Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/47

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Towards the end of the dinner, Joseph, still without saying a word, took from his apron-pocket the "Libre Parole," and began to read it attentively, and Marianne, softened by having drunk two full decanters of cider, became more amiable. Sprawling on her chair, her sleeves rolled up and revealing bare arms, her cap set a little awry upon her uncombed hair, she asked me where I came from, where I had been, if I had had good places, and if I was against the Jews. And we talked for some time, in an almost friendly way. In my turn I asked her for information concerning the house, whether many people came and what sort of people, whether Monsieur was attentive to the chambermaids, whether Madame had a lover.

Oh! but you should have seen her head, and that of Joseph, too, whose reading was suddenly interrupted, now and then, by my questions. How scandalized and ridiculous they were! You have no idea how far behind the times they are in the country. They know nothing, they see nothing, they understand nothing; the most natural thing abashes them. And yet, he with his awkward respectability, she with her virtuous disorder,—nothing will get it out of my mind that they are intimate. Oh! indeed, one must really be in a bad way to be satisfied with a type like that.

"It is easy to see that you come from Paris,