Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
Alcee Arobin wrote Edna an elaborate note of apology,
palpitant with sincerity. It embarrassed her; for in a cooler,
quieter moment it appeared to her, absurd that she should have
taken his action so seriously, so dramatically. She felt sure that
the significance of the whole occurrence had lain in her own
self-consciousness. If she ignored his note it would give undue
importance to a trivial affair. If she replied to it in a serious
spirit it would still leave in his mind the impression that she had
in a susceptible moment yielded to his influence. After all, it
was no great matter to have one's hand kissed. She was provoked at
his having written the apology. She answered in as light and
bantering a spirit as she fancied it deserved, and said she would
be glad to have him look in upon her at work whenever he felt the
inclination and his business gave him the opportunity.
He responded at once by presenting himself at her home with
all his disarming naivete. And then there was scarcely a day which
followed that she did not see him or was not reminded of him. He
was prolific in pretexts. His attitude became one of good-humored
subservience and tacit adoration. He was ready at all times to
submit to her moods, which were as often kind as they were cold.
She grew accustomed to him. They became intimate and friendly by
imperceptible degrees, and then by leaps. He sometimes talked in
a way that astonished her at first and brought the crimson into her
face; in a way that pleased her at last, appealing to the animalism
that stirred impatiently within her.
There was nothing which so quieted the turmoil of Edna's
senses as a visit to Mademoiselle Reisz. It was then,
in the presence of that personality which was offensive to her,
that the woman, by her divine art, seemed to reach Edna's spirit
and set it free.
It was misty, with heavy, lowering atmosphere, one afternoon,
when Edna climbed the stairs to the pianist's apartments under the
roof. Her clothes were dripping with moisture. She felt chilled
and pinched as she entered the room. Mademoiselle was poking at a
rusty stove that smoked a little and warmed the room indifferently.
She was endeavoring to heat a pot of chocolate on the stove. The
room looked cheerless and dingy to Edna as she entered. A bust of