Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/22

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"Célestine, Monsieur."

"Célestine!" he exclaimed. "Célestine? The devil! It is a pretty name,—that I do not deny,—but too long, my child, much too long. I will call you Marie, if you are willing. That is a very nice name, too, and it is short. And besides, I have called all my chambermaids Marie. It is a habit which it would distress me to abandon. I would rather abandon the person."

They all have this queer mania of never calling you by your real name. I was not too much astonished, having already borne all the names of all the saints in the calendar. He persisted:

"So it will not displease you if I call you Marie? That is agreed, is it?"

"Why, certainly. Monsieur."

"A pretty girl; good character; very well, very well."

He had said all this to me in a sprightly and extremely respectful way, and without staring at me, without seeming to undress me with his eyes, after the fashion of men generally. Scarcely had he looked at me. From the moment that he entered the room, his eyes had remained obstinately fixed upon my shoes.

"You have others?" he asked, after a short silence, during which it seemed to me that his eyes became strangely brilliant.

"Other names, Monsieur?"