Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/233

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his dirty

countess," â– whom, at the bottom of her soul, she cursed.

" And what a brain! " said Charrigaud, going her one better, though really entertaining the same feeling. " The other day at the Rothschilds I felt that it -would be necessary to go back to the last century to find such perfect grace and such superiority."

" And even then! " said Joseph Brigard, cap- ping the climax. " You see, my dear Monsieur Charrigaud, in democratic societies based upon equality "...

He was about to deliver one of those semi- gallant, semi-sociological discourses which he was fond of retailing in the salons, when the Countess Fergus entered, imposing and majestic, in a black gown embroidered with jet and steel that showed off the fat whiteness and soft beauty of her shoulders. And it was amid murmurs and whispers of admira- tion that they made their way ceremoniously to the dining-room.

The beginning of the dinner was rather cold. In spite of her success, perhaps even because of her success, the Countess Fergus was a little haughty, or, at least, too reserved. She seemed to wear an air of condescension at having honored with her presence the humble house of " these little people." Charrigaud thought he noticed that she examined with a discreetly but visibly contem