Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/374

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humiliate Mme. Paulhat-Durand a little, and to take a sort of vengeance upon her by catchicig the contemptuous and haughty creature in the very act of catering to lust.

I regretted this old man, who now exercised over me all the seductions of the unknown, all the charms of an inaccessible ideal. And I found pleasure in picturing him to my fancy, — a spruce old man, with soft hands, a pretty smile, a pink and shaven face, and gay, and generous, and good- natured, not so much a maniac as M. Rabour, allow- ing himself to be led by me, like a little dog.

"Come here. Come, come here."

And he came, caressing, frisking about, with a kind and submissive look.

"Now sit up."

And he sat up, in such a funny way, with his forepaws beating the air.

"Oh! the good bow-wow! "

I gave him sugar; I stroked his silky skin. He no longer disgusted me. And again I reflected:

"How stupid I am, all the same! A good doggy, a fine garden, a fine house, money, tran- quillity, an assured future, — to think that I have refused all these, and without knowing why. And never to know what I want, and never to will what I desire! At bottom I am afraid of man, — worse than that, I have a disgust for man, — when he is far away. When he is near me, I am capable of