Lost to History

With her eyes closed she willingly followed the hand pulling her onward, into a new place. The excitement threatened to boil over as the time passed and still she was unable to look. Finally she heard a great creak from large oak doors being swung open and his hand once again tugged her forward. A few feet more and the hand stopped, willing her to stop as well. She stood alone as the other person whisked away, leaving her almost giddy now with anticipation.

“Can I open my eyes now?”

“Not yet.” Replied the husky voice.

She waited longer, hearing a swoosh of curtains and the man’s feet across the ground, here and there.

“Now?” She asked again.

“Okay… Now.”

She opened her eyes and immediately a gasp escaped her lips. Before her, in amounts too numerous to count, were books, books, and more books, from floor to ceiling. The room itself was immense and stretched not only wide but upwards for at least five or more stories. Gilded spiral staircases wound at intervals throughout, leading up to the next levels of the library, on which beautiful molded mahogany bookcases lined the walls. Rolling ladders reached across shelf after shelf and she saw that each level itself was taller than any average story.

She moved forward slowly not taking her eyes off the amazing sights surrounding her. In keeping with the incredulity of the room, the rug was larger than any other she had ever seen and ornately designed with many colors and shapes. Tall plush chairs sat by an extensive table overlaid with a scarlet runner and not far from it  she spied an antique globe probably many centuries old. To make it all the more inviting, a roaring fire blazed from the marble fireplace on the farthest wall from the door.

The man to her right spoke softly as though he would break the wonder of the moment with speech.

“All this… is yours.”

Slowly she turned and faced her benefactor. “All of it?” Her voice hardly above a whisper.

“All of it.”

Now anyone who has ever seen the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast can tell exactly what I have written. And not only that they can picture the incredible library Disney’s artists drew for the cartoon. I must say that that depiction has been the source of my love for great libraries for as long as I could remember. Living in a small 70’s house we have no room for a library, no matter how small, but we have all grown up with a love of reading good books. We just have to keep the books in bookcases scattered throughout the house instead of in one reading room.

Needless to say, my dream is to have a library one day, and if I let myself dream big, a library like the Beast’s. Oh, the hours I could spend in there. Sitting by the fireplace on cold, cloudy days or choosing a window seat on the warm, sunny days.

Austrian National Library (beautiful-libraries.com)

That is something else I’ve always dreamed of, having a window seat in an upper story room that overlooks a beautiful courtyard or has a view of high peaked mountains. When I was little I read a book by Elizabeth Enright called The Four-Story Mistake. The four siblings parents had just moved them to a interesting house where the fourth story was more like a tower with windows looking out toward every direction. They would spend their days reading, or playing, in their special tower. And the thing I remember most about that story is they had a window seat.

Of course, if I got into my dreams, I don’t think I would stop very soon, so I’ll stop now and go back to the first subject, libraries.

Sometime back I discovered a site I found to be very distracting. Beautiful-Libraries.com shows pictures of almost any library imaginable, from small home libraries to incredibly ornate and magnificent public or government libraries. I must admit the beauty of some of these libraries was staggering. I can imagine how Belle felt when the Beast showed her the grand library that was to become her very own.
All someone has to do is give me a library like that and I’m putty in their hands. Who can resist all those books and all that beauty?

Library at Biltmore House (beautiful-libraries.com)

Modern libraries are lush and sleek, but as is typical of my nature, its the old musty libraries that attract me the most. When you enter, the smell of old books leaves you feeling you no longer are in the present. Knowledge. History. The unknown. What an aura of excitement. Being a history lover, someday I want to have the chance to visit some of the oldest libraries and dig through its centuries old records. Like treasure hunting. All by myself, transported back in time, or somewhere where time doesn’t exist, digging through history previously lost to the world. Whoo!

In the book Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn, of which I did a review (available here), Storm, in search of clues is led down into the depths of an old building where researchers lose track of time and become book worms. Cool! Okay thats geeky.
But thats me.

So until that day, its still me with the big dreams of grand castles, large libraries, in foreign but beautiful lands.

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