Vendetta: a story of one forgotten eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 420 pages of information about Vendetta.

He hesitated and then abruptly left me, to return in the space of two or three minutes with a thick rug of sheepskin.  He insisted so earnestly on my accepting this covering as a protection from the night air, that, to please him, I yielded to his entreaties and lay down, wrapped in its warm folds.  The good-natured fellow then wished me a “Buon riposo, signor!” and descended to his own resting-place, humming a gay tune as he went.  From my recumbent posture on the deck I stared upward at the myraid stars that twinkled softly in the warm violet skies—­stared long and fixedly till it seemed to me that our ship had also become a star, and was sailing through space with its gliftering companions.  What inhabitants peopled those fair planets, I wondered?  Mere men and women who lived and loved and lied to one another as bravely as we do? or superior beings to whom the least falsehood is unknown?  Was there one world among them where no women were born?  Vague fancies—­odd theories—­flitted through my brain, I lived over again the agony of my imprisonment in the vaults—­again I forced myself to contemplate the scene I had witnessed between my wife and her lover—­again I meditated on every small detail requisite to the fulfillment of the terrible vengeance I had designed.  I have often wondered how, in countries where divorce is allowed, a wronged husband can satisfy himself with so meager a compensation for his injuries as the mere getting rid of the woman who has deceived him.  It is no punishment to her—­it is what she wishes.  There is not even any very special disgrace in it according to the present standard of social observances.  Were public whipping the recognized penalty for the crime of a married woman’s infidelity, there would be fewer of the like scandals—­the divorce might follow the scourging.  A daintily brought-up feminine creature would think twice, nay, fifty times, before she would run the risk of allowing her delicate body to be lashed by whips wielded by the merciless hands of a couple of her own sex—­such a prospect of degradation, pain, shame, and outraged vanity would be more effectual to kill the brute in her than all the imposing ceremonials of courts of law and special juries.  Think of it, kings, lords, and commons!  Whipping at the cart’s tail was once a legal punishment—­if you would stop the growing immorality and reckless vice of women you had best revive it again—­only apply it to rich as well as to poor, for it is most probable that the gay duchesses and countesses of your lands will need its sharp services more frequently than the work-worn wives of your laboring men.  Luxury, idleness, and love of dress are hot-beds for sin—­look for it, therefore, not so much in the hovels of the starving and naked as in the rose-tinted, musk-scented boudoirs of the aristocracy—­look for it, as your brave physicians would search out the seeds of a pestilence that threatens to depopulate a great city, and trample it out if you can and will—­

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Project Gutenberg
Vendetta: a story of one forgotten from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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