Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/339

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" Surely that would be better. They are sure of a living in those places. And champagne, you know, young women ; and chemises with silver stars ; and no corsets ! ' '

I remember that that day I thought of my sister Louise, undoubtedly shut up in one of those houses. I pictured to myself her life, possibly happy, at least tranquil, in any case exempt from the danger of poverty and hunger. And, more than ever dis- gusted with my dismal and beaten youth, with my wandering existence, with my dread of the morrow, I too dreamed:

' ' Yes, perhaps that would be better. ' '

And evening came, and then night, — a night hardly darker than the day. We became silent, fatigued from having talked too much, from having waited too long. A gas jet was lighted in the hall, and regularly, at five o'clock, through the glass in the door, we could see the slightly-bent outline of M. Louis passing very quickly, and then vanishing. It was the signal for our departure.

Often old women, runners for public houses, pimps with a respectable air, and quite like the good sisters in their honeyed sweetness, awaited us at the exit on the sidewalk. They followed us discreetly, and, in some darker corner of the street, behind the groups of trees in the Champs- Elysees, out of sight of the police, they approached us.