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A sort of restlessness | 26th/27th after midnight [CD]- Xmas 1677

Francis Kirke

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At the end of the Pall Mall street, wedged between St. James Park and St. James Square, stood a large mansion that in centuries to come would evolve to become far bigger with addition after addition until it was to be called Buckingham Palace.


Such a lofty name however was far in the future. The Buckingham mansion as it was now known was drawn up of fine white marble and sandstone, with clear Baroque geometry. Inside cherubs in a blue sky was fitted over the white plaster. Each room held a different color and nothing was short of lavish. The mansion was square, but inside the servants still had the habit to refer to the left as the west and right as the east wing; the west wing dedicated to the Duke's chambers, and the east wing deserted for he had send his wife to her father in the country, long since grown bored with her behavior which was an impediment on his fun. Paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and Lely were displayed in the large hallway, created to impress the visitor, an enormous marble staircase drawing in the eye.


The front garden was filled with various flowers, although it was mostly greenery now. In the back there is a long walk designed by a garden architect, so that the duke could walk and find intimacy with his private guests at every turn. A large fountain in the middle sprouted moist into the air.


Francis had been reading for the last many hours, sleep not being a willing participant in his night. He oft did not require much sleep after a more than a decade spent at sea, but it was more than a simple restlessness.


His body tired of sitting, he took to walking the hallways of his uncle's huge house. The weather had been chillier than usual lately and the halls reflected that in comparison to his quarters, thankful for the green velvet robe he had pulled on over his shirt and breeches.


He stared at a few portraits and paintings, making his typical rounds of sleepless nights, before settling at a front window that looked out into the park lands. A few flurries of snow were beginning to fall with such infrequency he might have wondered if they were a trick of light. He had been standing there for far too long for there to be so many tricks of the light, still holding the tome from the auction he had been re-reading before setting about his nocturnal prowl.


It was still odd for him to think of where he was, and he found that he oft needed to remind himself why he was there at all. The thing he wore for warmth at night was now probably worth more than his entire former wardrobe and certainly not by his own tastes or decision.


He paid little attention to any noises, Buckingham's house was rarely fully silent and the duke was known for being somewhat nocturnal as well. There were all sorts of sounds at all sorts of hours. It was easy to tune out the footsteps of servants who kept various hearths going throughout the huge place.


The square of window nearest his mouth became misty from his warm breath until he was looking over a hump of his own hot air to see. The chill outside even curbing this routine, he wiped at it with a sleeve, not quite ready to give up and try to read himself to sleep again.


He cursed his lack of foresight for not bringing a generous cup of brandy or a whole flaskful. That would surely help.


His mind drifted to visiting his mother and finalizing some arrangements for the people of Kingston in the spirit of the season; perhaps he was feeling guilty for spending a supposedly holy day wholly in profanity. Or perhaps it was catching up to him that there were only twelve days.

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