Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/80

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75
THE ATTACK ON THE MILL.

her. Whither should she go? What should she do? She did not even try to decide, because she felt convinced of the uselessness of her efforts. Yet she would have liked to find Dominique. They would have come to an understanding together, they might perhaps have hit upon an expedient. And, amid the confusion of her thoughts, she went down to the bank of the Morelle, which she crossed below the dam, at a place where there were some large stones. Her feet led her under the first willow, at the corner of the field. As she bent down, she saw a pool of blood that made her turn pale. That was clearly the place. And she followed Dominique's tracks in the trodden grass; he must have run, a line of long strides was to be seen cutting through the field cornerwise. Then, farther on, she lost the tracks; but, in a neighboring field, she thought she found them again. This brought her to the outskirts of the forest, where all traces were wiped out.

Françoise plunged in under the trees, notwithstanding. It was a relief to be alone. She sat down for a moment; then, remembering that her time was running out, she got up again. How long was it since she had left the mill? Five minutes? half an hour? She had lost all consciousness of time. Perhaps Dominique had gone and hidden in a copse she knew of, where, one afternoon, they had eaten filberts together.