(Geraldine was walking on the deck while waiting nervously for Fredrick. Suddenly, he appeared while speaking quickly and gesturing.)

”I’ve waited for you all day long to come up with some fuel.”
”I went to buy charcoal, water, and outdoor lamp oil.
At a crossroad, I’ve seen a stage driver who has been so cruel
To whip his horses to run faster; the oil spilled on the soil.

He drove a stagecoach; my horse was frightened by the sound
And my trolley overturned. I had to come back to buy
Again three barrels of oil.” ”That oil spilled on the ground, ”
Said Geraldine, ”the money has gone, and this is not a lie!

I don’t ask you to tell me where you’ve really spent the money.
It makes no sense to ask you for the truth. Is she beautiful?
Did you have a good time? To wash laundry in public, honey,
You may bring her here. This way, you can be dutiful.”

”I love you, ” screamed Frederick, ” so, you think you’re funny.”
”Well, I may be funny although I’m never stupid.”
He held her, ”I sold some jewels. Take the money.
I could lie to you, but you’re the one. I’m down with Cupid.”
”Do you remember that man having a ring with a skull? ”
”You’ve met him in Constantinople, ” ”I’ve met him here, too.
He was in that stagecoach liking this way his horses to cull.
He laughed saying, ”I’m a captain in search for my crew.” ”

”Frederick, I want to return home at Khadjibey.
Do you remember when we’ve met in the port and you
Gave me an emerald cut on a gold ring shining at the ray? ”
”I’ve asked you to marry me, ” ”I love you; you know it’s true.”

”Then why do you want to turn back home? ” ”You know I’m scared.”
” This is our chance. If we turn back in that unknown trading port
For slave markets, I will not survive; I’m not prepared
To ask the sanjak bey some protection and a lot of support.

I am an Italian and I’ve seen so many things.
I saw the terrible fate of those becoming galley-slaves,
The women enslaved being sexually abused, in sufferings,
But someone living in Khadjibey is a plow and a scythe. ”

” Is this artwork painted by Paolo de Matteis or not? ”
Asked Francesca while coming to them. ”What are you doing here? ”
”We really like to admire that splendid island a lot.”
”Shall we offer them a string instruments’ concert, Chiara dear? ”

Khadjibey was controlled by the Ottoman Empire
As a part of Yedisan in the Silistra Province.
To build a fortress named New World was the Turks’ desire.
Carla said, ” This meeting has been chosen by The Providence.”

Carla concluded that Geraldine was an American,
But Geraldine did not understand the confusion.
She learned Spanish from the Jews, who were Spain citizens
Coming to the Empire to avoid the conversion.

”My father lost a lot because of the plague and the disaster, ”
Said Miguel, ”a half of my wealth has been gone in the warfare.
We thought to immigrate to a new world which was moving faster
Than this one in which we were living as those lost in the nightmare.”

Cruz asked him, ”Why didn’t you try your chance for a new life? ”
”I wasn’t strong enough, and my son died in this war made
For the Spanish succession after the King Charles’ death; my wife
Still grieves for her unique child; our life cannot be repaid.”
” In Gibraltar, the property that had been taken
By force became a British one; we moved to Barcelona.
The power balance mirrored those widows standing forsaken.
Let’s cheer this Grand Alliance! It’s as the sun’s light corona.”

” The Anglo and the Dutch kings used the navy to open
The Strait of Gibraltar needing the naval power
In the Mediterranean zone.” ” Guess what was broken? ”
Asked Bella, ”I think it’s about our transatlantic economy shower.”

”By the Treaty of Constantinople, our Russian
Forces had been withdrawn and Zaporozhia lost all
The army protection, ” said Ivan, ”then, our discussion
Was to sell our goods and to leave a life that apart could fall.”
”In the Holy League, Russia joined Austria and Venice
To drive the Turks and to sign a treaty with Poland, ”said Cruz.
”Those horses have never met the steppe, ” said Ivan, ” became a menace,
”Leopold The First was helped by the Turks that Partition could refuse.”
(Geraldine and Erica were talking on the deck.)
”His father had been a soldier that came home after many
Years of serving the czar; he found that his wife had died and
Ivan had lived with an aunt that spent money but didn’t have any.”
For a few minutes, Geraldine was speechless and stunned.

”Erica, why did his mother die? ” ”She was the wife of a serf.
She was a subjugated slave laboring for a lord.”
”Was she beaten? ” asked Geraldine while dampening her scarf.
”She had been raped before she took her own life with his sword.”

”Who’s sword? ” ”The lord’s sword! He was drunk when he beat and raped her.”
”It was a matter whether she overcame the pressure
Of the peasant village where this mother lived not to err.
She died, but I’m sure she loved Ivan without measure.”

His father took Ivan home and worked a part of that lord’s land
As a serf, barely leaving time to cultivate
The land allotted to him while taking care of his child.
Ivan didn’t go to army but asked me to immigrate.”

(Erica, Ivan’s wife, ended the conversation while starting to cry.)

(To be continued…)

Poem by Marieta Maglas

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