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

Edna bit her handkerchief convulsively, striving to hold back
and to hide, even from herself as she would have hidden from
another, the emotion which was troubling--tearing--her. Her eyes
were brimming with tears.

For the first time she recognized the symptoms of infatuation
which she had felt incipiently as a child, as a girl in her
earliest teens, and later as a young woman. The recognition did
not lessen the reality, the poignancy of the revelation by any
suggestion or promise of instability. The past was nothing to her;
offered no lesson which she was willing to heed. The future was a
mystery which she never attempted to penetrate. The present alone
was significant; was hers, to torture her as it was doing then with
the biting conviction that she had lost that which she had held,
that she had been denied that which her impassioned, newly awakened
being demanded.


"Do you miss your friend greatly?" asked Mademoiselle Reisz
one morning as she came creeping up behind Edna, who had just left
her cottage on her way to the beach. She spent much of her time in
the water since she had acquired finally the art of swimming. As
their stay at Grand Isle drew near its close, she felt that she
could not give too much time to a diversion which afforded her the
only real pleasurable moments that she knew. When Mademoiselle
Reisz came and touched her upon the shoulder and spoke to her, the
woman seemed to echo the thought which was ever in Edna's mind; or,
better, the feeling which constantly possessed her.

Robert's going had some way taken the brightness, the color,
the meaning out of everything. The conditions of her life were in
no way changed, but her whole existence was dulled, like a faded
garment which seems to be no longer worth wearing. She sought him
everywhere--in others whom she induced to talk about him. She went
up in the mornings to Madame Lebrun's room, braving the clatter of
the old sewing-machine. She sat there and chatted at intervals as
Robert had done. She gazed around the room at the pictures and
photographs hanging upon the wall, and discovered in some corner an
old family album, which she examined with the keenest interest,
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