Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 164

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 164 SOUTHWARD HO
It were something tq wake him from this apathy," mused
the surgeon. Be it as thou wilt."
Thus, grievously wounded, was the noble Giovanni borne into
the midst of the assembly, for each member of which lie had
suffered and done so much. The soft music which played
around, awakened him. His eyes unclosed to discover the
lovely Francesca, tearful, but hopeful, bending fondly over him.
She declared herself his. The voice of the doge confirmed the
assurance ; and the eyes of the dying man brightened into the
life of a new and delightful consciousness. Eagerly he spoke;
his voice was but a whisper.
Make it so, I pray thee, that I may live !"
The priest drew nigh with the sacred unction. The mar-
riage service was performed, and the hands of the two were
clasped in one.
Said I not ?" demanded an aged woman, who approached
the moment after the ceremonial, and whose face was beheld by
none but him whom she addressed. " She is thine !"
The youth smiled, but made no answer. His hand drew that
of Francesca closer. She stooped to his kiss, and whispered
him, but he heard her not. With the consciousness of the
sweet treasure that be had won after such sad denial, the sense
grew conscious no longer´┐Żthe lips of the youth were sealed
for ever. The young Giovanni, the bravest of the Venetian
youth, lay lifeless in the embrace of the scarcely more living
Francesca. It was a sad day, after all, in Venice, since its tri-
umph was followed by so great a loss ; but the damsels of the
ocean city still declare that the lovers were much more blest in
this fortune, than had they survived for the embrace of others
less beloved.
" Have I not read something like this story in a touching and
romantic episode given in the ' Italy' of Rogers ?" asked Salina
Burroughs.
Yes ! Rogers got it from the history. It is one of those
incidents which enrich and enliven for romance the early prog-
ress of most states and nations that ever arrived at character
and civilization. Of course, like the famous legends of infant
Rome, it undergoes the artist touch of successive historians all