"Yes, I have heard them say that," Vere said.
Suddenly her face had become serious. The romance in the belief of the seamen had got hold of her, had touched her. The compliment to herself she ignored. Indeed, she had already forgotten it.
"Only the other night--" she began.
"You know," she said, changing to something else, "that when the fishermen pass under San Francesco's pedestal they bend down, and lift a little water from the sea, and sprinkle it into the boat, and make the sign of the cross. They call it 'acqua benedetta.' I love to see them do that."
Another big wave struck the launch and made it shiver. The Marchesino crossed himself, but quite mechanically. He was intent on Vere.
"I wonder," the girl said, "whether to-night San Francesco will not be beaten by the waves, whether his light will be burning when we reach the island."
She paused, then she added, in a lower voice:
"I do hope it will--don't you, Madre?"