Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/438

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Greatly impressed,—I tell the story of his discovery as he told it himself before the magistrates,—Joseph passed through the kitchen, and then through the passage-way into which opened, at the right, the fruit-room, the bath-room, and the ante-room; at the left, the servants' hall, the dining-room, and the little salon; and, at the end, the grand salon. The dining-room presented a spectacle of frightful disorder, of real pillage. The furniture was upset; the sideboard had been ransacked from top to bottom; its drawers, as well as those of the two side-tables, were turned upside down on the carpet; and on the table, among empty boxes and a confused heap of valueless articles, a candle was burning itself out in a brass candlestick. But it was in the servants' hall that the spectacle became really imposing. In the servants' hall—I believe I have already noted the fact—there was a very deep closet, protected by a very complicated system of locks, the secret of which was known only to Madame. There slept the famous and venerable silver service, in three heavy boxes, with steel corners and cross-pieces. The boxes were screwed to the floor, and held fast against the wall by solid iron clamps. But now the three boxes, torn from their mysterious and inviolable tabernacle, lay yawning and empty, in the middle of the room. At sight of these, Joseph gave the alarm. With all the strength of his lungs, he shouted up the stairs: