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Lady Carintha

Lady Carintha is the wife of a wealthy Venetian merchant who has been trading in gold English nobles. She hosts lavish parties and spends her time drinking, gambling, gossiping and toying with handsome young men. A vain and manipulative woman who is used to getting her own way, she clashes with Isolde when Isolde refuses to assist Lady Carintha in her intended seduction of Luca.


Chopines were a type of platform outdoor shoe popular in Venice in the fifteenth century worn by women to protect their shoes and dresses from water and dirt on the streets. The height of the platform came to represent the social standing of the wearer as the upper classes wore the highest platforms. Some were over twenty inches high, making it difficult for the wearer to walk without the help of a servant or attendant.


'What are they wearing on their feet? They're like stilts!' Ishraq exclaimed. 'They are called chopines,' Brother Peter said. 'They keep the ladies' gowns and feet clear of the water when the streets are flooded.' He looked consideringly at the women, who could not stand unsupported but looked magnificent, tall as giantesses, in their beautiful billowing long gowns. 'The Holy Church approves of them,' he said.


'Greetings, how pleasant to meet you.' The lady of the house, Lady Carintha, came forward and took their hands. She was an elegant woman, dressed in dark blue, almost the match of Isolde's gown, except that hers plunged low at the front and almost slid off her broad shoulders in an open invitation. Her shining gold hair was piled up on the top of her head, in a swirl of blue silk, except for three ringlets which fell over her creamy naked shoulders. Her eyes, a calculating blue, scanned the two young women and her rouged mouth smiled without warmth.