Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/397

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often, in the evening, after dinner, he went out again, saying that he had an important rendezvous with the English. I did not see him again until very late at night, when he always came home a little drunk, from having taken too many cocktails. Every week he invited friends to dinner, — coach- men, valets de chambre, race-track people, — these latter very comical and weird with their twisted legs, their deformed knees, and their appearance of crapulous cynicism and ambiguous sex. They talked horses, turf, women, told all sorts of dis- agreeable stories about the morals of their masters, and then, becoming excited by the fumes of the wine, began on politics. William was a superbly uncompromising and terribly violent reactionary.

"The man for me," he cried, " is Cassagnac. A rude lad, Cassagnac ! They are afraid of him. How he can write ! What raps he gives ! Yes, let the dirty rascals tackle this strenuous chap if they dare!"

And suddenly, at the height of the noise, Eugenie rose, paler and with shining eyes, and rushed for the door. The little one entered, his face wearing an expression of astonishment at sight of these unusual people, of these empty bottles, of this reckless pillage of the table. Eugenie had saved a glass of champagne and a plate of goodies for him. Then they both disappeared into, the adjoining room.