de Chavigni by sight, and that the steward had promised her two louis a month and her meals in her own room.
"Where do you come from? What's your name?"
"I come from Lyons; I am a widow, and my name is Dubois."
"I am delighted to have you in my service. I shall see you again."
She then left me, and I could not help thinking her a very interesting woman, as her speech was as dignified as her appearance. I went down to the kitchen and found the cook, an honest-looking fellow, who told me his name was Rosier. I had known his brother in the service of the French ambassador at Venice. He told me that supper would be ready at nine o'clock.
"I never eat by myself," said I.
"So I hear, sir; and I will serve supper accordingly."
"What are your wages?"
"Four louis a month."
I then went to see the rest of my people. I found two sharp-looking footmen, and the first of them told me he would see I had what wine I wanted. Then I inspected my bath, which seemed convenient. An apothecary was preparing certain matters for my imaginary cure. Finally, I took a walk round my garden, and before going in I went into the gate-keeper's, where I found a numerous family, and some girls who were not to be despised. I was delighted to hear everybody speak French, and I talked with them some time.
When I got back to my room, I found Le Duc occupied in unpacking my mails; and telling him to give my linen to Madame Dubois, I went into a pretty cabinet adjoining, where there was a desk and all materials necessary for writing. This closet had only one window facing north, but it commanded a view capable of inspiring the finest thoughts. I was amusing myself with the contemplation of this sublime prospect, when I heard a knock at my door. It was my pretty housekeeper, who wore a modest and pleasant expression, and did not in the least resemble a person who bears a complaint.
"What can I do for you, madam?"
"I hope you will be good enough to order your man to be polite to me?"
"Certainly; how has he failed in politeness?"
"He might possibly tell you in no respect. He wanted to kiss me, and as I refused he thought himself justified in being rather insolent."
"By laughing at me. You will pardon me, sir, but I do not like people who make game."
"You are right; they are sure to be either silly or malicious. Make yourself easy; Le Duc shall understand that you are to be treated with respect. You will please sup with me."
Le Duc came in soon after, and I told him to behave respectfully towards Madame Dubois.
"She's a sly cat," said the rascal; "she wouldn't let me kiss her."
"I am afraid you are a bad fellow."
"Is she your servant or your mistress?"
"She might be my wife."
"Oh! well, that's different. That will do; Madame Dubois shall have all respect, and I will try my luck somewhere else."
I had a delicious supper. I was contented with my cook, my butler, my housekeeper, and even with my Spaniard, who waited capitally at table.
After supper I sent out Le Duc and the other servant, and as soon as I was alone with my too lovely housekeeper, who had behaved at table like a woman of the world, I begged her to tell me her history.
"My history, sir, is short enough, and not very interesting. I was-- born at Lyons, and my relations took me to Lausanne, as I have been told, for I was too young at the time to remember anything about it. My father, who was in the service of Madame d'Ermance, left me an orphan when I was fourteen. Madame d'Ermance was fond of me, and knowing that my mother's means were small she took me to live with her. I had attained my seventeenth year when I entered the service of Lady Montagu as lady's maid, and some time after I was married to Dubois, an old servant of the house. We went to England, and three years after my marriage I lost my husband. The climate of England affected my lungs, and I was obliged to beg my lady to allow me to leave her service. The worthy lady saw how weak I was, and paid the expenses of my journey and loaded me with rich presents.