All in a Night
ALL IN A NIGHT by JEAN CAYROL I tried to see the time by his watch, but the light, fine drizzle which had started to fall prevented him from seeing the hands: the glass was wet. Francois shrugged. What was the use anyway? Night was putting an end, with a sort of shamefaced rapidity, to the early autumn day. The sun had made a brief, half-hearted attempt to show itself and set a touch of fire to the horizon. With the approach of dusk the evening mists had turned to a washed-out blue. In the distance the undulating line of the hills, here soft and distant, there notched and broken, stood out with a kind of ravished beauty. The tops of the thinning poplars, now turning red, imparted some- thing of brightness to the landscape. A farm took on the menacing solidity of a fortress: a clump of trees looked massive and impenetrable. The only movement came from the quivering of the lemon-coloured pop- lars: the only sound was a bird's thin call. The sun disappeared behind a gathering of level storm-clouds driving from the west. Under an evil, reddish glow the countryside seemed to lie in the grip of terror. September had drawn to an early end: the bad sea- son had come before its time. Already the branches of the trees were showing black through the thin network of their leaves fretted by wind and rain. The cats had left the secretive tangle of climbing plants upon the walls, moving away from the sour smell of dahlias, seeking refuge in the evergreens.
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