Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 162

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Page 162

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription Giovanni signalled the other galleys by which his own was fol-
I am for the red flag of Pietro Barbaro himself. I know his
banner. Let your galleys grapple with the rest. Cross their
path�prevent their flight, and bear down upon the strongest.
Do your parts, and fear not but we shall do ours."
With these brief instructions, our captain led the way with the
Venetian galleys. The conflict was at hand. It came. They
drew- nigh and hailed the enemy. The, parley was a brief one.
The pirates could hope no mercy, and they asked none. But
few words, accordingly, were exchanged between the parties,
and these were not words of peace.
Yield thee to the mercy of St. Mark !" was the stern sum-
mons of Giovanni, to the pirate-chief.
" St. Mark's mercy has too many teeth !" was the scornful
reply of the pirate. " The worthy saint must strike well before
Barbaro of Istria sues to him for mercy."
With the answer the galleys grappled. The Venetians leaped
on board of the pirates, with a fury that was little short of mad-
ness. Their wrath was terrible. Under the guidance of the fierce
Giovanni, they smote with an unforgiving vengeance. It was
in vain that the Istriotes fought as they had been long accus-
tomed. It needed something more than customary valor to meet
the fury of their assailants. All of them perished. Mercy now
was neither asked nor given. Nor, as it seemed, did the pirates
care to live, when they beheld the fall of their fearful leader.
He had crossed weapons with Giovanni Gradenigo, in whom he
found his fate. Twice, thrice, the sword of the latter drove
through the breast of the pirate. Little did his conqueror conjec-
ture the import of the few words which the dying chief gasped
forth at his feet, his glazed eyes striving to pierce the deck, as
if seeking some one within.
I have, indeed, had thee in my arms, but�"
There was no more�death finished the sentence ! The vie-
tory was complete, but Giovanni was wounded. Pietro Barbaro
was a fearful enemy. He was conquered, it is true, but he
had made his mark upon his conqueror. He had bitten deep
before he fell.
The victors returned. with their spoil. They brought back the