Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/454

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

In short, Celestine, we must leave on good terms with them, — with Madame, especially."

I followed Joseph's advice, and, during the months that we had to remain at the Priory, I promised myself that I -would be a model chamber- maid, — ^that I would be a pearl, too. I lavished upon them all my intelligence, all my willingness, all my delicacy. Madame became human with me; little by little, she became really my friend. I do not think it was my care alone that brought about this change in Madame's character. Madame's pride, and even her reasons for living, had received a blow. As after some great sorrow, after the overwhelming loss of some cherished darling, she no longer struggled, but gently and plaintively abandoned herself to the dejection of her conquered nerves and her humiliated pride, seeming to seek from those about her only consolation, pity, and confidence. The hell of the Priory was transformed for everybody into a real paradise.

It was in the height of this family peace, of this domestic calm, that I announced one morning to Madame that I was under the necessity of leav- ing her. I invented a romantic story; I was to return to my native province, there to marry a worthy fellow who hqd long been waiting for me. In words of tenderness I expressed my pain, my regrets, my appreciation of Madame's kindness, etc. Madame was overwhelmed. She tried to