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Antoine's step was no longer to be heard in the adjoining room.
Even the chickens had gone elsewhere to scratch and cluck. The
mosquito bar was drawn over her; the old woman had come in while
she slept and let down the bar. Edna arose quietly from the bed,
and looking between the curtains of the window, she saw by the
slanting rays of the sun that the afternoon was far advanced.
Robert was out there under the shed, reclining in the shade against
the sloping keel of the overturned boat. He was reading from a
book. Tonie was no longer with him. She wondered what had become
of the rest of the party. She peeped out at him two or three times
as she stood washing herself in the little basin between the
Madame Antoine had laid some coarse, clean towels upon a
chair, and had placed a box of poudre de riz within easy reach.
Edna dabbed the powder upon her nose and cheeks as she looked at
herself closely in the little distorted mirror which hung on the
wall above the basin. Her eyes were bright and wide awake and her
When she had completed her toilet she walked into the
adjoining room. She was very hungry. No one was there. But there
was a cloth spread upon the table that stood against the wall, and
a cover was laid for one, with a crusty brown loaf and a bottle of
wine beside the plate. Edna bit a piece from the brown loaf,
tearing it with her strong, white teeth. She poured some of the
wine into the glass and drank it down. Then she went softly out of
doors, and plucking an orange from the low-hanging bough of a tree,
threw it at Robert, who did not know she was awake and up.
An illumination broke over his whole face when he saw her and
joined her under the orange tree.
"How many years have I slept?" she inquired. "The whole
island seems changed. A new race of beings must have sprung up,
leaving only you and me as past relics. How many ages ago did
Madame Antoine and Tonie die? and when did our people from Grand
Isle disappear from the earth?"
He familiarly adjusted a ruffle upon her shoulder.
"You have slept precisely one hundred years. I was left here
to guard your slumbers; and for one hundred years I have been out
under the shed reading a book. The only evil I couldn't prevent
was to keep a broiled fowl from drying up."