Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
"On account of what, then?"
"Oh! I don't know. Let me alone; you bother me."
It sometimes entered Mr. Pontellier's mind to wonder if his
wife were not growing a little unbalanced mentally. He could see
plainly that she was not herself. That is, he could not see that
she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious
self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the
Her husband let her alone as she requested, and went away to
his office. Edna went up to her atelier--a bright room in the top
of the house. She was working with great energy and interest,
without accomplishing anything, however, which satisfied her even
in the smallest degree. For a time she had the whole household
enrolled in the service of art. The boys posed for her. They thought
it amusing at first, but the occupation soon lost its attractiveness
when they discovered that it was not a game arranged especially for
their entertainment. The quadroon sat for hours before Edna's
palette, patient as a savage, while the house-maid took charge of
the children, and the drawing-room went undusted. But the
housemaid, too, served her term as model when Edna perceived that the
young woman's back and shoulders were molded on classic lines, and
that her hair, loosened from its confining cap, became an
inspiration. While Edna worked she sometimes sang low the little
air, "Ah! si tu savais!"
It moved her with recollections. She could hear again the
ripple of the water, the flapping sail. She could see the glint of
the moon upon the bay, and could feel the soft, gusty beating of
the hot south wind. A subtle current of desire passed through her
body, weakening her hold upon the brushes and making her eyes burn.
There were days when she was very happy without knowing why.
She was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being
seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the
luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day. She liked then to
wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places. She discovered
many a sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in. And she found
it good to dream and to be alone and unmolested.
There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know
why,--when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive
or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and