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Niccolo Rising > Chapter 13

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Sue Marsh | 48 comments Chapter 13
In which Claes is conspicuous by his absence

The Charetty company make a noticeable entry into Milan and, consequently, are asked to present themselves to the ducal palace to discuss their services. Loppe is to be presented as a gift to the Duke and Pigello Portinari arrives to collect the items carried over the Alps by the party, showing a huge amount of snobbery and sense of entitlement. Only when Tobie name drops and proves his connections are greater than Pigello’s, will the latter consent to be served “by a youth” (guess who?). Yet again, these scenes demonstrate the low social value of the working man and of the captive: there is no meritocracy. Loppe is educated and intelligent, already speaking several languages and we already know a little of what Claes can do, but no matter, they are the “underclass”. Pigello backpedals hurriedly, takes Claes to deliver the goods but, “lacking a good astrologer, no-one saw any harm in it”.

Claes is still absent when Astorre returns, triumphant, with news of a successful contract secured, the fee to be paid the next day. Astorre and Julius have also met the court physician and Tobie’s secret is out. He has relations in auspicious places. However, he reveals that he is the black sheep of the family and his connections would have hindered rather than helped. Then it is revealed that Claes is not yet back and has delivered the horses to a cousin of TGWTWL, who is married to a Medici.

The next morning, Julius and Astorre go to collect the fee and to show Pigello Portinari that the House of Charetty is made up of more than the underclass. Much to their surprise, they are paid in gold and Astorre transfers his financial allegiance from the Fleury’s to the Medici. Tobie finds this very puzzling and is the only one to mention Claus’s whereabouts. Tobie departs to see what Claes is up to, having been informed by his highly-placed uncle “what Claes was doing and where”.

What do we make of the recurring themes of the low worth of any man without money or title and astrology? Is the latter just related tho the book titles?

Claes does not speak at all in this chapter and is seen exclusively from others’ point of view. How has Tobie become so concerned about his motives so quickly. Does the way the chapter is written make Claes’s motives more sinister/ hidden?

Why have the company been paid in gold and does Claes have anything to do with it?

message 3: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
I liked the Claes-free space. I think it does add an element of increased curiosity to the events. It also makes me wonder what else he has been up to at other times when he wasn’t immediately visible.

message 4: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments I felt this chapter was a bit of a lull, no-one falling off horses, being beaten, or having ridiculous adventures entirley of their own contrivance. The lack of all those distractions meant that there was some good solid plot points being laid down. Where ever Claes is, I am sure he is up to something....

message 5: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments another thing that struck me was the generally hassle, expense and risk involved in sending a letter at that time. You would really think hard about what you put in it - especially as it was likely to be read by someone else on the way. It must have taken weeks for the mail to get through, and here we are now, sitting happy in our respective timezones, chatting away online, easy peasy.

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