Oh, yes. I’m not kidding about this. He’s easy to spot if you know he’s there, but if you aren’t looking for him, he blends right in. In Glamour in GlassI slipped another incarnation of the doctor into the text.
Look for him on Page 144 in the hardcover.
Starting with the line, “Before Jane could decide on the merits of this argument, voices and footsteps in the hall announced the arrival of the doctor, a tall, slender fellow, with a shock of dark hair.”
Would you like to know about the giant anachronism that spans two chapters inGlamour in Glass?
I thought you would. While I was researching Without a Summer, the next book in the series, I discovered an interesting thing. I’d done the seating arrangements wrong in Glamour in Glass. And not just a little wrong. Completely, totally wrong.
But no one had caught it. I’d given it to several people who knew the Regency, and none of them spotted it. My copy-editor didn’t notice. My editor didn’t. No one noticed the wrongness.
At the point that I noticed, the book was typeset and to fix the problem, I would have needed to restructure the entire chapter. I was worried that doing so would introduce other mistakes. Since I knew I wasn’t going to get to look at the final, I chose to let it stand and promised myself that I would “out” the mistake to you so that no one else who writes Regency books does the same thing.
I gave them assigned seating. That’s Victorian. I had the men escort the ladies in. Also Victorian.
In the Regency, the ladies all lined up together, in order of precedence, and went in to the dining room. The hostess sat at the foot of the table. Everyone else sat wherever they wanted to.
Then the men followed them in, in order of precedence. The host sat at the head of the table and everyone else sat where they wanted.
You can see it in Emma, in fact, when Mr. Churchill walks into the dining room, spies Emma and comes to sit next to her. There are other spots as well which make a lot more sense if I’m not trying to force Victorian seating logic on them.
I could handwave it away by saying that Glamour in Glass is an alternate history or that the Prince Regent was an eccentric and could do things as he liked, but the truth is that it’s an anachronism.
I gave them behavior from the wrong time.
Now I’m curious… Did you spot it before I pointed it out?
The current Battersea Bridge crosses the Thames and is an iron structure. In the days of The Glamourist Histories, it was still a wooden bridge and the oldest remaining wooden bridge crossing the Thames. This painting is from 1840, so twenty-five years after the events in Glamour in Glass, but looking very much the same. It does give you a sense of how much more rustic certain parts of London were.
An excerpt from Glamour in Glass
The following morning, Jane rose with the intention of visiting her family before their mutual journeys separated them. Vincent declined the opportunity to accompany her, saying that he wanted to paint the Battersea Bridge and catch the morning light. After the fi asco of the previous evening, Jane could hardly blame him for wanting to escape under the thinnest pretence.
If you want to write to her, address correspondence to:
Mrs. David Vincent
P.O. Box 221298
Chicago, IL 60622
I will tell you, as a teaser, that she will be writing back to you with an actual quill pen on a writing slope from the 1800s. The letters will be “Real time” for her in that they will be coming from February, 1815. This means that they will contain references to the first chapters of Glamour in Glass and definite spoilers from Shades of Milk and Honey.
As you might imagine, we’ll be meeting some new characters in Glamour in Glass. Allow me to introduce you to one of them, or at least to her dress.
When Jane was introduced to Mme Meynard, she had a moment of coveting the belle’s beautiful Pomona green gown with blond lace embellishments.
The original dress was Published in Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, September 1815 and described thus:
A white satin slip, worn under a dress made in pomona green French gauze, terminating at the feet with a full flounce of blond lace, headed with a double border of the same, gathered in full, and confined with folds of satin, of corresponding colour to the dress; handkerchief-front, trimmed with white satin, and a falling collar of blond lace; long sleeve of white satin, the fulness upon the shoulder confined under an epaulet of the French gauze, trimmed with white satin; the sleeve drawn alternately across the arm with the pomona green satin ribbon. Long white sash of white satin, tied in front.
The ends of the hind hair brought forward, to fall in ringlets over the temple, confined with a plain white satin ribbon, and ornamented with a tiara of pearl. Necklace to correspond. Gloves, French kid. Slippers, white satin.
InShades of Milk and Honey, when Jane first sees the professional glamourist, Mr. Vincent, she describes him as, “Tall, and very broad of chest. His hair was chestnut and curled about his head like Bacon’s portrait of Jean- Baptiste Isabey.”
His brown curls were tousled in the fashionable wind- swept look which so many men struggled to attain, but which came naturally to him.He swept his hands through his hair so much, knotting them in place while he thought, that it was permanently dishevelled.
Note the word wind-swept? It is one of three places I knowingly cheated with the language. That word does not get coined until 1932, but the description for the hairstyle from the period was… not particularly helpful to a modern reader.
Would you have known what I meant by the “frightened owl” hairstyle?
After the overt glamour of the ballroom, the Blue Room seemed positively staid, though it was appointed in the best manner. The walls were covered in blue damask, which matched the upholstery. Gilt frames bordered the walls, with cleverly rendered oysters on the half shell in each corner. By the very absence of glamour, the Prince Regent displayed his taste and means here as much as in the ballroom, because everything from the elaborate carpet to the massive crystal chandelier was real.
Real gold gilded the arms of the chairs. Real candles stood in the sconces instead of fairy lights, so rather than the faint glow of glamoured light, the room truly was bright and airy.
The only glamour in the room adorned the ceiling, which had a glamural of sky and clouds drifting in a simple repeating pattern. The clouds circled the chandelier so that the crystals would not catch and diff ract their glamoured folds. The effect seemed one part dance, one part storm— very like life at court itself.
This is one of my favorite dresses in the Glamourist Histories, so I wanted to show it to you. It appears in Shades of Milk and Honey and belongs to Miss Dunkirk.
She offered Miss Dunkirk her arm and led her to a bolt of white lawn, the fabric most appropriate to a debutante. Then Jane suggested a deep green velvet which she thought might set off Miss Dunkirk’s hair to advantage… Between the two of them, they selected a lace which complemented the cloth as well.
The original dress is from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, the March 1814 edition.
A white crape, or fine muslin petticoat, worn over white satin, embroidered in silver lama round the bottom. A bodice of olive or spring-green satin, ornamented with a silver stomacher. Short, full sleeve, and rounded bosom, trimmed with a full silver border to correspond. A fan frill of fluted lace, continued round the back, and terminating in front at the corner of the bosom. A silver fringe round the bottom of the waist. The hair in irregular curls in front, falling low on each side, drawn smoothly on the crown of the head, and brought in a small bunch of curls at the back. A bandeau of pearl, twisted round the curls behind. Necklace and cross of pearl eardrops, and bracelets to correspond. Occasional scarf of white silk, richly embroidered in silver and coloured silks. Gloves of white kid. Slippers of green satin, with silver rosettes.
Just to be clear, when they refer to “a fine muslin petticoat” they aren’t talking about modern muslin. In the Regency muslin could be so fine as to be translucent, like this example of a hand-embroidered Regency dress. See how the paper shows through it? (Here are more photos of this lovely extant dress.)
It is always a bit unnerving to use real historical figures in fiction, especially someone as well-known as The Prince Regent. Because the Regency period is named after him, it is easy to think that he was an admirable figure in the same way that Queen Victoria was. Alas…
He was regarded as self-indulgent, extravagant, and an adulterer. With good reason, since he made no secret of his mistresses and was constantly living well beyond his means to the point of needing to ask Parliament for more money. He spent 10,000 pounds per anum just on clothing.
He was, however, a great patron of the arts and encouraged much of the look of the Regency period. Among the people he was a fan of was Jane Austen.
The admiration was not returned. In a letter to Martha Lloyd, Miss Austen wrote:
“I suppose all the World is sitting in Judgement upon the Princess of Wales’s Letter. Poor woman, I shall support her as long as I can, because she is a Woman, & because I hate her Husband — but I can hardly forgive her for calling herself “attached & affectionate” to a Man whom she must detest — & the intimacy said to subsist between her & Lady Oxford is bad — I do not know what to do about it; but if I must give up the Princess, I am resolved at least always to think that she would have been respectable, if the Prince had behaved only tolerably by her at first. –”
So how does he appear in Glamour in Glass?
The Prince Regent smiled and patted her hand where it lay on the dark blue cloth of his sleeve.
The portrait above is from 1814, the year that Shades of Milk and Honey, takes place. Glamour in Glass begins on December 30, 1814 so he would look very much like that.
In this mixed media figure, you get a sense of how he would appear in the style popularized by Beau Brummell. Buckskin trousers and a blue coat.
Smiling, the Prince Regent adjusted the sleeve of his coat, which was, Jane was startled to note, cut from superfine cloth. [1. Superfine is a general fabric term related to quality, but during the Regency it invariably referred to the woolen broadcloth used in coats.]
Today’s teaser for Glamour in Glass is a scenic location. The Carlton House Red drawing room, which appears in Chapter 1.
As the Prince Regent led her out of the Red Room, Jane felt all the eyes of those assembled fall upon her, and under their gaze the unequal nature of her station magnified.
The Carlton House was the Prince Regent’s London residence. It was a magnificent building that showed his fondness for sumptuous elegance. The history of the royal residences by William Henry Pyne (London: 1819) describes this room as:
On entering this spacious apartment, the eye is agreeably struck with the happy combination of splendid materials tastefully arranged; consisting of a profusion of rich draperies, large pier glasses, grand chandeliers of brilliant cut glass, massive furniture richly gilt, candelabra, tripods, bronzes, elegant vases, and other corresponding decorations, displaying at once the improved taste of the arts and manufactures of Great Britain. To these are added some valuable original pictures by English and foreign masters.
Yesterday, I showed you a sneak peek of Glamour in Glass through a picture of Jane’s dove grey silk dress. She thought it seemed dingy by comparison… to what?
To this dress.
The dove silk which had seemed so fine when
she had commissioned it last summer now seemed dingy by comparison to gowns such as Lady Hertford’s rich claret velvet, which had long sleeves slashed to allow glimpses of a cloth of silver.
This painting is actually Jane, Lady Munro by Sir Martin Archer Shee but I thought it was lovely and gave it to Lady Hertford.
Lady Hertford is a historical figure who I am using in Glamour in Glass. In fact, unlike Shades of Milk and Honey, I use a number of real people and places.
What did the real Lady Hertford look like?
At her side now stood the inimitable Lady Hertford, who also gazed at the painting. This celebrated beauty’s very presence lent the room an additional elegance. Her claret velvet dress might have been chosen as a deliberate complement to the blue walls. The line of her neck would have been a welcome subject for any artist.
In three months, Glamour in Glass, will hit the book stores. The first chapter is in the trade paperback of Shades of Milk and Honey, so you’ve already had a little bit of a teaser. Since one of the things that attracts me to the Regency are the pretty, pretty clothes, I’m going to offer you pictorial teasers over the next twelve weeks.
Of what? You’ll get a picture of a dress and the line that accompanies it.
This is Jane’s dress from Shades of Milk and Honey. It appeared in that novel like this:
“Her fingers danced in the air, pulling folds together in a small simulacrum of Jane. This tiny manikin wore Jane’s beloved dove silk, but with a open pelisse of the pink. A high waist with a sash of that same pale pink gave the illusion of height and slenderness to her figure. Softening Jane’s face, Madame Beaulieu had added a turban à la Oriental which cupped her hair with cunningly wrought silk roses. A simple shawl completed the picture with elegant grace.”
How does it fare in Glamour in Glass?
The dove silk which had seemed so fine when she had commissioned it last summer now seemed dingy by comparison…
This year’s short story takes place the next morning and is our newlyweds’ first Christmas morning together. I’ve hidden it below, since it has an unavoidable spoiler by telling you who gets married at the end of Shades of Milk and Honey. I trust that the fact that matrimony ensues is not a surprise…
The morning of Christmas dawned with a snow fall. Jane rolled over in the bed and slipped out to go to the window. Behind her, Vincent burrowed deeper into the bed, drawing the counterpane up under his chin. Even with the carpet, the floor chilled her feet. Hair stood up along her arms in horripilation from the cool air. Shivering, Jane drew back the curtains for a better look at the blanket of white that covered London.
She glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. It was nearly nine already. They had been too long in bed and it would be difficult to get a carriage in all this snow. After staying up with her family until the Yule candle had burned down, she did not wish to force him to get up, but they had yet more obligations today. “Vincent, it is past time to rise.”
He rolled away from her and tucked his head under the pillow. “I do not need long to get ready.”
“I have seen you tie a cravat, my love.” Jane pulled her hair over her shoulder and began undoing the braid she had slept in. “You do not wish to keep my parents waiting, do you?”
He made a little whine but did not move.
Jane came and knelt on the bed, leaning over him. “Come now. Westminster was your suggestion and Mama is so excited.” She waited. “She will think we have had an accident if we are late.”
Vincent peeked out from under the pillow. “We will not be late.”
Sighing, Jane climbed off the bed. They had been married but two months and she had already learned that Vincent had only two manners of awaking in the morning. Either he was up excessively early and straight to work or he would sleep for hours and resist all attempts to rouse him. With their work for the Prince Regent paused for the holiday, it was clear that he was in the latter mode. This would not trouble her, save that her parents would be waiting and she could not go without him.
If being tardy made her mother certain that something was amiss, then arriving without Vincent would make her certain that their marriage was ending.
She pulled on her long stays, shivering near the fire as she dressed. She did not like the busk, but the dress she wished to wear fit better with the sturdy piece of wood in place. Once her petticoat was on, she felt a little better though her arms were still chilled. Vincent slumbered yet in the warm bed. Frowning, Jane pulled on her wool dress and crossed the room to stand beside him. “Are you going to get up?”
He made a dull noise that might have been an assent or a denial.
“You are going to force my hand, my love.”
He did not reply. So Jane slipped her hand under the counterpane and found the tender flesh of his side. To her cold fingers, his skin felt as though it were burning.
Vincent yelped and squirmed away from her. “Not fair!”
“You are still in bed, my love.” She tapped him again, chuckling as he gave another yelp.
“I am.” Without any mercy at all, Jane slid her other hand under the counterpane and applied it mercilessly.
Vincent writhed away, tangling in the bed-linens. She moved her attention to his sides, tickling him as her fingers warmed. With a laugh he flung himself away.
And off the bed.
Landing with a thud, her husband laughed hard enough that she had no fear for him. Jane could not restrain a laugh. Vincent’s head popped above the bed. “You– ” Whatever he was going to say was lost as he rushed across the bed and snatched her up. Jane shrieked with laughter as he pulled her on to the bed and tried to tickle her.
She thanked providence that she had chosen her long stays. Jane relaxed and stared up at her husband whose fingers were ineffectual at provoking further laughs from her.
Dismayed, he sat back on his heels. “Jane… are you not ticklish?”
“It appears not.” She was not going to alert him to the protection her stays offered. Jane rolled up on to her knees and kissed him on the cheek. “Do not look so crestfallen.”
“I am not.” He grinned and ran a hand along the boning. “You will not be so protected this evening.”
“No?” So much for hoping he had not noticed the boning. She slid her hand under his night shirt and he flinched back. “Remember my frosty fingers of death.”
He sighed again. “You are a wicked woman. I did not know that when I married you.”
She kissed his forehead. “And now you do.”
“Fortunately…” He took her hand and kissed the fingers. Turning, he hopped off the bed and dashed across the room to his wardrobe. Reaching in the back, he pulled out a shapeless brown paper package. He came back to the bed and held it out to her. “For you.”
Surprised, Jane set the package on her lap. Their family had exchanged presents last evening and Vincent had given her a drawing book for her design sketches. It had been a lovely and practical gift.
As Jane undid the string holding the brown paper shut, Vincent watched with one hand rubbing the back of his neck. He looked oddly concerned. Before she had the paper off, he said, “I can exchange it for another, if you do not like it.”
The paper came away to disclose a handsome brown bear muff, trimmed in silk. Jane caught her breath. She had wanted exactly such a thing, but not not felt that she could justify the expense when she had a perfectly good swansdown one. “It is beautiful.”
He sighed, looking all relief. “And it will also keep your hands warm.” He ducked his head with a shamefaced smile. “This is hardly the first time I have noticed your frosty fingers of death.”
Jane stood to kiss him and the Vincents were then occupied for some time as each proved their understanding of the other. When they finally left their apartments, it could no longer be said to be Vincent’s fault that they were behind their time in collecting the Ellsworths. Even so, Vincent acted the gentleman and offered apologies, claiming responsibility for their late arrival.
Jane’s mother asked what had kept them to which Jane could only blush.
To her surprise, Mrs. Ellsworth’s alarm vanished with a smile and a wink. “Ah… Well. We cannot expect newlyweds to be entirely prompt for morning engagements.”
Mr. Ellsworth cleared his throat and suggested that they all go to Westminster, but not before Vincent had joined Jane in blushes just as deep. They both acknowledged, however, that while there were many joys on Christmas morning and among the best of those was to be well matched in marriage and blessed with an understanding family.
May your own Christmas Day be as happy as that of Jane and Vincent and your New Year many tidings of great joy.
I will also tell you that Glamour in Glass begins four days after this story takes place. Alas, you have to wait until April to read it. Meanwhile, I wish you a Very Happy Christmas.
I spent most of my writing time today not actually writing. The scene I was writing involved a dinner which in turn involved me realizing that I could not write it until I had done a seating chart so that I knew where people were sitting and what the order of precedence was in going in to dinner. I wound up needing to elevate one gentleman from a Viscount to a Marquess in order to place him where I needed him at the table. It was significantly more complicated that I would have liked.
In fact, I had to do this in Shades of Milk and Honey as well for the dinner party at Lady FitzCameron’s.
You’ll note that there are a number of characters, like Sir Harrison, who don’t appear in the book. That’s because I needed some people just to pad out the table in order to get my principals in the right place. Sir Harrison, for instance, is a Baronet and can push Mr. Dunkirk down the ranking so that he sits next to Jane Ellsworth. It was unexpectedly complicated.
One of my primary resources for this is Laura A. Wallace’s excellent pages on English peerage and precedence. If you are writing anything set in the Regency I highly recommend these with the caveat that you have to actually read the entire site before deploying the information in there. She’s thorough, but things are tricksy. Yes, they are.
The magical book that might result if Jane Austen’s Emma were set against the Luddite uprising in the Year Without a Summer Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane and David Vincent. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where […]
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