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

watched for the first time the sun rise upon the new, the beautiful
world beyond the bayou.

Ma'ame Pelagie


When the war began, there stood on Cote Joyeuse an imposing
mansion of red brick, shaped like the Pantheon. A grove of
majestic live-oaks surrounded it.

Thirty years later, only the thick walls were standing, with
the dull red brick showing here and there through a matted growth
of clinging vines. The huge round pillars were intact; so to some
extent was the stone flagging of hall and portico. There had been
no home so stately along the whole stretch of Cote Joyeuse. Every
one knew that, as they knew it had cost Philippe Valmet sixty
thousand dollars to build, away back in 1840. No one was in danger
of forgetting that fact, so long as his daughter Pelagie survived.

She was a queenly, white-haired woman of fifty. "Ma'ame Pelagie,"
they called her, though she was unmarried, as was her sister
Pauline, a child in Ma'ame Pelagie's eyes; a child of thirty-five.

The two lived alone in a three-roomed cabin, almost within the
shadow of the ruin. They lived for a dream, for Ma'ame Pelagie's
dream, which was to rebuild the old home.

It would be pitiful to tell how their days were spent to
accomplish this end; how the dollars had been saved for thirty
years and the picayunes hoarded; and yet, not half enough gathered!
But Ma'ame Pelagie felt sure of twenty years of life before her,
and counted upon as many more for her sister. And what could not
come to pass in twenty--in forty--years?
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