Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/43

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37
A CHAMBERMAID'S DIARY.

some amusement out of it, at times. At dessert, Madame, who, during the meal, had been continually sniffing at my hands, my arms, and my waist, said, in a clear and cutting tone:

"I do not like the use of perfumes."

As I did not answer, pretending to ignore the fact that the remark was addressed to me, she added:

"Do you hear, Célestine?"

"Very well, Madame."

Then I looked stealthily at poor Monsieur, who likes perfumes, or who at least likes my perfume. With his elbows on the table, apparently indifferent, but really humiliated and distressed, he was following the flight of a wasp which had been lingering over a plate of fruit. And there was now a dismal silence in this dining-room, which the twilight had just invaded, and something inexpressibly sad, something unspeakably heavy, fell from the ceiling on these two beings, concerning whom I really asked myself of what use they are and what they are doing on earth.

"The lamp, Célestine."

It was Madame's voice, sharper than ever in the silence and the shade. It made me start.

"Do you not see that it is dark? I should not have to ask you for the lamp. Let it be the last time."

While lighting the lamp,—this lamp which can