Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/294

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le sisters

of Pont-Croix. Moreover, I had to go some- â– srhere. Beggars cannot be choosers.

When I arrived, there were forty housemaids there. Many came from a great distance, — from Brittany, from Alsace, from the south, ^girls who had never yet had a place, — awkward, clumsy, with livid complexions, sly airs, and singular eyes that looked over the walls of the convent at the mirage of Paris lying beyond. Others, not as green, were just out of a place, like myself.

The sisters asked me whence I came, what I knew how to do, whether I had good references, and whether I had any money left. I told them all sorts of things, and without further inquiry they welcomed me, saying :

" This dear child! We will find her a good place."

We all were their " dear children." While waiting for the promised good place, each of these dear children was put at soipe work, according to her faculties. Some did cooking and housework; others worked in the garden, digging in the soil, like navvies. I was promptly put at sewing, hav- ing, said Sister Boniface, supple fingers and a distinguished air. I began by mending the chap- lain's pantaloons and the drawers of a sort of monk who was just then preaching a retreat in the chapel. Oh! those pantaloons! Oh! those drawers ! Surely they did not re