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

he sat rather mute and receptive before her chatty eagerness to
make him feel at home and in face of Gaston's frank and wordy hospitality.
His manner was as courteous toward her as the most exacting woman
could require; but he made no direct appeal to her approval or even esteem.

Once settled at the plantation he seemed to like to sit upon
the wide portico in the shade of one of the big Corinthian pillars,
smoking his cigar lazily and listening attentively to Gaston's
experience as a sugar planter.

"This is what I call living," he would utter with deep
satisfaction, as the air that swept across the sugar field caressed
him with its warm and scented velvety touch. It pleased him also
to get on familiar terms with the big dogs that came about him,
rubbing themselves sociably against his legs. He did not care to
fish, and displayed no eagerness to go out and kill grosbecs when
Gaston proposed doing so.

Gouvernail's personality puzzled Mrs. Baroda, but she liked
him. Indeed, he was a lovable, inoffensive fellow. After a few
days, when she could understand him no better than at first, she
gave over being puzzled and remained piqued. In this mood she left
her husband and her guest, for the most part, alone together. Then
finding that Gouvernail took no manner of exception to her action,
she imposed her society upon him, accompanying him in his idle
strolls to the mill and walks along the batture. She persistently
sought to penetrate the reserve in which he had unconsciously
enveloped himself.

"When is he going--your friend?" she one day asked her
husband. "For my part, he tires me frightfully."

"Not for a week yet, dear. I can't understand; he gives you
no trouble."

"No. I should like him better if he did; if he were more like
others, and I had to plan somewhat for his comfort and enjoyment."

Gaston took his wife's pretty face between his hands and
looked tenderly and laughingly into her troubled eyes.

They were making a bit of toilet sociably together in Mrs. Baroda's

"You are full of surprises, ma belle," he said to her. "Even
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