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

I can never count upon how you are going to act under given
conditions." He kissed her and turned to fasten his cravat before
the mirror.

"Here you are," he went on, "taking poor Gouvernail seriously
and making a commotion over him, the last thing he would desire or

"Commotion!" she hotly resented. "Nonsense! How can you say
such a thing? Commotion, indeed! But, you know, you said he was clever."

"So he is. But the poor fellow is run down by overwork now.
That's why I asked him here to take a rest."

"You used to say he was a man of ideas," she retorted,
unconciliated. "I expected him to be interesting, at least. I'm
going to the city in the morning to have my spring gowns fitted.
Let me know when Mr. Gouvernail is gone; I shall be at my Aunt

That night she went and sat alone upon a bench that stood
beneath a live oak tree at the edge of the gravel walk.

She had never known her thoughts or her intentions to be so
confused. She could gather nothing from them but the feeling of a
distinct necessity to quit her home in the morning.

Mrs. Baroda heard footsteps crunching the gravel; but could
discern in the darkness only the approaching red point of a lighted
cigar. She knew it was Gouvernail, for her husband did not smoke.
She hoped to remain unnoticed, but her white gown revealed her to
him. He threw away his cigar and seated himself upon the bench
beside her; without a suspicion that she might object to his

"Your husband told me to bring this to you, Mrs. Baroda," he
said, handing her a filmy, white scarf with which she sometimes
enveloped her head and shoulders. She accepted the scarf from him
with a murmur of thanks, and let it lie in her lap.

He made some commonplace observation upon the baneful effect
of the night air at the season. Then as his gaze reached out into
the darkness, he murmured, half to himself:
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