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a fistful of crumpled bank notes and a good deal of silver coin,
which he piled on the bureau indiscriminately with keys, knife,
handkerchief, and whatever else happened to be in his pockets. She
was overcome with sleep, and answered him with little half
He thought it very discouraging that his wife, who was the
sole object of his existence, evinced so little interest in things
which concerned him, and valued so little his conversation.
Mr. Pontellier had forgotten the bonbons and peanuts for the
boys. Notwithstanding he loved them very much, and went into the
adjoining room where they slept to take a look at them and make
sure that they were resting comfortably. The result of his
investigation was far from satisfactory. He turned and shifted the
youngsters about in bed. One of them began to kick and talk about
a basket full of crabs.
Mr. Pontellier returned to his wife with the information that
Raoul had a high fever and needed looking after. Then he lit a
cigar and went and sat near the open door
to smoke it.
Mrs. Pontellier was quite sure Raoul had no fever. He had
gone to bed perfectly well, she said, and nothing had ailed him all
day. Mr. Pontellier was too well acquainted with fever symptoms to
be mistaken. He assured her the child was consuming at that moment
in the next room.
He reproached his wife with her inattention, her habitual
neglect of the children. If it was not a mother's place to look
after children, whose on earth was it? He himself had his hands
full with his brokerage business. He could not be in two places at
once; making a living for his family on the street, and staying at
home to see that no harm befell them. He talked in a monotonous,
Mrs. Pontellier sprang out of bed and went into the next room.
She soon came back and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning her head
down on the pillow. She said nothing, and refused to answer her
husband when he questioned her. When his cigar was smoked out he
went to bed, and in half a minute he was fast asleep.