Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/103

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to be carrying something or other. She came up the cliff near to where I was standing, behind a projection of rock, and then stood still, a few steps below me. She looked round on every side, raised her hand to the four points of the compass successively, while she pronounced two or three words which I did not understand. She was instantly answered by a loud chirping from the low bushes around, and from every side different kinds of birds—bulfinches, robin-redbreasts, hedge-sparrows, titmice, and many more—flew down to pick up the food she had brought them in her apron, and which she now carefully and lovingly distributed in little handfuls, while, in an undertone, she sang to herself in a strange sort of way.

It was a lovely picture, seen thus in the red glow of evening; and the pure outline of her face, with its rich waves of golden hair around, would certainly have afforded to a painter a most admirable study for the head of a saint.

At length I approached, but she beckoned me away, without, however, evincing the least surprise or embarrassment.

"If monsieur comes nearer, all my little birdies will fly away, and they are not half satisfied," said she in a whisper, that her protégés might not be disturbed by the sound of a strange language.

However, at that moment both the men came noisily out of the cottage, and the little birds dis-