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"I'll have it ready in little or no time," he said, bustling
and packing away his tools. "You may go to my room to brush up and
rest yourself. Mariequita will show you."
"Thank you", said Edna. "But, do you know, I have a notion to
go down to the beach and take a good wash and even a little swim,
"The water is too cold!" they both exclaimed. "Don't think of it."
"Well, I might go down and try--dip my toes in. Why, it seems to me
the sun is hot enough to have warmed the very depths of the ocean.
Could you get me a couple of towels? I'd better go right away,
so as to be back in time. It would be a little too chilly
if I waited till this afternoon."
Mariequita ran over to Victor's room, and returned
with some towels, which she gave to Edna.
"I hope you have fish for dinner," said Edna, as she started
to walk away; "but don't do anything extra if you haven't."
"Run and find Philomel's mother," Victor instructed the girl.
"I'll go to the kitchen and see what I can do. By Gimminy!
Women have no consideration! She might have sent me word."
Edna walked on down to the beach rather mechanically, not
noticing anything special except that the sun was hot. She was not
dwelling upon any particular train of thought. She had done all
the thinking which was necessary after Robert went away, when she
lay awake upon the sofa till morning.
She had said over and over to herself: "To-day it is Arobin;
to-morrow it will be some one else. It makes no difference to me,
it doesn't matter about Leonce Pontellier--but Raoul and Etienne!"
She understood now clearly what she had meant long ago when she
said to Adele Ratignolle that she would give up the unessential,
but she would never sacrifice herself for her children.
Despondency had come upon her there in the wakeful night, and
had never lifted. There was no one thing in the world that she
desired. There was no human being whom she wanted near her except
Robert; and she even realized that the day would come when he, too,
and the thought of him would melt out of her existence, leaving her
alone. The children appeared before her like antagonists who had