Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/186

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about midnight. Mat wailed for a submerged gallery in which she had hoped to ice herself on the morrow, and Livy indulged the sinful hope that the Pope would get his pontifical petticoats very wet, be a little drowned, and terribly scared by the flood, because he spoilt the Christmas festivities, and shut up all the cardinals' red coaches.

Next day the water began to abate, and people made up their minds that the end of the world was not yet. Gentlemen paid visits on the backs of stout soldiers, ladies went shopping in boats, and family dinners were handed in at two-story windows without causing any remark, so quickly do people adapt themselves to the inevitable.

Hardly had the watery excitement subsided when a new event set the city in an uproar.

The king was not expected till the tenth of January; but the kind soul could not wait, and, as soon as the road was passable, he came with 300,000 francs in his hands to see what he could do for his poor Romans. He arrived at 4 a.m., and though unexpected the news flew through the city, and a crowd turned out with torches to escort him to the Quirinal.