Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/257

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' ' You are not behaving well in reading that, Celestine; you are not behaving -well." And he went off to bed.

To-day, November , it took us all day to clean the silver service. That is an event in the house, — a traditional epoch, like the preserve-canning season. The Lanlaires possess a magnificent silver service, containing old pieces, rare and very beauti- ful. It comes from Madame's father, who took it, some say on deposit, others say as security for money lent to a neighboring member of the nobility. Young people for military service were not all that this blusterer bought. Everything was fish that came to his net, and one swindle more or less made no difference to him. If the grocer is to be be- lieved, the story of this silver service is one of the most doubtful, or one of the clearest, as you choose to look at it. It is said that Madame's father got his money back, and then, thanks to some circum- stance the nature of which I do not know, succeeded in keeping the silver service in the bargain. An astonishing piece of sharp practice

Of course, the Lanlaires never use it. It remains locked up at the back of a closet in the servants' hall, in three great boxes lined with red velvet and fastened to the wall by solid iron clamps. Every year, on the tenth of November, it is taken from the boxes, and cleaned under Madame's supervision.