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

"It is growing late; what time do you have to be home?"

"Time doesn't concern me. Your question seems a little rude.
Play the Impromptu."

"But you have told me nothing of yourself. What are you doing?"

"Painting!" laughed Edna. "I am becoming an artist. Think of it!"

"Ah! an artist! You have pretensions, Madame."

"Why pretensions? Do you think I could not become an artist?"

"I do not know you well enough to say. I do not know your
talent or your temperament. To be an artist includes much;
one must possess many gifts--absolute gifts--which have not
been acquired by one's own effort. And, moreover, to succeed, the
artist must possess the courageous soul."

"What do you mean by the courageous soul?"

"Courageous, ma foi! The brave soul. The soul that dares
and defies."

"Show me the letter and play for me the Impromptu. You see that
I have persistence. Does that quality count for anything in art?"

"It counts with a foolish old woman whom you have captivated,"
replied Mademoiselle, with her wriggling laugh.

The letter was right there at hand in the drawer of the little
table upon which Edna had just placed her coffee cup. Mademoiselle
opened the drawer and drew forth the letter, the topmost one. She
placed it in Edna's hands, and without further comment arose and
went to the piano.

Mademoiselle played a soft interlude. It was an
improvisation. She sat low at the instrument, and the lines of her body
settled into ungraceful curves and angles that gave it an
appearance of deformity. Gradually and imperceptibly the interlude
melted into the soft opening minor chords of the Chopin Impromptu.

Edna did not know when the Impromptu began or ended. She sat
in the sofa corner reading Robert's letter by the fading light.
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