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A feeling of oppression and drowsiness overcame Edna during
the service. Her head began to ache, and the lights on the altar
swayed before her eyes. Another time she might have made an effort
to regain her composure; but her one thought was to quit the
stifling atmosphere of the church and reach the open air. She
arose, climbing over Robert's feet with a muttered apology. Old
Monsieur Farival, flurried, curious, stood up, but upon seeing that
Robert had followed Mrs. Pontellier, he sank back into his seat.
He whispered an anxious inquiry of the lady in black, who did not notice
him or reply, but kept her eyes fastened upon the pages of her velvet
"I felt giddy and almost overcome," Edna said, lifting her
hands instinctively to her head and pushing her straw hat up from
her forehead. "I couldn't have stayed through the service." They
were outside in the shadow of the church. Robert was full of
"It was folly to have thought of going in the first place, let
alone staying. Come over to Madame Antoine's; you can rest there."
He took her arm and led her away, looking anxiously and
continuously down into her face.
How still it was, with only the voice of the sea whispering
through the reeds that grew in the salt-water pools! The long line
of little gray, weather-beaten houses nestled peacefully among the
orange trees. It must always have been God's day on that low,
drowsy island, Edna thought. They stopped, leaning over a jagged
fence made of sea-drift, to ask for water. A youth, a mild-faced
Acadian, was drawing water from the cistern, which was nothing more
than a rusty buoy, with an opening on one side, sunk in the ground.
The water which the youth handed to them in a tin pail was not cold
to taste, but it was cool to her heated face, and it greatly
revived and refreshed her.
Madame Antoine's cot was at the far end of the village. She
welcomed them with all the native hospitality, as she would have
opened her door to let the sunlight in. She was fat, and walked