Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/340

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" Come, then, to my house, instead of dragging out your poor life from anxiety to anxiety, and from poverty to poverty. In my house you will find pleasure, luxury, money; you will find liberty."

Dazzled by the marvelous promises, several of my little comrades listened to these love-brokers. With sadness I saw them start. Where are they now?

One evening one of these prowlers, fat and flabby, whom I had already brutally dismissed, succeeded in getting me to go with her to a cafe in the Rond-Point, where she offered me a glass of chartreuse. I see her still, with her hair turning grey, her severe costume of a bourgeoise widow, her plump and sticky hands, loaded with rings. She reeled off her story with more spirit and conviction than usual, and, as I remained indifferent to all her humbug inducements, she cried:

" Oh! if you only would, my little one. I do not need to look at you twice to see how beautiful you are in all respects. And it is a real crime to let such beauty go to waste, and be squandered in the company of house-servants. With your beauty, you would quickly make a fortune. Oh ! you would have a bag of money in a very little time. You see, I have a wonderful set of custom- ers, — old gentlemen, very influential, and very, very generous. All that is best in Paris comes to my house, — famous generals, powerful magistrates, foreign ambassa