On the outskirts of town there was a garden that had a few tables underneath some trees. It was owned by an old mulatresse, who sold milk and cream cheese. Edna had found it accidently one day while on one of her walks, and had been going back there ever since. She never expected to run into anyone that she knew there, because it was so out of the way. One day, she stopped in for an early dinner. She was reading a book and petting the lady’s cat when she looked up, and to her surprise she saw Robert. He was also surprised, and a bit uncomfortable at having run into her so unexpectedly.
Robert sat down with her. He asked her if she came there a lot, and explained that he used to come there a lot for coffee before he went to Mexico. Edna had promised herself that she would be as reserved as he had been the last time they saw each other, but that didn’t last. Edna asked him why he hadn’t come to see her. He asked Edna why she insisted on making him answer such personal questions. She told him that he was selfish. Robert retorted by saying that she was cruel to force him into admitting things that could not result in anything. Edna changed the subject; she began talking about how she found that little place. She said that she liked to walk and explore, and she felt sorry for those women who didn’t like walking.
Robert walked Edna home; it was growing dark by the time they arrived at Edna’s place. She didn’t ask him to stay, which he was happy about; he could stay without having to come up with an excuse not to. Edna went into her room to wash her face and hands; Robert sat in the shadows of the parlor. Edna came back into the room and went up to Robert; she bent over and kissed him. She withdrew from him after she kissed him, and he followed her. Robert took a hold of her, and held her close to him. He kissed her, and then pulled her down onto the sofa. They sat there together, Robert holding one of her hands in both of his. He told her that now she knew how he felt. He admitted that while he was in Mexico he had many crazy dreams; he dreamed that Mr. Pontellier let Edna go, and she married him. Edna told him that she was no longer Mr. Pontellier’s to give up; she was the only one who made decisions that concerned her.
Celestine interrupted them with a note from Madame Ratignolle. Edna had promised to stop by and see her ailing friend. She told Celestine to tell Madame Ratignolle’s servant to wait for her, and they would go together.
Edna whispered “I love you” in Robert’s ear, and told him to wait for her. She told him that it was he that opened her eyes to the world. Robert begged her not to go, but she left him there.
Chapter 37 and 38:
Character Descriptions and Paper Topics:
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1995.