As the day was pleasant, Madame Valmonde drove over to L'Abri to see Désirée and the baby.

It made her laugh to think of Désirée with a baby. Why, it seemed but yesterday that Désirée was little more than a baby herself; when Monsieur in riding through the gateway of Valmonde had found her lying asleep in the shadow of the big stone pillar.

The little one awoke in his arms and began to cry for "Dada." That was as much as she could do or say. Some people thought she might have strayed there of her own accord, for she was of the toddling age. The prevailing belief was that she had been purposely left by a party of Texans, whose canvas-covered wagon, late in the day, had crossed the ferry that Coton Mais kept, just below the plantation. In time Madame Valmonde abandoned every speculation but the one that Desiree had been sent to her by a beneficent Providence to be the child of her affection, seeing that she was without child of the flesh. For the girl grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere,--the idol of Valmonde.

It was no wonder, when she stood one day against the stone pillar in whose shadow she had lain asleep, eighteen years before, that Armand Aubigny riding by and seeing her there, had fallen in love with her. That was the way all the Aubignys fell in love, as if struck by a pistol shot. The wonder was that he had not loved her before; for he had known her since his father brought him home from Paris, a boy of eight, after his mother died there. The passion that awoke in him that day, when he saw her at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles.

Monsieur Valmonde grew practical and wanted things well considered: that is, the girl's obscure origin. Armand looked into her eyes and did not care. He was reminded that she was nameless. What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana? He ordered the corbeille from Paris, and contained himself with what patience he could until it arrived; then they were married

Does it mean that Monsieur Valmone because of the way of his upbringing was practical and as he wanted things well considered the girl's unknown origin was important to him and raised her so good to make her unknown origin less important?

This passage is from a short story named: Désirée 's Baby by Kate Chopin

  • [What does x mean? What is x?] grow means become. It's in all the dictionaries.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


In this instance "grew" refers not to his growth from childhood, but rather a more immediate change of his mood. You see it often used to describe emotional states (e.g. "he grew angry with me" or "he grew bored listening to the speech").

Secondly, the "well-considered" part means to be carefully thought about, rather than "thought well of". So when it says "things well-considered" following a description of Valmonde's temperament becoming more practical, it is together read as a description of Valmonde's state of mind.

Lastly, the colon that splits this sentence creates an explanatory relationship between what comes after with what comes before. A colon can be used to start a list, or to show an explanation or example. This is a case of the latter, since there is no list present. This means that the explanation for Valmonde's mood, and an example of things he wants "well-considered", would be Désirée's "obscure origin".

  • It's also a confusing construction; the author has elided several whole sentences. Armand falls in love in one sentence, and in the next, the author skips ahead and leaves the reader to work out that Armand is now talking to Monsieur Valmonde. So it means, more or less, "...like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles. [When he asked Monsieur Valmonde for her hand in marriage,] Monsieur Valmonde became practical and wanted Armand to consider things carefully; specifically, the girl's obscure origin. Armand looked into her eyes and did not care."
    – A. B.
    Commented May 30, 2021 at 7:37

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