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

drew satisfaction from the work in itself.

On rainy or melancholy days Edna went out and sought the
society of the friends she had made at Grand Isle. Or else she
stayed indoors and nursed a mood with which she was becoming too
familiar for her own comfort and peace of mind. It was not
despair; but it seemed to her as if life were passing by, leaving
its promise broken and unfulfilled. Yet there were other days when
she listened, was led on and deceived by fresh promises which her
youth held out to her.

She went again to the races, and again. Alcee Arobin and Mrs.
Highcamp called for her one bright afternoon in Arobin's drag.
Mrs. Highcamp was a worldly but unaffected, intelligent, slim, tall
blonde woman in the forties, with an indifferent manner and blue
eyes that stared. She had a daughter who served her as a pretext
for cultivating the society of young men of fashion. Alcee Arobin
was one of them. He was a familiar figure at the race course, the
opera, the fashionable clubs. There was a perpetual smile in his
eyes, which seldom failed to awaken a corresponding cheerfulness in
any one who looked into them and listened to his good-humored
voice. His manner was quiet, and at times a little insolent. He
possessed a good figure, a pleasing face, not overburdened with
depth of thought or feeling; and his dress was that of the conventional
man of fashion.

He admired Edna extravagantly, after meeting her at the races
with her father. He had met her before on other occasions, but she
had seemed to him unapproachable until that day. It was at his
instigation that Mrs. Highcamp called to ask her to go with them to
the Jockey Club to witness the turf event of the season.

There were possibly a few track men out there who knew the
race horse as well as Edna, but there was certainly none who knew
it better. She sat between her two companions as one having
authority to speak. She laughed at Arobin's pretensions, and
deplored Mrs. Highcamp's ignorance. The race horse was a friend
and intimate associate of her childhood. The atmosphere of the
stables and the breath of the blue grass paddock revived in her
memory and lingered in her nostrils. She did not perceive that she
was talking like her father as the sleek geldings ambled in review
before them. She played for very high stakes, and fortune favored
her. The fever of the game flamed in her cheeks and eves, and it
got into her blood and into her brain like an intoxicant. People
turned their heads to look at her, and more than one lent an
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