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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Mrs. Pontellier was by that time thoroughly awake. She began
to cry a little, and wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her peignoir.
Blowing out the candle, which her husband had left burning,
she slipped her bare feet into a pair of satin mules
at the foot of the bed and went out on the porch, where she sat
down in the wicker chair and began to rock gently to and fro.

It was then past midnight. The cottages were all dark.
A single faint light gleamed out from the hallway of the house.
There was no sound abroad except the hooting of an old owl in the
top of a water-oak, and the everlasting voice of the sea, that was
not uplifted at that soft hour. It broke like a mournful lullaby
upon the night.

The tears came so fast to Mrs. Pontellier's eyes that the
damp sleeve of her peignoir no longer served to dry them.
She was holding the back of her chair with one hand; her loose sleeve
had slipped almost to the shoulder of her uplifted arm. Turning,
she thrust her face, steaming and wet, into the bend of her arm,
and she went on crying there, not caring any longer to dry her face,
her eyes, her arms. She could not have told why she was crying.
Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life.
They seemed never before to have weighed much against the abundance
of her husband's kindness and a uniform devotion which had come to
be tacit and self-understood.

An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some
unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with
a vague anguish. It was like a shadow, like a mist passing across
her soul's summer day. It was strange and unfamiliar; it was a
mood. She did not sit there inwardly upbraiding her husband,
lamenting at Fate, which had directed her footsteps to the path
which they had taken. She was just having a good cry all to
herself. The mosquitoes made merry over her, biting her firm,
round arms and nipping at her bare insteps.

The little stinging, buzzing imps succeeded in dispelling a
mood which might have held her there in the darkness half a night

The following morning Mr. Pontellier was up in good time to
take the rockaway which was to convey him to the steamer at the
wharf. He was returning to the city to his business, and they
would not see him again at the Island till the coming Saturday. He
had regained his composure, which seemed to have been somewhat
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