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Portraits Of The Past [27/12, late afternon, CD]- Xmas 1677

Sophia de la Cerda

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Portrait Gallery


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.


Sophia wasn't ready to go home after her meeting with Lady Mountjoy ended. Nothing awaited her there but endless hours of solitude. At least there was life in the palace. She had planned to go to the music room, but found herself in the Portrait Gallery instead, walking slowly down the hallway and perusing the paintings on the wall. When she had first visited, she had thought the portraits were watching her, but she didn't feel that way today.


In fact, it was the portraits that intrigued her now. Some of the faces that stared back at her were stern and unyielding, others were smiling, and one of the ladies looked as if she was barely concealing a secret. She stopped in front of that one, observing the lady closely and wondering if she had truly been hiding something and what it might have been. Maybe she'd had a secret lover, or perhaps she had just found out she was pregnant. Whatever the reason, the woman in the portrait looked happy and content.


What would I look like, she wondered, if somebody painted me?

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  • 4 weeks later...

The next portrait that she stopped in front of reminded her a bit of her husband. The gentleman was about his age and wore a stern, uncompromising expression on his face. He looked tense and aloof and a bit bored and Sophia wondered who he had been and if he had been married. Had his wife tried in vain to please him too or had she been as formal and indifferent as he? Maybe he looked so stern because she had done something that he didn't approve of.


Or maybe he'd had his portrait painted to impress a lady into marrying him. Like Esteban, he was not unattractive, but if Sophia had met him, she didn't think she would have liked him. Would she have danced with him if he had asked her? Probably, although she doubted they would have had anything in common.


Yet what if barely restrained passion lurked beneath his harsh demeanor? Maybe he was just putting on an act, showing the world what they expected to see. She imagined him as the lover of the woman in the portrait she had just been observing. Sophia didn't even know if they had both lived at the same time, but the notion was amusing and she couldn't stop herself from chuckling lightly.

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