. . . I had rather die at once. Yes, it would be soonest over so. Kill me, I beg of you, kill me. . . ."
The officer at last grew impatient at this scene of despair and tears. He cried out,—
——"I've had enough of this! I'm willing to be good-natured, I consent to give you two hours. . . . If your sweetheart isn't here in two hours, your father shall pay for him."
And he had old Merlier taken to the room which had been used for Dominique's prison. The old man asked for some tobacco, and fell to smoking. No emotion was to be detected in his impassive face. Only, when he was alone, two big tears ran slowly down his cheeks. His poor, dear child; how she suffered!
Françoise had stayed in the middle of the courtyard. Some Prussian soldiers passed by, laughing. Some of them called out to her, jokes which she did not understand. She stared at the door through which her father had just disappeared. And, with a slow movement, she raised her hand to her forehead, as if to keep it from bursting.
The officer turned on his heel, repeating:
——"You have two hours. Try to make good use of them."
She had two hours. This sentence kept buzzing in her head. Then, mechanically, she went out of the courtyard, she walked straight before