A Test of Virtue
“Your Eminence, how nice it is that we’re alone,” exclaimed Veronica, brushing back her silken, brown hair and standing. Cardinal Fratelli also stood, ready to escort her outside. It was his last audience of the night. He had let Dina, the housekeeper, leave early, telling her he would draw the curtains and lock the doors himself. Seeing Veronica hesitate, Fratelli now asked, “Is there something else?” “As a fact, there is…” she answered. Her intense, dark eyes staring, she drew closer then added, “Oh, you’re such a handsome man, I fancy you would like me to stay.” Fratelli took in Veronica’s sheer beauty, her fair face and robust, rosy lips. Few women in Lucca were more lovely... Yet, at last, he shrank from her embrace and fled away.