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HOME > Classical Novels > The Miracles of Antichrist > VII AFTER THE MIRACLE
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VII AFTER THE MIRACLE
The blind singers had a meeting in the church of Lucia. Highest up in the choir behind the altar sat thirty old, blind, men on the carved chairs of the Jesuit fathers. They were poor, most of them; most of them had a beggar’s wallet and a crutch beside them.

They were all very earnest and solemn; they knew what it meant to be members of that holy band of singers, of that glorious old Academy.

Now and then below in the church a subdued noise was audible. The blind men’s guides were sitting there, children, dogs, and old women, waiting. Sometimes the children began to romp with one another and with the dogs, but it was instantly suppressed and silenced.

Those of the blind who were trovatori stood up one after another and spoke new verses.

“You people who live on holy Etna,” one of them recited, “men who live on the mountain of wonders, rise up, give your mistress a new glory! She longs for two ribbons to heighten her beauty, two long, narrow bands of steel to fasten her mantle. Give them to your mistress, and she will reward you with riches; she will give gold for steel. Countless are the treasures that she in her might will give them who assist her.”

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“A gentle worker of miracles has come among us,” said another. “He stands poor and unnoticed in the bare old church, and his crown is of tin, and his diamonds of glass. ‘Make no sacrifices to me, O ye poor,’ he says; ‘build me no temple, all ye who suffer. I will work for your happiness. If prosperity shines from your houses, I shall shine with precious stones; if want flees from the land, my feet will be clothed in golden shoes embroidered with pearls.’”

As each new verse was recited, it was accepted or rejected. The blind men judged with great severity.

The next day they wandered out over Etna, and sang the railway into the people’s hearts.

After the miracle of Fra Felice’s legacy, people began to give contributions to the railway. Donna Micaela soon had collected about a hundred lire. Then she and Donna Elisa made the journey to Messina to look at the steam-tram that runs between Messina and Pharo. They had no greater ambition; they would be satisfied with............
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