Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/316

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other face.



Of course, I put aside at once the captain's plan. Moreover, I had no need of this last conversation ■with him to know the sort of grotesque and sinister mountebank, the type of odd humanity, that he represents. Beyond the fact that his physical ugliness is complete, — for there is nothing to re- lieve and correct it, — he gives one no hold on his soul. Rose believed firmly in her assured domi- nation over this man, and this man tricked her. One cannot dominate nothing; one can have no influence over emptiness. I cannot, ■without chok- ing with laughter, think of myself for an instant in the arms of this ridiculous personage and caressing him. Yet, in spite of this, I am content, and I feel something akin to pride. However low the source from which it comes, it is none the less an homage, and this homage strengthens my confidence in myself and in my beauty.

Quite different are my feelings toward Joseph. Joseph has taken possession of my mind. He re- tains it, he holds it captive, he obsesses it. He disturbs me, bewitches me, and frightens me, by turns. Certainly, he is ugly, brutally, horribly ugly; but, when you analyze this ugliness, you find something formidable in it, something that is almost beauty, that is more than beauty, that is above beauty, — something elemental. I do not conceal from myself the difficulty, the danger, of living, whether married or not, with such a man.