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stared up disapprovingly over his eye-glasses as Mr. Pontellier
entered, wondering who had the temerity to disturb him at that hour
of the morning.

"Ah, Pontellier! Not sick, I hope. Come and have a seat.
What news do you bring this morning?" He was quite portly, with a
profusion of gray hair, and small blue eyes which age had robbed
of much of their brightness but none of their penetration.

"Oh! I'm never sick, Doctor. You know that I come of tough
fiber--of that old Creole race of Pontelliers that dry up and
finally blow away. I came to consult--no, not precisely to
consult--to talk to you about Edna. I don't know what ails her."

"Madame Pontellier not well," marveled the Doctor. "Why, I
saw her--I think it was a week ago--walking along Canal Street, the
picture of health, it seemed to me."

"Yes, yes; she seems quite well," said Mr. Pontellier, leaning
forward and whirling his stick between his two hands; "but she
doesn't act well. She's odd, she's not like herself. I can't make
her out, and I thought perhaps you'd help me."

"How does she act?" inquired the Doctor.

"Well, it isn't easy to explain," said Mr. Pontellier,
throwing himself back in his chair. "She lets the housekeeping go
to the dickens."

"Well, well; women are not all alike, my dear Pontellier.
We've got to consider--"

"I know that; I told you I couldn't explain. Her whole
attitude--toward me and everybody and everything--has changed. You
know I have a quick temper, but I don't want to quarrel or be rude
to a woman, especially my wife; yet I'm driven to it, and feel like
ten thousand devils after I've made a fool of myself. She's making
it devilishly uncomfortable for me," he went on nervously. "She's
got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights
of women; and--you understand--we meet in the morning at the
breakfast table."

The old gentleman lifted his shaggy eyebrows, protruded his
thick nether lip, and tapped the arms of his chair with his
cushioned fingertips.
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