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a fresh handkerchief, sprinkled with cologne water.
"This is too much!" she cried. "Mandelet ought to be killed!
Where is Alphonse? Is it possible I am to be abandoned like
this-neglected by every one?"
"Neglected, indeed!" exclaimed the nurse. Wasn't she there?
And here was Mrs. Pontellier leaving, no doubt, a pleasant evening
at home to devote to her? And wasn't Monsieur Ratignolle coming
that very instant through the hall? And Josephine was quite sure
she had heard Doctor Mandelet's coupe. Yes, there it was,
down at the door.
Adele consented to go back to her room. She sat on the edge
of a little low couch next to her bed.
Doctor Mandelet paid no attention to Madame Ratignolle's
upbraidings. He was accustomed to them at such times, and was too
well convinced of her loyalty to doubt it.
He was glad to see Edna, and wanted her to go with him into
the salon and entertain him. But Madame Ratignolle would not
consent that Edna should leave her for an instant. Between
agonizing moments, she chatted a little, and said it took her mind
off her sufferings.
Edna began to feel uneasy. She was seized with a vague dread.
Her own like experiences seemed far away, unreal, and only half
remembered. She recalled faintly an ecstasy of pain, the heavy
odor of chloroform, a stupor which had deadened sensation, and an
awakening to find a little new life to which she had given being,
added to the great unnumbered multitude of souls that come and go.
She began to wish she had not come; her presence was not
necessary. She might have invented a pretext for staying away; she
might even invent a pretext now for going. But Edna did not go.
With an inward agony, with a flaming, outspoken revolt against
the ways of Nature, she witnessed the scene of torture.
She was still stunned and speechless with emotion when later
she leaned over her friend to kiss her and softly say good-by.
Adele, pressing her cheek, whispered in an exhausted voice:
"Think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children! Remember them!"