And yet, on Christmas Eve in Milan, in 1495, Roxy Davidova did not feel the slightest bit Christmassy: after all, here she was. in the company of Laszlo Licinic, Peter Boo, Unity Mitford, Geli Raubal, Peter Lorre, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, as far from home as she – erroneously, as she would later learn for herself – thought possible, and with no chance of sending word back to her family, friends and political colleagues in the Unionist Party at Holyrood, utterly bereft; true, she had become rather more than friendly with Maria, sommelier in the local taverna and model for The Virgin, in another of Leonardo's paintings, but thus far, with the thirteen models for The Upper Room milling about as well, it had been a raucously testosterone-filled house they all lived in; Roxy was quite surprised to find that the models took their job so seriously, spending hours discussing their past histories, as narrated in the Gospels, playing dreidel for small bets, and she felt they were behaving more like actors than simply models, until she came across a dog-eared softback copy of Stanislavski's The Actor Prepares and that gave her a shock: it was in English, published in the Wartime year 1940 and she found on the fly-leaf the signature of Leslie Howard, famous British actor, who had gone missing in 1943 over the Bay of Biscay; "how on Earth?" she wondered aloud, and when, during a lull in mid-afternoon wassailing rehearsals, she was able to draw Maria away from the others, she showed her the book: "ha! Master Less-lie! he fancy himself as a great ac-tor, but he full of ham bones, try to teach us models how to act, tell us we gotta think ourselves into the person-ality of the person we represent – ha! is all old cheese, looka me? do I look like a vir-gin? ho ho, can I remember being a vir-gin? pah! Master Leonardo, he no wanta virgin, he wanta wo-man, he tell me Maria, you looka like the Virgin oughta look, like butter melt in your mouth – Virgin she is a lusty wo-man, not a milky leeetle gi-rl, Master Leonardo he know whatta he want, Master Less-lie he a butterfly!" but Roxy was dying to know: "and this Master Less-lie, he is here?" and Maria looked at her pityingly: "you no wanta Maria? you wanta ac-tor? he nevva love you like Maria!" no room for dubiety there, thought Roxy, flinging herself into the embrace of Maria's ample bosoms!!!