Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/182

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SHAWL-STRAPS.

gate rolled a muddy stream, bearing hay-stacks, brushwood, and drowned animals along the Corso. People stood on their balconies wondering what they should do, many breakfastless; for how could the trattoria boys safely waft their coffee-pots across such canals of water. Carriages splashed about in shallower parts with agitated loads, hurrying to drier quarters; many were coming down ladders into boats, and crowds stood waiting their turn with bundles of valuables in their hands.

The soldiers were out in full force, working gallantly to save life and property; making rafts, carrying people on their backs, and going through the inundated streets with boat-loads of food for the hungry, shut up in their ill-provided houses. Usually at such times the priests did this work; but now they stood idly looking on, and saying it was a judgment on the people for their treatment of the Pope. The people were troubled because the priests refused to pray for them: but otherwise they snapped their fingers at the sullen old gentlemen in the Vatican; and the brisk, brave troops worked for the city quite as well (the heretics thought better) than the snuffy priests.