Translated by Ernest Dowson
as at sea on a clear day, with one line of light, definite as the cut of a sword.
The Provencal threw his arms round the trunk of one of the palm trees, as though it were the body of a friend, and then, in the shelter of the thin, straight shadow that the palm cast upon the granite, he wept. Then sitting down he remained as he was, contemplating with profound sadness the implacable scene, which was all he had to look upon. He cried aloud, to measure the solitude. His voice, lost in the hollows of the hill, sounded faintly, and aroused no echo--the echo was in his own heart. The Provencal was twenty-two years old:--he loaded his carbine.
"There'll be time enough," he said to himself, laying on the ground the weapon which alone could bring him deliverance.
Viewing alternately the dark expanse of the desert and the blue expanse of the sky, the soldier dreamed of France--he smelled with delight the gutters of Paris--he remembered the towns through which he had passed, the faces of his comrades, the most
It was different to what I expected, a beautiful story which unfolded elegantly from a man facing certain death to finding much more than he could have hoped for.
A man is stranded at an oasis with a leopard. They co-exist uneasily for a while. Then . . . .
It's a one-character story, though the leopard's behavior is well-done. Some tension, a bit of dread. Balzac could write.