Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
heavily and clumsily across the floor. She could speak no English,
but when Robert made her understand that the lady who accompanied
him was ill and desired to rest, she was all eagerness to make Edna
feel at home and to dispose of her comfortably.
The whole place was immaculately clean, and the big,
four-posted bed, snow-white, invited one to repose. It stood in a small
side room which looked out across a narrow grass plot toward the
shed, where there was a disabled boat lying keel upward.
Madame Antoine had not gone to mass. Her son Tonie had,
but she supposed he would soon be back, and she invited Robert
to be seated and wait for him. But he went and sat outside the
door and smoked. Madame Antoine busied herself in the large front
room preparing dinner. She was boiling mullets over a few red
coals in the huge fireplace.
Edna, left alone in the little side room, loosened her
clothes, removing the greater part of them. She bathed her face,
her neck and arms in the basin that stood between the windows. She
took off her shoes and stockings and stretched herself in the very
center of the high, white bed. How luxurious it felt to rest thus
in a strange, quaint bed, with its sweet country odor of laurel
lingering about the sheets and mattress! She stretched her strong
limbs that ached a little. She ran her fingers through her
loosened hair for a while. She looked at her round arms as she
held them straight up and rubbed them one after the other,
observing closely, as if it were something she saw for the first
time, the fine, firm quality and texture of her flesh. She clasped
her hands easily above her head, and it was thus she fell asleep.
She slept lightly at first, half awake and drowsily attentive
to the things about her. She could hear Madame Antoine's heavy,
scraping tread as she walked back and forth on the sanded floor.
Some chickens were clucking outside the windows, scratching for
bits of gravel in the grass. Later she half heard the voices of
Robert and Tonie talking under the shed. She did not stir. Even
her eyelids rested numb and heavily over her sleepy eyes. The
voices went on--Tonie's slow, Acadian drawl, Robert's quick, soft,
smooth French. She understood French imperfectly unless directly
addressed, and the voices were only part of the other drowsy,
muffled sounds lulling her senses.
When Edna awoke it was with the conviction that she had slept
long and soundly. The voices were hushed under the shed. Madame