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HOME > Classical Novels > The Miracles of Antichrist > V THE LADY WITH THE IRON RING
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Donna Micaela often thought of a poor little dressmaker whom she had seen in her youth in Catania. She dwelt in the house next to the Palazzo Palmeri, sitting always in the gateway with her work, so that Donna Micaela had seen her a thousand times. She always sat and sang, and she had certainly only known a single canzone. Always, always she sang the same song.

“I have cut a curl from my black hair,” she had sung. “I have unfastened my black, shining braids, and cut a curl from my hair. I have done it to gladden my friend, who is in trouble. Alas, my beloved is sitting in prison; my beloved will never again twine my hair about his fingers. I have sent him a lock of my hair to remind him of the silken chains that never more will bind him.”

Donna Micaela remembered the song well. It seemed as if it had sounded through all her childhood to warn her of the suffering that awaited her.

Donna Micaela often sat at that time on the stone steps of the church of San Pasquale. She saw wonderful events take place far off on that Etna so rich in legends.


Over the black lava glided a railway train on newly laid shining rails. It was a festival train; flags waved along the road; there were wreaths on the carriages; the seats were covered with purple cushions. At the stations the people stood and shouted: “Long live the king! long live the queen! long live the new railway!”

She heard............
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