Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (Italian).djvu/29

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half strange and half fearful. I felt as if I were in a trance."

"But where were they going to?" his parents and sisters interposed with growing impatience.

"Wait a bit!" he returned. "I fought my way into the thick of it, with the crowds on both sides of the street piling in on top of me. Lord, what a crush! They spread out like a torrent, pouring into every cranny, sweeping people on ahead of them, into shop-doors, into the courtyards of houses, wherever there was a yard of vacant space. As we went on, other streams of people kept surging into the Corso from all the side streets, which were just as closely packed; on we swept from the Capitol; and they said that there were thousands more in the Forum. Hordes kept pouring in from the Piazza di Spagna, from the Via del Babbuino, from the Piazza del Popolo. Every one had something in his hand: a wreath of flowers, a branch of olive or laurel, a banner, a rag tied to a stick. Some carried holy images uplifted above their heads; inscriptions, emblems, pictures of the Pope, of the King, of the Princes, of Garibaldi; never under the sun was there such a medley and confusion of people and things! And all the while only that low murmur, and the great multitude moving on with a calmness, a dignity that seemed miraculous. I felt as though I were dreaming!"

They gathered close round him without a word.