“You’re a bit of a freak, aren’t you?” Sandra exclaimed as she picked up a thin leather book and parted the stiff, creaking covers to reveal typewritten words on yellowed pages. “I mean, seriously; ‘Forgotten Songs of Sumer’… ‘The Breath of the Serpent’ and… what’s this?” she asked, putting down the booklet, picking up a scroll and pulling at the dark silk ribbon around its waist.
Charles said nothing, but grinned and carried on looking through a drawer in one of the book cabinets. “Ah!” Sandra breathed, unrolling the browned parchment slowly. “’Hidden Paths and Byways of Astarte’…Charles, is this the kind of literature you’ve been spending your time and money on?”
Charles looked up briefly from the drawer file he was searching within and smiled at her, a little sadness in his eyes. “Initially, yes. I didn’t know where to start, so I started with the easiest stuff and worked my way in. What you’re looking at is what I found after two years of poking round libraries, asking awkward questions, and going to some very tedious soirees.” He turned back to the drawer. “Ah yes; thought so.” Charles announced, standing up straight. “It’s not here, so it’ll be in the garden.”
Sandra looked at him, one eyebrow raised quizzically.
“It’s what I call the place where I really study, unlike my actual study which is just a prop as you know.”
She pursed her lips and nodded. Too right that study was a prop. She laid the ribbon on a table and placed the parchment which she had rolled up onto the centre of the fabric. Charles watched as she neatly tied up the ribbon and put the scroll back into the drawer it had come from. “Right; done. Shall we?” asked Sandra.
Charles nodded once, then turned on one heel and led her to the little staircase that led to the third floor where the lift would be.