You are here

قراءة كتاب White Lies

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
White Lies

White Lies

تقييمك:
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
المؤلف:
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

at her feet, was standing against the corner of the Auberge, in a mighty careless attitude, but doing nothing, so most likely listening with all her ears and soul. Dard, however, did not see her, his back being turned to her as he sat; so he replied at his ease,—

"I consent," said he very coolly: "that is your affair; but permit me," and here he clenched his teeth at remembrance of his wrongs, "to say that I will no more be a scullery man without wages to these high-minded starvelings, these illustrious beggars." Then he heated himself red-hot. "I will not even be their galley slave. Next, I have done my last little odd job in this world," yelled the now infuriated factotum, bouncing up to his feet in brief fury. "Of two things one: either Jacintha quits those aristos, or I leave Jacin—eh?—ah!—oh!—ahem! How—'ow d'ye do, Jacintha?" And his roar ended in a whine, as when a dog runs barking out, and receives in full career a cut from his master's whip, his generous rage turns to whimper with ludicrous abruptness. "I was just talking of you, Jacintha," quavered Dard in conclusion.

"I heard you, Dard," replied Jacintha slowly, softly, grimly.

Dard withered.

It was a lusty young woman, with a comely peasant face somewhat freckled, and a pair of large black eyes surmounted by coal-black brows. She stood in a bold attitude, her massive but well-formed arms folded so that the pressure of each against the other made them seem gigantic, and her cheek red with anger, and her eyes glistening like basilisks upon citizen Dard. She looked so grand, with her lowering black brows, that even Riviere felt a little uneasy. As for Jacintha, she was evidently brooding with more ire than she chose to utter before a stranger. She just slowly unclasped her arms, and, keeping her eye fixed on Dard, pointed with a domineering gesture towards Beaurepaire. Then the doughty Dard seemed no longer master of his limbs: he rose slowly, with his eyes fastened to hers, and was moving off like an ill-oiled automaton in the direction indicated; but at that a suppressed snigger began to shake Riviere's whole body till it bobbed up and down on the seat. Dard turned to him for sympathy.

"There, citizen," he cried, "do you see that imperious gesture? That means you promised to dig in the aristocrat's garden this afternoon, so march! Here, then, is one that has gained nothing by kings being put down, for I am ruled with a mopstick of iron. Thank your stars, citizen, that you are not in may place."

"Dard," retorted Jacintha, "if you don't like your place, I'd quit it. There are two or three young men down in the village will be glad to take it."

"I won't give them the chance, the vile egotists!" cried Dard. And he returned to the chateau and little odd jobs.

Jacintha hung behind, lowered her eyes, put on a very deferential manner, and thanked Edouard for the kind sentiments he had uttered; but at the same time she took the liberty to warn him against believing the extravagant stories Dard had been telling about her mistress's poverty. She said the simple fact was that the baron had contracted debts, and the baroness, being the soul of honor, was living in great economy to pay them off. Then, as to Dard getting no supper up at Beaurepaire, a complaint that appeared to sting her particularly, she assured him she was alone to blame: the baroness would be very angry if she knew it. "But," said she, "Dard is an egotist. Perhaps you may have noticed that trait in him."

"Glimpses of it," replied Riviere, laughing.

"Monsieur, he is so egotistic that he has not a friend in the world but me. I forgive him, because I know the reason; he has never had a headache or a heartache in his life."

Edouard, aged twenty, and a male, did not comprehend this piece of feminine logic one bit: and, while he puzzled over it in silence, Jacintha went on to say that if she were to fill her egotist's paunch, she should never know whether he came to Beaurepaire for her, or himself. "Now, Dard," she added, "is no beauty, monsieur; why, he is three inches shorter than I am."

"You are joking! he looks a foot," said Edouard.

"He is no scholar neither, and I have had to wipe up many a sneer and many a sarcasm on his account; but up to now I have always been able to reply that this five feet one of egotism loves me sincerely; and the moment I doubt this, I give him the sack,—poor little fellow!"

"In a word," said Riviere, a little impatiently, "the family at Beaurepaire are not in such straits as he pretends?"

"Monsieur, do I look like one starved?"

"By Jove, no! by Ceres, I mean."

"Are my young mistresses wan, and thin?"

"Treason! blasphemy! ah, no! By Venus and Hebe, no!"

Jacintha smiled at this enthusiastic denial, and also because her sex is apt to smile when words are used they do not understand.

"Dard is a fool," suggested Riviere, by way of general solution. He added, "And yet, do you know I wish every word he said had been true." (Jacintha's eyes expressed some astonishment.) "Because then you and I would have concerted means to do them kindnesses, secretly; for I see you are no ordinary servant; you love your young mistresses. Do you not?"

These simple words seemed to touch a grander chord in Jacintha's nature.

"Love them?" said she, clasping her hands; "ah, sir, do not be offended; but, believe me, it is no small thing to serve an old, old family. My grandfather lived and died with them; my father was their gamekeeper, and fed to his last from off the poor baron's plate (and now they have killed him, poor man); my mother died in the house and was buried in the sacred ground near the family chapel. They put an inscription on her tomb praising her fidelity and probity. Do you think these things do not sink into the heart of the poor?—praise on her tomb, and not a word on their own, but just the name, and when each was born and died, you know. Ah! the pride of the mean is dirt; but the pride of the noble is gold."

"For, look you, among parvenues I should be a servant, and nothing more; in this proud family I am a humble friend; of course they are not always gossiping with me like vulgar masters and mistresses; if they did, I should neither respect nor love them; but they all smile on me whenever I come into the room, even the baroness herself. I belong to them, and they belong to me, by ties without number, by the many kind words in many troubles, by the one roof that sheltered us a hundred years, and the grave where our bones lie together till the day of judgment."*

Pages