"You are the new chambermaid at the Priory? Your name is Célestine ? You arrived from Paris four days ago?"
She knows everything already. She is familiar with everything, and with me. And there is nothing about this paunchy body, about this walking goatskin, that so amuses me as the musketeer hat,—a large, black, felt hat, whose plumes sway in the breeze.
"My name is Rose, Mam'zelle Rose; I am at M. Mauger's, the next place to yours; he is a former captain. Perhaps you have already seen him?"
"You might have seen him over the hedge that separates the two estates. He is always working in the garden. He is still a fine man, you know."
We walk more slowly, for Mam'zelle Rose is almost stifling. She wheezes like a foundered mare. With every breath her chest expands and contracts, then to expand again. She says, chopping her words:
"I have one of my attacks. Oh! how people suffer these days! It is incredible."
Then, between wheezes and hiccoughs, she encourages me:
"You must come and see me, my little one. If you need anything, good advice, no matter