Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/336

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with faded red serge. Nothing else. The ante- room is lighted only by a narrow strip of glass set in the upper part of the partition which separates the room from the employment-bureau, and running its entire length. A bad light, a light more gloomy than darkness, comes through this glass, coating objects and faces with something less than a twilight glimmer.

We came there every morning and every after- noon, heaps of us, — cooks and chambermaids, gardeners and valets, coachmen and butlers, — and we spent our time in telling each other of our misfortunes, in running down the masters, and in wishing for extraordinary, fairy-like, liberating places. Some brought books and newspapers, which they read passionately; others wrote letters. Now gay, now sad, our buzzing conversations were often interrupted by the sudden irruption of Mme. Paulhat-Durand, like a gust of wind.

"Be silent, young women," she cried. "It is impossible to hear ourselves in the salon."

Or else she called in a curt, shrill voice :

" Mademoiselle Jeanne! "

Mile. Jeanne rose, arranged her hair a little, followed the madame into the bureau, from which she returned a few moments later, with a grimace of disdain upon her lips. Her recommendations had not been found sufficient. What did they require then? The Monthyon prize? A maiden's