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home before she was overtaken by Robert.
"Did you think I was afraid?" she asked him, without a shade
"No; I knew you weren't afraid."
"Then why did you come? Why didn't you stay out there with the
"I never thought of it."
"Thought of what?"
"Of anything. What difference does it make?"
"I'm very tired," she uttered, complainingly.
"I know you are."
"You don't know anything about it. Why should you know? I
never was so exhausted in my life. But it isn't unpleasant. A
thousand emotions have swept through me to-night. I don't
comprehend half of them. Don't mind what I'm saying; I am just
thinking aloud. I wonder if I shall ever be stirred again as
Mademoiselle Reisz's playing moved me to-night. I wonder if any
night on earth will ever again be like this one. It is like a
night in a dream. The people about me are like some uncanny,
half-human beings. There must be spirits abroad to-night."
"There are," whispered Robert, "Didn't you know this was
the twenty-eighth of August?"
"The twenty-eighth of August?"
"Yes. On the twenty-eighth of August, at the hour of
midnight, and if the moon is shining--the moon must be shining--a
spirit that has haunted these shores for ages rises up from the
Gulf. With its own penetrating vision the spirit seeks some one
mortal worthy to hold him company, worthy of being exalted for a
few hours into realms of the semi-celestials. His search has
always hitherto been fruitless, and he has sunk back, disheartened,
into the sea. But to-night he found Mrs. Pontellier. Perhaps he
will never wholly release her from the spell. Perhaps she will
never again suffer a poor, unworthy earthling to walk in the shadow