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

might have danced together, but they did not think of it.

The children were sent to bed. Some went submissively;
others with shrieks and protests as they were dragged away.
They had been permitted to sit up till after the ice-cream,
which naturally marked the limit of human indulgence.

The ice-cream was passed around with cake--gold and silver
cake arranged on platters in alternate slices; it had been made and
frozen during the afternoon back of the kitchen by two black women,
under the supervision of Victor. It was pronounced a great
success--excellent if it had only contained a little less vanilla
or a little more sugar, if it had been frozen a degree harder, and
if the salt might have been kept out of portions of it. Victor was
proud of his achievement, and went about recommending it and urging
every one to partake of it to excess.

After Mrs. Pontellier had danced twice with her husband, once
with Robert, and once with Monsieur Ratignolle, who was thin and
tall and swayed like a reed in the wind when he danced, she went
out on the gallery and seated herself on the low window-sill, where
she commanded a view of all that went on in the hall and could look
out toward the Gulf. There was a soft effulgence in the east. The
moon was coming up, and its mystic shimmer was casting a million
lights across the distant, restless water.

"Would you like to hear Mademoiselle Reisz play?" asked
Robert, coming out on the porch where she was. Of course Edna
would like to hear Mademoiselle Reisz play; but she feared it would
be useless to entreat her.

"I'll ask her," he said. "I'll tell her that you want to hear
her. She likes you. She will come." He turned and hurried away to
one of the far cottages, where Mademoiselle Reisz was shuffling
away. She was dragging a chair in and out of her room, and at
intervals objecting to the crying of a baby, which a nurse in the
adjoining cottage was endeavoring to put to sleep. She was a
disagreeable little woman, no longer young, who had quarreled with
almost every one, owing to a temper which was self-assertive and a
disposition to trample upon the rights of others. Robert prevailed
upon her without any too great difficulty.

She entered the hall with him during a lull in the dance. She
made an awkward, imperious little bow as she went in. She was a
homely woman, with a small weazened face and body and eyes that
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