Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/358

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happy? "

She spoke very quickly, in a voice that rushed and rolled the words out, like pebbles.

' ' My father whipped me ; my mother whipped me ; my sisters whipped me ; everybody whipped me; they made me do everything. I brought up my sisters."

" Why did they whip you? "

" I do not know; just to whip me. In all families there is some one who is whipped . . . because . . . well, one does not know."

My questions no longer annoyed her. She was gaining confidence.

" And you? " she said to me, " did not your parents whip you? "

"Oh! yes."

" Of course; that is how things are."

Louise was no longer exploring her nose; her two hands, with their close-clipped nails, lay flat upon her thighs. Whispering was going on around us. Laughs, quarrels, and lamentations prevented the others from hearing our conversation.

" But how did you happen to come to Paris? " I asked, after a silence.

" Last year," answered Louise, " there was a lady from Paris at Saint-Michel-en-Greve, who was taking the sea-baths with her children. She had discharged her domestic for stealing, and I offered to go to work for her. And so she took me with her to Paris, to take care of her father, an old invalid whose legs were paralyzed."