"We have heard," one of the girls at length faltered, after exchanging glances with her father, "that Rome was taken—"
"What! Is that all?"
"That is all."
"But what a victory! What a victory!" cried the son, with a shout that set them trembling. "So I am the one to tell you of it!"
They sprang up and surrounded him.
"But how is it possible?" he went on, with excited gestures—"how is it possible that you have n't heard anything? Have there been no rumors about the neighborhood? Have n't the peasants held a meeting? What is the municipality about? Why, it's inconceivable! Just listen—here, come close to me, so—I'll tell you the whole story; my heart's going at such a rate that I can hardly speak . . ."
"But what has happened?"
"Wait! You sha'n't know yet. You must hear the whole story first, from beginning to end. I want to tell you the thing bit by bit, just as I saw it."
"But what is it?—the Roman festival?"
"The King's arrival?"
"No, no, no! Something much more tremendous!"
"But tell us, tell us!"
"Sit down, lad!"