Religion: Jubilant

Early on the day before Christmas, a stir that had moved for weeks beneath the regal calm of the Vatican rose to its crescendo. Through lofty-ceilinged corridors and spacious chambers, the imminence of a great occasion loomed almost into sight, quickening men's steps, sharpening conversations. Legates, priests, guards, swarms of distinguished visitors came and went busily or stood in knots waiting. The sheen of myriad deep-dyed silks, the richness of furs and laces and sparkling gems moved everywhere in splendid profusion. Occasionally way was made for the slow, scarlet dignity of a cardinal, gala in ceremonial robes, snowy linens...

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