Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/211

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undoubtedly, to compromise himself. A word here, a word there, amiable or crusty, and that is all. But his eyes speak, though his lips are silent. And they prowl around me, and they envelop me, and they descend into me, into my very depths, in order to turn my soul inside out and see what is in it.

For the first time we had a long talk yesterday. It was at night. The masters had gone to bed; Marianne had gone to her room earlier than usual. Not feeling disposed to read or write, it was tiresome for me to remain alone. Still obsessed by the image of the little Claire, I went to find Joseph in the harness-room, where, seated at a little white-wood table, he was sorting seeds by the light of a dark lantern. His friend, the sacristan, was there, standing near him, holding under his two arms packages of little pamphlets, red, green, blue, tricolor. With big round eyes surpassing the arch of the eye-brows, flattened skull, and wrinkled, yellow, and cross-grained skin, he looked like a toad. He had also the bounding heaviness of a toad. Under the table the two dogs, rolled into a ball, were sleeping, with their heads buried in their shaggy skins.

"Ah! it is you, Célestine?" exclaimed Joseph.

The sacristan tried to hide his pamphlets, but Joseph reassured him.

"We can talk before Mademoiselle. She is an orderly woman."