Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/265

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them to me, selected for me, and advised me, indicating her preferences.

"I like the women in my service to be coquettish, elegant; I like to have them smell good. You are a brunette; here is a red skirt that will become you marvelously. Moreover, all these things will become you very well. Take them all."

I was in a state of profound stupefaction. I knew not what to do; I knew not what to say. Mechanically, I repeated:

"Thank you, Madame. How good Madame is! Thank you, Madame."

But Madame did not leave me time to get a clear idea of my own thoughts. She talked and talked, by turns familiar, shameless, maternal, pandering, and so strange!

"It is like cleanliness, Mary, care of the body, private toilets. Oh! I insist upon that, above all things. On this point I am exacting,— exacting to the point of mania."

She entered into intimate details, insisting always on this word "suitable," that came back continually to her lips apropos of things that were scarcely so,— at least, to my thinking. As we finished our sorting of the garments, she said to me:

"A woman, no matter what woman, should always be well kept. For the rest, Mary, you will