Day One is here. Day Two is here.
He reads the sonnets to Shakespeare's Dark Lady, and his eyes drift over to his servant. While he does not find her pleasing to the eye, he knows that long ago, the Bard wrote his poems for someone just like Martha.
And then there's the biography of Jane Austen. He immediately thinks that she's a fantastic dancer, but there's no reason to believe she was any such thing. Matron Redfern laughs when he says such a thing. Soft paws, steel claws. It's a phrase that he knows applies to Miss Austen and the Matron alike.
And while speaking of French aristocrats, he finds himself bitingly defending the rather infamous Madame du Pompadour. Professor Moffatt asks him to head back to his study, to cool down a bit.
"Don't let's get too emotional, John. It's not as though you actually knew the woman."
After class, he sits in his study and stares at the picture. He's certain he knows her, but he can't figure out how. The dark printed pages don't seem to capture the way his mind's eye sees the woman, the woman he feels like he should know. The woman sitting with her face profile to him, the dark smudges in the textbook representing her hair sliding down her shoulders in tumbling waves. He finds his fingers curl as if he knows what it's like to feel those strands, to have them slide against his skin. Involuntarily, he shudders.
He is not an experienced man, but he feels as if there was seduction, once. Perhaps in a dream, perhaps in a long-ago memory. And the seduction was---well, it was nothing that a proper English gentleman would like to think about.