Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 163

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription LOVE TRIUMPHANT.
163
captured brides in triumph. That same evening preparations
were made to conclude the bridal ceremonies which the morning
had seen so fearfully arrested. With a single exception, the
original distribution of the brides" was persevered in. That
exception, as we may well suppose, was Francesca Ziani. It
was no longer possible for her unnatural parents to withstand
the popular sentiment. The doge himself, Pietro Candiano,
was particularly active in persuading the reluctant mother to
submit to what was so evidently the will of destiny. But for
the discreditable baseness and cowardice of Ulric Barberigo, it is
probable she never would have yielded. But his imbecility and
unmanly terror in the moment of danger, had been too conspic-
uous. Even his enormous wealth could not save him from the
shame that followed ; and, however unwillingly, the parents of
Francesca consented that she should become the bride of Gio-
vanni, as the only proper reward for the gallantry which had
saved her, and so many more, from shame.
But where was Giovanni ? His friends have been despatched
for him ; why comes lie not ? The maid, now happy beyond
her hope, awaits him at the altar. And still he comes not. Let
is go back to the scene of action in the moment of his victory over
the pirate-chief. Barbaro lies before him in the agonies of death.
Ilis sword it is which has sent the much-dreaded outlaw to his
last account. But he himself is wounded wounded severely,
but not mortally, by the man whom lie has slain. At this mo-
Inent. he received a blow from the axe of one of the brothers of
Barbaro. He had strength left barely to behold and to shout
his victory, when he sank fainting upon the deck of the pirate
vessel. His further care devolved upon his friend, Nicolo, who
had followed his footsteps closely through all the paths of dan-
ger. In a state of stupor he lies upon the couch of Nicolo, when
the aged prophetess, the " Spanish Gipsy," appeared beside his
bed.
" He is called," she said. The doge demands his presence.
They will bestow upon him his bride, Francesca Ziani. You
must bear him thither."
The surgeon shook his head.
"It may arouse him," said Nicolo. We can bear him thither
on a litter, so that he shall feel no pain."