Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/173

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They did not shock me. On the contrary, I felt a certain rascally joy, a sort of crapulous security, as if I were resuming a lost habit. To tell the truth, I recognized myself, I recognized my own life and my own soul in those dissipated eyelids, in that smooth face, in those shaven lips, which betray the same servile grimace, the same furrow of falsehood, the same taste for passional filth, in the actor, the judge, and the valet.

After dinner we strolled for a time on the boulevards; then he took me to see a cinematograph exhibition. My will was a little weak from having drunk too much Saumur wine. In the darkness of the hall, as the French army was marching across the illuminated screen amid the applause of the spectators, he caught me about the waist, and imprinted a kiss upon the back of my neck which came near loosening my hair.

"You are astonishing!" he whispered. "Oh! how good you smell!"

He accompanied me to my hotel, and we stood for a few minutes on the sidewalk, silent and a little stupid. He was tapping his shoes with the end of his cane; I, with head lowered, my elbows pressed closely against my body, and my hands in my muff, was crushing a bit of orange-peel beneath my feet.

"Well, au revoir!" I said to him.

"Oh! no," he exclaimed, "let me go up with you. Come, Célestine."