Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/64

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scullions, thick-set and clumsy, and with the slow and swaying gait of animals. How queerly they are rigged out, in their holiday garb,—perfect mops. They smell powerfully of the country, and it is easy to see that they have not served in Paris. They look at me with curiosity,—a curiosity at once distrustful and sympathetic. They note enviously, in detail, my hat, my closely-fitting gown, my little baize jacket, and my umbrella rolled in its green silk cover. My costume—that of a lady—astonishes them, and especially, I think, my coquettish and smart way of wearing it. They nudge each other with their elbows, make enormous eyes, and open their mouths immoderately, to show each other my luxury and my style. And I go tripping along, nimbly and lightly, with my pointed shoes, and boldly lifting up my dress, which makes a sound of rustling silk against the skirts beneath. What can you expect? For my part, I am glad to be admired.

As they pass by me, I hear them say to each other, in a whisper:

"That is the new chambermaid at the Priory."

One of them, short, fat, red-faced, asthmatic, and who seems to have great difficulty in carrying an immense paunch on legs widely spread apart, undoubtedly to the better steady it, approaches me with a smile, a thick, glutinous smile on her gluttonous lips: