Martin Andersen Nexø.

Ditte, daughter of Man online

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hundreds of other things which were not so self-
evident. She was plumped down into a world new
and full of luxury and costly things, the existence of
which she had never dreamed of, and which were
often difficult to picture as valuable as they really were.



288 DITTE: DAUGHTER OF MAN

There were rooms and rooms full of them, and every
single one of them had to be treated in its own par-
ticular way. Walking here was like dancing on rotten
eggs, and Ditte was not at all happy. A plain glass
bowl according to the lady's assertion, was worth many
hundreds of crowns — God help Ditte if she broke it!
She did not, but she poured water into a flower vase
that on absolutely no account could stand water in it,
and it was spoiled directly, although Ditte could never
see any difference in it.

The lady took this sort of thing more calmly than
Ditte herself. Ditte had lost her sense of proportion
by going blundering about in the dark, never knowing
when she had committed a crime or no, and could get
quite hysterical over it. At such times she would rush
up to her room and lie crying on the bed, and Louise
would be obliged to fetch her down.

"You are a perfect silly in a gentleman's house!'*
said she comfortingly, "but certainly you do your best,
and no one can say you don't. Now just you go down-
stairs. The mistress is quite sorry for you. And do
see and give notice, and get a new place — in this house
they kill a couple of girls every year. It's just like it
was at home on the estate, where they wore out a pair
of carriage horses every year, so that they had to be
shot. But as for us, no one will be such a spendthrift as
to waste powder and shot on us: we must go on till we
drop." Her legs were all swollen from overwork, and
quite dropsical. She was betrothed to a navvy, and
was only waiting till she had saved enough to get
married.



DITTE IS PROMOTED 289

But Ditte did not want to give notice ; she had fallen
head over heels out of two places — that was enough !
It was the first time in her life that she knew well
enough that she did not give satisfaction. They had
not been satisfied with her either in the other places
where she had been in service; but that was different.
Ditte began to suspect that it was just as impossible
to give satisfaction as to creep up to the moon. But
here she was discontented with herself; she felt that
she was not capable of what she had undertaken, and
it worried her. It had always been her pride to do her
work properly.

Ditte had promised herself much from the capital —
Not so much in the way of amusement, for in this way
she was easy to satisfy. The early responsibility in
her home had given her experience and developed her.
She well knew that she was capable and set high aims
before herself. But out there in the country it was
scarcely proper housekeeping; one had porridge of one
sort or another at nearly every meal. Table cloths
were seldom used, and the beds were m


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Online LibraryMartin Andersen NexøDitte, daughter of Man → online text (page 18 of 23)