But the crowning achievement of the Count’s great labour was undoubtedly the library. A Scottish inventor, at enormous expense, designed a system of hidden tracks, chains, and pulleys, driven by water and steam, to create a ceaseless migration of bookcases that without warning would sink into the walls or disappear behind sliding wooden panels. Others dropped through trapdoors in the ceiling or rose from concealed wells in the floors. The entire castle in effect became the library, and no private space was inviolable. A guest at the castle might be luxuriating in a perfumed bath, or lecherously pursing a servant when, with a warble of unseen gears, a seemingly solid partition would slide back and a bookcase or a reading desk would trundle past, the Count himself often hobbling in its wake, consulting his watch, oblivious to anything but the timing and accuracy of the furniture’s progress.
—Thomas Wharton, Salamander
I would be making faster progress in Salamander if there wasn’t something bloggable every 5 pages. I had better pace myself since the whole book purports to be about books. 🙂