Between each utterance the little shape advanced about half-a-dozen yards. It was evident now that the windows high in the wall were being counted. The word `Five' represented the fifth window from the end of the wall.
Here the spot stopped, and dwindled smaller. The figure was stooping. Then a morsel of snow flew across the river towards the fifth window. It smacked against the wall at a point several yards from its mark. The throw was the idea of a man conjoined with the execution of a woman. No man who had ever seen bird, rabbit or squirrel in his childhood, could possibly have thrown with such utter imbecility as was shown here.
Another attempt, and another; till by degrees the wall must have become pimpled with the adhering lumps of snow. At last one fragment struck the fifth window.
The river would have been seen by day to be of that deep smooth sort which races middle and sides with the same gliding precision, any irregularities of speed being immediately corrected by a small whirlpool. Nothing was heard in reply to the signal but the gurgle and cluck of one of these invisible wheels - together with a few small sounds which a sad man would have called moans, and a happy man laughter - caused by the flapping of the waters against trifling objects in other parts of the stream.
The window was struck again in the same manner.
Then a noise was heard, apparently produced by the opening of the window. This was followed by a voice from the same quarter:
The tones were masculine, and not those of surprise. The high wall being that of a barrack, and marriage being looked upon with disfavour in the army, assignations and communications had probably been made across the river before tonight.
`Is it Sergeant Troy?*' said the blurred spot in the snow, tremulously. This person was so much like a mere shade upon the earth, and the other speaker so much a part of the building, that one would have said the wall was holding a conversation with the snow.
`Yes,' came suspiciously from the shadow. `What girl are you?'
`O, Frank - don't you know me?' said the spot. `Your wife, Fanny Robin.'
`Fanny!' said the wall, in utter astonishment.
`Yes,' said the girl, with a half-suppressed gasp of emotion.
There was something in the woman's tone which is not that of the wife, and there was a manner in the man which is rarely a husband's. The dialogue went on:
`How did you come here?'
`I asked which was your window. Forgive me!'
`I did not expect you tonight. Indeed, I did not think you would come at all. It was a wonder you found me here. I am orderly tomorrow.'
`You said I was to come.'
`Well - I said that you might.'
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