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"What have you been doing to her, Pontellier?"

"Doing! Parbleu!"

"Has she," asked the Doctor, with a smile, "has she been associating
of late with a circle of pseudo-intellectual women--super-spiritual
superior beings? My wife has been telling me about them."

"That's the trouble," broke in Mr. Pontellier, "she hasn't
been associating with any one. She has abandoned her Tuesdays at
home, has thrown over all her acquaintances, and goes tramping
about by herself, moping in the street-cars, getting in after dark.

I tell you she's peculiar. I don't like it; I feel a little
worried over it."

This was a new aspect for the Doctor. "Nothing hereditary?"
he asked, seriously. "Nothing peculiar about her family
antecedents, is there?"

"Oh, no, indeed! She comes of sound old Presbyterian Kentucky
stock. The old gentleman, her father, I have heard, used to atone
for his weekday sins with his Sunday devotions. I know for a fact,
that his race horses literally ran away with the prettiest bit of
Kentucky farming land I ever laid eyes upon. Margaret--you know
Margaret--she has all the Presbyterianism undiluted. And the
youngest is something of a vixen. By the way, she gets married in a
couple of weeks from now."

"Send your wife up to the wedding," exclaimed the Doctor,
foreseeing a happy solution. "Let her stay among her own people
for a while; it will do her good."

"That's what I want her to do. She won't go to the marriage.
She says a wedding is one of the most lamentable spectacles on
earth. Nice thing for a woman to say to her husband!" exclaimed
Mr. Pontellier, fuming anew at the recollection.

"Pontellier," said the Doctor, after a moment's reflection,
"let your wife alone for a while. Don't bother her, and don't let
her bother you. Woman, my dear friend, is a very peculiar and
delicate organism--a sensitive and highly organized woman, such as
I know Mrs. Pontellier to be, is especially peculiar. It would
require an inspired psychologist to deal successfully with them.
And when ordinary fellows like you and me attempt to cope with
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