Each year Robert chooses a different woman with whom he has a "summer romance". This summer he has chosen Edna, but Ad'le fears that Edna's husband may be jealous because they are not from the French Creole society. When Robert was Ad'le's attendant last summer, she never took his proclamations of love seriously, but Edna may behave differently.
It soon becomes evident that Robert’s treatment of Edna differs to his
previous liaisons, and Edna is flattered by Robert’s attentions.
Whilst L'once is away, the three companions enjoy their vacation and Edna
spends time doing some paintings. Edna’s children are cared for by their nurse during the daytime, leaving the three adults free to entertain one another.
Ad'le feigns a fainting spell in order to leave Robert and Edna alone
together as the day draws to a close. Robert invites Edna to join him for a swim.
Edna becomes intrigued by Robert’s flirting.
This is an experience that reminds her of the days before she was married. She experiences feelings that she thought were lost to her. When Robert is being attentive, she no longer feels like a piece of her husband’s property. Robert’s behavior is acceptable in the Creole society. The flirting is recognised as a safety valve, and only strengthens the bonds between husband and wife. However, the opposite effect seems to be happening in Edna’s situation. Robert’s attention to Edna is driving a wedge between Edna and L'once, unknown to Robert.
However, it is not just Robert’s flirting that is contributing to Edna’s
awakening, but her exposure to the permissive Creole society where the private intimacies of life, such as pregnancy, love affairs and underwear, are openly discussed. However, the Creole society has a strict
code of chastity, which is instilled in its members, and so this is a safe game to play.
Up until now, Robert treats the women he flirts with as being on a pedestal,
far beyond his reach. However, he will find that Edna is only too willing to step down from the pedestal and be with him.
Tension mounts during this Chapter and it climaxes at the end with Robert’s
invitation to Edna to go for a swim.