Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/319

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his criminal mouth, and his criminal eyes, and his heavy cheek-bones, and his low, knotty, humpy forehead, upon -which the lamplight accumulates hard shadows, I say to myself:

" No, no, it is not possible. I am under the in- fluence of a fit of madness; I will not, I cannot, love this man. No, no, it is not possible."

And yet it is possible, and it is true. And I must at last confess it to myself, cry out to myself : " I love Joseph! "

Ah ! now I understand why one should never make sport of love; why there are women who rush, with all the consciencelessness of murder, with all the invincible force of nature, to the kisses of brutes and to the embraces of monsters, and who voluptuously sound the death-rattle in the sneering faces of demons and bucks.

Joseph has obtained from Madame six days' leave of absence, and to-morrow he is to start for Cherbourg, pretending to be called by family matters. It is decided; he will buy the little cafe. But for some months he will not run it himself. He has some one there, a trusted friend, who is to take charge of it.

" Do you understand? " he says to me. "It must first be repainted, and made to look like new; it must be very fine, with its new sign, in gilt let- ters: ' To the French Army! ' And besides, I cannot leave my place yet. That I cannot do."