Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
the river, the masts of ships and the big chimneys of the
Mississippi steamers. A magnificent piano crowded the apartment.
In the next room she slept, and in the third and last she harbored
a gasoline stove on which she cooked her meals when disinclined to
descend to the neighboring restaurant. It was there also that she
ate, keeping her belongings in a rare old buffet, dingy and
battered from a hundred years of use.
When Edna knocked at Mademoiselle Reisz's front room door and
entered, she discovered that person standing beside the window,
engaged in mending or patching an old prunella gaiter. The little
musician laughed all over when she saw Edna. Her laugh consisted
of a contortion of the face and all the muscles of the body.
She seemed strikingly homely, standing there in the afternoon light.
She still wore the shabby lace and the artificial bunch of violets
on the side of her head.
"So you remembered me at last," said Mademoiselle.
"I had said to myself, `Ah, bah! she will never come.'"
"Did you want me to come?" asked Edna with a smile.
"I had not thought much about it," answered Mademoiselle. The
two had seated themselves on a little bumpy sofa which stood
against the wall. "I am glad, however, that you came. I have the
water boiling back there, and was just about to make some coffee.
You will drink a cup with me. And how is la belle dame?
Always handsome! always healthy! always contented!" She took Edna's
hand between her strong wiry fingers, holding it loosely without warmth,
and executing a sort of double theme upon the back and palm.
"Yes," she went on; "I sometimes thought: `She will never
come. She promised as those women in society always do, without
meaning it. She will not come.' For I really don't believe you
like me, Mrs. Pontellier."
"I don't know whether I like you or not," replied Edna, gazing
down at the little woman with a quizzical look.
The candor of Mrs. Pontellier's admission greatly pleased
Mademoiselle Reisz. She expressed her gratification by repairing
forthwith to the region of the gasoline stove and rewarding her
guest with the promised cup of coffee. The coffee and the biscuit
accompanying it proved very acceptable to Edna, who had declined
refreshment at Madame Lebrun's and was now beginning to feel