Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/19

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a scowling, brutal air, but not a bad fellow at bottom. I know these types. At first they assume a knowing air with the new people, and later a more friendly footing is arrived at. Often more friendly than one would like.

We sat a long time without saying a word. He assumed the manners of a grand coachman, holding the reins high and swinging his whip with rounded gestures. Oh! how ridiculous he was! For my part, with much dignity I surveyed the landscape, which had no special feature; simply fields, trees, and houses, just as everywhere else. He brought his horse down to a walk in order to ascend a hill, and then, suddenly, with a quizzing smile, he asked:

"I suppose that at least you have brought a good supply of shoes?"

"Undoubtedly," said I, astonished at this question, which rhymed with nothing, and still more at the singular tone in which he put it to me. "Why do you ask me that? It is a rather stupid question, don't you know, my old man?"

He nudged me slightly with his elbow, and, gliding over me a strange look whose two-fold expression of keen irony and, indeed, of jovial obscenity was unintelligible to me, he said, with a chuckle:

"Oh! yes, pretend that you know nothing. You are a good one, you are,—a jolly good one!"