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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-The Awakening by Kate Chopin


upon the subject as the corner grocer.

Edna knew that Madame Lebrun had returned to the city, for it
was the middle of November. And she also knew where the Lebruns
lived, on Chartres Street.

Their home from the outside looked like a prison, with iron
bars before the door and lower windows. The iron bars were a relic
of the old regime, and no one had ever thought of dislodging
them. At the side was a high fence enclosing the garden. A gate
or door opening upon the street was locked. Edna rang the bell at
this side garden gate, and stood upon the banquette, waiting to be
admitted.

It was Victor who opened the gate for her. A black woman,
wiping her hands upon her apron, was close at his heels. Before
she saw them Edna could hear them in altercation, the
woman--plainly an anomaly--claiming the right to be allowed to perform her
duties, one of which was to answer the bell.

Victor was surprised and delighted to see Mrs. Pontellier, and
he made no attempt to conceal either his astonishment or his
delight. He was a dark-browed, good-looking youngster of nineteen,
greatly resembling his mother, but with ten times her impetuosity.

He instructed the black woman to go at once and inform Madame
Lebrun that Mrs. Pontellier desired to see her. The woman grumbled
a refusal to do part of her duty when she had not been permitted to
do it all, and started back to her interrupted task of weeding the
garden. Whereupon Victor administered a rebuke in the form of a
volley of abuse, which, owing to its rapidity and incoherence, was
all but incomprehensible to Edna. Whatever it was, the rebuke was
convincing, for the woman dropped her hoe and went mumbling into
the house.

Edna did not wish to enter. It was very pleasant there on the
side porch, where there were chairs, a wicker lounge, and a small
table. She seated herself, for she was tired from her long tramp;
and she began to rock gently and smooth out the folds of her silk
parasol. Victor drew up his chair beside her. He at once
explained that the black woman's offensive conduct was all due to
imperfect training, as he was not there to take her in hand. He
had only come up from the island the morning before, and expected
to return next day. He stayed all winter at the island; he lived
there, and kept the place in order and got things ready for the
summer visitors.
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-The Awakening by Kate Chopin



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