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By Gustave Flaubert

For half a century the housewives of Pont-l'Eveque had envied Madame
Aubain her servant Felicite.

For a hundred francs a year, she cooked and did the housework, washed,
ironed, mended, harnessed the horse, fattened the poultry, made the
butter and remained faithful to her mistress--although the latter was
by no means an agreeable person.

Madame Aubain had married a comely youth without any money, who died
in the beginning of 1809, leaving her with two young children and a
number of debts. She sold all her property excepting the farm of
Toucques and the farm of Geffosses, the income of which barely
amounted to 5,000 francs; then she left her house in Saint-Melaine,
and moved into a less pretentious one which had belonged to her
ancestors and stood back of the market-place. This house, with its
slate-covered roof, was built between a passage-way and a narrow
street that led to the river. The interior was so unevenly graded that
it caused people to stumble. A narrow hall separated the kitchen from
the parlour, where Madame Aubain sat all day in a straw armchair near
the window. Eight mahogany chairs stood....
(ID 36745)

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