Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/188

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in a tone to which she tried to impart a certain mystery. "She is sick, then?" "Yes, but it is nothing. In two days it will be all gone." And Mam'zelle Rose looks at me with confirmatory eyes, which seem to say: "Ah, you see, this is a very skilful woman."

To-day I have learned at the grocer's that a party of hunters found yesterday, in the forest of Raillon, among the briers and dead leaves, the body of a little girl, horribly outraged. It seems that she was the daughter of a road-laborer. She was known in the neighborhood as the little Claire. She was a little bit simple, but sweet and pretty, and she was not twelve years old ! A rich wind- fall, as you can imagine, for a place like the grocer's shop, where they had to content themselves with telling the same stories week after week. Consequently the tongues rattled famously.

According to Rose, always better informed than the others, the little Claire had been cut open with a knife, and her intestines were protruding through the wound. Her neck and throat still bore visible marks of strangling fingers. There was still to be seen in the short heather the trampled and trodden spot where the crime had been committed. It must have happened at least a week ago, for the body was almost entirely decomposed.