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his temporary absence.
Expert and reliable packers and movers were engaged to convey
the furniture, carpets, pictures --everything movable, in short--to
places of security. And in an incredibly short time the Pontellier
house was turned over to the artisans. There was to be an
addition--a small snuggery; there was to be frescoing, and hardwood
flooring was to be put into such rooms as had not yet been
subjected to this improvement.
Furthermore, in one of the daily papers appeared a brief
notice to the effect that Mr. and Mrs. Pontellier were
contemplating a summer sojourn abroad, and that their handsome
residence on Esplanade Street was undergoing sumptuous alterations,
and would not be ready for occupancy until their return. Mr.
Pontellier had saved appearances!
Edna admired the skill of his maneuver, and avoided any
occasion to balk his intentions. When the situation as set forth
by Mr. Pontellier was accepted and taken for granted, she was
apparently satisfied that it should be so.
The pigeon house pleased her. It at once assumed the intimate
character of a home, while she herself invested it with a charm
which it reflected like a warm glow. There was with her a feeling
of having descended in the social scale, with a corresponding sense
of having risen in the spiritual. Every step which she took toward
relieving herself from obligations added to her strength and
expansion as an individual. She began to look with her own eyes; to see
and to apprehend the deeper undercurrents of life. No longer was
she content to "feed upon opinion" when her own soul had invited her.
After a little while, a few days, in fact, Edna went up and
spent a week with her children in Iberville. They were delicious
February days, with all the summer's promise hovering in the air.
How glad she was to see the children! She wept for very
pleasure when she felt their little arms clasping her; their hard,
ruddy cheeks pressed against her own glowing cheeks. She looked
into their faces with hungry eyes that could not be satisfied with
looking. And what stories they had to tell their mother! About the
pigs, the cows, the mules! About riding to the mill behind Gluglu;
fishing back in the lake with their Uncle Jasper; picking pecans
with Lidie's little black brood, and hauling chips in their express
wagon. It was a thousand times more fun to haul real chips for old