Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/53

This page has been validated.
47
A CHAMBERMAID'S DIARY.

affairs never open the door for any dispute whatever. They immediately take advantage of it, to avoid payment, especially with the little dealers who cannot afford the costs of a lawsuit, and the poor devils who are defenceless. Naturally, they never give anything, except from time to time to the church, for they are very pious. As for the poor, they may die of hunger before the door of the Priory, imploring and wailing. The door remains always closed.

"I even believe," said the haberdasher, "that, if they could take something from the beggar's sack, they would do it remorselessly, with a savage joy."

And she added, by way of a monstrous example:

"All of us here who earn our living with difficulty, when giving hallowed bread, buy cake for the purpose. It is a point of propriety and pride. They, the dirty misers, they distribute,—what? Bread, my dear young woman. And not first-class bread at that, not even white bread. No, workman's bread. Is it not shameful,—people as rich as they are? Why, one day the wife of Paumier, the cooper, heard Madame Lanlaire say to the priest, who was mildly reproaching her for this avarice: 'Monsieur le curé, that is always good enough for these people.'"

One must be just, even with his masters. Though there is only one voice in regard to Madame,