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"Mrs. Pontellier, you are cruel," he said, with feeling,
closing his eyes and resting his head back in his chair. They
remained in silence till old Celestine announced dinner.
The dining-room was very small. Edna's round mahogany would
have almost filled it. As it was there was but a step or two from
the little table to the kitchen, to the mantel, the small buffet,
and the side door that opened out on the narrow brick-paved yard.
A certain degree of ceremony settled upon them with the
announcement of dinner. There was no return to personalities.
Robert related incidents of his sojourn in Mexico, and Edna talked
of events likely to interest him, which had occurred during his
absence. The dinner was of ordinary quality, except for the few
delicacies which she had sent out to purchase. Old Celestine, with
a bandana tignon twisted about her head, hobbled in and out,
taking a personal interest in everything; and she lingered
occasionally to talk patois with Robert, whom she had known as a
He went out to a neighboring cigar stand to purchase cigarette
papers, and when he came back he found that Celestine had served
the black coffee in the parlor.
"Perhaps I shouldn't have come back," he said. "When you are
tired of me, tell me to go."
"You never tire me. You must have forgotten the hours and
hours at Grand Isle in which we grew accustomed to each other and
used to being together."
"I have forgotten nothing at Grand Isle," he said, not looking
at her, but rolling a cigarette. His tobacco pouch, which he laid
upon the table, was a fantastic embroidered silk affair, evidently
the handiwork of a woman.
"You used to carry your tobacco in a rubber pouch," said Edna,