Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/225

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hase that



he had just made of a villa at Deauville :

"I really don't know for whom these people took us. They undoubtedly took us for journalists, for Bohemians. But I quickly let them see that I had a notary."

Gradually he eliminated all that remained of the friends of his youth, — those friends whose simple presence in his house was a constant and disagree- able reminder of the past, and a confession of that stain, of that social inferiority, — literature and labor. And he contrived also to extinguish the flames that sometimes kindled in his brain, and to finally stifle that cursed wit whose sudden revival on certain occasions it frightened him to feel, supposing it to be dead forever. Then, it was no longer enough for him to be received in the houses of others ; he desired, in turn, to receive others in his own house. His occupancy of a residence of some pretension, which he had just bought in Auteuil, was made the pretext for a dinner.

I entered their service at the time when the Charrigauds had at last resolved to give this dinner. Not one of those private dinners, gay and without pose, such as they had been in the habit of giving, and which for some years had made their house so charming, but a really elegant, really solemn dinner, a stiff and chilly dinner, a select dinner, to which should be ceremoniously invited, together with some correct celebrities of literature