enthusiasm and emulation of a novice. Oh! the vague hopes and the uncertain ambitions that I cherished there, in that fallacious ideal of pleasure and vice!
Alas! yes, one is young, one knows nothing of life, one entertains imaginations and dreams. Oh! the dreams! Stupidities! I have supped on them, in the words of M. Xavier, a prettily perverted boy, of whom I shall have something to say later.
And I have rolled. Oh! how I have rolled! It is frightful when I think of it.
Yet I am not old, but I have had a very close view of things; I have seen people naked. And I have sniffed the odor of their linen, of their skin, of their soul. In spite of perfumes, they do not smell good. All that a respected interior, all that a respectable family, can hide in the way of filth, shameful vices, and base crimes, beneath the appearance of virtue,—ah! I know it well. It makes no difference if they are rich, if they have rags of silk and velvet and gilded furniture; it makes no difference if they wash in silver tubs and make a great show,—I know them. They are not clean. And their heart is more disgusting than was my mother's bed.
Oh! how a poor domestic is to be pitied, and how lonely she is! She may live in houses full of joyous and noisy people, but how lonely she is always! Solitude does not consist in living alone;