Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/389

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dismal mountebanks around me, among 'whom I am growing more stupid from day to day. If I were not sustained by the strange feeling that gives a new and powerful interest to my present life, I think it would not be long before I, too, should plunge into the abyss of stupidity and vileness which I see continually widening around me. Ah! whether Joseph succeeds or not, whether he changes his mind about me or not, I have come to a final decision; I will no longer stay here. A few hours more, another whole night of anxiety, and then I shall be settled regarding my future.

I am going to spend this night in a further re- vival of old memories, perhaps for the last time. It is the only way that I have of avoiding the anxieties of the present and not splitting my head over the dreams of to-morrow. In reality these recollections amuse me, and deepen my contempt. What singular and monotonous faces, all the same, I have met on my path of servitude ! When I see them again, in ihy mind's eye, they do not make on me the impression of really living beings. They live, or at least give the illusion of life, only through their vices. Take away the vices that sus- tain them as bandages sustain mummies, and they are no longer even phantoms , . . they are nothing but dust . . . ashes . . . death.

Oh ! that was a famous house, for instance, to