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which no moment of anguish ever visited her soul, in which she
would never have the taste of life's delirium. Edna vaguely
wondered what she meant by "life's delirium." It had crossed her
thought like some unsought, extraneous impression.
Edna could not help but think that it was very foolish, very
childish, to have stamped upon her wedding ring and smashed the
crystal vase upon the tiles. She was visited by no more outbursts,
moving her to such futile expedients. She began to do as she liked
and to feel as she liked. She completely abandoned her Tuesdays at
home, and did not return the visits of those who had called upon her.
She made no ineffectual efforts to conduct her household en
bonne menagere, going and coming as it suited her fancy, and,
so far as she was able, lending herself to any passing caprice.
Mr. Pontellier had been a rather courteous husband so long as
he met a certain tacit submissiveness in his wife. But her new and
unexpected line of conduct completely bewildered him. It shocked
him. Then her absolute disregard for her duties as a wife angered
him. When Mr. Pontellier became rude, Edna grew insolent. She had
resolved never to take another step backward.
"It seems to me the utmost folly for a woman at the head of a
household, and the mother of children, to spend in an atelier days
which would be better employed contriving for the comfort of her
"I feel like painting," answered Edna. "Perhaps I shan't
always feel like it."
"Then in God's name paint! but don't let the family go to the
devil. There's Madame Ratignolle; because she keeps up her music,
she doesn't let everything else go to chaos. And she's more of a
musician than you are a painter."
"She isn't a musician, and I'm not a painter. It isn't on
account of painting that I let things go."