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who, it is believed, were cast into the dreadful deep.
When the daylight appeared there was no glimpse of any land, but the ship was tossing in the centre of a mere wilderness of sea, and under the pitch-black and troubled clouds, which were still driving by a fierce wind towards the south. The sails were torn into shreds, and the mariners, ignorant of where they were, let the ship drift at the mercy of the unmerciful elements, which slacked not their fury because the prey no longer resisted, but assaulted the helpless bark with unmitigated rage.
It could be no great wrong of Tebaldo and Bianca, if, at such a time, they exchanged one embrace together in everlasting farewell. They then composed themselves to die calmly as be- • came them, in each other's company; not with any vain shrieks or struggles; but heroically, as they had lived and loved. Thus sitting together in a martyr-like mood, and listening to the
awful rushes of the waters across the deck, they heard a sudden noise overhead, whicli caused Tebaldo to look forth, and, lo! there were the drunken mariners, putting off from the ship's side in the long-boat, being beguiled to their fate by a glimpse of land, which none but their experienced eyes could yet discover. However, they had not struggled far with their oars, when three monstrous curling billows, a great deal loftier than any of the rest, turned the boat over and over, washing out all the poor gasping souls that were therein, whom the ensuing waves swallowed up one by one, without letting even their dying cries be heard through the bewildering foam.
After this sacrifice, as though it had appeased the angry Deity of the ocean, the storm sensibly subsided; and in an hour or two, the skies clearing up, Tebaldo perceived that they were off a small solitary island'—the ship soon after striking upon a coral reef, about two hundred fathoms from the shore. The skies still frowning with a rearward storm, Tebaldo lost no time in framing a rude raft, with spars and empty barrels; upon which placing Bianca, with such stores and implements as he could collect, he paddled towards the land, where they landed safely upon a little sandy beach.
Their first act was to return thanks to God for their miraculous preservation: after which they partook of a repast, that after their fatigues was very needful; and then ascended a gentle sloping hill which gave them a prospect of the island. It was a small, verdant place, without any human inhabitants,—but there were millions of marine birds upon the rocks, as tame as domestic fowls, and a prodigious number of rabbits; the interior country, besides, seemed well wooded with various trees: and the ground furnished divers kinds of herbs, and some very gigantic vegetables, together with many European flowers, the transportation of which to such desolate and insular places is a mystery to this day.
The weather again turning boisterous, they took shelter in a rocky cavern, which the kind hand of Nature had scooped out so commodiously, that it seemed to have been provided with a foresight of their wants. Thus, with their stores from the ship, they were insured against any great present hardships—but one. Many unlucky lovers, I wot, have sighed for such an island, to take refuge in from the sternhearted world; yet here were two such fond persons in such an asylum, betwixt whom fate had set up an eternal bar! Such thoughts as this could not but present themselves very sorrowfully to the minds of Tebaldo and Bianca; nevertheless, he served her with the most tender and devoted homage, and as love taught him, contributed, by a thousand apt contrivances, to her comfort and ease.
In this manner suppose them to spend five or six days—the cave being their shelter, and Tebaldo, by fishing, or fowling, or ensnaring the conies, providing a change of food; so that, excepting the original hardship of their fortune, the lovers had little cause to complain.. Their solitary condition, however, and the melancholy of Bianca, led to many little acts of fondness from Tebaldo, which were almost as painful to exchange as to withhold. It was no wonder, then, if sometimes in the anguish of his heart, some expressions of impatience burst from his lips, to which she answered with her tears.
At last, one day when they were sitting on a gusty rock, which overlooked the sea, they both turned at once towards each other, with adverse faces and so despairing a look, that they cast themselves by common consent into each other's arms. In the next moment, however, forcing themselves asunder, Tebaldo began as follows, whilst Bianca covered her face with her hands:—
"I can bear this cruel life no longer! better were we far apart, as when you were living in Sicily, and I roaming for unattainable peace all over the world. The restraint of distance was