Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/25

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"Why do you say nothing, Marie? Say something. Why do you not walk? Walk a little, that I may see them move, that I may see them live,—your little shoes."

He knelt down, kissed my shoes, kneaded them with his feverish and caressing fingers, unlaced them. And, while kissing, kneading, and caressing them, he said, in a supplicating voice, in the voice of a weeping child:

"Oh! Marie, Marie, your little shoes; give them to me directly, directly, directly. I want them directly. Give them to me."

I was powerless. Astonishment had paralyzed me. I did not know whether I was really living or dreaming. Of Monsieur's eyes I saw nothing but two little white globes streaked with red. And his mouth was all daubed with a sort of soapy foam.

At last he took my shoes away and shut himself up with them in his room for two hours.

"Monsieur is much pleased with you," said the governess to me, in showing me over the house. "Try to continue to please him. The place is a good one."

Four days later, in the morning, on going at the usual hour to open the windows, I came near fainting with horror in the chamber. Monsieur was dead. Stretched on his back in the middle of the bed, he lay with all the rigidity of a corpse. He had not struggled. The bed-clothing was not