Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/122

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it consists in living with others, with people who take no interest in you, with whom you count for less than a dog gorged with goodies, or than a flower cared for as tenderly as a rich man's child,—people of whom you have nothing but their cast-off garments or the spoiled remains of their table.

"You may eat this pear; it is rotten. Finish this chicken in the kitchen; it smells bad."

Every word is contemptuous of you, every gesture disparaging of you, placing you on a level lower than that of the beasts. And you must say nothing; you must smile and give thanks; unless you would pass for an ingrate or a wicked heart. Sometimes, when doing my mistresses' hair, I have had a mad desire to tear their neck, to scratch their bosom with my nails.

Fortunately one is not always under the influence of these gloomy ideas. One shakes them off, and arranges matters to get all the fun one can, by himself.


This evening, after dinner, Marianne, seeing that I was utterly sad, was moved to pity, and tried to console me. She went to get a bottle of brandy from the depths of the sideboard, where it stood among a heap of old papers and dirty rags.

"You must not grieve like that," she said to me; "you must shake yourself a little, my poor little one; you must console yourself."