The vast view, which was the background to the child's little figure, was losing its robe of green and of blue, green of the land, blue of the sea, was putting on velvety darkness and gold. The serpentine river was a long band of gold flung out, as if by a careless enchanter, towards the golden sea in which Zante was dreaming.
There was to be another passenger on board the ship of the line on which I had engaged my passage, namely, a noble Venetian, who was going to Zante in the quality of counsellor, with a numerous and brilliant retinue.
"She must be a fast craft to come up with him. They say nothing can catch him." "What, then, you learnt who your friend was?" said the stranger. "Oh, yes! we heard a good deal about him in Zante. He is the very terror of all honest, quiet-going traders in those parts." "And who is this formidable, light-heeled gentleman, may I ask?" said the stranger.
We passed through the Graetani village, whose tenants bear a bad name, and saw none of the pretty faces for which Zante is famed. The sex was dressed in dark jackets and petticoats a l'italienne; and the elders were apparently employed in gathering 'bitter herbs, dandelion and the wild endive. Verily this is a frugal race.
Almost mechanically, and slowly, he straightened his arm, thus letting hers slip. She did not seem to notice his action. She gazed out towards Zante over a world that now looked very mystical. In the daylight it had been a green pastoral. Now there was over it, and even surely in it, a dim whiteness, a something pure and hushed, like the sound, remote and curiously final, of a quiet sleeper.
She bowed to her fate and acknowledged the Turkish supremacy by sea as well as by land. She even paid the Sultan tribute for the island of Cyprus. When Suleymān the Magnificent succeeded Selīm and took Belgrade , Venice hastily increased her payment and did homage for Zante as well. So meek had now become the Bride of the Sea.
Thus armed with his opinion it was not long before an opportunity offered, and one, take it all in all, which was to me most interesting. A vessel of the Greek fleet had captured an Ionian vessel coming from Patras to Zante with a cargo "as the Petition stated" worth 400 Dollars, and having plundered her and ill used the crew, permitted the vessel herself to depart.
I stop to look at a sign containing the name of Madam Zante. And I go in to hear her sing. I draw near her to get a seat. It is Zoe! Zoe! I send up my name by an usher. The word comes back quickly to join her behind the scenes. There she is waiting for me. And we fall into each other's arms and sob. She is all I have left in the world except little Reverdy. I hold her from me.
With a big and noble gesture she indicated the sleeping world far below them, breathless under the moon; the imperceptible valleys merged in the great plain through which the river, silver once more, moved unsleeping between its low-lying banks to the sea; the ranges of mountains which held themselves apart in the night, a great company, reserved and almost austere, yet trodden with confidence by the feet of those fairies who haunt the ancient lands; the sea which drew down the moon as a lover draws down his mistress; Zante riding the sea like a shadow in harbor.
It soon became apparent that he had caught his death. Almost immediately on his return, he was seized with shiverings and violent pain. The next day he rose as usual, and had his last ride in the olive woods. On the 11th a rheumatic fever set in. On the 14th, Bruno's skill being exhausted, it was proposed to call Dr. Thomas from Zante, but a hurricane prevented any ship being sent.