“Matthew,” I breathed, “I don’t think that’s bundling.”
“It is in France,” he said complacently, a wicked gleam in his eye.
What would it be like to be intimate with a vampire? One thing’s for sure: with time to spare, I don’t think he or she would be interested in rushing things! Especially not if the vampire in question was born around 500 AD, Catholic, and had very different ideas about marriage and family like Matthew.
Readers often ask me why Diana and Matthew have to get married so many times. Well, even today people discover that being married in one church/state/country doesn’t make you married everywhere. There have long been many ways of being “married,” from huge church extravaganzas to private agreements to small ceremonies. Not everybody recognized all forms of marriage. In the medieval period, the Catholic church (in theory) recognized two people as wed if one of the partners proclaimed they were married–no witnesses or priests required. This was sometimes called “common law marriage,” and was established by “habit and repute.” In other words if you looked married, and behaved like married people, you were married. Enough said. You can imagine the trouble that could cause!
The Catholic church banned clandestine marriages in the 13th century, requiring a priest to be present, but they still happened all over Europe. England banned clandestine marriages in 1753–but not in the American colonies, where common law marriages are still recognized in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and the District of Columbia. Scotland didn’t stop recognizing common law marriages until 2006.
In Chapter 28, Matthew is clearly thinking an old fashioned common law marriage “of habit and repute” was good enough for him–and should be good enough for everybody else, too. In SHADOW OF NIGHT, of course, Philippe demands something more formal including a priest, a Bible, witnesses and physical consummation. These were all safeguards to ensure that no one could question the legality of the marriage.
But I think Matthew felt he was fully “married” to Diana on October 12–today. Diana accepting him back from Oxford and choosing to be with him might technically make them married under vampire law, but Matthew is Catholic, and medieval, so something a bit more was required.
When writing this scene, I listened to several songs, but nothing suited the mood of this marriage between vampire and witch more than THE BODY IS A STAIRWAY OF SKIN by Over the Rhine. It is slow and sexy, just like Matthew. As always, if you enjoy this song please support the artists and purchase it through legal channel