Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/86

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come down for some hot water for a belated bath. Madame, who had gone to town, had not yet returned. And I was chattering in the kitchen with Marianne, when Monsieur, cordial, joyous, unreserved, and noisy, brought in father Pantois. He immediately had him served with bread, cheese, and cider. And then he began to talk with him.

The good man excited my pity, so worn, thin, and dirtily clad was he. His pantaloons were in rags; his cap was a mass of filth. And his open shirt revealed a part of his bare breast, chapped, crimped, seasoned like old leather. He ate greedily.

"Well, father Pantois," cried Monsieur, rubbing his hands, "that goes better, eh?"

The old man, with his mouth full, thanked him.

"You are very good. Monsieur Lanlaire. Because, you see, since this morning, at four o'clock, when I left home, I have put nothing in my stomach,—nothing at all."

"Well, eat away, father Pantois. Regale yourself, while you are about it."

"You are very good. Monsieur Lanlaire. Pray excuse me."

The old man cut off enormous pieces of bread, which he was a long time in chewing, for he had no teeth left. When he was partially satisfied, Monsieur asked him: