The forenoon bells were sounding from the high cathedral. Over the wide square in front of it were men and women walking to and fro, carriages rolling along, and priests proceeding to their various churches. Ferdinand was standing on the broad stair, with his eyes over the multitude, looking at them as they came up to attend the service. The sunshine glittered on the white stones, all were seeking shelter from the heat. He alone had stood for a long time leaning on a pillar, amid the burning beams, without regarding them; for he was lost in the remembrances which mounted up within his mind. He was calling back his bygone life; and inspiring his soul with the feeling which had penetrated all his being, and swallowed up every other wish in itself. At the same hour, in the past year, had he been standing here, looking at the women and the maidens coming to mass; with indifferent heart, and smiling face, he had viewed the variegated procession; many a kind look had roguishly met his, and many a virgin cheek had blushed; his busy eye had observed the pretty feet, how they mounted the steps, and how the wavering robe fell more or less aside, to let the dainty little ankles come to sight. Then a youthful form had crossed the square: clad in black; slender, and of noble mien, her eyes modestly cast down before her, carelessly she hovered up the steps with lovely grace; the silken robe lay round that fairest of forms, and rocked itself as in music about the moving limbs; she was mounting the highest step, when by chance she raised her head, and struck his eye with a ray of the purest azure. He was pierced as if by lightning.