Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/295

This page needs to be proofread.


semble M.



Xavier's. Then they intrusted to me tasks less ecclesiastical, — quite profane, in fact, — the mak- ing of fine and delicate linen garments, among which I again found myself in my element. I participated in the making of elegant bridal trousseaux, of rich baby-linen, ordered of the good sisters by charitable and wealthy ladies who were interested in the establishment.

At first, after so many shocks, in spite of the bad food, the chaplain's pantaloons, the lack of liberty, in spite of all the fierce exploitation that I could plainly see, I felt a sense of real relief amid this calm and silence. I did not reason much; I felt rather a need of prayer. Remorse over my past conduct, or, rather, the weariness resulting from it, prompted me to fervent repentance. Sev- eral times in succession I confessed to the chap- lain. He was a queer man, this chaplain, very round and red, a little rude in manner and in speech, and afflicted with a disagreeable body- smell. He asked me strange questions, and in- sisted on knowing my favorite authors.

" Armand Silvestre? Yes. To be sure, he is dirty. I would not give you his works instead of the ' Imitation.' No, not that; yet he is not dan- gerous. But you must not read impious books, books against religion, — Voltaire, for instance. No, never; never read Voltaire, — that is a mortal sin, — or Renan, or Anatole France. They are dangerous."