“Regret” by Kate Chopin Summary: Plot Synopsis

“Regret” is a short story by Kate Chopin that first appeared in her 1897 collection A Night In Acadia. It’s about an aging, independent woman who gets a taste of the life she gave up. Here’s a summary of “Regret”.

“Regret” Summary

Mamzelle Aurlie, fifty, is strong and healthy with graying hair. She wears a man’s hat at the farm and practical clothing.

She’s never been in love and never married. She turned down a marriage proposal at twenty and has always been content. She has a dog, Ponto. She also has a gun and her religion. The only others on the farm are the workers and the animals.

One morning, Mamzelle Aurlie sees her nearest neighbor, Odile, approaching with her four children. She carries the smallest, little Lodie. The others—Ti Nomme, Marcline and Marclette follow hesitantly. Odile’s been called to see her mother who’s very ill; the mule-cart is waiting for her. Her husband is away in Texas. She quickly explains the situation and leaves the children.

Regret by Kate Chopin SummaryPlot Synopsis
“Regret” by Kate Chopin: Summary

Contemplating the upset and fidgety children, she starts by feeding them. In the next few days, she learns to adjust to their individual personalities, their bedtime routine and their washing routine.

She tells Aunt Ruby, the cook, that she’d rather look after a dozen plantations than four children. Aunt Ruby has raised five children and buried six, so she knows all the tricks of raising kids.

Mamzelle Aurlie gets used to the children’s affection. She gets out her sewing basket to make repairs to their clothes. After a few days, she gets used to all the laughing, crying and talking and little Lodie’s habit of sleeping next to her. After two weeks, she’s completely adapted to the children’s presence and her new role.

In the evening, Mamzelle Aurlie sees Odile approaching in the cart, her face beaming. Mamzelle Aurlie quickly gathers the children who are off by themselves, except for Lodie, who rests in her arms. After a burst of excited activity, everyone is gone.

It’s sunset, and she looks out at the road. The cart has disappeared from sight and she can’t hear the creaking of the wheels anymore. She can faintly hear the happy, shrill voices of the children.

She goes into the house to tidy up the considerable disorder the children have caused. First, she sits at the table in the shadows. She leans on the table and cries loudly and bitterly. She doesn’t notice Ponto licking her hand.

I hope this summary of “Regret” by Kate Chopin was helpful.