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The Countess and the Ghost in the Moonlight
Evening tastes of the melting sun on the horizon and still sips delicately of the fleeting day until it finally absorbs it completely. Only the morning will again bring forth a new day from the night, and it will perhaps more or less resemble what has gone before.
But before that it is time with the evening twilight.
Time, as it returns every evening. For many years now. Precisely then, when the sun seemingly lays down its light at the edge of the earth and a gentle breeze finally extinguishes it.
Then a gate opens at the side of the castle.
Previously hidden by rose hedges, an ornate wrought-iron gate has slid open a little and a shadow flits out and into the evening landscape.
Those who know the castle and its history know who has stepped out of the shadow of the hedges. At this time of night the Countess is out in her garden. She loves the sunlight, but she enjoys the evening and the night just as much. Then she delights in walking along the pebble paths that gradually lead her further and further into the artfully laid out flower beds and to the individual self-contained miniature gardens with their lush plantings.
The wind gently caresses the Countess' skin and hair as she seems to soak up every moment in the opulent landscape. Every step she takes with her silk slippers can be heard on the pebbles, as can the rustle of the hem of her dress as it brushes over them.
But today something is different.
The discarded rose at the foot of the castle steps is the agreed-upon sign she has waited so long for. The meeting place is a certain spot in the garden.
In a pavilion almost completely and opaquely entwined by ivy, she meets a figure. As the Countess enters, she slowly rises from the round table and bows somewhat laboriously but nonetheless surrendered. Having seated herself, the Lady of the Manor also directs her counterpart to be seated again with an elegant hand gesture.
"Now my dear, what have you brought me that is beautiful?" the gentle voice of the mistress is heard at the same time.
The figure sits down slowly and moves forward to the edge of the table, out of the shadow of the ivy-covered dome into the sparse evening light.
In view is an old woman, wrapped in dark robes, her wide hood draped over her long white curly hair. Her cloak is embroidered at the borders with symbols that seem to change with every movement, as if the fabric were living with her or through her.
The old woman reaches into her cloak and pulls out a small box, which she gently slides to the center of the table. There the Countess receives it and places it in front of her.
As if to curb her anticipation of the past months, she hesitates for a moment before lifting the lid of the box and taking a deep breath.
Now she holds in her hands what she asked the old woman from the woods for.
An old woman who pretended then to be a weary wanderer and in search of food and a camp for the night. The great-hearted lady of the manor offered her home, and the next day, when the old woman took her leave, she granted the countess three wishes in thanks.
Two still remain unspoken, but the one she now holds in her hands.
At first glance, a black, crystal bottle, but its multi-faceted cut sparkles midnight blue in the evening light and seems to be powdered with diamond dust.
A structure as if it had been designed by the goddess of the night personally and provided with star shine. The light of the dawn gives the small vessel a truly unearthly grace.
Tentatively, almost reverently, the Countess carefully loosens the stopper and pulls it out. Almost simultaneously, a breathtaking fragrance emerges from the flacon, as if it were made only of the most beautiful dreams. The mistress drops a droplet on the back of her hand, where it spreads almost oily on her skin. The closer she brings her hand to her nose, the more she can make out her dark red rose that she loves so much. It graces the center of her gardens and is tall, lush, and proud. Velvety petals exude fairy tales from 1001 nights and its fragrance lingers in soft veils over the entire garden landscape. Even the iris, which grows along the castle wall, can be recognised without a doubt in the elixir and shines with the stately rose. Even the scent of the noble suede coat of the Countess's late husband has been skilfully captured by the old woman and harmoniously added to the two royally scented flowers. It adds a sensual softness and even more depth to the perfume, causing the mistress to briefly struggle for composure. The coat, tragically, her husband could never wear and yet he seems to be omnipresent through the fragrance with it.
Essential oil of the patchouli plant the Countess had brought back from a trip to India and had hoarded like a treasure ever since. She has waited for the right moment to create something special from it. The oil complements the other fragrance essences in an almost magical way and gives everything a strong yet sensitive character. Just like the Countess's.
How could the old woman so unerringly create a perfumed elixir with the desired notes of the Countess of the Castle, and add her own essences to it, resulting in a flawless fragrance of such harmony? A question that can be discerned in her look of wonder.
But the old woman shrouds herself in silence, smiling only smugly. The gleam in the mistress's eyes and her pleasurable, almost dreamy absorption of the vapours from the back of her hand reveal without words that she has struck right at the heart of her counterpart with her creation.
Night has fallen by now. Time for the old woman to leave. Slowly she rises from the table and bows slightly. Then she carefully descends the steps of the pavilion and walks with unhurried steps along the accurately trimmed box bushes that lead to the end of the garden and out and into the night.
The Countess looks again at the wonderful bottle as she realizes that she has not really said thank you to the woman.
But when she looks up from the table in her direction, the old woman has disappeared from the path. Not a sound, not a trace, as if she had never been there. It almost seemed to her as if she had met with a ghost. A truly good spirit.
Making her way along the pebbled paths back to the castle, the Countess strode with her head held high and a beatific smile. In her hands the little box with the precious bottle. The tears that flow down her face are tears of joy and glisten lightly in the moonlight.
This elixir she will guard like her life.
To indulge in a drop of it whenever she wants to remember days gone by and to gift herself in the present on special occasions.
And to all who ask, she will say in a mysterious voice, "This treasure was given to me by a spirit in the moonlight."
Note: For me personally, Moonlight Patchouli is not a bright and cheerful fragrance, but has something mystical and mysterious. The bottle could also be wrapped in black velvet.
I find the fragrance elegant, neat and classy. He shines and lasts long and has already brought me many a compliment.
And I can certainly imagine him on a gentleman who loves special things.