Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/119

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With all that, I know not what would have become of me in that hell of an Audierne, if the Little Sisters of Pont-Croix, finding me intelligent and pretty, had not taken me in, out of pity. They did not take advantage of my age, of my ignorance, of my trying and despised situation, to make use of me, to secrete me for their benefit, as often happens in such establishments, which carry human exploitation to the point of crime. They were poor, candid, timid, charitable little beings, who were not rich, and who did not even dare to extend their hands to passers-by or to beg at the doors of houses. There was sometimes much poverty among them, but they got along as best they could. And, amid all the difficulties of living, they continued none the less to be gay, and to sing continually like larks. Their ignorance of life had something touching about it, something which brings the tears to my eyes to-day, now that I can better understand their infinite and pure kindness.

They taught me to read, to write, to sew, to do housework; and, when I had become almost expert in these necessary things, they got me a place as a little housemaid in the house of a retired colonel, who came every summer, with his wife and his two daughters, to occupy a sort of dilapidated little château near Comfort. "Worthy people cer-