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|The Awakening||Kate Chopin|
|Page 1 of 3||
The dining-room was very small. Edna's round mahogany would have almost filled it. As it was there was but a step or two from the little table to the kitchen, to the mantel, the small buffet, and the side door that opened out on the narrow brick-paved yard.
A certain degree of ceremony settled upon them with the announcement of dinner. There was no return to personalities. Robert related incidents of his sojourn in Mexico, and Edna talked of events likely to interest him, which had occurred during his absence. The dinner was of ordinary quality, except for the few delicacies which she had sent out to purchase. Old Celestine, with a bandana tignon twisted about her head, hobbled in and out, taking a personal interest in everything; and she lingered occasionally to talk patois with Robert, whom she had known as a boy.
He went out to a neighboring cigar stand to purchase cigarette papers, and when he came back he found that Celestine had served the black coffee in the parlor.
"Perhaps I shouldn't have come back," he said. "When you are tired of me, tell me to go."
"You never tire me. You must have forgotten the hours and hours at Grand Isle in which we grew accustomed to each other and used to being together."
"I have forgotten nothing at Grand Isle," he said, not looking at her, but rolling a cigarette. His tobacco pouch, which he laid upon the table, was a fantastic embroidered silk affair, evidently the handiwork of a woman.
"You used to carry your tobacco in a rubber pouch," said Edna, picking up the pouch and examining the needlework.
"Yes; it was lost."
"Where did you buy this one? In Mexico?"
"It was given to me by a Vera Cruz girl; they are very generous," he replied, striking a match and lighting his cigarette.
"They are very handsome, I suppose, those Mexican women; very picturesque, with their black eyes and their lace scarfs."
"Some are; others are hideous. just as you find women everywhere."
"What was she like--the one who gave you the pouch? You must have known her very well."
"She was very ordinary. She wasn't of the slightest importance. I knew her well enough."
"Did you visit at her house? Was it interesting? I should like to know and hear about the people you met, and the impressions they made on you."
"There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water."
"Was she such a one?"
"It would be ungenerous for me to admit that she was of that order and kind." He thrust the pouch back in his pocket, as if to put away the subject with the trifle which had brought it up.
Arobin dropped in with a message from Mrs. Merriman, to say that the card party was postponed on account of the illness of one of her children.
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