Страна : Россия
Переводчик, преподаватель. В свободное время пишу для себя, учусь рисовать. Мечтаю написать книгу,с которой приятно отдохнуть душой; создавать иллюстрации, к которым хочется возвращаться; переводить так, чтобы дать читателю прочувствовать все чувства и краски, заложенные автором оригинала.
Country : Russia
The spear-sharp nose of the gondola was piercing the air above turquoise water. I leaned back against the leather cushions, watching the wharves and rich mansions drift by. The water glistened and I could hear the voices of the great city from everywhere: the shrill rollcall of gondoliers, the booming voice of a water-seller, the soft lilting chant of the lute and laughter from the boat next to us. After two years spent in the quiet and solitude of the convent, I was finally coming home to Venetta.
A gigantic six-oar boat passed our gondola, its huge closed cabin big enough to hide an elephant. Two smaller boats were accompanying it on either side. Here, on the Grand Canal the traffic was always busy, unlike narrow side canals that led into back streets so cramped that people from the opposite houses had to open the shutters one by one. However, Fabrizio was an experienced oarsman. No wonder, he had been our family`s gondolier for years and knew these waters like the back of his hand. He was standing on the little curved bridge at the stern like a statue of a sea god. But instead of a trident he was holding an oar which helped him maneuver among the other boats. His silk doublet and the embroidered Granacci arms on his velvet cap were gleaming brightly in the sun. Not just a common gondolier — a servant of a noble family, with the panache of a man who is proud of his position
The snow-white bulk of the Silver Arch – or simply Argento, as the Venettians called it, rose in front of us. It was the one and only bridge connecting the wide banks of the Grand Canal. Its stone pillars rose steeply, a graceful arch reflected in the Persian-green water. No one believed the bridge would last for long. There was a legend that the architect sold his soul to the devil to make the construction strong enough. But even if that was true, the evil spirit neither showed itself nor claimed its cut afterwards. Probably it was afraid of the stone griffins − vicious-looking creatures that spread their wings on each abutment. Under their protection the jewelers and clothiers in the shops along the bridge could run their trade in peace.
Darkness fell upon us as our gondola went under the bridge. The water glinted on the green-clad stones, the hum of the crowd echoed below damp arches. Fabrizio carefully drove the boat forward. Suddenly I thought I heard a splash, and a long shadow passed right under our boat. I narrowed my eyes and tensed. If it got here from the island… But no, it didn’t. We saw a snarling mouth full of small sharp teeth flash in the murky water, then came a limber spotted body.
And I just imagined … Thank heavens – that wasn`t it, I thought, when the shadow disappeared in the darkness.
“It`s just morays, nothing to be worried about, senorita,” Fabrizio said with a smile. The dark tunnel of the bridge remained behind. “Sneaky creatures.”
That was true. The morays were scavengers and they were easy to be scared off. I wouldn’t dare to put my hand in the water, though. These monsters could strip a whole calf to the bone in minutes. However, after two years on Terra-dei-Miracolo I had learned that the morays were not the most dangerous creatures in these waters.
We passed the bridge and now we could see the bright panorama of the city again. Massive carved chests of the rich houses lined the shore – properly locked to keep family secrets in. Their light pink and green facades were dotted with scarlet geranium flowers, bright as blood. Lancet windows were squinting at us. Long terraces that came down to the water, bristled with berthing pillars painted in family colours. Their bright pickets created a kind of a small harbor for the residents. Light reflections in the river made the whole image wave, so that the houses seemed to be dancing in the spring air. It was like some sort of another world – mysteriously vague and blurring. And I got a weird feeling as if something bad was going to happen. If only I could enjoy my quiet, monotonous days in the convent again. Pray, work, pray again. I felt a tiny thread that stretched from the distant island straight to my heart. And then that thread broke.
Fabrizio steered our gondola towards the quay with a single deft stroke of his oar. A tall young man was waving to us – that black shoulder-length hair, lively gestures, a smart doublet with golden embroidery… I swallowed and carefully smoothed my dress over my knees just to stay calm. That man was Ricardo Granacci, my elder brother. He met my gaze with a dazzling smile that seemed to brighten up the grimy facade of the old house behind his back. I pretended to be interested in the time-worn stone steps and the tangles of seaweed. Ricardo himself helped to moor the gondola by sticking a small iron hook on a rope into a crevice between the slabs. Then he stepped into the boat and helped me out.
“Here you are, Julia! Welcome to Venetta!”
We haven`t seen each other for two years, I reminded myself, but I still couldn`t catch my breath. Come on, you can do this!