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

aloud; "why did I not discover before that it was nothing. Think
of the time I have lost splashing about like a baby!" She would not
join the groups in their sports and bouts, but intoxicated with her
newly conquered power, she swam out alone.

She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of
space and solitude, which the vast expanse of water, meeting and
melting with the moonlit sky, conveyed to her excited fancy. As
she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which
to lose herself.

Once she turned and looked toward the shore, toward the people
she had left there. She had not gone any great distance that is,
what would have been a great distance for an experienced swimmer.
But to her unaccustomed vision the stretch of water behind her
assumed the aspect of a barrier which her unaided strength
would never be able to overcome.

A quick vision of death smote her soul, and for a second of
time appalled and enfeebled her senses. But by an effort she
rallied her staggering faculties and managed to regain the land.

She made no mention of her encounter with death and her flash
of terror, except to say to her husband, "I thought I should have
perished out there alone."

"You were not so very far, my dear; I was watching you", he
told her.

Edna went at once to the bath-house, and she had put on her
dry clothes and was ready to return home before the others had left
the water. She started to walk away alone. They all called to her
and shouted to her. She waved a dissenting hand, and went on,
paying no further heed to their renewed cries which sought to
detain her.

"Sometimes I am tempted to think that Mrs. Pontellier is
capricious," said Madame Lebrun, who was amusing herself immensely
and feared that Edna's abrupt departure might put an end to the

"I know she is," assented Mr. Pontellier; "sometimes, not

Edna had not traversed a quarter of the distance on her way
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