Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/274

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

during these operations she was continually saying:

"You see, Mary, a woman must be well groomed. Her skin must be white and soft. You have a pretty face; you must learn how to set it off. You have a very fine bust; you must give it its full value. Your legs are superb; you must be able to show them. It is more suitable."

I was content. Yet within I still was not free from anxiety and obscure suspicions. I could not forget the surprising stories that they told me in the servants' hall. There, when I praised Madame and enumerated her kindnesses toward me, the cook said:

"Yes, yes, that's all right; but wait and see what follows. What she wants of you is to be intimate with her son, that he may be kept in the house more, and thus may cost these curmudgeons less money. She has already tried that with others. She has even induced friends of hers to come here, — married women, — young girls, — yes, young girls, the trollop! But M. Xavier does not fall in with this. He prefers to roam elsewhere. You will see; you will see."

And she added, with a sort of hateful regret: "If I were in your place, how I would blackmail them! I would not hesitate, be sure."

These words made me slightly ashamed of my comrades in the servants' hall. But, to reassure myself, I preferred to believe that the cook was jealous of Madame's evident preference for me.