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

she found herself alone. She stayed there, erect, holding to the
banister rail and looking out calmly in the distance across the

She was dressed in black, with the white kerchief she always wore
folded across her bosom. Her thick, glossy hair rose like a silver
diadem from her brow. In her deep, dark eyes smouldered the light
of fires that would never flame. She had grown very old.

Years instead of months seemed to have passed over her
since the night she bade farewell to her visions.

Poor Ma'ame Pelagie! How could it be different! While the
outward pressure of a young and joyous existence had forced her
footsteps into the light, her soul had stayed in the shadow of the

Desiree's Baby

As the day was pleasant, Madame Valmonde drove over to L'Abri
to see Desiree and the baby.

It made her laugh to think of Desiree with a baby. Why, it
seemed but yesterday that Desiree was little more than a baby
herself; when Monsieur in riding through the gateway of Valmonde
had found her lying asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar.

The little one awoke in his arms and began to cry for "Dada."
That was as much as she could do or say. Some people thought she
might have strayed there of her own accord, for she was of the
toddling age. The prevailing belief was that she had been
purposely left by a party of Texans, whose canvas-covered wagon,
late in the day, had crossed the ferry that Coton Mais kept, just
below the plantation. In time Madame Valmonde abandoned every
speculation but the one that Desiree had been sent to her by a
beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection, seeing that
she was without child of the flesh. For the girl grew to be
beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere,--the idol of Valmonde.

It was no wonder, when she stood one day against the stone
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