Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Twenty-four lovely maidens were in love with two gondoliers of Venice. In order to be fair, the two young gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri, had themselves blindfolded and then each caught a girl. The lucky ones were Gianetta and Tessa, and the two couples went off to be married.
A short time later the Duke of Plaza-Toro, a Grandee of Spain, arrived with his duchess and his daughter Casilda. They were accompanied by the duke’s attendant, Luiz. The duke had come to Venice penniless, to pay his respects to the Grand Inquisitor and to learn the whereabouts of Casilda’s husband. For much to that young lady’s surprise, her father told her now that she had been married when a baby to the son of the King of Barataria. The king had become a bigoted Wesleyan Methodist and the Grand Inquisitor, to punish the turncoat king, had spirited his baby son away to Venice. Now the king was dead, killed in an uprising of his people, and the son, Casilda’s husband, was entitled to the throne.
Casilda heard the news with mixed emotions. She would like to be queen but, unknown to the duke and duchess, she and the attendant Luiz were lovers. Luiz knew something of the story which had so surprised Casilda, for his mother, Inez, had been the baby prince’s nurse. But Luiz could not persuade Casilda to renounce the marriage; the prospect of being a queen was stronger than love. But when the Grand Inquisitor received the duke and his wife and daughter, he...
(The entire section is 936 words.)
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