Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/54

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49
THE ATTACK ON THE MILL.

first man killed. Instinctively Françoise seized hold of Dominique's hand and squeezed it with a nervous grip.

——"Don't stay there," said the captain. "The bullets reach here."

As he spoke a little, sharp stroke was heard in the old elm, and a branch fell in zigzags through the air; but the two young people did not stir, riveted there by anxiety at the sig ht. On the outskirts of the wood, a Prussian came out suddenly from behind a tree, as from a side scene, beating the air with his arms, and tumbling over backwards. And then nothing stirred, the two dead men seemed to sleep in the dazzling sunshine, you saw no one in the torpid landscape. Even the crack of the shots stopped. Only the Morelle kept up its silver-toned whispering.

Old Merlier looked at the captain in surprise, as if to ask if it were over.

——"Here it comes," the latter muttered. "Look out! Don't stay there."

He had not finished speaking when there came a terrific volley. It was as if the great elm were mowed down, a cloud of leaves whirled about them. Luckily the Prussians had fired too high. Dominique dragged, almost carried Françoise away, while old Merlier followed them, crying out,—