The Blood Countess

By Andrei Codrescu

A portrait of Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory follows her real-life sixteenth-century reign of torture and homicide.

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She darted out and in of rooms and halls, a lithe flash of quicksilver, looking at every thing, packed with expectation and enjoyment. nice streams were diverted to make separate bathing components for males and for ladies. One were an underground river that used to be made to circulation round a scorching mineral spring to flood a limestone quarry large enough for 1000 bathers. Steps have been minimize into the flesh of the mountain to permit the visitors to descend into the small lake, which used to be illuminated at evening through torches affixed to stone boulders. extra lights got here from torches carried through servants. Musicians and acrobats played at the facets of the pool whereas steam swirled approximately them. The chilly mountain air combined with the recent springs and made clouds of steam. the showering ladies seemed like fantastical figures from a secret play. Their shadows at the mountainside have been enormous and otherworldly. The baths have been used typically at evening, serving either to sit back the site visitors after the arduous ceremonies of sunlight hours and to wash the our bodies limited within the tough clothing of the time. Elizabeth used to be fearful by means of the immensity of the black water and by way of the wonderful shapes of unknown our bodies relocating in it. She used to be helped down the steps via her trustworthy maid Teresa. Elizabeth wore just a cotton nightgown over her boyish physique, on which breasts had but to make an visual appeal. once she entered the water, she skilled a fabulous feeling. She beloved the way in which her dress wrapped itself tightly round her. She floated on her again, taking a look at the celebs. She was once a lucky lady. She were born right into a wealthy and robust relations. Her sisters’ souls have been within the protecting of God, and the undesirable dream was once starting to fade. After she had again from the woodland, Preacher Hebler had attempted to frighten her with visions of hell, the place demons devour the flesh of sinners and fires burn bones to nice ashes, yet she had now not paid a lot recognition. She had witnessed the consuming of Dozsa’s flesh, and bone turning to ash, correct on the earth. She had no use to visualize such issues, because they happened earlier than her eyes. She was once extra inspired by means of the descriptions of the monk Silvestri, who had learn Dante and was once for that reason vulnerable to endow the afterlife with type, nuance, colour. Sins have been finely and vividly precise from each other, as have been their punishments. hearth and ice have been used as subtly as nakedness and garments. better of all, within the Italian heavens, the place the innocents congregated, a large quantity of angels created gentle, concord, and poetry for the satisfaction of the thirsty senses. Silvestri as soon as defined to her a masked ball in Venice, the place it have been most unlikely to tell apart basically among hell and heaven as the masked revelers belonged concurrently to either. That’s the place her sisters have been, dancing the evening away. It looked as if it would Elizabeth that Silvestri believed essentially in kind and wonder and that it was once a question of indifference to him no matter if those have been produced in hell or in heaven. What mattered to him used to be their sophistication.

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