Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/383

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the rich only?



The children had begun to play again on the lawn. She hated them with a savage hatred ; she felt a desire to insult them, to beat them, to kill them; to insult and kill also this insolent and cruel woman, this egoistic mother, who had just uttered abominable words, words that condemned not to be born the future humanity that lay sleeping in her womb. But she restrained herself, and said simply, in response to a new warning, more imperative than the other:

"We will be careful, Madame the Countess; we will try."

"That's right; for I cannot too often repeat it to you, — this is a principle here, a principle upon which I cannot compromise."

And she added, with an inflection in her voice that was almost caressing:

" Moreover, believe me, when one is not rich, it is better to have no children."

The man, to please his future mistress, said, by way of conclusion:

' ' Surely, surely. Madame the Countess speaks truly."

But there was hatred within him. The sombre and fierce gleam that passed over his eyes like a flash gave the lie to the forced servility of these last words. The countess did not see this mur- derous gleam, for she had fixed her eyes instinct- ively on the person of the woman whom she had just condemned to sterility or inf