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Mr. Pontellier thought were promising. How did he look? How did
he seem--grave, or gay, or how? Quite cheerful, and wholly
taken up with the idea of his trip, which Mr. Pontellier found
altogether natural in a young fellow about to seek fortune
and adventure in a strange, queer country.
Edna tapped her foot impatiently, and wondered why the
children persisted in playing in the sun when they might be under
the trees. She went down and led them out of the sun, scolding the
quadroon for not being more attentive.
It did not strike her as in the least grotesque that she
should be making of Robert the object of conversation and leading
her husband to speak of him. The sentiment which she entertained
for Robert in no way resembled that which she felt for her husband,
or had ever felt, or ever expected to feel. She had all her life
long been accustomed to harbor thoughts and emotions which never
voiced themselves. They had never taken the form of struggles.
They belonged to her and were her own, and she entertained the
conviction that she had a right to them and that they concerned no
one but herself. Edna had once told Madame Ratignolle that she
would never sacrifice herself for her children, or for any one.
Then had followed a rather heated argument; the two women did not
appear to understand each other or to be talking the same language.
Edna tried to appease her friend, to explain.
"I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I
would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I
can't make it more clear; it's only something which I am beginning
to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me."
"I don't know what you would call the essential, or what you
mean by the unessential," said Madame Ratignolle, cheerfully; "but
a woman who would give her life for her children could do no more
than that--your Bible tells you so. I'm sure I couldn't do more
"Oh, yes you could!" laughed Edna.
She was not surprised at Mademoiselle Reisz's question the
morning that lady, following her to the beach, tapped her on the
shoulder and asked if she did not greatly miss her young friend.
"Oh, good morning, Mademoiselle; is it you? Why, of course I
miss Robert. Are you going down to bathe?"