Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 147

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 147

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE AUGURY AND WARNING. 147
Well ! and even now the rites are in progress which bind
her to Ulric Barberigo !"
She will never wed Ulric Barberigo," was the quiet answer.
ti\Thy left you Olivolo ?" she continued.
" Could I remain and look upon these hated nuptials ? could
I be patient and see her driven like a sheep to the sacrifice ? I
fled from the spectacle, as if the knife of the butcher were
already in my own heart."
You were wrong ; but the fates have spoken, and their de-
crees are unchangeable. I tell you I have seen your bridal
with Francesca Ziani. No Ulric weds that maiden. She is re-
served for you alone. You alone will interchange with her the
final vows before the man of God. But hasten, that this may find
early consummation. I have seen other things ! Hasten but
hasten not alone, nor without your armor ! A sudden and terri-
ble danger hangs over San Pietro di Castella, and all within its
walks. Gather your friends, gather your retainers. Put on the
weapons of war and fly thither with all your speed. I see a ter-
rible vision, even now, of blood and struggle ! I behold terrors
that frighten even me ! Your friend is a man of arms. Let
your war-galleys be put forth, and bid them steer for the La-
guile of Caorlo. There will you win Francesca, and thenceforth
shall you wear her�you only�so long as it may be allowed
you to wear any human joy !"
Her voice, look, manner, sudden energy, and the wild fire of
her eyes, awakened Giovanni to his fullest consciousness. His
friend drew nigh�they would have conferred together, but the
woman interrupted them.
"You would deliberate," said she, but you have no time !
What is to be done must be done quickly. It seems wild to
you, and strange, and idle, what I tell you, but it is neverthe-
less true ; and if you heed me not now bitter will be your re-
pentance hereafter. You, Giovanni, will depart at least. Heed
not your friend� be is too cold to be successful. He will always
be safe, and do well, but he will do nothing further. Away ! if
you can but gather a dozen friends and man a single galley, you
will be in season. But the time is short. I hear a fearful cry
the cry of women�and the feeble shriek of Francesca Ziani
is among the voices of those who wail with a new terror ! I see