“I suppose there is no help for it,” Gervaise said. “Is there anything that we ought to do?”
“I should decorate the galley with all the flags on board: should set every one to work to make great flags with the cross of the Order to hoist to the masthead of the prizes, instead of the little things that are now flying; and under them we will hoist the flags of the corsairs, among which are those of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers. I do not know that there is aught else we can do.”
At last the fleet, headed by the galley, to which all the knights had returned, rowed towards the port. A gun flashed out from the fort at its entrance, and at once those from all the other batteries responded; bells pealed out again, and a confused roar of cheering broke from the crowds occupying every spot from which a view of the harbour could be obtained. The ships in the port were all decked with flags, and the front windows and balconies of every house were hung with tapestries and bright curtains. As soon as the galley entered the port, a state barge, flying the flag of the Republic, advanced to meet her from the wharf. As she approached, Ralph gave orders for the oars to be laid in, and the barge was soon alongside. The knights were already ranged along the poop, and, accompanied by Ralph and Caretto, Gervaise moved to the gangway to receive the visitors. At their head was Battista Fragoso, the doge, in his robe of state, and following him were a body of the highest nobles of Genoa, all brilliant in gala costume.