The Awakening, and Other Stories

By Kate Chopin; Pamela Knights | Go to book overview

WISER THAN A GOD

"To love and be wise is scarcely granted even to a god." -- Latin Proverb

"You might at least show some distaste for the task, Paula," said Mrs. Von Stoltz, in her querulous invalid voice, to her daughter who stood before the glass bestowing a few final touches of embellishment upon an otherwise plain toilet.

"And to what purpose, Mutterchen? The task is not entirely to my liking, I'll admit; but there can be no question as to its results, which you even must concede are gratifying."

"Well, it's not the career your poor father had in view for you. How often he has told me when I complained that you were kept too closely at work, 'I want that Paula shall be at the head,' " with appealing look through the window and up into the gray, November sky into that far "somewhere," which might be the abode of her departed husband.

"It isn't a career at all, mamma; it's only a make-shift," answered the girl, noting the happy effect of an amber pin that she had thrust through the coils of her lustrous yellow hair. "The pot must be kept boiling at all hazards, pending the appearance of that hoped for career. And you forget that an occasion like this gives me the very opportunities I want."

"I can't see the advantages of bringing your talent down to such banale servitude. Who are those people, anyway?"

The mother's question ended in a cough which shook her into speechless exhaustion.

"Ah! I have let you sit too long by the window, mother," said Paula, hastening to wheel the invalid's chair nearer the grate fire that was throwing genial light and warmth into the room, turning its plainness to beauty as by a touch of enchantment. "By the way," she added, having arranged her mother as comfortably as might be, "I haven't yet qualified for that 'banale servitude,' as you call it." And approaching the piano which stood in a distant alcove of the room,

-129-

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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 3
  • 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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