Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (Italian).djvu/34

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above us like the singing of a choir of angels Thousands of children were singing the hymn to Pius IX.—the hymn of forty-seven."

"Oh, God—oh, God!" cried the mother and daughters, with clasped hands.

"That song re-echoed in every heart; it touched something deep down and tender in every one of us. A thrill ran through the crowd; there was a wild waving of arms and hands, as though to take the place of speech; but the only sound was a confused murmur.

"'Holy Father,' that murmur seemed to say, 'look at them, listen to them! They are our children, they are your little ones, who are looking for you, who are praying to you, who implore your blessing. Yield to their entreaty; give them your blessing; grant that our religion and our country may dwell together as one faith in our hearts. One word from you, Holy Father, one sign from you, one glance even, promising pardon and peace, and every man of us shall be with you and for you, now and for ever! Look—these our children and your little ones!'

"Thousands of banners fluttered in the air, the song ceased, and a deep silence followed."

"Well?" they cried breathlessly.

"Still shut up," the lad answered. "Then the women began to sing. There was a deep thrill in the immense voice that rose; a something that throbs only in the breast of mothers; it