The Awakening, and Other Stories

By Kate Chopin; Pamela Knights | Go to book overview

THE UNEXPECTED

When Randall, for a brief absence, left his Dorothea, whom he was to marry after a time, the parting was bitter; the enforced separation seemed to them too cruel an ordeal to bear. The good-bye dragged with lingering kisses and sighs, and more kisses and more clinging till the last wrench came.

He was to return at the close of the month. Daily letters, impassioned and interminable, passed between them.

He did not return at the close of the month; he was delayed by illness. A heavy cold, accompanied by fever, contracted in some unaccountable way, held him to his bed. He hoped it would be over and that he would rejoin her in a week. But this was a stubborn cold, that seemed not to yield to familiar treatment; yet the physician was not discouraged, and promised to have him on his feet in a fortnight.

All this was torture to the impatient Dorothea; and if her parents had permitted, she surely would have hastened to the bedside of her beloved.

For a long interval he could not write himself. One day he seemed better; another day a "fresh cold" seized him with relentless clutch; and so a second month went by, and Dorothea had reached the limit of her endurance.

Then a tremulous scrawl came from him, saying he would be obliged to pass a season at the south; but he would first revisit his home, if only for a day, to clasp his dearest one to his heart, to appease the hunger for her presence, the craving for her lips that had been devouring him through all the fever and pain of this detestable illness.

Dorothea had read his impassioned letters almost to tatters. She had sat daily gazing for hours upon his portrait, which showed him to be an almost perfect specimen of youthful health, strength and manly beauty.

She knew he would be altered in appearance -- he had prepared her, and had even written that she would hardly know him. She expected to see him ill and wasted; she would not seem shocked; she would not let him see astonishment or pain in her face. She was in a quiver of anticipation, a sensuous fever of expectancy till he came.

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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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