Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/46

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41
THE ATTACK ON THE MILL.

remembered his own marriage. Neither had he a red sou when he married Madeleine and her mill; but that did not prevent his making a good husband. Besides, Dominique cut the gossip short by going to work with such a will that the whole country marvelled at it. It so happened that the miller's boy had just been drafted; and Dominique would never hear of his hiring another. He carried the sacks, drove the cart, struggled with the old wheel when it had to be begged hard before it would turn, and all with such a will that people would come to look at him for sheer pleasure. Old Merlier laughed his quiet laugh. He was very proud of having scented out this fellow. There is nothing like love for putting heart into young people.

In the midst of all this hard work Françoise and Dominique adored each other. They hardly ever spoke, but they looked at each other with smiling tenderness. So far, old Merlier had not said a single word about the marriage; and they both respected this silence, awaiting the old man's pleasure. At last, one day about the middle of July, he had three tables set out in the courtyard under the big elm, inviting his friends in Rocreuse to come and take a drink with him in the evening. When the courtyard was full, and every one had his glass in his hand, old Merlier raised his very high, saying:

——"This is for the pleasure of announcing to