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

the firm of Laitner and Arobin, lawyers. The young man admitted
that Laitner was a warm personal friend, who permitted Arobin's
name to decorate the firm's letterheads and to appear upon a
shingle that graced Perdido Street.

"There are so many inquisitive people and institutions
abounding," said Arobin, "that one is really forced as a matter of
convenience these days to assume the virtue of an occupation if he
has it not."

Monsieur Ratignolle stared a little, and turned to ask
Mademoiselle Reisz if she considered the symphony concerts up to
the standard which had been set the previous winter. Mademoiselle
Reisz answered Monsieur Ratignolle in French, which Edna thought a
little rude, under the circumstances, but characteristic. Mademoiselle
had only disagreeable things to say of the symphony concerts,
and insulting remarks to make of all the musicians of New Orleans,
singly and collectively. All her interest seemed to be centered upon
the delicacies placed before her.

Mr. Merriman said that Mr. Arobin's remark about inquisitive
people reminded him of a man from Waco the other day at the St.
Charles Hotel--but as Mr. Merriman's stories were always lame and
lacking point, his wife seldom permitted him to complete them. She
interrupted him to ask if he remembered the name of the author
whose book she had bought the week before to send to a friend in
Geneva. She was talking "books" with Mr. Gouvernail and trying to
draw from him his opinion upon current literary topics. Her
husband told the story of the Waco man privately to Miss Mayblunt,
who pretended to be greatly amused and to think it extremely clever.

Mrs. Highcamp hung with languid but unaffected interest upon
the warm and impetuous volubility of her left-hand neighbor, Victor
Lebrun. Her attention was never for a moment withdrawn from him
after seating herself at table; and when he turned to Mrs.
Merriman, who was prettier and more vivacious than Mrs. Highcamp,
she waited with easy indifference for an opportunity to reclaim his
attention. There was the occasional sound of music, of mandolins,
sufficiently removed to be an agreeable accompaniment rather than
an interruption to the conversation. Outside the soft, monotonous
splash of a fountain could be heard; the sound penetrated into the
room with the heavy odor of jessamine that came through the open

The golden shimmer of Edna's satin gown spread in rich folds
on either side of her. There was a soft fall of lace encircling
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