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The Finger of Fate
A Romance

written by "Reid, Mayne, 1818-1883"
... of your future.” “Mine!” “Yes, yours. Oh, it is fearful!” “In what way fearful?” asked the young Englishman. “Surely, I shall soon be set free? Why need I care for a few days, or even weeks, of imprisonment?” “Caro signore, you deceive yourself! It is not imprisonment, though you may find that hard enough; and harder still when he comes back again—brute that he is!” Strange language for a wife to use towards her husband, thought Henry Harding. “Yes, harder,” continued she, “if the letter you have written receive no response—I mean if it bring no ransom. Tell me, signore, what did you say in that letter? Tell me all.” “I thought you were acquainted with its contents. It was dictated in your hearing, and penned in your presence.” “I know, I know; but was that all? I saw that you were unwilling to sign it. You had a reason?” “I had.” “Some difference with your family? You are not friends with your father—am I right?” “Something of that,” answered the young Englishman, knowing no reason why he should conceal a quarrel—so far away from those whom it might concern. “I thought so,” said the woman. “And this,” she continued, changing her tone to one of greater earnestness, “this quarrel may prevent your father from sending the riscatta.” “Possibly it may.” “Possibly it may! You treat the matter lightly; you have done so all along. I have noticed it. One cannot help admiring your courage; I cannot. Perhaps that is why I am here.” Again there was something like a sigh, which added to the surprise of the captive, something of embarrassment. “You know not,” continued Popetta, “the fate that is before you if the riscatta should not come.” “What fate, signora?” “As I have said, a fearful on...

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