom makes a big deal of the dangers. A few mornings later, Jane’s dad explains it took them several attempts to conceive and Jane was actually their third. He asks if Vincent loves her. She assures him before leaving. Jane is relieved when they leave on one of the Prince Regent’s ships. While aboard, Vincent is approached by two young girls. They have a souvenir pamphlet from their glamural and want him to sign it. Jane notices she is not mentioned, but Vincent tells the girls that she did half of it. Jane gladly answers their questions about glamour and explains she can’t show any while moving because it is tied to the earth and would take constant effort at unsafe rates. After they leave, Jane apologizes to Vincent for treating him like that when they first met. Vincent says her regrets pushing her away and they kiss.
After a two day boat ride, the Vincents take off in a carriage, the Diligence, to go through France to Belgium. Jane tries to see all the differences in scenery, people, and speech. One day, the carriage stops. A man opens the door, points a pistol at the passengers (German soldier, a widow and her daughter), and tells them to get out. Vincent asks Jane if she remembers her Beast before going to confront the Bonapartists. He starts fighting them off with help from the German and tells Jane to spook the horses. Once Jane has done her part, she puts a sphere obscurcie around herself and the other two women. As Vincent defeats the men, she wonders why he knows so much about weaponry. They make their way to Bruno Chastain’s home after dropping the Bonapartists off with the proper authorities. As Mme. Chastain walks Jane into their home, Jane realizes that her French is very rusty and has trouble keeping up. The Chastain children come running up and greet their mother and meet Jane. The youngest, Luc, has a wooden sword and pretends to be Napoleon. Bruno strikes him across his bottom with the sword and sends him to his room. The oldest, Yves, takes responsibility and is also sent to his room. Jane asks Vincent about it when they are alone. He points out that most men he knows were struck as children for discipline, including himself. He reassures Jane that he will strive to be more like her father. Vincent goes to watch Bruno’s students play a game where they quickly pass threads to each other. A girl, Anne-Marie, hired because she speaks English (from her mom) and French (from her dad) arrives to help Jane and get them settled. Jane asks her to help practice French and Ann-Marie agrees.
Bruno takes Vincent and Jane to view his work he spoke of in his letters. They see a tree at first and as they walk around it, it slowly transforms into a girl. Jane first takes it in as art and then looks deep at the threads to see how it is done. She sees that two similar threads are twisted together from each image. As on gets thinner, the other get thicker. Bruno is impressed at how quickly Jane figures it out. Next Bruno attempts Vincent’s sphere obscurcie. On his first attempt, he crates a mirrored effect. Jane explains that he twisted the thread the wrong way and needs to let some light through to be able to see out from inside the sphere. Jane feels she is taking up too much of Bruno’s time and decides to return to their rooms, hoping Vincent will do the same soon. On her way, Jane runs into the Chastains’ daughter, Miette, who is making rainbows with a glass prism. Jane sees a storm coming and creates a beam of light so the little girl can keep playing. Jane gets an idea and puts a rainbow glamour in the prism. Miette is easily able to move around with it. She leaves Miette to find Vincent.
Jane wildly hunts for Vincent, wanting to tell him her idea. After searching everywhere, she finds him in their room, soaked from the snow. She tells him about the rainbows, but he discounts the story as useless. Jane goes on to explain her theory that glass could hold visual glamours. He thinks it through and determines they will need to find a glass blower.
Without letting the Chastains know about their experiment, Jane and Vincent have some trouble finding what they need. The next night, they attend a dinner party. Anne-Marie helps Jane practice French before hand. She is sat with Colonel de Bodard, who is also from England. He also helps her with polite corrections to her speech. As the dinner starts, Jane is shocked at the difference from a British dinner party. The women are not separated from the men, drink wine, and some smoke cigars. One woman sees Jane’s discomfort and puts herself in the lap of a man. The political conversation continues as the guests debate their city always being pulled between France and the Netherlands.
A week later, Jane and Vincent find a glass blower. He looks at their plans and tells them it is not possible to produce something exact enough to capture glamours. He has his son, Matthieu, work with them. As he blows a glass bubble, Vincent tries to create the glamour of a red cone inside. Jane changes out of her dress and into men’s clothes so she can cool the glamour with her own. They are unable to perfect it until Matthias suggests they use a glamour similar in shape to the glass. They decide on the sphere obscurcie and are excited when it works. The glass bubble makes Matthieu disappear. They show him using Vincent. Matthieu explains that he will cool the glass properly and it will be ready in a few days.
It is a week before Jane is well enough to go out. Ann-Marie takes Jane to the Gilles parade while Vincent plans to teach Bruno’s students. Jane is curious about a dragon that is glamoured in the parade. She looks to see the threads are passed from woman to woman in the crowd. This little effort exhausts Jane and she faints. One of the Gilles carries her home and leaves quickly without removing his mask. When the doctor arrives, he examines Jane and tells her she is pregnant. It is a while that Jane worries how Vincent will feel about the situation before he returns. He is pleased and says they will continue their work afterwards. Jane worries that she will not be well after having a baby, but Vincent reassures her that she will be fine.
A letter comes for Vincent from Mr. Gillman requesting he and complete a glamural. He wants to turn it down so that the commission will go to Bruno, but Jane is disappointed. She suggests he and Bruno work together, but Bruno declines. Vincent suggests Jane accompany him to help with the design. Mr. Gillman explains that he wants the windows in a certain room to have the same view as his new wive’s many paintings. Jane suggests how to complete the task using Chastain’s new technique and the sphere obscurcie. Vincent explains on the way him that it would be easier from him to complete the glamural quickly if Jane did not always join him. On the next trip she joins him, she tries to help, but Vincent’s temper is short. He suggests that she is getting in the way. When Mr. Gillman changes the image to a lamb moving in an illogical path, Jane tries to dissuade him, but Vincent agrees and tells Jane she has no part in the project.
Jane has been making visits to neighbors with Mme. Chastain. Mme Meynard, who delights in seeing people argue, introduces Jane to Lieutenant Segal. He is the masked man that carried her home from the parade when she fainted. He makes a remark about the British being prude and Jane tries to defend her country, but is forced to admit most British women are preoccupied and silly. Back home, she plays the piano and Vincent arrives to listen. They return to their room where he insists he must write a letter before bed. Jane notices his secretive behavior and that he keeps his writing test locked until she closes the bedroom door.
One morning, Jane catches Vincent before he leaves for the day. When he says he only has a few errands that day, Jane asks if she could go with him. He then says he is going to Brussels. At breakfast, a letter is delivered for Vincent. Jane wants to take it to him, but has to ask where her husband is first. Yves offers to walk her to Mme. Macon’s house. Vincent is learning her self taught perspective on glamour. He decides to walk Jane home, but they run into Mme. Meynard and he leaves Jane with her before leaving for Brussels. Jane is very suspicious of his behavior.
The next day, Ann-Marie delivers the key to Vincent’s writing desk that she found in the laundry. Ann-Marie is wearing a necklace from Lieutenant Segal. Jane decides to go outside to sketch the sphere to keep herself from opening her husband’s writing desk and reading his letters. She sits on a bench and Vincent walks right by her. She calls out to him, but he still cannot see her. She realizes the sphere only works in direct sunlight. They test their theory and Jane asks if they should show Bruno. Vincent wants to wait, but says it is Jane’s invention and therefore her choice. Jane allows him to study it more before they reveal the sphere.
Jane wakes up feeling well for the first time since she became pregnant. She decides to go into town and asks if anyone needs anything. Miette asks for a ribbon for her prism and Jane gladly agrees. When she get to the shop, she notices all the patrons are split. A man tells her she should leave because she is British and Napoleon has returned to France. ON her way out, one of the Bonapartists elbows her in the stomach. Upon her return, everyone has just learned the news from Colonel de Bodard. Jane promises Miette on of her own ribbons and takes the girl to her room. She asks fro a glamour, but Jane explains why she must refuse. Vincent returns on sweaty horseback.
Vincent quickly dismisses Jane to talk to Bruno. When hi is finished, he takes her to their room. Vincent intends to send her back to England alone. When Jane refuses, he explains that he is a spy for England and was told to tell no one. Jane is furious that he has been lying to her for so long. She explains how his behavior shows he doesn’t trust or respect her. He agrees to tell her everything.
Vincent explains how people won’t suspect him because he is a glamourist. He has been helping pass messages. His glamour for Mr. Gilman is a map. Yves is suspected of being a Bonapartist. He tells Jane that his father had very harsh punishments to try to keep him from his interest in glamour. He left the family after making a deal and dropping the last name “Hamilton.” Vincent worries about his father finding out Jane is pregnant because neither of his brothers has produced an heir. While the women are all sitting together, Yves asks to go to the celebration for the new king of the United States of Netherland. Jane convinces them all to go. After the speeches are almost complete, Napoleon’s flag appears surrounded by bees. Jane sees the female glamourist on a balcony above them and has Yves and his friends through the ladies‘ shoes at her until the image disappears. Jane asks about the bees and Mme. Meynard explains it is Napoleon’s symbol for his hardworking followers. Jane realizes Ann-Marie is a Bonapartist.
Jane wants to tell Vincent her suspicion right away, but knows she will have to wait until her returns home. When he does, he listens to her story. He will have to go to Brussels and she will have to pretend she doesn’t suspect Ann-Marie. Early the next morning, Lieutenant Segal arrives with men to take Vincent. Napoleon wants the sphere obscurcie. He hands Jane the one in glass and puts her in a patch of sunlight to hide her when the soldiers enter their room. They drag Vincent away as Jane watches.
Mme. Chastain finds Jane and takes her to Bruno. He apologizes because he didn’t think his refusal to go with the Bonapartists would lead them to taking Vincent. He plans to take his family to Brussels and send Jane back to England from there. She refuses to leave her husband. but agrees to go to Brussels for one day to inform Mr. Gilman of what happened to Vincent. Jane asks Yves if his friends will be staying in town. She goes to visit one to see if he has any information of where they might have taken Vincent. The boys‘ mother kicks her out. She sees Matthieu repairing a broken window and asks for his help. He agrees to meet with her the next day.
That night, Jane goes to Brussels with the Chastains. In the morning, she tells Mr. Gilman what has happened and asks him to help her raise ransom money. He says he cannot, as it would arouse suspicion, but he could get a letter to Vincent’s father to ask for ransom. He is unable to persuade Jane to return to England, so he gives her money to help her. She returns to the Chastains‘ house to find Matthieu waiting for her. He thinks they are headed to Charleroi to meet up with Napoleon. He then helps her inside and leaves. Ann-Marie is waiting at her bedroom window when Jane enters.
Ann-Marie says she was packing Jane’s belongings, but Jane points out the proof she has against the girl. She asks her what it was like growing up without a father since that is what she has doomed Jane’s child to. Ann-Marie tells her Vincent was taken to a farm south of Quatre Bras. Jane tells her to clean up her things, indicating she trusts the girl because sh has nothing left to loose. She tries to sleep, but can’t.
In the morning, Jane finds some of Yves‘ clothes and puts them on. Ann-Marie tries to keep Jane from cutting her long hair, but she ends up helping her eventually. There is one horse left in the stable, which has been prepared with a side-saddle. Jane knows she cannot impersonate a man that way, but Anne-Marie refuses to risk the child. They settle on a cart and Jane finds her way to a hill overlooking the farm. She pulls out Vincent’s easel and completes a sketch. She notices a guard intently watching a heap of dirty laundry and then realizes the stained pile is actually Vincent.
Jane gets as close as she can, but slows when she sees Vincent whipped. She acts like she is an ill artist and shows the investigating guards her handkerchief full of blood and ruined canvas. She spends the next week creating her disguise, Henri Villeneuve, around town and near the farm. She commissions Matthieu to make a glass lamb that signifies Lt. Segal and has him deliver it to Mr. Gilman. She asks Anne-Marie to pack her things to send back to England. Jane waits for a sunny day and drives herself and two mannequins out. She sets one up at an easel to point and uses the sphere to carry one down to Vincent (meant to replace him). She frees him and waits for the necessary distraction. Anne-Marie arrives with their things on a cart, but this makes segal want to question Vincent. He quickly realizes he is free and Jane has to pull him into the sphere. They make their way to the cart, breaking the sphere in the process. Anne-Marie hides them under blankets. The cart takes of.
Jane tells Vincent they need to get off the cart. She hides him in a rye field until she gets her own cart for them to travel in. It isn’t long before the French soldiers start to catch up. Vincent is not strong enough to hid himself, so they make a run for it. He ends up having to fight off several soldiers until they get stuck in the rye field. British soldiers come to the rescue and get them back to camp. Vincent explains what he knows and teaches a glamourist how to use the sphere obscurcie. Arrangements are being made to take them to Brussels, but when Jane stands up, there is blood on her chair.
Jane looses the baby and when they are well, the Vincents return to England. Vincent reassures her that he loves her and the loss isn’t her fault. When they next dine with the Prince Regent, Jane doesn’t look forward to it. Vincent asks her to stay with the men to recount the tail of the war. She gladly accepts