Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/404

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begins his inspection, followed by the anxious and respectful hostlers. Nothing escapes his suspicious and sidewise glances, — a bucket not in its place, a spot on the steel chains, a scratch on the silvers and brasses. And he growls, flies into a passion, and threatens in a phlegm-choked voice, his bronchial tubes being still obstructed by the fer- mentation of the champagne drunk the night before. He enters each box, and passes his white- gloved hand over the manes, necks, bellies, and legs of the horses. If he finds the slightest trace of dirt on his glove, he jaws the hostlers; there is a flood of filthy words and insulting oaths, and a tempest of furious gestures. Then he examines minutely the horses' hoofs, smells of the oats in the marble mangers, feels of the litter, and long and carefully studies the form, color, and density of the dung, which never suits him.

' ' "What kind of dung do you call that, I should like to know? It is the dung of a cab-horse. Be sure that I see nothing like it to-morrow, pack of good-for-nothings that you are ! ' '

Sometimes the baron puts in an appearance, glad of a chance to talk with his stud-groom. Scarcely does he notice his master's presence. The latter's timid questions he answers with curt and snarling words. Never does he say "Monsieur the Baron." The baron, on the contrary, is almost tempted to say : ' ' Monsieur the coachman ! ' ' Afraid that