Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/73

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her eyes. The night was still very dark. She looked for the sentinel, and did not see him; only the willow made a pale spot in the midst of the darkness. For an instant she heard the rustling of Dominique's body along the ivy. Then the wheel creaked, and there was a gentle splashing that told that the young man had found the boat. A minute later, in fact, she made out the dark outline of the boat on the gray sheet of the Morelle. Then anguish stopped her breath. At every moment she thought to hear the sentinel's cry of alarm. The faintest sounds, scattered through the darkness, seemed to be the hurried tread of soldiers, the clatter of arms, the click of the hammers on the rifles. Yet seconds elapsed, the country slept on in sovereign peace. Dominique must have been landing on the other bank. Françoise saw nothing more. The stillness was majestic. And she heard a noise of scuffling feet, a hoarse cry, the dull thud of a falling body. Then the silence grew deeper; and, as if she had felt death passing by, she waited on, all cold, face to face with the pitch-dark night.


At daybreak, shouting voices shook the mill. Old Merlier had come to open Françoise's door. She came down into the courtyard, pale and very calm. But there she gave a shudder before the