Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/377

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giving my recollection of a poor devil whom I met there. He was a gardener, who had been a widower for four months, and who was looking for a place. Among the many lamentable faces that passed through the bureau I saw none as sad as his, none that seemed to me more overwhelmed by life. His wife had died of a miscarriage ... of a miscarriage? . . . the night before the day when, after two months of poverty, they were at last to take positions on an estate, — he in charge of the garden, she in charge of the barn-yard. Whether from ill-luck, or from weariness and from disgust of life, he had found nothing since this great mis- fortune ; he had not even looked for anything. And during this period of idleness his little savings had quickly melted away. Although he was very sus- picious, I succeeded in taming him a little. I put into the form of an impersonal narrative the simple and poignant tragedy that he related to me one day when I, greatly moved by his misfortune, had shown more interest and pity than usual. Here it is.

When they had examined the gardens, the ter- races, the conservatories, and the gardener's house at the park entrance, sumptuously clothed with ivies, climbing plants, and wild vines, they came back slowly, without speaking to each other, their souls in anguish and suspense, toward the lawn