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Following excerpts are from Alistair Maclean - River Of Death

Even in the wavering light of the malodorous oil torches the revealed contents glittered as if they were alive. The chest contained literally thousands of golden coins, so fresh and gleaming they could have been minted that same day.

Why Maclean is resembling coins with life?
Ok coins were glittering but what it has to do with "as if they were alive"?
I don't think that alive things glitter, so why this comparison?

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Von Manteuffel contemplatively stirred the coins with the tip of his cane, looked with satisfaction at the resulting iridescence, then turned to Spaatz.
'Genuine, you would say, Heinrich?'
'I am shocked,' Spaatz said. He didn't look it. 'Shocked beyond words. The holy fathers traffic in dross?'
Von Manteuffel shook his head sadly. 'You can't trust anyone these days.'

Dross means impurity.
What does he mean when Spaatz says "The holy fathers traffic in dross?"
Coins were real, not impure.
So why he is using the word dross here?
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Why Maclean is resembling coins with life?-- Just that the glittering is an apparent movement.

Ok coins were glittering but what it has to do with "as if they were alive"?-- Just that the glittering is an apparent movement.
I don't think that alive things glitter, so why this comparison?-- Just that the glittering is an apparent movement.

What does he mean when Spaatz says "The holy fathers traffic in dross?" Coins were real, not impure. So why he is using the word dross here?-- Money is impurely materialistic for men of the church (holy fathers).
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Comments  
Thanks a lot Mister Micawber.

I was so confused in the expressions, but when you explained them, they look so obvious now.

Thanks again.