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Chapter 12

  • She slept but a few hours. They were troubled and feverish hours, disturbe_ith dreams that were intangible, that eluded her, leaving only an impressio_pon her half-awakened senses of something unattainable. She was up an_ressed in the cool of the early morning. The air was invigorating an_teadied somewhat her faculties. However, she was not seeking refreshment o_elp from any source, either external or from within. She was blindl_ollowing whatever impulse moved her, as if she had placed herself in alie_ands for direction, and freed her soul of responsibility.
  • Most of the people at that early hour were still in bed and asleep. A few, wh_ntended to go over to the Cheniere for mass, were moving about. The lovers,
  • who had laid their plans the night before, were already strolling toward th_harf. The lady in black, with her Sunday prayer-book, velvet and gold-
  • clasped, and her Sunday silver beads, was following them at no great distance.
  • Old Monsieur Farival was up, and was more than half inclined to do anythin_hat suggested itself. He put on his big straw hat, and taking his umbrell_rom the stand in the hall, followed the lady in black, never overtaking her.
  • The little negro girl who worked Madame Lebrun's sewing-machine was sweepin_he galleries with long, absent-minded strokes of the broom. Edna sent her u_nto the house to awaken Robert.
  • "Tell him I am going to the Cheniere. The boat is ready; tell him to hurry."
  • He had soon joined her. She had never sent for him before. She had never aske_or him. She had never seemed to want him before. She did not appear consciou_hat she had done anything unusual in commanding his presence. He wa_pparently equally unconscious of anything extraordinary in the situation. Bu_is face was suffused with a quiet glow when he met her.
  • They went together back to the kitchen to drink coffee. There was no time t_ait for any nicety of service. They stood outside the window and the coo_assed them their coffee and a roll, which they drank and ate from the window-
  • sill. Edna said it tasted good.
  • She had not thought of coffee nor of anything. He told her he had ofte_oticed that she lacked forethought.
  • "Wasn't it enough to think of going to the Cheniere and waking you up?" sh_aughed. "Do I have to think of everything?—as Leonce says when he's in a ba_umor. I don't blame him; he'd never be in a bad humor if it weren't for me."
  • They took a short cut across the sands. At a distance they could see th_urious procession moving toward the wharf—the lovers, shoulder to shoulder,
  • creeping; the lady in black, gaining steadily upon them; old Monsieur Farival,
  • losing ground inch by inch, and a young barefooted Spanish girl, with a re_erchief on her head and a basket on her arm, bringing up the rear.
  • Robert knew the girl, and he talked to her a little in the boat. No on_resent understood what they said. Her name was Mariequita. She had a round,
  • sly, piquant face and pretty black eyes. Her hands were small, and she kep_hem folded over the handle of her basket. Her feet were broad and coarse. Sh_id not strive to hide them. Edna looked at her feet, and noticed the sand an_lime between her brown toes.
  • Beaudelet grumbled because Mariequita was there, taking up so much room. I_eality he was annoyed at having old Monsieur Farival, who considered himsel_he better sailor of the two. But he he would not quarrel with so old a man a_onsieur Farival, so he quarreled with Mariequita. The girl was deprecatory a_ne moment, appealing to Robert. She was saucy the next, moving her head u_nd down, making "eyes" at Robert and making "mouths" at Beaudelet.
  • The lovers were all alone. They saw nothing, they heard nothing. The lady i_lack was counting her beads for the third time. Old Monsieur Farival talke_ncessantly of what he knew about handling a boat, and of what Beaudelet di_ot know on the same subject.
  • Edna liked it all. She looked Mariequita up and down, from her ugly brown toe_o her pretty black eyes, and back again.
  • "Why does she look at me like that?" inquired the girl of Robert.
  • "Maybe she thinks you are pretty. Shall I ask her?"
  • "No. Is she your sweetheart?"
  • "She's a married lady, and has two children."
  • "Oh! well! Francisco ran away with Sylvano's wife, who had four children. The_ook all his money and one of the children and stole his boat."
  • "Shut up!"
  • "Does she understand?"
  • "Oh, hush!"
  • "Are those two married over there—leaning on each other?"
  • "Of course not," laughed Robert.
  • "Of course not," echoed Mariequita, with a serious, confirmatory bob of th_ead.
  • The sun was high up and beginning to bite. The swift breeze seemed to Edna t_ury the sting of it into the pores of her face and hands. Robert held hi_mbrella over her. As they went cutting sidewise through the water, the sail_ellied taut, with the wind filling and overflowing them. Old Monsieur Fariva_aughed sardonically at something as he looked at the sails, and Beaudele_wore at the old man under his breath.
  • Sailing across the bay to the Cheniere Caminada, Edna felt as if she wer_eing borne away from some anchorage which had held her fast, whose chains ha_een loosening—had snapped the night before when the mystic spirit was abroad,
  • leaving her free to drift whithersoever she chose to set her sails. Rober_poke to her incessantly; he no longer noticed Mariequita. The girl ha_hrimps in her bamboo basket. They were covered with Spanish moss. She bea_he moss down impatiently, and muttered to herself sullenly.
  • "Let us go to Grande Terre to-morrow?" said Robert in a low voice.
  • "What shall we do there?"
  • "Climb up the hill to the old fort and look at the little wriggling gol_nakes, and watch the lizards sun themselves."
  • She gazed away toward Grande Terre and thought she would like to be alon_here with Robert, in the sun, listening to the ocean's roar and watching th_limy lizards writhe in and out among the ruins of the old fort.
  • "And the next day or the next we can sail to the Bayou Brulow," he went on.
  • "What shall we do there?"
  • "Anything—cast bait for fish."
  • "No; we'll go back to Grande Terre. Let the fish alone."
  • "We'll go wherever you like," he said. "I'll have Tonie come over and help m_atch and trim my boat. We shall not need Beaudelet nor any one. Are yo_fraid of the pirogue?"
  • "Oh, no."
  • "Then I'll take you some night in the pirogue when the moon shines. Maybe you_ulf spirit will whisper to you in which of these islands the treasures ar_idden—direct you to the very spot, perhaps."
  • "And in a day we should be rich!" she laughed. "I'd give it all to you, th_irate gold and every bit of treasure we could dig up. I think you would kno_ow to spend it. Pirate gold isn't a thing to be hoarded or utilized. It i_omething to squander and throw to the four winds, for the fun of seeing th_olden specks fly."
  • "We'd share it, and scatter it together," he said. His face flushed.
  • They all went together up to the quaint little Gothic church of Our Lady o_ourdes, gleaming all brown and yellow with paint in the sun's glare.
  • Only Beaudelet remained behind, tinkering at his boat, and Mariequita walke_way with her basket of shrimps, casting a look of childish ill humor an_eproach at Robert from the corner of her eye.