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entreaty. Mrs. Pontellier did not wear her usual Tuesday reception
gown; she was in ordinary house dress. Mr. Pontellier, who was
observant about such things, noticed it, as he served the soup and
handed it to the boy in waiting.

"Tired out, Edna? Whom did you have? Many callers?" he asked.
He tasted his soup and began to season it with pepper, salt,
vinegar, mustard--everything within reach.

"There were a good many," replied Edna, who was eating her
soup with evident satisfaction. "I found their cards when I got
home; I was out."

"Out!" exclaimed her husband, with something like genuine
consternation in his voice as he laid down the vinegar cruet and
looked at her through his glasses. "Why, what could have taken you
out on Tuesday? What did you have to do?"

"Nothing. I simply felt like going out, and I went out."

"Well, I hope you left some suitable excuse," said her husband,
somewhat appeased, as he added a dash of cayenne pepper to the soup.

"No, I left no excuse. I told Joe to say I was out, that was all."

"Why, my dear, I should think you'd understand by this time
that people don't do such things; we've got to observe les
convenances if we ever expect to get on and keep up with the
procession. If you felt that you had to leave home this afternoon,
you should have left some suitable explanation for your absence.

"This soup is really impossible; it's strange that woman
hasn't learned yet to make a decent soup. Any free-lunch stand in
town serves a better one. Was Mrs. Belthrop here?"

"Bring the tray with the cards, Joe. I don't remember who was here."

The boy retired and returned after a moment, bringing the tiny
silver tray, which was covered with ladies' visiting cards. He
handed it to Mrs. Pontellier.

"Give it to Mr. Pontellier," she said.

Joe offered the tray to Mr. Pontellier, and removed the soup.
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