Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/66

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61
THE ATTACK ON THE MILL.

the house. The German soldiers, encamped in the courtyard, were singing and laughing: they must have been eating and drinking up to eleven, for the noise did not stop for an instant. In the mill itself heavy steps sounded every now and then; no doubt, they were relieving sentries. But what interested her, above all, were noises that she could not make out, in the room under hers. Several times she lay down on the ground, she put her ear to the floor. This room happened to be the one in which Dominique was locked up. He must have been walking from the wall to the window, for she long heard the regular cadence of his steps; then there was a dead silence, he had doubtless sat down. Besides, the noises stopped, everything was hushed in sleep. When the house seemed to her to slumber, she opened the window as softly as possible, and rested her elbows on the sill.

Outside, the night was calm and warm. The slender crescent moon, setting behind the Sauval woods, lighted up the country with the glimmer of a night taper. The elongated shadows of the great trees barred the meadows with black, while the grass, in the unshaded spots, put on the softness of greenish velvet. But Françoise did not stop to note the mysterious charm of the night. She examined the country, looking for the sentinels that the Germans must have stationed on one side. She plainly saw their shadows, ranged