Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
while the sun dipped lower and lower, turning the western sky to
flaming copper and gold. The shadows lengthened and crept out
like stealthy, grotesque monsters across the grass.
Edna and Robert both sat upon the ground--that is, he lay upon
the ground beside her, occasionally picking at the hem of her
Madame Antoine seated her fat body, broad and squat, upon a
bench beside the door. She had been talking all the afternoon, and
had wound herself up to the storytelling pitch.
And what stories she told them! But twice in her life she had
left the Cheniere Caminada, and then for the briefest span.
All her years she had squatted and waddled there upon the island,
gathering legends of the Baratarians and the sea. The night came
on, with the moon to lighten it. Edna could hear the whispering
voices of dead men and the click of muffled gold.
When she and Robert stepped into Tonie's boat, with the red
lateen sail, misty spirit forms were prowling in the shadows and
among the reeds, and upon the water were phantom ships, speeding to
The youngest boy, Etienne, had been very naughty, Madame
Ratignolle said, as she delivered him into the hands of his mother.
He had been unwilling to go to bed and had made a scene; whereupon
she had taken charge of him and pacified him as well as she could.
Raoul had been in bed and asleep for two hours.
The youngster was in his long white nightgown, that kept
tripping him up as Madame Ratignolle led him along by the hand.
With the other chubby fist he rubbed his eyes, which were heavy
with sleep and ill humor. Edna took him in her arms, and seating
herself in the rocker, began to coddle and caress him, calling him
all manner of tender names, soothing him to sleep.
It was not more than nine o'clock. No one had yet gone to bed