Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/371

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ligent. You



have a pretty face, a pretty figure, charming hands not at all ruined by work, and eyes that are not in your pockets. Good fortune might easily come to you. One does not know what good fortune could come to you . . . with conduct."

" "With misconduct, you mean."

'< That depends on how you look at it. For my part, I call it conduct."

She was melting. Little by little, her mask of dignity fell. I was now confronted simply with the former chambermaid, expert at all rascalities. Now she had the piggish eye, the fat and flabby movements, the sort of ritual lapping of the mouth characteristic of the procuress, and which I had observed on the lips of " Madame Rebecca Ranvet, Millinery. ' ' She repeated :

" For my part, I call it conduct."

"It! What?" I exclaimed.

" Come, Mademoiselle, you are not a beginner, and you are acquainted with life. One can talk with you. It is a question of a single gentleman, already old, not extremely far from Paris, and very rich, — yes, in fact, rich enough. You will keep his house, — something like a governess, do you understand? Such places are very delicate, much in demand, and highly profitable. This one offers a certain future for a woman like you, as intelligent as you are, as pretty as you are, — especially, I repeat, with conduct."