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

There was the whistle of a railway train somewhere in the distance,
and the midnight bells were ringing. They met no one in their short walk.

The "pigeon house" stood behind a locked gate, and a shallow
parterre that had been somewhat neglected. There was a small
front porch, upon which a long window and the front door opened.
The door opened directly into the parlor; there was no side entry.
Back in the yard was a room for servants, in which old Celestine
had been ensconced.

Edna had left a lamp burning low upon the table. She had
succeeded in making the room look habitable and homelike. There
were some books on the table and a lounge near at hand. On the
floor was a fresh matting, covered with a rug or two; and on the
walls hung a few tasteful pictures. But the room was filled with
flowers. These were a surprise to her. Arobin had sent them, and
had had Celestine distribute them during Edna's absence. Her
bedroom was adjoining, and across a small passage were the
diningroom and kitchen.

Edna seated herself with every appearance of discomfort.

"Are you tired?" he asked.

"Yes, and chilled, and miserable. I feel as if I had been
wound up to a certain pitch--too tight--and something inside of me
had snapped." She rested her head against the table upon her bare arm.

"You want to rest," he said, "and to be quiet. I'll go;
I'll leave you and let you rest."

"Yes," she replied.

He stood up beside her and smoothed her hair with his soft,
magnetic hand. His touch conveyed to her a certain physical
comfort. She could have fallen quietly asleep there if he had
continued to pass his hand over her hair. He brushed the hair
upward from the nape of her neck.

"I hope you will feel better and happier in the morning," he
said. "You have tried to do too much in the past few days.
The dinner was the last straw; you might have dispensed with it."

"Yes," she admitted; "it was stupid."
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