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Just a Bad Dream


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"It is just a bad dream my lady," the maid insisted as a cool, wet rag was placed on the head of the Duchess of Richmond. A lone candle illuminated the former beauty as she lay in the fetal position beneath silk sheets and silk drapings.


"What day is it Martha?" Frances Stuart babbled.


"Why it is still Saturday Your Grace," the maid insisted. A clock in the hallway toned but once. "I suppose it is now Sabbath morning."


"The book Martha. It must be destroyed on the Sabbath or something bad will happen to London!"


"What book my Lady?"


"The one ... the one in the lead safe. It is evil Martha. It must be burned at once. I saw it."


"Of course mum. You can see to it in the morning. Now drink this potion. It helps you sleep."


"I do not want to go back to sleep Martha. I ..." she faltered in trying to explain it.


"I'll stay right here with you mum." Martha began lightly stroking Richmond's arm knowing it would help her relax and sleep. "Nothing will harm you. Harry is awake too and he'll be outside your door. It was just a bad dream. I told Cook not to put peppers in your stew. They don't agree with you. You have nothing to worry about. No book is going to harm you my lady. You are safe here. You are safe."

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