Roberto had said that while he was away only the slightest of commissions should be accepted, items akin to piece-work only, nothing major, nothing large, but that because the workshop was only young, merely two years established, should an important commission appear, should by chance a rich client make himself or herself known, that instead of informing them that Roberto had left for some time, that his preternaturally skilled hands would not be available until the new year, then they should, as a method for buying time, assume the mantle of the master craftsman, and do what they could to stall and hinder completion of any large project until Roberto could return, in order to ensure that the reputation of the workshop, such as it was, would remain intact.
And so it was that when the Countess herself entered the warm waiting room and asked to speak with Robert that she instead found herself talking with a smiling fifteen year old boy who assured her that the brooch she wanted would not only be ready within the exceedingly tight timeframe that she had stipulated, but that she could expect a level of artistry far more sophisticated and elegant than any she had experienced before. As was only right, said the smiling calm boy, and as befits a lady of such stature. The Countess, herself young and at times secretly timid around those individuals who possessed a practical, monetisable skill, agreed with the boy and, after asking for his name, made sure to mention him as the great Roberto’s heir and perhaps, if the truth were to be told, the true artist behind the old man’s contemporary work, which all agreed had taken a turn for the considerably better in the last two years, since he had struck out on his own, and since, more tellingly, he had taken on this new apprentice.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.