H.E. Bates - Fair Stood the Wind for France
Treacherous mud clutched at the wheels and the Wellington up-ended. End of mission. The great bomber had been giving the crew trouble since leaving Italy. Finally over occupied France, it settles like a weary, wounded eagle on what seemed to Franklin a hard, smooth field. The five members of the crew were welded by the crash into a single whole, one tiny forged weapon in the vast territory of the enemy--weak and ineffectual--yet confident as only men can be whose minds are free. Francoise's family accepted them calmly. In Francoise it was faith, a simple piety so humble, so complete that all the mechanized myrmidons of the Reich could not touch her spirit. In her father it was stubbornness, that glorious pigheadedness of the French peasant who won't be pushed around. In her grandmother it was a kinship with the infinite. Having survived two wars, she remained unmoved by the swaggering vainglory of the Nazi. And in Pierre it was hatred, a hatred so deep that only rarely did it flash on the surface. It was natural that Francoise should be so strongly drawn to Franklin, the pilot. His gentle strength, his sensitive mind, the careful restrained warmth of his emotion found a calm, sure response in the simple innocence and candor of the girl. All through the delirious pain of his torn, wounded arm, Franklin felt the girl's presence like a cool, comforting hand. In the end it was her courage and, above all, her faith which saved him--saved him--not only from the enemy but from himself.