Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/415

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retired into his room, -where he played solitaire and rearranged his collection of pipes in new harmonies. Madame remained all the time in her room, where, stretched upon a long chair, she read love stories, interrupting her reading only to rearrange her closets and her wardrobe, with rage and frenzy, — such a pillage ! They met only at meals. At first, not being familiar with their manias, I thought they were going to throw plates, knives, and bottles at each other's heads. Nothing of the kind, alas! It was at these times that they were the best behaved, and that Madame contrived to appear like a woman of society. They talked about their little affairs as if nothing had happened, — a little more ceremoniously than usual, with a little more cold and stilted politeness, — that was all. One would have said they were dining in town. Then, the meal finished, with serious air, sad eyes, and very dignified, they retired to their respective rooms. Madame began again on her novels and drawers. Monsieur on his solitaire and his pipes. Some- times Monsieur went to pass an hour or two at his club, but rarely. And they exchanged a furious correspondence, hen-shaped or heart-shaped love- letters, with the transmission of which I was entrusted. All day long I played the letter-carrier, bearing terrible ultimatums, threats, supplications, pardons, and tears, from the room of Madame to that of Monsieur. It was enough to make one die of laughter.