Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/208

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The animal had freed its wings from Joseph's knees; they were beating, beating. Its neck, in spite of Joseph's grasp, twisted into a frightful spiral, and beneath its feathers its flesh heaved. Then Joseph threw the animal upon the stone floor of the kitchen, and, with elbows on his knees and chin in his joined palms, he began to follow, with a look of hideous satisfaction, its bounds, its convulsions, the mad scratching of its yellow claws upon the floor.

"Stop then, Joseph," I cried. "Kill it at once; it is horrible to make animals suffer."

And Joseph answered:

"That amuses me. I like to see that."

I recall this memory; I evoke all its sinister details; I hear all the words that were spoken. And I have a desire, a still more violent desire, to cry to Joseph:

"It was you who outraged the little Claire in the woods. Yes, yes; I am sure of it now; it was you, you, you, old pig."

There is no longer any doubt of it; Joseph must be a tremendous scoundrel. And this opinion that I have of his moral personality, instead of driving me from him, far from placing a wall of horror between us, causes me, not to love him perhaps, but to take an enormous interest in him. It is queer, but I have always had a weakness for scoundrels. There is something unexpected about