Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/192

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arranged, I see flaming on the pine wainscoting the portrait of Drumont. To give him greater majesty, undoubtedly, Joseph has recently adorned him with a crown of laurel. Opposite, the portrait of the pope is almost entirely hidden by a horse-blanket hung upon a nail. Anti-Jewish pamphlets and patriotic songs are piled up on a shelf, and in a corner Joseph's club stands lonely among the brooms.

Suddenly I say to Joseph, solely from a motive of curiosity:

"Do you know, Joseph, that the little Claire has been found in the woods, murdered and outraged?"

At first Joseph cannot suppress a movement of surprise,—is it really surprise? Rapid and furtive as this movement was, it seems to me that, at the sound of the little Claire's name, a sort of strange shock, something like a shudder, passed through him. He recovers very quickly.

"Yes," he says, in a firm voice, "I know it. I was told so in the neighborhood this morning."

Now he is indifferent and placid. He rubs his harnesses methodically with a thick, black cloth. I admire the muscular development of his bare arms, the harmonious and powerful suppleness of his biceps, the whiteness of his skin. I cannot see his eyes under the lowered lids,—his eyes so obstinately fixed upon his work. But I see his mouth, his large mouth, his enormous jaw, the jaw of a cruel