Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/32

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mistresses and us? Do I call her "little mother"? And then Madame has always on her lips the words "very expensive." It is provoking. Everything that belongs to her, even paltry articles that cost four sous, are "very expensive." One has no idea where the vanity of the mistress of a house can hide itself. It is really pitiful. In explaining to me the working of an oil lamp, which in no way differed from all other lamps, she said to me:

"My girl, you know that this lamp is very expensive, and that it can be repaired only in England. Take care of it, as if it were the apple of your eye."

Oh! the cheek that they have, and the fuss that they make about nothing! And when I think that it is all done just to humiliate you, to astonish you!

And the house is not so much after all. There is really no reason to be so proud of it. The exterior, to be sure, with the great clusters of trees that sumptuously frame it and the gardens that descend to the river in gentle slopes, ornamented with broad rectangular lawns, gives an impression of some importance. But within it is sad, old, rickety, and has a musty smell. I do not understand how they can live in it. Nothing but rats' nests, break-neck wooden stairways, whose warped steps tremble and creak beneath your feet; low and