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odor of the sea. Children freshly befurbelowed, were gathering for
their games under the oaks. Their voices were high and

Madame Ratignolle folded her sewing, placing thimble,
scissors, and thread all neatly together in the roll, which she
pinned securely. She complained of faintness. Mrs. Pontellier
flew for the cologne water and a fan. She bathed Madame Ratignolle's
face with cologne, while Robert plied the fan with unnecessary vigor.

The spell was soon over, and Mrs. Pontellier could not help
wondering if there were not a little imagination responsible for
its origin, for the rose tint had never faded from her friend's face.

She stood watching the fair woman walk down the long line of
galleries with the grace and majesty which queens are sometimes
supposed to possess. Her little ones ran to meet her. Two of them
clung about her white skirts, the third she took from its nurse and
with a thousand endearments bore it along in her own fond,
encircling arms. Though, as everybody well knew, the doctor had
forbidden her to lift so much as a pin!

"Are you going bathing?" asked Robert of Mrs. Pontellier. It
was not so much a question as a reminder.

"Oh, no," she answered, with a tone of indecision. "I'm
tired; I think not." Her glance wandered from his face away toward
the Gulf, whose sonorous murmur reached her like a loving but
imperative entreaty.

"Oh, come!" he insisted. "You mustn't miss your bath. Come
on. The water must be delicious; it will not hurt you. Come."

He reached up for her big, rough straw hat that hung on a peg
outside the door, and put it on her head. They descended the
steps, and walked away together toward the beach. The sun was low
in the west and the breeze was soft and warm.

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