Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/246

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f their magic

preserves. Yes, yes, to say the coarsest things, to besmear one's self vith good black fetid mud for a quarter of an hour, — oh ! ho-w exquisite that would be, and how restful ! And how it would relieve me of all these nauseating lilies that they have put into my heart! And you? "

But the shock had been too great, and the impression of Kimberly's recital remained. They could no longer interest themselves in the vulgar things of earth, — in topics of society, art, and passion. The Viscount Lahyrais himself, clubman, sportsman, gambler, and trickster, felt wings sprouting all over him. Each one felt the need of collecting his thoughts, of being alone, of prolong- ing the dream, of realizing it. In spite of the efforts of Kimberly, who went from one to another, asking: " Did you ever drink sable's milk? Ah! then, drink sable's milk; it is ravishing! " the conversation could not be resumed; so that, one after another, the guests excused themselves, and slipped away. At eleven o'clock all had gone.

When they found themselves face to face, alone. Monsieur and Madame looked at each other for a long time, steadily and with hostility, before exchanging their impressions.

' ' For a pretty fizzle, you know, it is a pretty fizzle," declared Monsieur.

"It is your fault," said Madame, in a tone of bitter reproach.