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

"`Night of south winds--night of the large few stars!

Still nodding night--'"

She made no reply to this apostrophe to the night, which,
indeed, was not addressed to her.

Gouvernail was in no sense a diffident man, for he was not a
self-conscious one. His periods of reserve were not
constitutional, but the result of moods. Sitting there beside Mrs.
Baroda, his silence melted for the time.

He talked freely and intimately in a low, hesitating drawl
that was not unpleasant to hear. He talked of the old college days
when he and Gaston had been a good deal to each other; of the days
of keen and blind ambitions and large intentions. Now there was
left with him, at least, a philosophic acquiescence to the existing
order--only a desire to be permitted to exist, with now and then a
little whiff of genuine life, such as he was breathing now.

Her mind only vaguely grasped what he was saying. Her
physical being was for the moment predominant. She was not
thinking of his words, only drinking in the tones of his voice.
She wanted to reach out her hand in the darkness and touch him with
the sensitive tips of her fingers upon the face or the lips. She
wanted to draw close to him and whisper against his cheek--she did
not care what--as she might have done if she had not been a
respectable woman.

The stronger the impulse grew to bring herself near him, the
further, in fact, did she draw away from him. As soon as she could
do so without an appearance of too great rudeness, she rose and
left him there alone.

Before she reached the house, Gouvernail had lighted a fresh
cigar and ended his apostrophe to the night.

Mrs. Baroda was greatly tempted that night to tell her
husband--who was also her friend--of this folly that had
seized her. But she did not yield to the temptation. Beside being
a respectable woman she was a very sensible one; and she knew there
are some battles in life which a human being must fight alone.
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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