“Look,” murmured Father Jervis—“it’s the white jennet.”
Beneath, the street was now as wholly ecclesiastical as it had been military just before, except that the Papal zouaves marched in single file on either side of the procession. But within there was just one packed army, going eight abreast, of seminarians and clerics. These were just passing as the priest looked again, and close on their heels came the Court and the Cardinals; the latter an indescribable glory of scarlet, riding four abreast in broad hats and ample cloaks. But he gave scarcely more than a glance at these; for, full in sight for at least half a minute, advancing straight towards him down the roaring street, moved a canopy held by figures he could not clearly make out, and beneath it, detached and perfectly visible, on a white horse, a white figure, its shoulders just draped in scarlet and its head shadowed by a great scarlet hat, came slowly towards him.
And so the day went by like a dream; and the man who still seemed to himself as one risen from the dead into a new and wholly bewildering world, watched and gathered impressions and assimilated them. Once or twice during the day he found himself at meals with Father Jervis; he asked questions now and then and scarcely heard the answers; he talked with ecclesiastics a little who came and went; but, for the most part almost unknown to himself, he worked interiorly, busy as a bee, building up, not so much facts as realizations, into the new and strange world-edifice that was gradually forming about him. He was present at the visit of the Pope to the tomb of the Apostle, and watched from a tribune, even then so concentrated on observation that he was hardly conscious of connected thought, as the vast doors rolled back and a vision as of such a celestial troop as was dreamed of by the old Italian painters came up out of the vivid sunlight into the cool darkness of the basilica, as the roofs gave back the roaring of the fervent thousands and the clear cry of the silver trumpets; watched as the army of ecclesiastics deployed this way and that, and the Father of Princes and Kings came on between his royal children to the gates of the Confession ringed by the golden lamps, and went down to kneel by the body of the first Fisherman-King.
And again at Vespers, from the same tribune, he heard the peal of the new great organs in the dome, and the psalm-melodies rocking from side to side between the massed choirs; he glanced now and again at the royal tribune opposite, where, each beneath a canopy, the rulers of the earth sat together to do honour to the Lord and His Anointed. And, above all, he watched, still with that steady set face that made Father Jervis look at him once or twice, the central figure of all, now on his throne, with his assistants beside him, now passing up to the altar to incense it, and finally passing out again on the sedia gestatoria to the palace where at last he ruled indeed.