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    博彩全迅网Sophy looked pleased. There was a little silence. Robert did not know how to announce his intelligence, and his wife considered all that part of the affair as so much a matter of course that she did not even think it necessary to ask any question about it. In a short time Sophy went on,—



    3.Perhaps in all Italy there was at that time no city which, for its size, contained so large a number of priests; probably its hush and quiet suited them; but nearly every other person in the streets was an ecclesiastic, and the clang of the bells calling to prayer from their picturesque round campaniles never ceased. It was past mid-day, and mass was over in most of the churches, when two aged women, in black dresses and thick veils, which entirely concealed their faces, rang at the bell of the Bishop's palace. The door was opened by a man in a sort of semi-clerical attire. On giving their names, he bowed respectfully, and saying "His lordship is expecting you," led the way up some wide stairs, through a long corridor, and then signing to them to wait a moment, he entered the room; returning in a few seconds, he requested them to enter, and closed the door behind them. It was a very large room, although its length was comparatively greater than its width. A range of bookshelves, extending from the floor to a height of about five feet, ran completely round it, and upon the dark-panelled walls were hung a long series of portraits, probably those of the bishop's predecessors in office. Above, the ceiling was divided by a richly-gilt framework into a number of irregular partitions, in which were inserted a fine series of paintings by ancient masters, the subjects of which were not all so strictly Scriptural as might have been expected in the palace of a Church dignitary. The light entered by a very large window at the end of the apartment, the panes of which were of the small diamond pattern. With his back to this window, by the side of a large chair, in which he had apparently been sitting reading when his visitors were announced, stood the Bishop of Ravenna. Although he had returned from mass some quarter of an hour, he still wore a part of the robes in which he had officiated. It is probable that as he expected the ladies who had just entered, and as he was particularly anxious upon this occasion to impress their minds strongly, he had purposely retained these insignia of his office to add to the power which he had for many years been accustomed to exercise over them. Not, indeed, that the bishop needed any adventitious aids to his personal appearance. He was a tall, stately figure, but little bent with the weight of the seventy years which had passed over him. His hair was silver white, but the lines of the face were still strong and marked. His manner was very variable,—at times commanding, even harsh; at other moments mild and persuasive. As an orator he had few equals in his Church,—the varying modulations of his voice alternately awing and melting his audience. He advanced to meet the two women, who, their veils raised now, hurried towards him, and knelt at his feet to receive the blessing which he impressively bestowed upon them. That done, he raised them, and placed them in chairs facing the one he himself occupied.
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