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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Pontellier had saved her that disagreeable mission, for which
she was so poorly fitted. Mr. Pontellier's arguments were usually
convincing with those whom he employed. He left home feeling quite sure
that he and Edna would sit down that evening, and possibly a few
subsequent evenings, to a dinner deserving of the name.

Edna spent an hour or two in looking over some of her old
sketches. She could see their shortcomings and defects, which were
glaring in her eyes. She tried to work a little, but found she was
not in the humor. Finally she gathered together a few of the
sketches--those which she considered the least discreditable; and
she carried them with her when, a little later, she dressed and
left the house. She looked handsome and distinguished in her
street gown. The tan of the seashore had left her face, and her
forehead was smooth, white, and polished beneath her heavy,
yellow-brown hair. There were a few freckles on her face, and a small,
dark mole near the under lip and one on the temple, half-hidden in
her hair.

As Edna walked along the street she was thinking of Robert.
She was still under the spell of her infatuation. She had tried to
forget him, realizing the inutility of remembering. But the
thought of him was like an obsession, ever pressing itself upon
her. It was not that she dwelt upon details of their acquaintance,
or recalled in any special or peculiar way his personality; it was
his being, his existence, which dominated her thought, fading
sometimes as if it would melt into the mist of the forgotten,
reviving again with an intensity which filled her with an
incomprehensible longing.

Edna was on her way to Madame Ratignolle's. Their intimacy,
begun at Grand Isle, had not declined, and they had seen each other
with some frequency since their return to the city. The
Ratignolles lived at no great distance from Edna's home, on the
corner of a side street, where Monsieur Ratignolle owned and
conducted a drug store which enjoyed a steady and prosperous trade.
His father had been in the business before him, and Monsieur
Ratignolle stood well in the community and bore an enviable
reputation for integrity and clearheadedness. His family
lived in commodious apartments over the store, having an entrance
on the side within the porte cochere. There was something
which Edna thought very French, very foreign, about their whole
manner of living. In the large and pleasant salon which extended
across the width of the house, the Ratignolles entertained their
friends once a fortnight with a soiree musicale, sometimes
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