Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/54

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they have nothing against Monsieur. They do not detest Monsieur. All agree in declaring that Monsieur is not proud, that he would be generous to people, and would do much good, if he could. The trouble is that he cannot. Monsieur is nothing in his own house,—less than the servants, badly treated as they are, less than the cat, to whom everything is allowed. Little by little, and for the sake of tranquillity, he has abrogated all his authority as master of the house, all his dignity as a man, into the hands of his wife. Madame directs, regulates, organizes, administers everything. Madame attends to the stable, to the yard, to the garden, to the cellar, and to the woodhouse, and is sure to find something amiss everywhere. Never do things go to her liking, and she continually pretends that they are being robbed. What an eye she has! It is inconceivable. They play her no tricks, be sure, for she knows them all. She pays the bills, collects the dividends and rents, and makes the bargains. She has the devices of an old bookkeeper, the indelicacies of a corrupt process-server, the ingenious strategy of a usurer. It is incredible. Of course, she holds the purse, and ferociously; and she never loosens the strings, except to let in more money. She leaves Monsieur without a sou; the poor man has hardly enough to buy his tobacco. In the midst of his wealth, he is even more destitute than the rest of us here.