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A Strange Bride


‘We were advancing in profound silence towards the Church Della Salute, but already, in the streets, Felippo whispered to me several times that I should keep away that strange woman, as he feared she had some design against his bride.

‘What strange woman?” said I.

‘“Not so loud; for God’s sake, be cautious. You see, do you not, how she endeavours to force herself between me and Camilla?”

‘“Fancy, my good friend. There is no one here but our own party.”

‘“God grant that my eyes have deceived me. Only don’t let her go in with us into the church.”

‘“Certainly not,” said I, and to the astonishment of the bride’s parents I made gestures as if ordering some one away. In the church we found Felippo’s father, on whom his son looked as if he were taking leave of him for ever. Camilla sobbed aloud, and when the bridegroom called out, “So, then, this strange woman has come in with us after all,” it was thought doubtful whether, under such circumstances, the marriage could be performed. Camilla, however, said in her changeless affection—

‘“Nay, since he is in this unhappy state, he has the more need of my care and constant presence.”

‘Now they drew near the altar, when a gust of wind suddenly blew out the candles. The priest was angry, and blamed the sacristan for not having closed the windows.

‘“Windows!” said Felippo. “Do you not see who stands there and extinguishes the candles; and do you not see,” continued he, breaking away from his bride, “do you not see who it is that is forcing me away from Camilla?”

‘At these words the bride sank fainting in her