Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/324

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ittle cafe."




XV

November .

Joseph started for Cherbourg yesterday morning, as had been agreed. On coming down stairs, I find him already gone. Marianne, half awake, with swollen eyes and hawking throat, is pumping water. The plate from which Joseph has just eaten his soup, and the empty cider-pitcher, are still on the kitchen table. I am anxious, and at the same time I am content, for I feel that, starting from to-day, a new life is at last preparing for me. The sun has scarcely risen; the air is cold. Be- yond the garden the country is still sleeping under a curtain of fog, and in the distance, coming from an invisible valley, I hear the very feeble sound of a locomotive whistle. It is the train that bears Joseph and my destiny. I can eat no breakfast; it seems to me that something huge and heavy fills my stomach. I no longer hear the whistle. The fog is thickening; it has entered the garden.

And if Joseph were never to come back?

All day long I have been distracted, nervous, extremely agitated. Never did the house weigh more heavily upon me ; never did the long corridors seem more dismal, more icily silent; never have I so much detested the crabbed face and