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Chapter 29

  • Without even waiting for an answer from her husband regarding his opinion o_ishes in the matter, Edna hastened her preparations for quitting her home o_splanade Street and moving into the little house around the block. A feveris_nxiety attended her every action in that direction. There was no moment o_eliberation, no interval of repose between the thought and its fulfillment.
  • Early upon the morning following those hours passed in Arobin's society, Edn_et about securing her new abode and hurrying her arrangements for occupyin_t. Within the precincts of her home she felt like one who has entered an_ingered within the portals of some forbidden temple in which a thousan_uffled voices bade her begone.
  • Whatever was her own in the house, everything which she had acquired asid_rom her husband's bounty, she caused to be transported to the other house,
  • supplying simple and meager deficiencies from her own resources.
  • Arobin found her with rolled sleeves, working in company with the house-mai_hen he looked in during the afternoon. She was splendid and robust, and ha_ever appeared handsomer than in the old blue gown, with a red sil_andkerchief knotted at random around her head to protect her hair from th_ust. She was mounted upon a high stepladder, unhooking a picture from th_all when he entered. He had found the front door open, and had followed hi_ing by walking in unceremoniously.
  • "Come down!" he said. "Do you want to kill yourself?" She greeted him wit_ffected carelessness, and appeared absorbed in her occupation.
  • If he had expected to find her languishing, reproachful, or indulging i_entimental tears, he must have been greatly surprised.
  • He was no doubt prepared for any emergency, ready for any one of the foregoin_ttitudes, just as he bent himself easily and naturally to the situation whic_onfronted him.
  • "Please come down," he insisted, holding the ladder and looking up at her.
  • "No," she answered; "Ellen is afraid to mount the ladder. Joe is working ove_t the `pigeon house'—that's the name Ellen gives it, because it's so smal_nd looks like a pigeon house—and some one has to do this."
  • Arobin pulled off his coat, and expressed himself ready and willing to temp_ate in her place. Ellen brought him one of her dust-caps, and went int_ontortions of mirth, which she found it impossible to control, when she sa_im put it on before the mirror as grotesquely as he could. Edna herself coul_ot refrain from smiling when she fastened it at his request. So it was he wh_n turn mounted the ladder, unhooking pictures and curtains, and dislodgin_rnaments as Edna directed. When he had finished he took off his dust-cap an_ent out to wash his hands.
  • Edna was sitting on the tabouret, idly brushing the tips of a feather duste_long the carpet when he came in again.
  • "Is there anything more you will let me do?" he asked.
  • "That is all," she answered. "Ellen can manage the rest." She kept the youn_oman occupied in the drawing-room, unwilling to be left alone with Arobin.
  • "What about the dinner?" he asked; "the grand event, the coup d'etat?"
  • "It will be day after to-morrow. Why do you call it the `coup d'etat?' Oh! i_ill be very fine; all my best of everything—crystal, silver and gold, Sevres,
  • flowers, music, and champagne to swim in. I'll let Leonce pay the bills. _onder what he'll say when he sees the bills.
  • "And you ask me why I call it a coup d'etat?" Arobin had put on his coat, an_e stood before her and asked if his cravat was plumb. She told him it was,
  • looking no higher than the tip of his collar.
  • "When do you go to the `pigeon house?'—with all due acknowledgment to Ellen."
  • "Day after to-morrow, after the dinner. I shall sleep there."
  • "Ellen, will you very kindly get me a glass of water?" asked Arobin. "The dus_n the curtains, if you will pardon me for hinting such a thing, has parche_y throat to a crisp."
  • "While Ellen gets the water," said Edna, rising, "I will say good-by and le_ou go. I must get rid of this grime, and I have a million things to do an_hink of."
  • "When shall I see you?" asked Arobin, seeking to detain her, the maid havin_eft the room.
  • "At the dinner, of course. You are invited."
  • "Not before?—not to-night or to-morrow morning or tomorrow noon or night? o_he day after morning or noon? Can't you see yourself, without my telling you,
  • what an eternity it is?"
  • He had followed her into the hall and to the foot of the stairway, looking u_t her as she mounted with her face half turned to him.
  • "Not an instant sooner," she said. But she laughed and looked at him with eye_hat at once gave him courage to wait and made it torture to wait.