Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/115

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listening to my prayers or my cries, she tore me from the bed, pursued me, kicked me, and knocked me against the furniture, crying:

"I'll have your hide! I'll have your hide!"

Many times I thought I should die.

And then she debauched herself, to get money with which to buy liquor. At night, every night, low knocks were heard at the door of our house. A sailor entered, filling the room with a strong odor of sea-salt and fish. He lay down, remained an hour, and went away. And another came, after him, lay down also, remained another hour, and went away. There were struggles and terrifying uproars in the darkness of these abominable nights, and several times the police interfered.


Thus years rolled by. I was not wanted anywhere; nor was my sister, or my brother. They avoided us in the streets. The respectable people drove us with stones from their houses, to which we went, sometimes to steal, sometimes to beg. One day my sister Louise, who also had got into bad ways with the sailors, ran away. And then my brother enlisted as a cabin-boy. I was left alone with my mother.


At the age of ten I was no longer chaste. Made familiar with love by the sad example of mamma, perverted by the little boys with whom I associated.