See comments. Our story today is called "Athenaise. Here is Barbara Klein with the story. Athenaise went away one morning to visit her parents, ten miles back on the Bon Dieu River in Louisiana.
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See comments. Our story today is called "Athenaise. Here is Barbara Klein with the story. Athenaise went away one morning to visit her parents, ten miles back on the Bon Dieu River in Louisiana. She did not return in the evening, and Cazeau, her husband, was worried. It is not right! Cazeau shrugged his shoulders.
He was used to being alone and did not mind a night or two of it. Cazeau stood up and walked outside. The night was beginning to deepen and gather black around the groups of trees in the yard.
Far away, he could hear the sound of someone playing an accordion. Nearby, a baby was crying. He still had much farm work to do before bed time. He did not have time to think about Athenaise. But he felt her absence like a deep pain. The marriage had been a mistake. He had only to look into her eyes to feel that, to sense her growing dislike of him.
But, the marriage could not be undone. And he was ready to make the best of it and expected the same effort from her. These sad thoughts kept Cazeau awake far into the night. The moon was shining and its pale light reached into the room. It was still outside, with no sound except the distant notes of the accordion. On the third day, Cazeau prepared his horse and went himself in search of her. The house was far too big for their use.
Upstairs, the rooms were so large and empty that they were used for parties. She stood up to greet Cazeau. She was short and fat with a cheery face. But she was clearly tense as Cazeau arrived. The boys would not let their sister leave! Do you have dances every night? When Athenaise said she was not returning to Cazeau she meant it.
Upon arriving home, Athenaise had announced she was there to stay. It was difficult for her to understand why she had married. Girls were just expected to get married. And she did like Cazeau. He had asked her if Cazeau abused her, or if he drank too much. I do not like being Missus Cazeau. I do not like living with a man, all his clothing everywhere and his ugly bare feet. Athenaise was not prepared for his calm request.
She felt a sense of hopelessness about continuing to rebel against the idea of marriage. She gathered her hat and gloves. Then, she walked downstairs past her brother and mother, got on her horse and rode away. Cazeau followed behind her.
It was late when they reached home. Cazeau once more ate dinner alone. Athenaise sat in her room crying. No one could understand why she so hated her role as wife. Cazeau had never spoken angrily to her or called her names or failed to give her everything she wanted.
His main offense seemed to be that he loved her. I guess I was a fool to think I could make you happy. I do not know what else to do but make the best of a bad deal and shake hands over it. It now seemed to Athenaise that her brother was the only friend left to her in the world. Her parents had turned from her and her friends laughed at her. After some thought, Athenaise agreed to his plan. The next morning, Cazeau woke up to find his wife was gone. She had packed her belongings and left in the night.
He realized he had missed his chance for happiness. He could not think of loving any other woman, and could not imagine Athenaise ever caring for him. He wrote her a letter stating that he did not want her back unless she returned of her own free will. Athenaise had escaped to the big city of New Orleans.
A woman named Sylvie owned the hotel and took good care of Athenaise. Athenaise soon became friends with Mister Gouvernail, who was also staying at the hotel. This friendship helped her feel less lonely about missing her family. But Mister Gouvernail soon started to fall in love with Athenaise. He knew she was uninformed, unsatisfied and strong-willed. But he also suspected that she loved her husband, although she did not know it.
Bitter as this belief was, he accepted it. She had not found a job and was too homesick to stay any longer. Also, she had not been feeling well. She complained in detail about her sickness to Sylvie. Sylvie was very wise, and Athenaise was very stupid.
Sylvie very calmly explained to Athenaise that she was feeling sick because she was pregnant. Athenaise sat very still for a long time thinking about this new information. Her whole being was overcome with a wave of happiness.
Then, she stood up, ready to take action. She had to tell her mother! And Cazeau! As she thought of him, a whole new sense of life swept over her. She could not wait to return to him. The next day Athenaise spent travelling home. The country night was warm and still except for a baby crying in the distance.
Poor darling, I wonder what is the matter with it? Your storyteller was Barbara Klein. This story was adapted and produced by Dana Demange. Load more comments. Search Search. Audio menu. Learning English Broadcast. Previous Next. American Stories. June 07, Embed share Athenaise by Kate Chopin.
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'Athenaise' by Kate Chopin
She did not return in the evening, and Cazeau, her husband, fretted not a little. He felt sure those "lazy pigs," her brothers, were capable of neglecting it seriously. He ate his supper alone, by the light of a single coal-oil lamp that but faintly illuminated the big room, with its bare floor and huge rafters, and its heavy pieces of furniture that loomed dimly in the gloom of the apartment. She served him with a dish of sunfish fried crisp and brown. There was nothing else set before him beside the bread and butter and the bottle of red wine which she locked carefully in the buffet after he had poured his second glass. She was occupied with her mistress's absence, and kept reverting to it after he had expressed his solicitude about the pony. Cazeau shrugged his shoulders for answer, after he had drained his glass and pushed aside his plate.
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