Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/355

This page needs to be proofread.





being a palliation of her ugliness, this hair only- aggravated it, making it more striking, fulgurating, irreparable.

Tiiis is not all. Every movement that she made was clumsy. She could not take a step without running against something; everything she took into her hands she was sure to let fall; her arms hit against the furniture, and swept off everything that was lying on it. When walking, she stepped on your toes and dug her elbows into your breast; then she excused herself with a harsh and sullen voice, a voice that breathed into your face a tainted, corpse-like odor. As soon as she entered the ante- room there at once arose among us a sort of irri- tated complaint, which quickly changed into insult- ing recriminations and ended in growls. The wretched creature was hooted as she crossed the room, rolling along on her short legs, passed on from one to another like a ball, until she reached her bench at the end of the room. And every one pretended to draw away from her, with significant gestures of disgust, and grimaces that were accom- panied with a lifting of handkerchiefs. Then, in the empty space instantaneously formed behind the sanitary cordon that isolated her from us, the dismal girl sat leaning against the wall, silent and detested, without a complaint, without revolt, with- out seeming to understand that all this contempt was