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Edna looked in at the drug store. Monsieur Ratignolle was
putting up a mixture himself, very carefully, dropping a red liquid
into a tiny glass. He was grateful to Edna for having come; her
presence would be a comfort to his wife. Madame Ratignolle's
sister, who had always been with her at such trying times, had not
been able to come up from the plantation, and Adele had been
inconsolable until Mrs. Pontellier so kindly promised to come to
her. The nurse had been with them at night for the past week, as
she lived a great distance away. And Dr. Mandelet had been coming
and going all the afternoon. They were then looking for him any

Edna hastened upstairs by a private stairway that led from the
rear of the store to the apartments above. The children were all
sleeping in a back room. Madame Ratignolle was in the salon,
whither she had strayed in her suffering impatience. She sat on
the sofa, clad in an ample white peignoir, holding a
handkerchief tight in her hand with a nervous clutch. Her face was
drawn and pinched, her sweet blue eyes haggard and unnatural. All
her beautiful hair had been drawn back and plaited. It lay in a
long braid on the sofa pillow, coiled like a golden serpent. The
nurse, a comfortable looking Griffe woman in white apron and
cap, was urging her to return to her bedroom.

"There is no use, there is no use," she said at once to Edna.
"We must get rid of Mandelet; he is getting too old and careless.
He said he would be here at half-past seven; now it must be eight.
See what time it is, Josephine."

The woman was possessed of a cheerful nature, and refused
to take any situation too seriously, especially a situation
withwhich she was so familiar. She urged Madame to have
courage and patience. But Madame only set her teeth hard
into her under lip, and Edna saw the sweat gather in beads
on her white forehead. After a moment or two she uttered
a profound sigh and wiped her face with the handkerchief
rolled in a ball. She appeared exhausted. The nurse gave her
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