Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/232

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people was so dif&cult, so fatiguing, and so compli- cated a matter. Perhaps we ought to have remained simple boors."

And Madame growled :

<' Oh! for that matter, I see clearly that nothing will change you. You scarcely do honor to a woman. ' '

As they thought me pretty, and very elegant to look at, my masters had allotted to me also an im- portant role in this comedy. First I was to preside over the cloak-room, and then to aid, or rather superintend, the four butlers, four tall lascars, with immense side-whiskers, selected from several employment-bureaus to serve this extraordinary diimer.

At first all went well. Nevertheless, there was a moment of alarm. At quarter before nine the Countess Fergus had not yet arrived. Suppose she had changed her mind, and resolved at the last moment not to come? What a humiliation! What a disaster! The Charrigauds were in a state of consternation. Joseph Brigard reassured them. It was the day when the countess had to preside over her admirable " Society for the Collection of Cigar-Stumps for the Army and Navy." The sessions sometimes did not end till very late.

" What a charming woman! " said Mme. Char- rigaud, ecstatically, as if this eulogy had the magic power to hasten the coming of " t