Mary Robinette Kowal
Jane and Vincent visit her family at Longpark Mead. Jane throws a card party in hopes that some socialization would help bring her sister, Melody, out of her depression When it doesn’t, Jane realizes that her sister is lonely. She goes to talk to her father and learns their crops aren’t doing well because of the late snow. She talks to him about Melody, and they both agree a change of scenery would do her some good.
Vincent receives a letter from Sir Lumley about a glamural being requested by the Baron of Stratton in London. When Jane reads over the premise, both of their minds start going to work. Jane asks if they can bring Melody with them as her marriage prospects would be better where there are eligible men. Vincent agrees and they go to tell her parents. Jane brings up they will be leaving for London to do a glamural and her mother goes on about how they are not well enough to leave and perform glamour. She thinks the cold mongers are responsible for the change to the weather even after Jane explains that it is impossible. Vincent asks Melody to join them in London and their mother’s tune changes. She invites herself along, but Jane convinces her to stay at home. A month later, they arrive at Schomberg House in London. Vincent has the staff get Melody and their trunks situated and then wants to show Jane something. He takes her to the third floor studio where there is a speaking tube. It is currently clogged and without glamour to make it work, but he finds it inspiring.
Jane and Vincent go to look at the ballroom the Baron of Stratton wants the glamural. Most of the current glamour is coming undone and they talk about what will replace it. There is a hidden door leading up to a gallery with a balcony overlooking the ballroom. Jane is surprised at the lack of skill put into the areas glamours. On the way home, Jane mentions the Baron’s son, Alastar, who is studying law at Cambridge, might be a good match for Melody. Vincent points out the Baron’s family is Irish-Catholic, which makes Jane Rethink the idea. She decides she will have to get to know the family first. They are stopped in their carriage because a mob is harassing a coldmonger. One man throws a cobble at him and he starts to bleed.
Vincent tells Jane to stay int he carriage, but she runs right into the crowd. Vincent makes it look and sound like explosions so that Jane can get to the boy, William (12 years old), and hide him in a sphere obscurcie. She makes it sound as though the Bow street Runners are approaching with noises of horses and whistles. The crowd starts to disperse and a man knocks over Jane because he was unable to see her. Vincent comes to make sure she is okay. They get William into their carriage and take him back to the Worshipful Company of Coldmongers. When they get home, Mrs. Brackett, the housekeeper, shows them the numerous cards from callers. One is Vincent’s sister, Penelope, who he hasn’t spoken to since he left his family. They find Melody is hosting their mother’s first cousin, Sir Prescott Worrick, and his nephew Mr. Colgrove. When the conversation turns to heatmongering, Jane has to explain that the practice is deadly. Vincent points out that coldmongers don’t usually live long. Sir Prescott makes a joke about saving his coldmonger’s life by firing him, but it is in bad taste and makes everyone uncomfortable as he carries on. Jane worries about Vincent.
After spending a week removing all the old glamour from the Baron’s ballroom, Jane is excited to get started. She notices Melody just sitting, looking miserable. She invites Melody to go with them and she accepts, promising not to get in the way. It isn’t very long before Melody grows bored. When the Baron comes in the room and sees her, he offers to let her use the ennui (music room). She accepts. When Jane and Vincent go to get her at the end of the day, she is laughing with Alastar O’Brian. He apologizes for his inappropriate behavior and excuses himself after learning Jane and Vincent are glamourist and just finishing up their day.
Vincent shows Melody an invitation to an ice skating party from the Prince Regent. He replies that they will go and she is excited. While at the party, Vincent and Jane perform a tableau vivant of Hades and Persephone’s return to earth in the spring. Both feel out of practice when they are winded by the effort. Jane notices Melody skating with Alastar, and Vincent notices she is upset. Jane explains she felt Alastar was not interested in Melody after learning she was related to artists. Vincent points out he was being polite not to keep them. Suddenly, they run into Vincent’s father. He wants to make amends, but still think Vincent should give up being a glamourist. However, he does want his sons help in spying on a fellow Englishman. Vincent refuses and leaves his father.
That night at dinner, Jane can tell that both her sister and her husband need to talk to her. After they dismiss themselves, Jane decides to go see Melody first. Melody explains the Prince Regent was becoming inappropriate and Alastar saved her by asking her to skate. Jane apologizes for putting her in that position. Melody thinks she likes Alastar, but worries that she is just lonely. Jane goes up to the studio to talk to Vincent next. She finds him holding a great number of folds. When he releases them and they all fall apart, she realizes that none of them were tied off to conserve strength. Vincent is worried his father’s manipulation will end up hurting Jane. She encourages him to stay away from his father. He decides to tire himself out with glamour and sends Jane to bed.
When Jane wakes up, she find Vincent staring out the bedroom window. They go to work and he exhausts himself by mid day. Jane suggests lunch, and when Vincent turns, he falls. Jane convinces him that giving up half a day is better than him getting ill. She goes to find Baron Stratton for use of a carriage, but instead finds Alastar talking with a servant (in colors indicating he is from another house) about marching on Parliament. Jane requests the carriage and again has to convince Vincent to leave. Back home, Jane tells Vincent what she overheard. He doesn’t think much of it. Jane also worries that Alastar is using Melody to get to the Prince Regent. Vincent restates her thoughts and she realizes how ridiculous it sounds, but it doesn’t keep her from worrying.
A few weeks later, Jane and Vincent take Melody to Mr. Colgrove’s birthday party. Vincent recognizes the surrounding glamural to be the work of one of his schoolmates and goes to seek him out among the servants. Jane realizes the only reason they are treated differently as glamourists is because the Prince Regent favors them. She introduces Melody, who fits right into the group of men that gather around her. Jane overhears Vincent’s father, Lord Verbury, talking about how Catholics can’t marry outside of their faith. Jane greets Lord Verbury, surprised to see him. After a few subtle slights towards Jane, she points out his embarrassment of Vincent and leaves his company. Jane runs into Major Curry (took Jane and Vincent to Brussels) and introduces him to Melody. Melody points out that Jane is making it look like she is for sale. Vincent appears and Jane feels bad that she wasn’t able to warn him before he saw his father.
Jane sends Vincent to work alone so she can spend some time with Melody. The girls go shopping and Melody uses Jane’s name to get them better service. As they continue on, Jane sees Lord Verbury talking to Alastar on the street. She pulls Melody into a stationary shop to avoid them. Jane idly looks at items, wondering what the two men are talking about. She is tempted to try a lointaine vision to eavesdrop, but doesn’t on moral grounds. Lord Verbury enters the stationary shop and tells Jane to have Vincent give Miss de Clare his regards. He leaves and Jane suspects he and Alastar were discussing the job Vincent declined from his father. When they get back home, Jane goes to the studio to paint. When Vincent comes home, Jane delivers his father’s message and tells him about what she saw. Vincent admits that Miss de Clare was a prostitute that was nice to him and made him feel safe from the abuse of his father when he was sixteen. Jane is disappointed, but tries not to let it show how hurt she is.
Jane tries to ignore and get over the new information about Vincent’s past, especially knowing Lord Verbury wants to use it to drive them apart. They are both distracted as they try to work and Vincent decides it is too unproductive for them to continue. He suggests they go to the circus and Jane agrees. On their way out, Jane sees Alastar and insists on following him with Vincent trailing behind. After watching him enter the Worshipful Company of Coldmongers, Jane approaches and asks to speak to Will. When he sees her, he is surprised and grateful. She asks him about coldmongering. Will explains different coldmongers have different specialties. Brokers help them get jobs suited to those specialties. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon, proposed a bill that could help with their lack of employment, but with the cold weather lasting unusually long, they are not especially needed. Jane asks if Alastar is a client, and Will says he is just a friend. She goes to Vincent and tells him everything. He suggests they take Melody out for dancing at an exclusive club.
When they arrive at the club, Jane regrets not being able to socialize and host very much since they have come to London. Vincent takes Melody to introduce her to a few acquaintances. Jane finds Major Curry and has him ask her sister to dance. Vincent asks Jane to dance and she is surprised at how good he is. She knows it is due to the punishments his father doled out and vows not to ask it of him ever again. When the dance is over, Vincent’s sister, Penelope, comes up to invite them to a small dinner between their two families. Vincent agrees and takes Jane back to the dance floor to avoid her. Alastar is there with Melody and plans to teach her how to waltz. He shows Vincent and Jane is uncomfortable with how physically close Alastar and Melody will be for the dance. Vincent is happy for a dance where he doesn’t have to talk to anyone but Jane.
Vincent wakes up and immediately starts sketching out an idea. Jane starts touching and kissing him until they are intimate for the first time since she learned about Miss de Clare. Afterwards he explains to her that he wants to use the requested silent section (for musicians to tune their instruments) to hold bird song glamours. When the band breaks, they can simply be moved out for the guests to hear. They go down to breakfast and Melody is dressed nicely for the day. Vincent explains that after a night of dancing, it is customary for the gentlemen to call on the ladies they danced with. Jane agrees to stay home to chaperone. Melody crochets while Jane paints her portrait. Jane brings up her concerns about Alastar being Catholic and unable to marry outside his faith. When a card comes for Melody, she asks the footman to say she isn’t home.
Jane leaves Vincent to work on the glamural so she can make morning calls with Melody. They visit Sir Prescott and find Miss Goodwin and her mother are already there. Mrs. Goodwin informs them that her daughter and Mr. Colgrove are engaged. The Vincents take Melody with them for dinner at Lady Penelope Essex’s estate. When they arrive, they are surprised to see Lord Verbury and his entire family. Penelope gives Vincent the seat of honor and suggests Jane to sit by her husband, Waldo, to avoid the family politics. Lord Verbury sits on her other side. By the time he is her dinner partner, he does his best to ignore her. She brings up Lord Eldon’s bill to help displace workers, but it is Vincent who gets him to answer cruelly about his thoughts of the citizens acting like bad children.
After dinner, the ladies go to the drawing room. Lady Verbury asks Jane to play the piano and follows her over. When she turns the page for Jane, she tells her that she loves and misses Vincent, but he was right to get out of the family. The men join them shortly after and Penelope plays next. Afterwards she suggests Caroline play. When Caroline declines and passes the invitation to Melody, Melody explains that she is not very accomplished in the arts. Comments are made and Jane draws the line at them insulting her sister. She points out the late hour to Vincent and they leave. On the carriage ride home, the ladies are fuming as Vincent explains his family was on their best behavior. He only kept the name Vincent because it was his mother’s parents last name and he liked them. Jane tells him what his mother said. Melody has a similar message from Lady Verbury that Vincent needs to be careful. He thwarted his father’s plan, and Jane was getting too close to a secret with her questions about the Lord Chancellor’s proposed bill. Jane asks if they can trust his mother, and he isn’t sure.
Jane and Vincent discuss the night’s events. Jane tells Vincent that the servant she saw talking to Alastar is from the Essex house. He wonders if Alastar is involved in a plot with his father to take over as Lord Chancellor. Vincent suggests some of his old college friends might be able to shed some light and goes out to meet with them. He comes back home very late that night. Jan can tell he is drunk and has him tell her what he learned so he doesn’t forget. Everyone only had nice things to say about Alastar, but there was no mention of the coldmongers he seems so involved with. Jane puts her husband to bed.
The next morning, Jane lets Vincent sleep wand goes to tell Melody that they can make their morning calls together. When Melody says she doesn’t plan on going out, Jane decides to go to work. She hears two men enter the musician’s gallery and knows it is Alastar and the Essex servant, who speaks with an Irish accent. Jane weaves a glamour to be able to hear their conversation about stirring up a scene. The servant seems to be in charge with Alastar as the front man because of his lack of accent. Lastly, Jane hears Alastar say he can’t keep the lady waiting. They leave and Jane stays to keep from being discovered. Vincent arrives hungover, but ready to work. Jane explains what she overheard and they rush home to find Melody is already gone. They find Alastar’s name and an address in Melody’s appointment book hidden under her work.
Jane is mad with worry that her sister is going to elope with someone tied to Lord Verbury. When the carriage stops at the address, they find themselves at an oculist’s shop. Jane and Vincent enter to find Melody and Alastar there chaperoned by Lady Stratton. Melody explains that all of her difficulties and symptoms are due to farsightedness. Alastar knew he shouldn’t attend after Melody blew him off, but wanted to check on the outcome, so he brought his mother. Jane throws out every piece os suspicious information she has about Alastar and he is able to defend himself against each one. He even tells them the Catholics are allowed to marry outside of their faith, but the English are the ones who spread rumors against it. Jane and Vincent realize that Lord Verbury has put the idea in Alastar’s head to create a march for the coldmongers so that he can shut it down and be the hero. Alastar and Vincent leave immediately to stop it. Melody wants to join them, but Lady Stratton points out that women aren’t allowed in the Worshipful Company of Coldmongers. Alastar kisses her hand. Back home, Jane scolds Melody for her behavior and apologizes for her own. Melody is still furious and has Jane leave her room. Jane realizes that Lord Verbury may have other spies among the coldmongers. She starts undressing and requests the housekeeper to get her a suit in her size as quickly as possible.
Once dressed and given a horse, Jane makes her way to the Worshipful Company of Coldmongers. She tells the man at the gate that she has a message for Vincent and Alastar. When Vincent comes to the gate, he vouches for Jane as his cousin Henry Vincent. She tells him about the possibility of other spies. He leads her to a hall where everyone is gathered and they listen to Alastar argue with Mr. Lucus about delaying the march. Jane wonders if Mr. Lucus is another spy. Alastar agrees to march with them no matter what. Melody appears at the gate. As the march starts down the road to the Parliament Tower, all seems well and Jane starts to think she was wrong about Lord Verbury’s intentions. Jane makes her way through the crowd in attempt to get a hold of Melody. Once the crowd is inside Parliament’s gates, the soldiers reveal themselves from a sphere obscurcie and start to attack the crowd. Jane is able to get Melody down by a wall, but her little sister won’t stop trying to get away to help Alastar. Major Curry arrives to help Jane get to Vincent, who is holding WiIl’s body. There is blood everywhere.
Major Curry is able to get the Vincents and Melody into a carriage to send them home. Melody goes straight to her room. Vincent convinces Jane they must go to visit the Strattons to let them know what they last saw. When they arrive, Jane apologizes for her behavior. Vincent tells them when they last saw Alastar, he was unhurt. Baron Stratton tells them Alastar is being tried for treason. The Vincents return home to find Jane’s parents have arrived. Jane gives Vincent an excuse to avoid them and sends her mother to a spare room. She tells her father everything relevant that has been going on. He says that Alastar wrote a charming letter to him about Melody. They decide to keep it quite while he is on trial.
Jane goes upstairs to warn Melody of their parents’ arrival and what has happened to Alastar. She apologizes at length, but doesn’t get a chance to finish before their mother bursts in to tell them Vincent is being arrested. The women head downstairs to find Mr. Ellsworth trying to convince the soldiers of Vincent’s innocence. Major Curry arrests Jane next and they ride in a carriage to a prison. He is the only one that recognized Melody, but will not turn her in. Jane is put in a small cell by herself and is chained to the wall. The gaoler tells her there is no talking unless directly asked a question and leaves her. Jane hopes things will get better after her father visits.
The next morning, Jane wakes up with bug bites all over her. The Solicitor General comes to see her and says he can probably get her freedom if she gives up Vincent. She refuses and agrees to tell him the truth. When she starts her story, the Solicitor General stops her. He leaves with the promise of sending a letter to inform the Prince Regent of their situation. Later that day, Mr. Ellsworth comes to visit and brings a few things for Jane. He pays the gaoler to make sure his daughter is taken care of. Once they are alone, he explains the solicitor he talked to was not expecting a good outcome. He tries to get Jane to go against Vincent for her freedom, but she still refuses. He explains that Major Curry got her and Vincent private rooms. Lastly he asks if she wants him to deliver a letter to Vincent for her. She starts writing.
Jane still has some hope after a few days. Her father comes to visit everyday, but mostly she is frustratingly quiet and works on the activities Melody has sent. Jane is surprised when Lady Stratton comes to visit her. She asks Jane to talk to Alastar’s lawyer and Jane agrees to tell the truth about what happened. Lady Stratton is worried because Alastar has more concern for the coldmongers than himself. On the sixth day, the day of Alastar’s trial, the gaoler comes and tells Jane to pack up her things. She does and is lead to a carriage. She refuses to enter at first, thinking it is Lord Verbury’s. The guards put her inside and she is relieved to find the Prince Regent and Melody. Vincent arrives shortly after. Prinny (Prince Regent) explains that he only came to learn about their situation because Melody personally went to him - he never received their letters. Where he can free the Vincents, he needs a villain to blame everything on to keep the populace happy. He assures Vincent that if he can convince the jury that someone else, not Alastar, he will let him go. Vincent writes to the Stratton’s attorney to let him know there is a change in plan and sends Melody to his sister’s house.
They arrive at the Old Bailey for the trial and the Vincents get out of the carriage. They are lead to the witness box and the trial starts. The prosecution’s first witness is Penelope’s Irish footman. He no longer has an accent and claims that he works for the crown to stop uprisings. He tires to convince everyone that Alastar was using the coldmongers as his first phase of rebellion. Vincent weaves a bubble around a few people in the witness box so they can talk quietly. He explains the prosecution is trying to get them to turn on each other. Jane notices the jury isn’t very attentive and thinks the trial is rigged. Miss Rosalind de Clare is called to the stand.
Miss de Clare (who looks like Melody) gives testimony that Vincent is still her client and told her about his plans to overthrow the crown. The defense asks her to ID any marks a lover might recognize and she mentions a mole on his shoulder blade. After the prosecution makes their closing statement, the defense calls Vincent to the stand. He says that he and Jane are agents of the crown and presents the pardon paper to prove it. The Defense, Mr. Leighton, asks Vincent to remove his shirt and shows that his mole was removed when he was tortured protecting the crown’s secrets from the French. Vincent points out that two of the prosecution’s witnesses provided false testimony. When the Prosecution starts to insinuate that Vincent is Gay and insults Jane, Vincent is infuriated that he is going after his wife. Jane is called up next and she tells her story. Once again, the prosecution tries to paint Vincent as gay before dismissing her. Melody arrives in the middle and has a note ushered to Mr. Leighton. He calls Lady Verbury to the stand. She presents Lord Verbury’s accounts showing that he paid the footman to cause a disturbance and Miss de Clare to lie. She explains that she was not willing to risk her son’s life to protect her husband. The prosecutor looks to Lord Verbury, but he is gone.
Lady Verbury assures Vincent that his father has fled to his estate in the Indies. He continues to have nightmares about it and Jane soothes him through it. Melody and Alastar have their wedding with two ceremonies (one for each religion) and are extremely happy. Jane and Vincent work on the glamural in the Baron or Stratton’s small chapel for the event.