Alchemist Gift and Alchemy
Chapter 3 Alchemist Gift and Alchemy
Alchemist Gift – The gentlemen were dressed in dark satins or rich brocades. They wore fine leather boots; each carried a walking stick surmounted with a heavy gold handle in the shape of an eagle or lion. Their serene wives and beautiful daughters draped themselves in silks and satins the colors of apricot or creamy lemon, cinnamon or dusty rose. They wore fine white stockings and the most fashionable shoes of the French design. Their dresses shimmered at the slightest turn or bow or curtsy. The ladies made a wonderful sight in their ribbons and lace. As they twirled their parasols or flicked their fans, they chit-chatted and bestowed catty compliments on each other.
The gray bearded elders engaged in serious conversation concerning the on-going war with the Turks and the safety of trade routes and the like. These men were ever on the lookout to marry a son or daughter into a family to further their wealth and power. Their son’s topics were a bit less somber: women, hunting and merriment. There was little jealousy among the young men, only competition that would serve them well after they inherited their father’s estates or business.
The church bell announced noon. The vibration of the great bronze bell resonated in the hearts of those present and brought the reality of what was coming with each sober toll. As if planned (perhaps by the hand of God) Contessa Rosalba’s coach and six appeared at the western gate. Her sky blue and gold livery was quite recognizable. The skillful driver Alfredo Amalfi halted the closed carriage then deftly backed it so the door was perfectly perpendicular to the bottom step of the dais.
The contessa, who was about to go into her confinement, reluctantly and resignedly knew she must attend. She was peeved that her husband Conte Emilio d’Benevita was away doing battle with the Turks. He should have been here with her. She would have used her confinement as an excuse stay at Casa Bella to spare herself being a witness to this terrible afternoon.
Conte Emilio was a modern man, a man of science and discovery who would not have allowed such a thing to happen. The conte would have kept the bishop in check and heard the cases with impartiality. He would have made non-emotional and thoughtful decisions; nothing more severe than a public humiliation or whipping or at worst banishment or in the extreme, advise ex-communication.
Rosalba was peeved at herself as well for her cowardice and weakness in allowing the bishop to usurp her husband’s authority in signing the death warrants for the six condemned women. She could have stopped everything until her husband returned, but she didn’t. She acquiesced. She was tired and her usually caring continence was in shambles because of her pregnancy. She was always a little afraid of the Bishop, although she didn’t know why. Rosalba sighed and pulled the curtain back and looked out on the strange arena.
Her footman, Armando, descended from the rear perch of the coach, opened the door and offered his arm in support as she ascended the three steps of the dais. The young man gave a smart bow and returned to his perch. Alfredo drove the coach out of view.
The bishop and Monsignor Perti met the contessa at the end of the dais and after many bows escorted her to her seat; all the time Bishop DiMars exchanging pandering courtesies and compliments. One of her cousins and a great uncle were members of the College of Cardinals.
Rosalba was a most handsome figure. Her long black hair, interlaced with golden ribbons, fell in a series of long coils on either side of her face. Her complexion was as luminescent as the Tuscan dawn. Her forehead was smooth and topped with a subtle widows peak. Her eyebrows were fine and slightly arched. Her brown eyes could be penetrating but her gaze was always gentle. Her cheeks carried a slight blush and her nose, slightly aquiline, was a defining sign of her nobility. Her lips were full and the color of cherry wine, her neck long and slender, her breasts high and well-proportioned, her lower torso and hips pleasing, and her arms and legs quite regular. Her hands were soft and pale. This corporal beauty was covered by a full length dress made with many clever folds of dark green velvet and a bodice of snow white satin encased in a golden lattice. Where the lattice intersected a pearl was held fast with golden thread. The bodice was cut to amply expose her bosom. Rosalba wore an emerald necklace, along with a few heavy gold chains. She wore emerald earrings also set in gold; on the middle finger of her right hand was a ring with a square cut emerald of good size; a family treasure handed down for at least seven generations. Her shoes were dark green patent leather and tied with gold colored ribbons.
Her presence caused a hush of pride in both rich and poor. She was well loved by everyone for her kindness and generosity and piety. Because of these very qualities Rosalba dreaded what would happen in the coming hours. It was her duty to attend in her husband’s place.
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The Alchemist Gift is a book about the lives of people in the Renaissance and the alchemy that brought them together with its repercussions on our modern-day hero, Roland.
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copyright 2013 Mark D. Giglio, www.theartofgiglio.com
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