Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/143

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thing that it is not easy to give; for, after all, you do not know me, and you have no reason to be devoted to me. Let me explain to you my situation. But do not remain standing, my child; come and sit down beside me."

The moment I am spoken to gently, the moment that I am not looked upon as a being outside of others and on the fringe of life, as something between a dog and a parrot, in that moment I am touched, and at once I feel the soul of my childhood reborn within me. All my spite, all my hatred, all my spirit of rebellion, I forget as by a miracle, and toward the people who speak to me in a human fashion I feel no sentiments save those of sacrifice and love. I know also, from experience, that it is only the unfortunate who place the suffering of the humble on a footing with their own. There is always insolence and distance in the kindness of the fortunate.

When I had taken my seat beside this venerable lady in mourning, I already loved her; I really loved her.

She sighed:

"It is not a very gay place that I offer you, my child."

With a sincerity of enthusiasm that did not escape her, I earnestly protested:

"That does not matter, Madame. Anything that Madame may ask of me I will do."