I have just started writing the follow-up to The Foundling, Stained Glass. Here’s a sample of what to expect:
She smiled for him; he sensed disappointment. It was in her eyes and lips; she wore this look for many days. The lips pulled tight and the jaw pulsing with tension. Each day since their arrival the look of disappointment amplified, though she never spoke of her feelings. Ambiguity became her self-defense against the lectures she no longer wished to endure. The child, now eleven months old, softly slapped her cheek, demanding that she look at him and not his father. Robert reached to take the baby from Mairead and again her eyes and lips narrowed.
“How was your walk?” he asked, and began removing the child’s coat. “It was refreshing,” Mairead said, as she untied her cape and then removed her hat. No one stood in the hall to take the items from her. Instead, she hung them in a closet beneath the staircase ascending to her left. The closet smelled of dry, musty wood, like the rest of the house.
“Rosy cheeks,” Robert said, kissing the child on the cold forehead, enjoying the feeling of the tiny fingers caressing his eyebrows and exploring the rest of his face. “You miss home, Ireland?” he added, in an abstract way, not wanting to upset her, and glad the baby possessed his gaze. “Yes and no, I suppose is my answer.” She stood before him, and smiled again, without honesty, without innocence, guarded. Before Robert could question her further, Aishling and Miss Bohane descended the staircase, their chatter drawing the attention of the child instantly. He reached his tiny arms skyward, recognizing Bohane’s voice and wanting instinctively to go to her.
“I am glad the colder air is back,” Bohane said, “The heat in the summer is almost unbearable here. Ah look who is back! Little Andrew!” Her voice lifted an octave, and she prepared to take her grandson into her arms. “I have never seen my skin such a dark color,” Aishling said. “It is almost as dark as that man who works at the mansion in town on West Avenue, Mister Cobb.” “Hardly,” Robert said, laughing at the comparison. “He is a black slave, you are not.”
She was not the lady of the house. She was only Lady Mountbellew at social gatherings, gatherings that Bohane and Aishling also attended. Inside Cranbury Park she was still Mairead, not Lady Mountbellew. No great walled garden to stroll in with circles of green grass bordered by flowers. No parties with fine guests, the house was not big enough. No servants around the clock, no glorious fires burning at day break. It was not acceptable that Robert treated all three women equally, she wanted more.
As of late she had taken a fondness for giving orders, stopped helping around the mansion save for tending to the needs of Andrew, and occasionally Robert. Still, the other two women acted as her equal, and she commanded their respect by growing more distant. A divide developed, growing wider with each passing day. Three women thrown together, unsure of the hierarchy they belonged in.