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

through the fields; and Mam'selle Pauline threaded her way slowly
among the tangled grasses toward the cabin.

The coming of La Petite, bringing with her as she did the
pungent atmosphere of an outside and dimly known world, was a shock
to these two, living their dream-life. The girl was quite as tall
as her aunt Pelagie, with dark eyes that reflected joy as a still
pool reflects the light of stars; and her rounded cheek was tinged
like the pink crepe myrtle. Mam'selle Pauline kissed her and
trembled. Ma'ame Pelagie looked into her eyes with a searching
gaze, which seemed to seek a likeness of the past in the living

And they made room between them for this young life.


La Petite had determined upon trying to fit herself to the
strange, narrow existence which she knew awaited her at Cote
Joyeuse. It went well enough at first. Sometimes she followed
Ma'ame Pelagie into the fields to note how the cotton was opening,
ripe and white; or to count the ears of corn upon the hardy stalks.
But oftener she was with her aunt Pauline, assisting in household
offices, chattering of her brief past, or walking with the older
woman arm-in-arm under the trailing moss of the giant oaks.

Mam'selle Pauline's steps grew very buoyant that summer, and
her eyes were sometimes as bright as a bird's, unless La Petite
were away from her side, when they would lose all other light but
one of uneasy expectancy. The girl seemed to love her well in
return, and called her endearingly Tan'tante. But as the time went
by, La Petite became very quiet,--not listless, but thoughtful, and
slow in her movements. Then her cheeks began to pale, till they
were tinged like the creamy plumes of the white crepe myrtle that
grew in the ruin.

One day when she sat within its shadow, between her aunts,
holding a hand of each, she said: "Tante Pelagie, I must tell you
something, you and Tan'tante." She spoke low, but clearly and firmly.
"I love you both,--please remember that I love you both. But I must go
away from you. I can't live any longer here at Cote Joyeuse. "
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