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of her divine presence."

"Don't banter me," she said, wounded at what appeared to be
his flippancy. He did not mind the entreaty, but the tone with its
delicate note of pathos was like a reproach. He could not explain;
he could not tell her that he had penetrated her mood and
understood. He said nothing except to offer her his arm, for, by
her own admission, she was exhausted. She had been walking alone
with her arms hanging limp, letting her white skirts trail along
the dewy path. She took his arm, but she did not lean upon it.

She let her hand lie listlessly, as though her thoughts were
elsewhere--somewhere in advance of her body, and she was striving
to overtake them.

Robert assisted her into the hammock which swung from the post
before her door out to the trunk of a tree.

"Will you stay out here and wait for Mr. Pontellier?" he

"I'll stay out here. Good-night."

"Shall I get you a pillow?"

"There's one here," she said, feeling about, for they were in
the shadow.

"It must be soiled; the children have been tumbling it about."

"No matter." And having discovered the pillow, she adjusted it
beneath her head. She extended herself in the hammock with a deep
breath of relief. She was not a supercilious or an over-dainty
woman. She was not much given to reclining in the hammock, and
when she did so it was with no cat-like suggestion of voluptuous
ease, but with a beneficent repose which seemed to invade her whole

"Shall I stay with you till Mr. Pontellier comes?" asked
Robert, seating himself on the outer edge of one of the steps and
taking hold of the hammock rope which was fastened to the post.

"If you wish. Don't swing the hammock. Will you get my white
shawl which I left on the window-sill over at the house?"

"Are you chilly?"
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