Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 160

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 160 SOUTHWARD HO
the prelude to other embraces. She knows not, unhappy child,
that she is an object of desire to another, until she finds herself
lifted in the grasp of Pietro Barbaro, the terrible chief of the Is-
triote pirates. He and his brothers have kept their pledges to
one another, and they have been successful in their prey. Their
fierce followers have subdued to submission the struggles of a
weaponless multitude, who, with horror and consternation, behold
the loveliest of their virgins, the just wedded among them, borne
away upon the shoulders of the pirates to their warlike galleys.
Those who resist them perish. Resistance was hopeless. The
fainting and shrieking women, like the Sabine damsels, are hur-
ried from the sight of their kinsmen and their lovers, and the
Istriote galleys are about to depart with their precious freight.
Pietro Barbaro, the chief, stands with one foot upon his vessel's
side and the other on the shore. Still insensible, the lovely
Francesca lies upon his breast. At this moment the skirt of his
cloak is plucked by a bold hand. He turns to meet the glance
of the Spanish Gipsy. The old woman leered on him with
eyes that seemed to mock his triumph, even while she appealed
to it.
Is it not even as I told thee´┐Żas I showed thee ?" was her
demand.
It is !" exclaimed the pirate-chief, as he flung her a purse
of gold. Thou art a true prophetess. Fate has done her
work !"
He was gone ; his galley was already on the deep, and be
himself might now be seen kneeling upon the deck of the ves-
sel, bending over his precious conquest, and striving to bring
back the life into her cheeks.
Ay, indeed !" muttered the Spanish Gipsy, thou bast had
her in thy arms, but think not, reckless robber that thou art,
that fate has done its work. The work is but begun. Fate has
kept its word to thee ; it is thy weak sense that fancied she had
nothing more to say or do !"
Even as she spoke these words, the galleys of Giovanni
Gradenigo were standing for the Lagune of Caorlo. He had
succeeded in collecting a gallant band of cavaliers who tacitly
yielded him the command. The excitement of action had
served, in some measure, to relieve the distress under which he
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