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A Strange Bride


‘It is perhaps not every one who has eyes to see what passes about him,’ said I. ‘The scene of the adventure I propose to describe was Venice.’

‘Then,’ interposed the Duke, ‘I probably shall know something of the matter?’

‘Perhaps; but the circumstances were for obvious reasons kept as private as possible. Now for my story:—

‘The son of a rich nobleman, whom I shall call Felippo, during his residence at Leghorn, which town he visited on account of some inheritance that devolved on him, paid his addresses to a beautiful girl, obtained her parents’ consent to their marriage, and then being under the necessity of revisiting Venice, he promised he would in a very short time come again to Leghorn in order to marry his beloved Clara. Their attachment was mutual, and their parting was even frightfully solemn. After they had exhausted the power of words in reciprocal protestations and vows, Felippo invoked the avenging powers to bring destruction on his own head if he should be unfaithful, and wished that his intended bride should not even find rest in her grave if he deserted her, but follow him still to claim his love. When these words were uttered, the lovers and Clara’s parents sat at table, and to such an extent did the young couple carry their enthusiasm that they both wounded themselves in the left arm and mingled their blood in a glass of white champagne.

‘“Inseparable as these red drops have now become shall our souls and our fates be for ever,” cried Felippo. He drank half the wine, and gave the rest to Clara, who pledged him without hesitation.’

When I had arrived at this part of my story the Duke became restless, and darted at me some most