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By Scott O'Dell

Rich within the surroundings of thirteenth-century Italy, the line to Damietta deals via Ricca di Montanaro’s eyes a brand new standpoint at the guy who grew to become the recognized Saint Francis of Assisi, the guileless, joyous guy who praised the oneness of nature and sought to convey the realm into concord. “Lord, make me an tool of Thy peace,” he stated. “Where there's hatred, enable me sow love, the place there's harm, pardon; the place there's doubt, religion; the place there's darkness, gentle; the place there's unhappiness, joy.”

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A bushy handheld the sunshine that exposed the masks of an attractive woman with blond curls and a place of pink paint on both cheek. "Do you brain if I proportion this haven with you? " stated a manly voice. "My toes have given out. For the instant at the least. " Pressed so shut that i'll believe the candle's warmth, i could not rather well refuse him. "It will be larger in the event that they held the festa open air Venice within the campagna," I acknowledged, "where there is grass rather than stones. " "Yes, it is the stones yet mainly the holes among the stones that do you in. despite the fact that, if this festa were held within the meadows, as you recommend, then we might by no means have met. " "Have we met? " "Like items of driftwood at the shore. " My spouse, making an attempt a bow, was once restricted by way of the partitions on 3 aspects folks. "My identify, regardless of the masks, is Filippo. " The voice used to be aristocratic. "Filippo di Viterbo. And yours? I observe that your arms are the slim arms of a girl. Is it Celesta or Margherita—that's my sister's name—or Asparia or Angelita? Kindly inform me. " "Ricca. " "Ricca what? " "Just Ricca. " "A beautiful name," he acknowledged, "sufficient for the instant. " The candle was once sizzling on my cardboard masks. "Sufficient," he stated in his drawling, aristocratic voice, "for the evening is lengthy. " His arm started to press opposed to my breast. "How lucky that we have got came upon every one other," he drawled. "Now, while i'm going away crusading i'm going to have an individual to grace my desires. " "When do you cross? " I requested, to shop for time whereas I waited for an opportunity to jump into the move passing down the slim byway. "Soon. the next day. subsequent month. Who can say? yet I, Filippo di Viterbo, will pass at any time when it truly is that the fleet sails. " He requested me to carry the candle, which I did, and turning sideways he drew forth from his cloak a flask of wine that glinted ruby-red within the candlelight. He wiped the mouth of the flask with a handkerchief. "Wine from our vineyards at the river Po," he acknowledged, preserving the flask earlier than me. "I've already had an excessive amount of to drink. My abdominal is set to insurgent. " "This will settle your abdominal. it is a good wine, now not candy, a trifle dry. you are going to love it. most women do. " I placed the flask to my lips yet did not drink. I thanked him and handed the wine again, and he drank what was once left. He edged himself among me and the hole that ended in the road. His breath got here sizzling during the slits in his masks. If I screamed, nobody might listen my voice. He dropped the empty flask at the stones at my toes. It made no sound that i may listen within the maelstrom of sounds that swept the road. I moved adequate to get one hand loose, and elevating it, I ripped the masks from his face. The circulation touched the paper cone that used to be protecting the candle and set it on fireplace. within the spurt of sunshine, I observed ahead of me an outdated guy with a stained white beard and a painted mouth. The wretched, leering face gave me the power to push his physique opposed to the wall, a long way adequate to loose myself and run. After two times around San Marco sq., I controlled to discover a manner out of the making a song mob and reached the monastery close to the hour of nighttime.

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