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Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, Duchess of Arcachon-Qwghlm (born circa 1665) is one of the main characters in The Baroque Cycle. Her lifelong romance with Jack Shaftoe is one of the main themes of the entire Cycle. She has a natural aptitude for money and financial transactions, as well as a keen eye for human nature, particularly manipulation of the sexual desires of men.

Eliza is a native of Qwghlm, who, before the beginning of the Cycle is abducted from her home, and forced into a Turkish harem. She is rescued by Jack Shaftoe from execution during the Siege of Vienna, and becomes his companion, traveling with him across Europe.

The two separate after Eliza and Jack quarrel over Jack's participation in a doomed commercial venture which involves the sale of slaves. Frustrated with her inability to convince Jack that slavery is morally wrong, she throws a harpoon into Jack's arm (verification needed). Jack ironically becomes a galley slave on a Turkish ship after this tear-filled confrontation, but after their separation, Eliza gradually works her way up through the strata of the European nobility. She survives smallpox and endures the kidnapping of her first son by a commercial rival, with whom she is eventually reunited and reveals their true, secret relationship. Because of the kidnapping, it is revealed that she is the ancestor of at least one, and possibly several, characters in Cryptonomicon.

At various times she works as a tutor for Sophie Charlotte, as she travels with her and her mother Sophia, lives in the Palace of Versailles, converses with bankers and scientists and is twice ennobled. She is appointed Duchess of Qwghlm by William of Orange, Countess de la Zeur by Louis XIV, and after her marriage to Étienne de Lavardac obtains the title of Duchess d'Arcachon.

Seemingly limitless in her beauty and intelligence, she is also unbounded by the sexual mores of Christendom and frequently chafes against them. During her rise through the ranks of nobility, she exhibits liberation from the sexual mores of the era, and is willing to seduce women as well as men as needed, although she seemingly abandons sexual congress with women later in her life. Although she begins the saga as a virgin she has substantial experience with other harem girls and is well-versed in the techniques of the Kama Sutra; this knowledge and experience enables her to, alone among all the women in the world, to provide sexual release to Jack Shaftoe after his disfigurement.

Her many lovers and suitors include William of Orange, Daniel Waterhouse, Bonaventure Rossignol, Bob Shaftoe and Jack Shaftoe with whom she eventually ends up living in the court of Versailles at the culmination of the Cycle in 1715.

Last Name Speculation[]

In Cryptonomicon, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse learns that the original ducal line was surnamed Mnyhrrgh and anglicized to Moore. As the ducal line (descended from Etienne de Lavardac, duc d'Archachon, as illustrated by the head malformations in the ducal portraits in Qwghlm House) ended in 1888, a scant two centuries after it was founded, it is a likely bet that Eliza's surname name was Mnyhrrgh (Moore). In the real world, Eliza Moore was the name of one of the last proven African-American slaves to live in the United States.