She shook her head. He stood there stiff, without a smile. Then, after a silence,—
——"He has lived a long while in these parts?"
She nodded yes, still dumb.
——"Then he must know the woods round here very well?"
This time she spoke.
——"Yes, sir," she said, looking at him in some surprise.
He said no more, and turned on his heel, asking to have the mayor of the village brought to him. But Françoise had risen, a faint blush on her face, thinking to have caught the drift of his questions, and seeing fresh hope in them. It was she who ran to find her father.
Old Merlier, as soon as the shots had ceased, had run quickly down the wooden steps to look at his wheel. He adored his daughter, he had a stout friendship for Dominique, his intended son-in-law; but; his wheel also held a large place in his heart. As the two young ones, as he called them, had come safe and sound out of the scrimmage, he thought of his other love, and this one had suffered grievously. And, bending over the huge wooden carcass, he investigated its wounds, the picture of distress. Five paddles were in splinters, the central framework was riddled. He stuck his fingers into the bullet holes, to measure their depth; he thought over how he could