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Lazing in the Library - Late afternoon, 15th September

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The Royal Library was located in the Upper Ward, on the first floor.

The joy of a Baroque Library is in its white plaster decorations and delicate carvings in corners, grand trompe l'oeuil designs, as well as the books that fill shelves right up to the ceiling. The newly decorated library had been expanded from its Elizabethan design, incorporating part of the old hall. It looked out over the Horn Court on one side, accessible from the same hallways as the Kings apartment.

Even at night this was a busy place. The many spirits, ghosts and apparitions that an ancient place like Windsor Castle contained by virtue of all that had passed, took particular pleasure in this dome of spiritual wellness, called perhaps by happier memories. The form of the old Queen Elisabeth, dressed in black, her stomacher stiff, her collar wide, and her white face wrinkled, was often seen moving about, in particular from the hearth to the old dark wooden table that nobody dared move. It was said many a meeting of the Privy Council had taken place here, rather than in the Queen's Closet. Another more recent visitation was seen behind the windows of the library, looking out with worry and a great sadness. It was Charles I whose grave was down in the Lower Ward, resting next to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour in St. George's Chapel. Before his untimely demise he had spend some time as prisoner in Windsor Castle.

It was windy outside. Eleanor had braved the weather in order to acquire new supplies for her intended embroideries, but afterward had had to have Mary re-do her hair. Now, despite her desire to explore the gardens, and particularly the Orangery as recommended by Lord Mountjoy, Eleanor had decided to save that particular delight for the morrow. Instead she had ventured to the Library in search of inspiration or fascination, her maid and chaperone Mary carrying her basket of sewing paraphenalia. Surely the Library of Windsor could have books on botany?

With her hair re-done she had left her hat in her rooms, but otherwise wore her cream and green striped cotton day dress with the pink and deep green rambling rose embroidery, and her silk ribbon accessories. It was a comfortable ensemble, fetching whilst not overly formal. Now she stood, one hand holding her fan, the other tapping her lips thoughtfully as she worked her way along the shelves, looking for any books on natural history. Behind her the late afternoon sun cast slanting, golden rays through the windows, illuminating both the shelves of books, and the figure perusing them. 

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Oh but there were books on botany! So many of them. Eleanor was delighted, and knew immediately where to come if she was ever at a loss as to what to do. Why, she could spend hours here, reading. Days even. There were books on local flora, and treatises on those found in distant and exotic lands. The latter tempted her, the chance to learn about new and unusual plants, but she'd come for the former. Specifically she was looking for an illustrated volume; she needed a reference picture for Sweet William, as it wasn't a flower that she embroidered often, and even if some had been planted in Windsor's formal gardens it was long past it's spring flowering season. 

She found a book on gardening in England that looked big enough to have woodcuts. Lifting it down she flicked through until she found illustrations of plants, settling on a page that showed small bedding plants, including the Sweet William. She knew the colours she needed; white and various shades of pink, she just wanted a reminder of the plant's shape. 

Setting the book down carefully on a nearby table, Eleanor settled herself comfortably, opened the basket which Mary set by her side and began to pull out her embroidery hoop which bore a stretched silk kerchief, and her silk floss, already deep in concentration. 

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