Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/260

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erior, I was



able to judge of its habits and morals, and, although furniture lies as well as faces, I was rarely mistaken. In spite of the sumptuous and decent appearance of this establishment, I felt at once the disorganization that prevailed there, the broken ties, the intrigue, the haste, the feverish life, the private and hidden filth, — not sufficiently- hidden, however, to prevent me from detecting the odor, always the same ! Moreover, in the first looks exchanged between new and old servants there is a sort of masonic sign, generally spon- taneous and involuntary, which immediately in- forms you regarding the general spirit of the establishment. As in all other professions, ser- vants are very jealous of each other, and they defend themselves ferociously against new-comers. Even I, who am so easy in my ways, have suffered from these jealousies a:nd hatreds, especially on the part of women who were enraged at my beauty. But, for the contrary reason, men — I must do them this justice — have always welcomed me cordially.

In the look of the valet de chambre who had opened the door for me at the house of Mme. de Tarves I had clearly read these words: " This is a queer box . . . with ups and downs . . . noth- ing like security . . . but plenty of fun, all the same. You can come in, my little one." So, in making my way to the dressing