"But how is it that we have n't heard anything about it?"
"How can I tell? All I know is that bringing you the first news of it is the most glorious thing that's ever happened to me. I reached Florence this morning—they knew all about it there, so I rushed straight out here. I fancied that perhaps you might n't have heard yet—I . . . I'm all out of breath . . ."
"But tell us, tell us quickly!" the mother and daughters cried, drawing their chairs around him. The father remained at a distance.
"You shall hear, mother—such things!" the boy began. "Here, come closer to me. Well, you know what happened on the morning of the twenty-first? The rest of the regiments entered; there were the same crowds, the same shouting and music as on the day before. But suddenly, about midday, the noise stopped as if by common consent, first in the Corso, then in the other principal streets, and so, little by little, all over the city. The troops of people began to break up into groups, talking to each other in low voices; then they scattered in all directions, taking leave of each other in a way that made one think they meant to meet again. It seemed as though the signal had been given to prepare for something tremendous. Men said a hasty word to each other in passing and then hurried on, each going his own way. The whole Corso was in move-