Jane clung to him and wept until her lungs ached. Vincent held her until exhaustion took them both, and they slept, leaning against each other for support.
In the days that followed, the love which Vincent bore for her, and she for him, sustained them both. As Wellington clashed with Napoleon, the Vincents retreated to Mr. Gilman's home in Brussels until recovery from their trials was sufficient to allow them to sail for England. Jane's parents received them at Long Parkmead, and though Vincent had feared reproach for his part in Jane's miscarriage, Mrs. Ellsworth showed rare compassion and tenderness, mourning for them without a word or implication of censure.
Thanks in no small part to their contribution to the war effort, Wellington defeated Napoleon soundly in the Battle of Quatre Bras. The war, so long trumpeted and feared, was over almost before it began, with little loss of English life. Though the specific reason was kept a secret from the general public, the Prince Regent made Vincent a Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order for his service to the Crown, and would have raised him to a peer had the newly made Sir David Vincent not implored him otherwise. The Prince did, however, insist upon giving a dinner in honour of Sir David and Lady Vincent.
Jane suffered through the dinner, filled as it was with conversation which seemed commonplace and insipid after the erudite dinners at the Chastains. At the end of the meal, the Prince Regent excused the ladies. Jane resigned herself to the cliquish gossip that would follow and the near certainty of questions about her cropped hair. As she reached the door, the Prince Regent clapped his hands in antic.i.p.ation. "Now, Sir David, what we all really want is to hear every b.l.o.o.d.y detail of the war."
Vincent cleared his throat. "One moment, sir. Jane?"
She stopped in the door, all surprise. The gentlemen at the table had already begun to pull out their cigars, and fiddled with them impatiently.
"Yes, my love?"
"Would you care to stay?" Vincent held his hand out to her and inclined his head in a seated bow to the Prince Regent. "With your permission, sir, I have learned that it is to my folly to do anything without my wife."
With pleasure, Jane took her place by her husband's side. Together they related their story to the astonished gentlemen, who were forced to admit that Lady Vincent was a formidable woman and more than an equal partner for her husband.
Of this, Vincent and Jane had no doubt. And Jane? Jane discovered that a formal English dinner party was not a cause for dismay, but for delight-so long as she had her husband by her side.
The morning after I won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, I met David Brin at Strolling with the Stars at WorldCon. It's a lovely thing where established authors, artists, and editors walk along and chat with anyone who wants to do so. I've been a fan of David's since the first book of his I picked up. He was very gracious to a baffled writer and asked me about Shades of Milk and Honey which was, at the time, unsold. After I told him about it, he asked, "What happens in your magic system if a woman is pregnant?"
What a good question. What a very, very good question. I hadn't thought about it, but I started to do so. From that simple question came the basic idea for Glamour in Glass. It is a subject that Jane Austen did not touch on directly in her books, but you can see the effects that children have on a woman of her period by looking around the edges of her stories. Those attitudes had as strong an influence on Jane Vincent's feelings about her "situation" as Mr. Brin's question. I am indebted to them both for the kernel of the novel.
The errors are mine alone, but I had some useful assistance in reducing the number of those errors and would like to take a moment to acknowledge the people who helped me avoid the worst of the anachronisms.
Thanks to the Oregon Regency Society, who helped me get a better understanding of the period, as well as having lovely excursions and b.a.l.l.s. I need to particularly thank Charlotte Cunningham and Nora Fosberg Azevedo for their friendship and support. Also thanks to Tara Ryan and Christian Valois for looking at the French details of the Empire and to Madeleine Robins, who gave the whole thing a last minute going over for period details. Mr. David Koch, a New York City carriage driver, took considerable time to talk to me about carriages and how the gait of a horse affects the ride.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not thank my editor, Liz Gorinsky, who suggested the closing scene. My agent, Jennifer Jackson, is amazing and spots plot problems before I even start writing. The erstwhile Michael Curry, who turns up as Major Curry, is a perceptive reader and gives me very clear feedback, without coddling. Thanks as well to all those who make the book look good: the inimitable Irene Gallo, Tor's art director; Cassandra Ammerman, my always able publicist; my copyeditor, Susan Andrew; production editor Elizabeth Curione; the wonderful cover artist Larry Rostant; and the cover designer, Jamie Stafford-Hill, as well as the book designer, Nicola Ferguson.
Writing a historical, even an alternate history, is always fraught with the pitfall of What Really Happened. The most difficult scene in this regard was when Jane rescues Vincent, because I had originally had Vincent held in a chicken coop. You see, I needed a way for him to be contained, yet able to be reached without going into shadow, and also plausibly somewhat obscured. The problem is that the book is set in 1815 and chicken wire wasn't invented until 1847. There are times when I can fudge history, but this gap was too large, because if they had chicken wire, then there was a whole host of other technologies that they would have had as well. Attempting to come up with a different way to secure him, which met my constraints, drove me to distraction.
On the train to the 2009 World Fantasy Convention in San Jose, I had a conversation with Jim Fiscus, who helped me come up with the way in which Vincent could be held, as well as useful information about period military torture. Disturbing, useful conversations, and yet a relief in that it allowed me to continue on and use a trellis in place of my chicken coop. Then I discovered that this containment was too good.
I couldn't come up with a way for Jane to plausibly save Vincent.
While chatting with then Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America President Russell Davis about SFWA business, we were both venting about writing. I explained my problem and he said, "You need to look at the environment and see what she could use as a distraction instead of having her try to create her own." He suggested camp followers, who would certainly have been present. La! That got me out of the giant trap that chicken wire had laid for me.
Other thanks are due to Aliette de Bodard, who translated my English sentences into French for M. and Mme Chastain. After much consideration, I decided to use classic French rather than the dialect that would have been spoken in the region, so that more English readers would be likely to understand those passages. Also ... well ... I know Aliette, and I don't know a Flemish French speaker. She also helped me find idioms for Jane to misunderstand. My lack of French was further aided by Lucie Le Blanc, who heard my plea on Twitter for a French idiom that meant "if it kills me" and came up with "meme si je dois faire fleche de tout bois," which means "if I have to throw sticks instead of arrows." I quite adore that.
Thanks to all the folks who beta read this on my website, but particular thanks are owed to: Emily De Cola, Kate Baker, Kelvin Kao, Patty Bigelow, Jamie Todd Rubin, Chris Billet, Laurel Amberdine, Ami Chopine, John Chu, Jim Stewart, Jessica Wick, and Michael Livingston.
Beth Wodzinski and Sean Markey are heroes of the revolution for letting us stay with them when our moving truck broke down in their town. I wrote the last two chapters of the novel in their guest room. While I was in the throes of revisions, Merrie Haskell let me sit on the porch of her cottage at the lake and patiently listened to me try to explain how glamour worked. She also kept me sane during the last day of my copyedit.
A special thanks to Alex McVey, Julia Rios, John Rhea-Hendrick, Daniel Rice, Tracy Erickson, and Katie Dunneback, who listened to me read the entire novel aloud on Google+ and were better than any SF artificial intelligence in spotting continuity errors or suggesting alternatives to anachronisms in language.
Finally, I could not have written this without my husband, Rob, who was endlessly patient as I was trying to finish the novel while we were moving across-country.
A Note on History and Alternatives Historians will note that Wellington beat Napoleon a day early in this version of history, at Quatre Bras instead of at Waterloo. I am very much indebted to Nick Foulkes's wonderful book Dancing into Battle: A Social History of the Battle of Waterloo for an understanding of what life in Brussels and the surrounding area was like during the Hundred Days. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the period. I also employed Edith Saunders's The Hundred Days: Napoleon's Final Wager for Victory and Arms and the Woman: The Intimate Journal of an Amorous Baltic n.o.bleman in the Napoleonic Wars by Boris Uxkull for some details of camp life.
The town of Binche does, indeed, have a Gilles Day parade, but without dragons, alas. The rest of the festival is true to our history. Mostly.
The very astute reader will note that in Shades of Milk and Honey, Vincent's father was a Count. This was a bizarre error, which I'm still not sure how I managed to commit, since there are no Counts in England, not even in my alternate history. He is an Earl and we will assume that Vincent was so overcome during his interview with Jane that he misspoke. Please do me that favour?
In Glamour in Glass, I tried to be somewhat more exacting. Because I am something of a geek, I wanted to eliminate as much language as possible from the book that would have been an anachronism. To that end, I created a word list from the complete works of Jane Austen and used that as a spell-check dictionary. It flagged any word that she didn't use, which allowed me to look it up to see if it existed in 1815 or if the meaning had changed. I then either selected an alternate word, or, in a few cases, opted to keep the word because it was clearer than the other options, and I am writing for a modern audience.
Some of the anachronisms that surprised me were words such as: bandstand, belongings, blink, condone, harrumph, knowledgeable, needlepoint, and utilitarian. If you are interested in reading more about the words that I removed from the novel, visit www.maryrobinettekowal.com/deleted-words By the way, these words did not exist in the Regency but I decided to keep them anyway: windswept, scissored, and outmass.
There are other anachronisms. There always will be. If you spot one, please let me know by emailing They vex me and I would like to avoid them in future novels.
If you are so inclined, I thought I would mention that I have extras for my readers, including short stories, a game, and behind-the-scene peeks. Simply drop by www.ShadesOfMilkAndHoney.com.
Thank you for reading.
GLAMOUR. This basically means magic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the original meaning was "Magic, enchantment, spell" or "A magical or fictitious beauty attaching to any person or object; a delusive or alluring charm." It was strongly associated with fairies in early England. In this alternate history of the Regency, glamour is a magic that can be worked by either men or women. It allows them to create illusions of light, scent, and sound. Glamour requires physical energy in much the same way running up a hill does.
GLAMURAL. A mural that is created using magic.
GLAMOURIST. A person who works with glamour.
CHASTAIN DAMASK. A technique which allows a glamourist to create two different images in one location. The effect would be similar to our holographic cards which show first one image, then another depending on the angle at which it is viewed. Invented by M. Chastain in 1814, he originally called this technique a jacquard after the new looms invented by M. Jacquard in 1801. The technique was renamed by Mrs. Vincent as a Chastain Damask in honor of its creator.
ETHER. Where the magic comes from. Early physicists believed that the world was broken into elements with ether being the highest element. Although this theory is discredited now, the original definition meant "A substance of great elasticity and subtlety, formerly believed to permeate the whole of planetary and stellar s.p.a.ce, not only filling the interplanetary s.p.a.ces, but also the interstices between the particles of air and other matter on the earth; the medium through which the waves of light are propagated. Formerly also thought to be the medium through which radio waves and electromagnetic radiations generally are propagated." (OED). Today you'll more commonly see it as the root of "ethereal," and its meaning is similar.
FOLDS. The bits of magic pulled out of the ether. Because this is a woman's art, the metaphors to describe it reflect other womanly arts, such as the textiles.
LOINTAINE VISION. French for "distance seeing." It is a tube of glamour that allows one to see things at a distance. The threads must be constantly managed or the image becomes static.
OMBRe. A fold of glamour that shades from one colour to another over its length. This technique was later emulated in textile by dip-dying.
NUD MARIN. A robust knot used for tying glamour threads. This was originally used by sailors for joining two lines, but adapted by glamourists for similar purposes. In English, this is known as a Carrick Bend.
PEtitE RePetitION. French for "small repetition." This is a way of having a fold of glamour repeat itself in what we would now call a fractal pattern. These occur in nature in the patterns of fern fronds and pinecones.
SPHeRE OBSCURCIE. French for "invisible bubble." It is literally a bubble of magic to make the person inside it invisible.
Reading Group Guide.
* Did you learn any new historical facts from Glamour in Glass? If so, what?
* Glamour in Glass is set in 1815, after Napoleon's return from exile. What role did this setting play in the story?
* How did you feel when Jane miscarried? Do you think she and Vincent will have children at some point?
* At several points in the book, the narrator directly addresses the reader, a technique which is unusual today. How did this affect your disposition toward the narrator?
* How would you react if someone in the real world created a glamour in front of you?
* How did you feel about Vincent's lies of omission to Jane? Would you be angry at your own partner if you were placed in a similar situation?
* Jane defines herself as a glamourist, and struggles when she is forced to stop performing glamour due to her pregnancy. What real-world situations does this parallel? Does it remind you of any events in your own life?
* During Jane's rescue of Vincent, she made the choice to work a glamour to hide them, even though this put their child at risk. What would you have done in her place?
* Did you read Shades of Milk and Honey before this? How did that affect your reactions to this book?
* Shades of Milk and Honey has often been described as being like "Jane Austen with magic." Do you think that Glamour in Glass also fits in the Austen mold?
* Kowal addresses both marriage and career in this novel. Do you think either of these is the major theme of the book? If not, what is?
TOR BOOKS BY MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL.
Shades of Milk and Honey.
Glamour in Glass.
About the Author.
MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo winner for her story "For Want of a Nail." Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov's, and several Year's Best anthologies. Mary is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and currently serves on the board of directors.
A professional puppeteer and voice actor, Mary grew up in North Carolina and spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, Rob, and nine manual typewriters.
Visit www.maryrobinettekowal.com for more information about her fiction and her puppetry.