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Passione Segreta | 31/12, afternoon (CD)- Xmas 1677

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The ceilings of the Royal Library are 15 feet high. Shelves of polished walnut climb the walls to a height of 10 feet and are filled with books. Bindings of rich brown calf are interspersed with jewel-toned volumes of red, blue and green.


Windows set high in the walls above the shelving fill the room with light. A number of comfortable chairs in rich tobacco coloured leather are dotted about for the use of those reading for pleasure. For those who have a serious purpose, several tables and upright chairs are provided.


Damp is the natural enemy of the book. With the palace so close to the river, the battle is waged continuously. The Library has 6 fireplaces: fires are lit every day. The size of the blaze depends on the weather.


Mr Potts is the Keeper of the King's Books. It is rumoured that Mr Potts never sleeps and that he has forgotten his way home as a result of his devotion to his beloved volumes. Nonsense, surely, but Mr Potts does always seem to be in the Library...


His desk, well supplied with paper, quills and ink, is situated near the main door of the library. It is here that he works on his catalogue of the King's books. He also has an excellent view of the room and the doings of those therein, as well as seeing everyone who comes and goes.


The greatest treasure of the Library is situated by Mr Potts' desk. Held in an ever-locked case of walnut and glass, lies the Bible of King Henry VIII, who founded the English church. Bound in the finest of ruby-coloured leather, richly ornamented with gold and jewels, the book is a thing of great beauty quite apart from it's historical significance.


After Sophia left the Banquet Hall, she considered visiting the Volary Garden to reinforce the phrases she had taught the parrots to replace their French cursing, but it was so cold that the bright birds were probably huddled in the back of their cages with their heads tucked beneath their wings.


Perhaps the library would be a better place to while away a few hours. She had promised Lord Chatham passionate letters in Italian and she could write one there, where it was safer. Maybe she would hide it in a certain book and then tell him where it was at the ball tonight. That seemed like a less dangerous option than having Anna deliver it to an inn. And more romantic as well.


Soon she was settled at a table in the corner of the library with her quill, inkwell, and a piece of creamy high-quality parchment. She and Lord Chatham had agreed to use pseudonyms in their letters to each other so that nobody would know they were corresponding. He would call her Caterina and he would be Stefano. Sophia smiled as she picked up the quill. He had asked her to describe in vivid detail what he wanted him to do to her and she was determined not to disappoint.


After a moment of contemplation, she dipped her quill into the inkwell and let her imagination run wild. Time passed swiftly, and when she was done, she put it into her petticoat pocket and went to find a copy of Ovid's Amores. Slipping the note between its pages, she kissed the book and then slid it back into place. As she left the library, images of him reading it fluttered through her mind and she wondered if he would send her a note in return.



(OOC: Translation of title: Secret Passion)

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