Every Step Taken; Chapter Five
It had been a week since Lady Stewart and her father, the Ambassador departed the island. They must be near Versailles now, I thought, hopping that Lady Stewart didnt forget about my letter to give to my half-brother, who would also be there. The day was bright; the sun in all its glory was at full height, bathing the villa and gardens with light. It was a beautiful day, very beautiful indeed, the sea around Rocca Sorrentina was a brilliant blue, the flowers and grass around the island, the trees still at their best despite winter had begun to creep in. I leaned out my windows apartment, taking a deep breath of the fresh breeze, my eyes watching with interest at the activities of the island. At this time, normally a cool breeze blew, but this warm one, was a delight, very welcomed. With the Stewarts gone, I am free to be myself, no one to spy on me at my familys instructions. Open all the windows I commanded to my valet, the main room, the bedroom, we need more air about. I watched as this little framed man went about, working his way around my furniture, pulling curtains aside, letting more light and air flood in.
I was in a good mood, I met with some business ventures in the past weeks, and they offered a possibility, to increase my fortune, or rather to make an Independent fortune of my own, non-associated with my fathers. Sir Roger Samuels, was the mans name, he was a merchant, a very wealth one too. His trades consisted of several routes to India, and to Arabia. This proper man beamed of Britishness, but also the excitement of exploration, and the reaping of wealth available in these foreign lands. His associate, Lord Harvey, had some investments in some port city called Goa, a city originally owned by the Portuguese, before passing into British hands. Lord Harvey and I had met several times in England, I was surprised he was part of a trade, after all, he was a Lord. I do not take part in the actual trading, and that sort my boy said the aged Harvey I simply finance it, in turn it has produced some profit. I was intrigued how does it work, I inquired? Sir Roger laughed, and Lord Harvey chuckled, responding you offer money at a percent, and if the trade works, you get your profit, and if it fails, you loose it. I thought for a few moments, I had toyed with the idea back home, by father snuffed out the idea. He considered it middle class, and would rather depend on our land, and his positions for income. After hours of talking, I met these gentlemen again, and again, over the last two weeks, nearly every three days. Now was the time to act, I had inquired all I could, and now is the chance to take.
The day was bright still, barely half past two when I found myself sitting in the tavern. A little rustic, but still handsome structure, remnants of some ancient building I suspect. There was company all around; wine was flowing, voices rising. In a quiet corner, I hid myself, content to simple light wine. The gentlemen appear, Lord Harvey and Sir Roger, with them a page with some inkwells and documents. Some passed, explaining, reading, I scanned documents after documents to be sure I am not about to take part into some trap. All was well, and I finished reading, my investment would be in a trading company associated with the British East India Company. I signed my name at the bottom of the contract, carefully writing, Richard James Callaghan, Baron Rushcliffe.
Another drink followed and some idle friendly conversation with the men, before the decided they needed to meet with some Italians and Moor merchants. I never realized the island was at such a crossroad. Its port offered safety from pirated who attached the main routes, ships passed from the Italian mainland, from France, from Spain, Arabia and all. Occasionally a British would pass through, on its way to the east. The island was a hidden port in my perspective, active but quiet, the ideal place to meet and do business with out the eyes of higher courts, and kings to looking down to claim in. I looked as the men parted, my curiosity of the island grew, I didnt actually spend much time outside the Villa since my arrival, indeed, I only stayed in the villa until this point. So far, I enjoyed the small pageantry associated with villa life, meals with the governor; I mixing with intellectuals like the professor, and a few nobles who either lived or vacationed on the island. Last night itself was a wonderful ball. It was provincial, but more entertaining than any court ball I have been too. I spent all my time on my feet, in company of various ladies of beauty and taste, dancing away to the musicians, followed by gambling and dining. Friends were reunited, and it was a joy to see some pleasant faces, such as the Dowager Contessa di Rezzonic, and la Contessa di Loredan. It was too my surprise that I ran into my beloved Contessa Foscari. I tried to always be at her side, but Signore Gandt blocked my ways. I watched in envy that they danced, they whispered, and my infatuation with the lady lessoned.I suppose I was just a person of the past, our time together was a liaison and nothing more. Little by little, my enjoyment faded, Signore Gandt won again and again at the gamessurely he was cheating. The scoundrel won four times in a rowa luck even a god anointed king wouldnt have. I suspect he is indeed a cheater, but I must watch more to find out more.who was he anyways, he seems to always be around, but again I ask myself who is that fellow?. At the end of the night the Contessa and I took a walk around the garden. Stopping by the obelisk that decorates the landscape, we discussed what is the nature of our meeting.. and I was right to thinkit was a liaison.. enjoyable, but over. It did surprise me, though, one thing in particular, the Contessa never received my letters.. none of themhow interesting.
I wandered through the town, thinking about the Contessa. Her image faded in my head, but I still wondered why she didnt receive my letters, that was strange. I walked through streets, down paths, and around corners. The warm colors of the buildings, frescos around, antique stones here and there; the town was a fairytale. I was turning the corner when I bumped right into someone, dropping my documents, and what appears to be the persons sketchpad. I swooped down instantly, apologizing to the fellow Im sorry sir, pardon. I was not paying attention. A soft, melodic responded Im no sir, but you are pardoned. I realized as I rose, items in hand, the figure was in a dress, and as I stood up tall, I was struck. Before me was a beautiful woman, with a caramelized complexion, eyes the color of honey, and hair as dark as night. I stood there, gawking in what would be a most ungentleman like expression, the woman before me was a goddess, a Nefertiti. She could not be older than 19, nor younger than 15. Her rich dark hair, framed face, draping loose over her shoulders, a few strands blowing in the breeze. Her eyes were large, and warm, brighter than any jewels. She extended her hand, a confused look on her face, speaking with an English accent, an English mixed with some other accent Sir, my drawing pad, if you may. I quickly, straightened up, handing her the items, unable to form my words properly er pad, yes here, draw it is. Her ruby lips curved into a smile, and she walked on. I turned to see her walk, but she turned the corner and was gone.
Who was this beauty with such exotic looks?