Page:A Leaf in the Storm.djvu/43

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The miller was silent: then he stretched his hand out with a franc in it.

"It is folly, as I say, and evil waste of time: nevertheless, it is like Alois, and will please the house-mother. Take this silver bit for it and leave it for me."

The colour died out of the face of the young Ardennois: he lifted his head and put his hands behind his back.

"Keep your money and the portrait both, Baas Cogez," he said simply. "You have been often good to me."

Then he called Patrasche to him, and walked away across the fields.

"I could have seen them with that franc," he murmured to Patrasche, "but I could not sell her picture—not even for them."

Baas Cogez went into his mill-house sore troubled in his mind.

"That lad must not be so much with Alois," he said to his wife that night. "Trouble may come of it hereafter: he is fifteen now, and she is twelve; and the boy is comely of face and form."

"And he is a good lad and a loyal," said the housewife, feasting her eyes on the piece of pine wood where it was throned above the chimney with a cuckoo clock in oak and a Calvary in wax.