Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/146

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depths of my being. "And Madame may be sure that I will take good care of M. Georges."

It was agreed that I should enter upon my duties that very evening, and that we should start on the next day but one for Houlgate, where the lady in mourning had rented a beautiful villa near the beach.

The grandmother had not lied. M. Georges was a charming, an adorable child. His beardless face had the loveliness of that of a beautiful woman; womanly also were his indolent movements, and his long, white, supple hands, through which could be seen the network of his veins. But what ardent eyes! Pupils consumed by a dull fire, beneath eyelids ringed with blue, and seemingly burned by the flaming gaze! What an intense focus of thought, of passion, of sensibility, of intelligence, of inner life! And to what an extent already had the red flowers of death invaded his cheeks! It seemed as if it were not of disease, as if it were not of death, that he was dying, but of an excess of life, of the fever of life that was in him, gnawing at his organs and withering his flesh. Oh! how pretty and how painful a spectacle! When his grandmother took me to him, he was stretched on a long chair, and holding in his long white hands an odorless rose. He received me, not as a servant, but almost as a friend whom he expected. And from the first moment I became attached to him with all the strength of my soul.