Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/382

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"You have no children? " "We had a little girl. She is dead." "Ah! that is well; that is very well," ap- proved the countess, in an indifferent tone. "But you are both young; you may have others yet." " They are hardly to be desired, Madame the Countess, but they are more easily obtained than an income of three htmdred francs."

The countess's eyes took on a severe expression.

' ' I must further warn you that I will have no children on the premises, absolutely none. If you were to have another child, I should be obliged to discharge you at once. Oh! no children! They cry, they are in the way, they ruin everything, they frighten the horses and spread diseases. No, no, not for anything in the world would I tolerate a child on my premises. So you are warned. Govern yourselves accordingly ; take your precautions."

Just then one of the children, who had fallen, came, crying, to take refuge in his mother's gown. She took him in her arms, lulled him with sooth- ing words, caressed him, kissed him tenderly, and sent him back to rejoin the two others, pacified and smiling. The woman suddenly felt her heart growing heavy. She thought that she would not be able to keep back her tears. Joy, tenderness, love, motherhood, then, were for