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

away any time she liked to New Orleans with Celina's husband.

Celina's husband was a fool, a coward, and a pig, and to prove
it to her, Victor intended to hammer his head into a jelly the next
time he encountered him. This assurance was very consoling to
Mariequita. She dried her eyes, and grew cheerful at the prospect.

They were still talking of the dinner and the allurements of city life
when Mrs. Pontellier herself slipped around the corner of the house.
The two youngsters stayed dumb with amazement before what they considered
to be an apparition. But it was really she in flesh and blood,
looking tired and a little travel-stained.

"I walked up from the wharf", she said, "and heard the hammering.
I supposed it was you, mending the porch. It's a good thing.

I was always tripping over those loose planks last summer.
How dreary and deserted everything looks!"

It took Victor some little time to comprehend that she had
come in Beaudelet's lugger, that she had come alone, and for no
purpose but to rest.

"There's nothing fixed up yet, you see. I'll give you my room;
it's the only place."

"Any corner will do," she assured him.

"And if you can stand Philomel's cooking," he went on, "though
I might try to get her mother while you are here. Do you think she
would come?" turning to Mariequita.

Mariequita thought that perhaps Philomel's mother might come
for a few days, and money enough.

Beholding Mrs. Pontellier make her appearance, the girl had at
once suspected a lovers' rendezvous. But Victor's astonishment was
so genuine, and Mrs. Pontellier's indifference so apparent, that
the disturbing notion did not lodge long in her brain. She
contemplated with the greatest interest this woman who gave the
most sumptuous dinners in America, and who had all the men in New
Orleans at her feet.

"What time will you have dinner?" asked Edna. "I'm very
hungry; but don't get anything extra."
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