Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/39

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ing the horizon with a sea of verdure; while, towards the south, the plain stretches out marvellously fertile, unfolding without end its plots of land divided by live hedges. But what, above all else, gives Rocreuse its charm is the coolness of this green nook in the hottest days of July and August. The Morelle comes down from the Gagny woods, and it seems as if it brought with it the coolness of the foliage beneath which it flows for miles; it brings the murmuring sounds, the icy and sequestered shade of the forests. And it is not the only source of coolness: all sorts of running water babble beneath the trees; at every step springs gush forth; you feel, while following the narrow paths, as if subterranean lakes were forcing their way through the moss, and taking advantage of the smallest fissures, at the foot of trees, between rocks, to overflow in crystalline fountains. The whispering voices of these brooks rise so multitudinous and high that they drown the bulfinches' song. You would think yourself in some enchanted park, with waterfalls on every hand.

Below, the meadows are soaking wet. Gigantic chestnuts cast their black shadows. Along the edge of the fields, long lines of poplars spread out their rustling drapery. There are two avenues of huge sycamore-maples rising across the fields, up toward the old chateau of Gagny, now in ruins. In this perpetually watered soil the