Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (Italian).djvu/28

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20
A GREAT DAY.

like the noise of a great crowd. The Corso was full of people, all standing still and facing toward the Capitol, as though they expected something to come from that direction. From the Piazza del Popolo to the Piazza di Venezia they were jammed so tight that nobody could budge. I heard whispers flying about: 'Now they're coming!'—'They're coming from over there!'—'Who's coming?'—'The main column—here's the main column!'—'Here it is!'—'No, it is n't!'—'Yes, it is!' All at once there was a stir in the crowd, and a big shout, 'Here they are!' and down the middle of the street a wide passageway seemed to open of itself, as though to make room for a procession. Every head was uncovered. I fought my way through from the outer edge of the crowd, to get a look at what was coming. I can feel the shiver down my back now! First, a lot of generals in full uniform, and gentlemen in civilian's dress, with the tricolored scarf; in the midst of them, girls, women, and ragged, tattered men; workmen, peasants, women with babies, soldiers of all arms; smartly dressed ladies, students, whole families clutching hold of each other's hands, for fear of getting lost in the crowd; all jammed together, trampled upon, so that they could barely move; and with it all not a sound but a buzzing, monotonous murmur; silence on both sides of the street; silence in the windows. It was awfully solemn;