Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/76

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71
THE ATTACK ON THE MILL.

her complicity. He shook his head, saying to her in an undertone,—

——"Now we are in a fine scrape!"

——"It's that rascal! it's that rascal!" cried the officer. "He must have reached the woods. . . . But he must be found for us, or the village shall pay for it."

And, addressing the miller,—

——"Come, you must know where he is hiding?"

Old Merlier gave a noiseless chuckle, pointing to the wide extent, of wooded hillside.

——"How do you expect to find a man in there?" said he.

——"Oh! there must be holes in there that you know of. I will give you ten men. You shall be their guide."

——"All right. Only it will take us a week to beat all the woods in the neighborhood."

The old man's coolness infuriated the officer. In fact, he saw the ridiculousness of this battue. It was then that he caught sight of Françoise, pale and trembling, on the bench, The young girl's anxious attitude struck him. He said nothing for an instant, looking hard at the miller and Françoise by turns.

——"Isn't this man," he at last brutally asked the old man, "your daughter's lover?"

Old Merlier turned livid, and one would have thought him on the point of throwing himself