Mary Robinette Kowal
Charles Ellsworth knows that since he has two daughters, his older brother’s son will inherit his modest estate, Long Parkmead. His concern is making sure both of his daughters, Jane (talented) and Melody (beautiful) are married and taken care of before then. Jane finds her younger sister trying to manipulate ether to create a subtle lavender scent for when Mr. Edmund Dunkirk comes to visit, but she doesn’t have the skill to make it work right. Jane helps her clean up the drawing room. There father asks if they are expecting anyone and Melody explains that Edmund is coming to visit later. Her father says he saw Edmund going hunting, and Melody runs out the door crying. While she is away with her father following, Edmund visits and talks to Jane about preferring talent over beauty. Melody is flustered when she returns and goes to her room, saying she sprained her ankle. Edmund leaves and Jane goes to comfort her sister.
The Ellsworths receive an invitation to a ball being thrown by Mrs. FitzCameron, whose daughter uses glamour to improve her appearance. Charles allows the girls to get new gowns and melody dreams of dancing with Edmund. Jane is brought out of her thoughts of becoming a spinster. Her father asks her to pick out something with roses. Jane has some trouble finding fabric to meet her father’s request, but the dress maker puts two fabrics together on a miniature mannequin of Jane created with a glamour. As she is about to leave, Edmund walks into the shop with his sister, Elizabeth. He asks Jane for her help in picking out something for her first ball. Jane wonders why the 16 year-old hasn’t had her coming out, but decides not to pry. Jane and Madam Beaulieu complete a design . The Dunkirks promise to call at Long Parkmead.
When Jane and Melody arrive at the FitzCameron’s for the ball, Edmund greets them. He takes them to see Mr. Vincent’s glamural and Jane becomes ver interested in it and the folds that created it. Edmund asks Melody to dance while Jane continues to study. She sees Mr. Vincent, but he disappears when she tries to approach him. She makes her way to the ballroom and sits by her parents. Edmund asks her to dance and she accepts. Afterwards, Jane notices that Melody is on her third dance with the guest of honor, Captain Livingston (Mrs. FitzCameron’s nephew), and sends her father to interrupt. When Livia FitzCameron faints from using glamour on her teeth too long, she is between the two most eligible bachelors, Captain Livingston and Edmund. Jane sends her father to help the young woman. Jane scolds Melody for her behavior and Melody accuses her of being jealous of her beauty. Captain Livingston interrupts to ask Jane to dance, but it is only so he can ask about Melody. Jane spends the rest of the night studying the glamural.
The next day, Edmund and Beth Dunkirk come over to visit. Beth is interested in Jane’s art, glamour, and music skills. Jane plays them a few songs animated with moving glamour figures. Afterwards, Edmund points out that Melody is no longer in the room. Jane stands, but faints from over exerting herself. She wakes up on the couch where Edmund put her and apologizes. The Dunkirks get ready to leave and Jane promises to visit them the next day. She decides to let Melody pout alone.
The next day, melody asks Jane for help with glamours. Jane explains she is going to visit Beth first and invites her along. Beth is alone and welcomes the company. After a while of the two younger girls talking, Jane notices Mr. Vincent appear in the yard with an easel and canvas. She ignores her curiosity after pointing him out to the other girls and starts to teach beth a simple glamour. Melody sneaks out to talk to Mr. Vincent alone and Jane has to go get her to take her home. Melody infuriates her sister by making fun of how proper and nice she always acts.
A few days pass before Jane and Beth become close friends. A group of people come to Long Parkmead to pick strawberries. Jane is excited that Edmund came with Beth and they walk together. Mr. Vincent goes off to point and Charles goes to find the servants. When he returns he tells everyone how the glamourist made people disappear. Jane is able to figure out how he does it without using too much energy and replicates the trick. Melody suggests Mr. Vincent and Jane do a tableau vivant together and he agrees. Jane notices a brief unguarded look from Edmund but isn’t sure what it means.
Jane apologizes for offending Mr. Vincent once they are alone behind a glamour. He explains that he doesn’t like people trying to figure out his work because it ruins the art of it. Jane suggests they turn themselves into Daphne and Apollo. When Jane’s glamour transforms from a nymph to a tree, Apollo wraps his arms around her and cries. Jane is uncomfortable. Mr. Vincent excuses himself after the audience is satisfied. When the rest of the party starts heading back, Melody sprains her ankle. Edmund and Captain Livingston carry her back to the house and everyone promises to visit the next day to check on her.
The next day, Captain Livingston and Edmund come to visit Melody. Edmund mentions it is the second time she has sprained the same ankle. Jane notices a flash of guilt on her sister’s face. After the men leave, Melody admits that she faked the injury because she was jealous of the attention Jane was getting for her talents. Jane scolds her and Melody says she can’t trust her anymore.
Edmund comes agin to visit the next day and brings his sister with him. Melody convinces him that her ankle is “better” and Jane chaperones them to the shrubbery maze. Deciding to give her sister some time with her crush, Jane distracts Beth into trying to find the center of the maze. Beth finds the garden romantic, but Jane is only reminded of her childhood. As they return to the house, Mr. Vincent comes out the door.
The new arrival seems uncomfortable, so Jane suggests they go to the drawing room. Mr. Vincent explains that Lady FitzCameron sent him for Melody in hopes it would make her feel better. Jane makes an excuse to go see their mother and wonders if her invalidness started out like Melody’s fake sprains. Captain Livingston arrives and charles sends Jane downstairs to check on the guests. Mr. Vincent is performing a shadow puppet story using glamour and Jane finds herself laughing at the conclusion, despite already knowing the story he told. Melody scolds her for over analyzing and Jane excuses herself again. Over the next few weeks, Jane calls on Beth often, trying to time her visits so that she can avoid Edmund. Beth tells her that Mr. Vincent has a muse and a very odd past. One day, Edmund arrives home with a mare for Beth. The siblings convince Jane to ride with them. Jane spends some time alone with Edmund while Beth is getting acquainted with her new horse. They find Mr. Vincent drawing and Beth starts praising Jane’s works. Jane can’t stand being compared to the master and makes an excuse to go home.
The Ellsworths are invited to a dinner party hosted by Lady FitzCameron. Charles requests Jane wear a specific dress and asks if she is interested in any men. He seems to hint that she may be interested in Edmund as Melody’s focus shifts to Captain Livingston. She gives nothing away. Jane is escorted into Mr. vincent’s masterpiece int eh dinning room by Mr. Buffington. She finds him dull, but gives him her attention as long as required. She speaks with Edmund briefly and catches him off guard when he mentions Beth’s previous tutor (Beth had said she hadn’t been taught glamour before). The ladies retire to the drawing room. Beth seems upset, so Jane goes to play piano. when she is finished, Mr. Vincent asks her if she saw “her” in his work. Jane goes to look again and finds the image of her Daphne (who looks like Melody) in a tree. Upon her return to the drawing room, she hears Mr. Buffington suggest that she is ugly to his friends. Jane goes back to the dinning room.
Jane is trying to compose herself when Captain Livingston and Beth enter the room. jane conceals herself and overhears them talk about their secret engagement. Beth gives him money to gamble and he leaves. Jane reveals herself and tells Beth how she overheard them. Beth convinces her not to tell anyone. Lady FitzCameron asks Mr. Vincent and Jane to perform another tableau vivant. Jane is reluctant because she can tell Mr. Vincent is already exhausted from his efforts on completing the dining room. She agrees when Edmund suggests they are given time to prepare. Mr. Vincent suggests Beauty and the Beast and Jane asks to be the beast. When the present themselves, Mr. Vincent collapses.
Everyone looks to Jane to help Mr. Vincent. She calls for a cold-monger (to cool him down) and a surgeon. By the time sufficient help is there, Jane’s family has already left. Edmund escorts her home. Over the next few days, Captain Livingston brings news. He finally comes with word that Mr. Vincent will be alright. Jane relaxes until she is reminded of Beth’s engagement to Captain Livingston when he speaks poorly of her. Jane defends Beth and Captain Livingston leaves to continue spreading the news.
Mrs. Marchand comes over to compare ills with Mrs. Ellsworth. Melody and Jane make an excuse to go outside. Melody reveals that she has a secret relationship, but refuses to tell Jane who the mystery man is.
Lady FitzCameron plans to take Mr. Vincent to Bath for his recovery. The Ellsworths go to visit before their entire house leaves. Jane tries to watch Melody for any indication that Mr. Vincent is the man she was referring to. The glamourist asks to see Jane and Lady FitzCameron reluctantly allows it. he tells her that he has had no other visitors because Lady FitzCameron doesn’t want anyone to know they aren’t as rich as they appear. he gives her his sketchbook as thanks for saving his life and mind. He asks to call when he is well. Jane accepts and plans to use his notes to bring her work to art in his eyes.
On the carriage ride home, Melody grabs the journal. Jane immediately grabs it back from her sister and explains how she got the book. When they get home, she realizes that her art is lifeless and dull as Mr. Vincent pointed out. She starts studying his journal. At dinner, Mrs. Ellsworth and Melody talk of going to Bath. Jane asks to be left at home. Her father agrees to send his wife and younger daughter while he stays home with Jane. Afterwards, Jane goes back to studying.
Jane finds a sketch of Beth in the journal and realizes she hans’t visited her friend in a while. Edmund meets her along the way and offers to walk her to his house. He tells Jane about Beth’s first tutor. he was wooing her instead of teaching her and they ran away to Scotland where her virtue was lost. Edmund went to get Beth and dueled with him. Jane reassures him there is nothing between Beth and Mr. Vincent. In his relief, Edmund calls Jane by her first name and is shocked at himself. He apologizes profusely, explaining that is how Beth refers to her. He is happy that Jane is visiting.
Jane arrives and immediately goes to beth. The girls room is a mess and she is distraught. Jane explains that Edmund is already questioning her mood. She tells Beth that she must act normal to keep him from guessing the truth. Beth thinks that once Captain Livingston leaves for Bath, she will never see him again. Jane helps her clean up the room and uses her emotions to make glamours that would change the mood.
When Jane leaves Beth’s room, Edmund is waiting for her. he immediately starts asking questions. Jane explains that she cannot betray Beth’s trust unless she is going to come to harm because of the secret. Edmund thanks her for her help. Jane walks back home thinking of him.
Jane helps her mother pack her turn for Bath. As they are heading down to dinner, she catches Melody in her room. Jane notices that Mr. Vincent’s diary is no longer in its hiding place and scolds her sister for reading it. Edmund comes by to return Jane’s shawl. After he leaves, melody explains that she is jealous that Jane has the talent and two suitors. Jane is confused and Melody tells her to finish reading the journal.
Unable to calm her curiosity, Jane starts flipping through the journal to find her image several times. She is Mr. Vincent’s muse. Her mind is reeling and she decides to use glamour to tire herself out. Just before she is about to fall asleep, she hears someone leaving the house. Jane follows Melody into the hedge maze and beats her sister to the middle. Jane creates a window to watch the encounter and find Captain Livingston is also secretly engaged to Melody. Jane makes her presence known, but immediately collapses.
Jane wakes up in the maze, and it is morning. When she gets into the house, the servant, Nancy, tells her that her mom and sister have already left. Jane knows she has to tell her father what is going on. When he sees her, he suspects she is the one who snuck out to meet an man. When she reveals the truth (without giving away Beth’s secret) he goes to bring back his wife and daughter. Jane goes to get ready to tell the Dunkirks. She sees the glamours she did the previous night and notes how the emotion enhanced them.
Down the road at the Dunkirk’s, Jane tells Edmund what is going on. She only reveals that it is Captain Livingston causing the issue when he promises not to do anything rash. Beth overhears their conversation and is enraged at Jane’s betrayal. Edmund holds her back until she stomps off to her room. Edmund prepares to take Jane home, but they see Beth ride off on her mare. He gets his own horse, dueling pistols, and follows. Jane asks for a horse and she slowly follows behind on an old horse.
Mr. Buffington stops Jane on the road until her family shows up. Since most of them believe her to be sick, they are surprised to see her. She tells her dad what happened and he helps her onto Mr. Buffington’s horse to stop Edmund. When she arrives, she tries to stop the duel, but the men won’t listen. She uses glamour to hid herself and cast darkness so they can’t fight each other. Jane explains that she has a recording of Captain Livingston’s words to Melody, but he twists her story to make it sound like she is jealous and in love with him. The next thing Jane knows, there is a pistol to her head.
Captain Livingston threatens to kill Jane. Mr. Vincent lifts her darkness glamour, but they are still hidden by her own bubble. Captain Livingston fires his gun and then puts it in Jane’s hand. When the confusion settles, Mr. Buffington was shot. Captain Livingston tries to pin it on Jane, but Mr. Buffington says the captain owes him money. Jane hits Captain Livingston over the head with his pistol. Jane falls to the ground and Mr. Vincent comes to her. He apologizes for lifting the darkness and tells Jane it is not her fault. When Jane’s family arrives, Melody runs after Captain Livingston, thinking he is dead. Jane and her dad restrain her. The Ellsworths take their carriage home and Melody blames Jane for the whole ordeal. Jane blames herself.
Jane spends a week moping in her room. Melody comes to apologize and convinces Jane to return to their normal routine. A solicitor comes to the door to talk to Charles. When he brings Mr. Sewell into the drawing room, her father sends Jane to the study. Mr. Vincent is there and asks her to marry him. She accepts. He tells her his real name is Vincent Hamilton and that he will give up his art to give her a good life. She refuses and insists on traveling wherever his work takes him. She shows him the glamour in her bedroom. They are married a week later and set off. The Prince Regent takes note of their work and kept them well employed. Melody finds a new match through this connection. The Vincents live a long life being each other’s muses.