Matthew understood that Alastair had sent Thomas away for a purpose. He bit his lip, resigned to a scuffle.
Instead Alastair said: “Who are you to play the moralist, talking about tricks and papas, considering the circumstances of your birth?”
Matthew frowned. “What on earth are you driveling about, Carstairs?”
“Everyone talks about your mama and her unwomanly pursuits,” said awful, unthinkable worm Alastair Carstairs. Matthew scoffed but Alastair raised his voice, persisting. “A woman cannot be a good Consul. Nevertheless your mother can continue her career, of course, since she has such strong support from the powerful Lightwoods.”
“Certainly our families are friends,” said Matthew. “Are you unfamiliar with the concept of friendship, Carstairs? How tragic for you, though understandable on the part of everyone else in the universe.”
Alastair raised his eyebrows. “Oh, great friends, no doubt. Your mama must require friends, since your papa is unable to play a man’s part.”
“I beg your pardon?” said Matthew.
“Odd that you were born so long after your papa’s terrible accident,” Alastair said, all but twirling an imaginary moustache. “Strange that your papa’s family will have nothing to do with you, to the extent of demanding that your mother renounce her married name. Remarkable that you bear no resemblance to your papa, and your coloring is so like Gideon Lightwood’s.”
His mama said his papa had such a dear, friendly, freckled face. Matthew had always wished he looked like him.
But he didn’t.
Matthew said, his voice strange in his own ears: “I do not understand what you mean.”
“Henry Branwell is not your father,” spat Alastair. “You are Gideon Lightwood’s bastard. Everybody knows it but you.”
Cast Long Shadows släpps som e-bok 8 maj.