Andrea, kneeling in the Church of Santa Croce, looked at the straight figure and bent head of Aprilis kneeling before him and wondered why he loved her, and despised himself for loving her, and endeavoured to think of her and her faults so contemptuously that he should love her no more. The great church was brightly and softly lit by the glow, half dull rose, half dull purple, of the June sun streaming through the high stained-glass window, in which gay colours predominated, and falling on the warm red floor, the tinted marbles of the wall and floor monuments, and the coloured gowns of the little group of worshippers who knelt among the brown benches, looking like dolls under that great lift of arch and painted roof and on that vast expanse of floor. The altar shone in its own light of tall yellow candles, scarlet and gold ran in one stream of brilliancy through altar cloth and altar furniture; behind the altar the lady chapel was dimmed by a shadow the colour of clear amber, through which the vivid, precise lines of the gorgeous window blazed. A priest, looking minute in the wide space and so adorned as to appear one with his images, was standing before an immense book, of which a monk in a brown habit turned over the pages; the blood-red rose in the centre of the priest's chasuble was the one thing about him noticeable; as he moved and bowed and bent the rose seemed to float alone before the altar, into which the white and gold of his vestments was absorbed. His voice, rising in the chaunts, stirred but did not fill the silence; the clink of the censers in the hands of the little acolytes was distinctly heard through the soft murmur of the Latin. The church was very pleasant and full of a gentle atmosphere of peace and holiness, of a placid sense of a perfect understanding with the almighty powers of heaven and a complete ignoring of the troubles and agonies of the world. All the kneeling figures looked composed and holy; the priest seemed as remote from humanity as if he ministered on the steps of heaven.
Used availability for Marjorie Bowen's The Carnival of Florence
November 2015 : Hardback
December 2013 : USA Paperback
May 2012 : USA Paperback
March 2012 : USA Paperback