The Awakening, and Other Stories

By Kate Chopin; Pamela Knights | Go to book overview

AT THE 'CADIAN BALL

Bobinôt -- that big, brown, good-natured Bobinôt -- had no intention of going to the ball, even though he knew Calixta would be there. For what came of those balls but heartache, and a sickening disinclination for work the whole week through, till Saturday night came again and his tortures began afresh? Why could he not have loved Ozéina, who would marry him to-morrow; or Fronie,* or any one of a dozen others, rather than that little Spanish vixen? Calixta's slender foot had never touched Cuban soil; but her mother's had, and the Spanish was in her blood all the same. For that reason the prairie people* forgave her much that they would not have overlooked in their own daughters and sisters.

Her eyes- Bobinôt thought of her eyes, and weakened -- the bluest, the drowsiest, most tantalizing that ever looked into a man's; her flaxen hair that kinked worse than a mulatto's close to her head; that broad, smiling mouth and tip-tilted nose, that full figure; that voice like a rich contralto song, with cadences in it that must have been taught by Satan, for there had been no one else to teach her tricks on that 'Cadian prairie. Bobinôt thought of them all as he ploughed his rows of cane.

There had even been a breath of scandal whispered about her a year ago, when she went to Assumption* -- but why talk of it? No one did now. "Cest Espagnol, ça," most of them said with lenient shoulder-shrugs. "Bon chien tient de race,"* the old men mumbled over their pipes, stirred by recollections. Nothing was made of it, except that Fronie threw it up to Calixta when the two quarrelled and fought on the church steps after mass one Sunday, about a lover. Calixta swore roundly in fine 'Cadian French and with true Spanish spirit, and slapped Fronie's face. Fronie had slapped her back: "Tiens, cocotte, va!" "Espèce de lionèse: prends ça, et ça!"* till the curé himself was obliged to hasten and make peace between them. Bobinôt thought of it all, and would not go to the ball.

But in the afternoon, over at Friedheimer's store, where he was buying a trace-chain,* he heard some one say that Alcée Laballière* would be there. Then wild horses could not have kept him away. He knew how it would be -- or rather he did not know how it would

-183-

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The Awakening, and Other Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Awakening and Other Stories i
  • Oxford World''s Classics ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Note on the Texts xliv
  • Select Bibilography xlix
  • A Chronology of Kate Chopin lvi
  • The Awakening and Other Stories 1
  • Wiser Than a God 129
  • A Point at Issue! 139
  • The Maid of Saint Phillippe 156
  • Doctor Chevalier''s Lie 164
  • Beyond the Bayou 166
  • Old Aunt Peggy 173
  • Ripe Figs 174
  • Miss McEnders 175
  • At the ''Cadian Ball 183
  • The Father of Désirée''s Baby 193
  • Caline 199
  • A Matter of Prejudice 202
  • Azélie 209
  • A Lady of Bayou St. John 218
  • Tonie 229
  • A Gentleman of Bayou Teche 240
  • In Sabine 246
  • A Respectable Woman 255
  • The Dream of an Hour 259
  • Lilacs 262
  • Regret 274
  • The Kiss 278
  • Her Letters 281
  • Athénaïse 289
  • The Unexpected 320
  • Vagabonds 324
  • A Pair of Silk Stockings 327
  • An Egyptian Cigarette 332
  • Elizabeth Stock''s One Story 336
  • The Storm a Sequel to "The''Cadian Ball" 342
  • Appendix - Louisiana Observed- Regional Writing and Kate Chopin''s People and Languages 348
  • Explanatory Notes 360
  • Glossary 408
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