Trudging downstairs the next morning at just after ten, Callum caught the sound of his mother’s laughter from the kitchen, followed by giggling from Holly. He stopped on the stairs, and scowled. The disturbance to his home fanned out from the cheerful voices, like radio waves passing through walls and ceilings, up through the soles of his feet.
Slowly he continued down the last steps. He decided to ignore, for the time being, his need for breakfast, and skulk in the Gardening History Room. He reckoned that with luck Holly would collect the tack and go out to catch Drum as soon as she’d eaten her breakfast. Which would leave the coast clear.
He pushed the tall door quietly closed behind him. The room smelled comfortingly of old paper and leather bindings. Callum wandered around the bookcases, and peered stealthily out of the window, hoping to see Holly emerge from the pend, burdened with saddlery.
No such luck.
Drifting past the table with the glass case, he was struck by both curiosity and rebellion. He fished in the drawer for the key, and unlocked the top of the case.
This was strictly forbidden by Liddy.
Callum lifted the glass lid, and settled it carefully back as far as its hinges would allow.
The Grete Herball lay grandly in the safety of the case, not a very large book, but thick and impressively bound in high quality tooled leather, with gilt decoration. He bent his head and sniffed appreciatively. Then he did the banned thing, and opened the covers.