Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 148

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Page 148

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 148 SOUTHWARD HO !
their struggling forms, and floating garments, and dishevelled
hair ! Fly, young men, lest the names of those whom Venice
has written in her Book of Gold shall henceforth be written in a
Book of Blood."
The reputation of the Sybil was too great in Venice to allow
her wild predictions to be laughed at. Besides, our young Ve-
netians �Nicolo no less than Giovanni�in spite of what the
woman had spoken touching his lack of enthusiasm�were
both aroused and eagerly excited by her speech. Her person
dilated as she spoke ; her voice seemed to come up from a fear-
ful depth, and went thrillingly deep into the souls of the hear-
ers. They were carried from their feet by her predictions.
They prepared to obey her counsels. Soon had they gathered
their friends together, enough to man three of the fastest galleys
of the city. Their prows were turned at once toward the Lagune
of Caorlo, whither the woman had directed them. She, mean-
while, had disappeared, but the course of her gondola lay for
IT will be necessary that we should go back in our narrative
but a single week before the occurrence of these events. Let
us penetrate the dim and lonesome abode on the confines of the
" Jewish Quarter," but not within it, where the Spanish Gipsy"
delivered her predictions. It is midnight, and still she sits over
her incantations. There are vessels of uncouth shape and un-
known character before her. Huge braziers lie convenient, on
one of which, amid a few coals, a feeble flame may be seen to
struggle. The atmosphere is impregnated with a strong but
not ungrateful perfume, and through its vapors objects appear
with some indistinctness. A circular plate of brass or copper
it could not well be any more precious metal rests beneath
the eye and finger of the woman. It is covered with strange
and mystic characters, which she seems busily to explore, as if
they had a real significance to her mind. She evidently united
the highest departments of her art with its humblest offices ; and
possessed those nobler aspirations of the soul, which, during the
middle ages, elevated in considerable degree the professors of
necromancy. But our purpose is not now to determine her pre-