Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/209

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them that lashes the blood, — a special odor that intoxicates you, — something strong and bitter that attracts you sexually. However infamous scoun- drels may be, they are never as infamous as the respectable people. What annoys me about Joseph is that he has the reputation, and, to one who does not know his eyes, the manners, of an honest man. I should like him better if he were a frank and impudent scoundrel. It is true that he would lose that halo of mystery, that prestige of the unknown, which moves and troubles and attracts me — yes, really, attracts me — toward this old monster.

Now I am calmer, because I am certain, and be- cause nothing henceforth can remove the certainty from my mind, that it was he who outraged the little Claire in the woods.

For some time I have noticed that I have made a considerable impression upon Joseph's heart. His bad reception of me is at an end; his silence toward me is no longer hostile or contemptuous, and there is something approaching tenderness in his nudges. His looks have no more hatred in them, — did they ever have any, however? — and, if they are still so terrible at times, it is because he is seeking to know me better, always better, and wishes to try me. Like most peasants, he is ex- tremely distrustful, and avoids trusting himself to others, for he thinks that they are planning to