With a feeling as though something terrible were near him, he raised his eyes, and saw the tall menhir before him, rising, dark and colossal, against the glowing background of the evening sky. The sun was setting like a crimson ball, barred with clouds steeped in flame and orange colour. A blood-red light, reflected from the sinking orb, flushed all the east, and bathed the plain in crimson. The tall menhir before him, usually so grey and cold in hue, appeared as though stained with blood. Was it only the sunset light which gave that strange colour to the stone ? Christophe asked himself this, with a cold feeling at his heart as he looked at the other menhirs, and compared the rosy hue on them with the deep red stain on this. If so, why had the crimson run, as it were, into the shape of—was it, could it be ?—a great red cross ? With a sensation, half of fear, half of curiosity, he approached the menhir ; something seemed to draw him to it whether he would or not, and when he was near enough to distinguish local colour from mere reflection, he stopped again and looked more closely. Sure enough, a great cross stood out blood-red on' the grey face of the stone ! What could it mean ?
Impelled by a terrible curiosity, Christophe went up quite close to the menhir which they called his father, and touched the cross with his finger. It came away stained and sticky, and Christophe sickened with horror, for it seemed to him that the very air around the menhir was tainted with blood ! He closed his eyes, and staggered up against a neighbouring stone, and before his mind there rose, in all its awfulness, the scene by the Menhir of Saint- Samson. " Shall I never escape it—never, never ! " thought the lad, with a terrible shudder ; and then he opened his eyes again, for the remembered scene was more full of horror than the present one. " 'Tis a sign," he murmured, with a sigh. *' My happy days are over, and the Demon has sent this to show that he is about to come after me again ! I " He started violently, for again came that awful sound, and this time it seemed to come from the ground at his very feet. " My God ! " was the voiceless exclamation of the wretched lad. " It is his blood ! —his blood crying from the ground ! " and, in an agony of superstitious fear, he hurried from the spot, without once pausing to look behind him. Had he done so, he might have seen a face, not unlike that of a demon in its expression of fiendish malignity,
'"Tis war!" they whispered, *''tis war! Barber Postik is right ; there is trouble coming. May the Saints keep us in it ! " Christophe heard this interpretation, and was a little comforted. The sign, may be, was a public, and not a private one. He would wait and see. But the dread was there, and deepened daily, as other omens followed. Strange blue lights were seen in the cemetery chapel.; and, as in former times, the people began to whisper that the Devil was preaching there again to a congregation of the Dead. Once it happened that Christophe saw the light