Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/285

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exacting,



fault-finding. I was only a blockhead ; I never did anylihing right ; I was awkward, unclean, ill-bred, forgetful, dishonest. And her voice, which at first had been so sweet, so much like the voice of a comrade, now became as sour as vinegar. She gave me orders in a blunt and humiliating tone. No more gifts of underwear, no more cold cream and powder, no more of the secret counsels and private confidences that had so embarrassed me at first. No more of that suspicious comradeship which at bottom I felt not to be kindness, and which caused me to lose my respect for this mistress who raised me to the level of her own vice. I snapped at her sharply, strong in my knowledge of all the open or hidden infamies of the house. We got to quarreling like fish-wives, hurling our week's notice at each other's heads, like dirty rags.

' ' "What, then, do you take my house f or ? " she cried. " Do you think you are working for a fast woman ? ' '

Think of her cheek ! I answered :

"Oh! your house is a clean one, indeed! You can boast of it. And you? Let us talk about it; yes, let us talk about it ! You are clean, too ! And what about Monsieur? Oh! la! la! And do you think they don't know you in the neighborhood, and in Paris? Why, you are notorious, every- where. Your house? A, brothel. And, in fact, there are brothels which are not as dirty as your