The novel presents itself as the diary of Mademoiselle Célestine R., a chambermaid. Her first employer fetishizes her boots, and she later discovers the elderly man dead, with one of her boots stuffed into his mouth. Later on, Célestine becomes the maid of an upper class couple, Lanlaire, and is perfectly aware that she is entangled in the power struggles of their marriage. Célestine ends by becoming a café hostess, who mistreats her servants in turn! Excerpt: "To-day, September 14, at three o'clock in the afternoon, in mild, gray, and rainy weather, I have entered upon my new place. It is the twelfth in two years. Of course I say nothing of the places which I held in previous years. It would be impossible for me to count them. Ah! I can boast of having seen interiors and faces, and dirty souls. And the end is not yet. Judging from the really extraordinary and dizzy way in which I have rolled, here and there, successively, from houses to employment-bureaus, and from employment-bureaus to houses, from the Bois de Boulogne to the Bastille, from the Observatory to Montmartre, from the Ternes to the Gobelins, everywhere, without ever succeeding in establishing myself anywhere, the masters in these days must be hard to please. It is incredible..."