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Shoestring, 2pm, 25th December (open)- Xmas 1677

Lucas Cole

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The long hallway connecting the Banqueting House and the Great Hall is decked out in portraits, landscapes and sculptures from all the past masters. Stools dot the hallway, as well as a fireplace or two, to warm it in the winter months. Also scattered about are small nooks that lend an air of privacy in the open corridor, especially at night.


"Er mwyn duw,"1


The muttered invective was closer to a sigh than a curse, though perhaps it was remarkable all the same, given the general dearth of Welsh-language invectives about the portrait gallery most of the time. But Lucas Cole was not a particularly happy man, at present. Which was odd, for he had every right to be quite obscenely happy; the opera had gone off without a hitch and, consequently, his patron was well-pleased; his ambitions as a composer seemed to be reaping appropriate rewards; and his love life was, for perhaps the first time since time immemorial, supremely uncomplicated... in that it didn't exist at all.


On the other hand, he had wet feet.


It had become a habit of his, of late, whenever the pressures of life threatened to become overwhelming, to take a long walk. But unfortunately these rambles had taken their toll, at least upon his footwear. The composer's winter boots (a sturdy leather pair with fashionable bucket top and an inch of heel) had borne the brunt of these excursions, and now, the leather sole had worn quite thin, ragged about the edges and beginning to separate from the welt, and decidedly letting in water. (Or rather, snow, which inconveniently became water rather quickly.)


It would have been easy enough to resole them, had both not been wearing out in precisely the same fashion. Now, he rather suspected, he might have to replace them entirely. And this was not something impoverished composers could generally afford to do.


And so, presently, Lucas was sat upon a comfortable chair, before a comfortable fire, peeling back the sole of his left shoe critically with one thumb and swearing at his boots in Welsh. This certainly would not help with the water issue but it would, at the very least, make him feel marginally better.


Small victories were things a man should cherish.



1. For God's sake.

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