Exclusion was among the first of Desiree's experiences, but more fortunate events shielded her consciousness from any immediate injury. Exclusion from the womb into the world must have been more traumatic for her than her exclusion from the world of her birth parents. Fate directed her toward the childless Valmonde couple who happily adopted her and showered their love on her, refusing to speculate unprofitably on the riddle of her origin: "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." When she was found, the child had been old enough to cry for 'Dada' but she soon shed all those memories and "grew to be beautiful and gentle, affectionate and sincere - the idol of Valmonde."
This pleasant state of existence was not disturbed even when Desiree left her foster parents to live with her husband Armand Aubigny who had seen her once and "fell in love, as if struck by a pistol shot." The words of caution spoken by Monsieur Valmonde pass unheeded, the "obscure origin" of his would-be bride is nothing to Aubigny, it mattered nothing to him that she was 'nameless': "What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana"
For another year Desire continued to l...
The baby boy is born-in the first weeks of his existence, he is the apple of his father's eye, and of everyone else, but then, things began to change.
The first doubts appear in the mind of Desiree's mother when she sees the child, after a gap of around four weeks. " 'This is not the baby!' she exclaimed, in startled tones." Even at that time, Desiree remained in happy ignorance. She imagined that her mother's comment only meant that the child had grown more than expected. "Yes, the child has grown, has changed," said Madame Valmonde, slowly, as she replaced it beside its mother. "What does Armand say" Desiree does not really need to answer this question for her "face became suffused with a glow that was happiness itself." Obviously, Armand Aubigny was living in the Paradise of ignorance too-his wife knows that "Armand is the proudest father in the parish."
The fall from Eden down to earth was not actually all that sudden:
When the baby was about three months old, Desiree awoke one day to the conviction that there was something in the air menacing her peace. It was at first too subtle to grasp. It had only been a disquieting suggestion; an air of mystery among the blacks; unexpected visits from far-off neighbors who could hardly account for their coming. Then a strange, an awful change in her husband's manner, which she dared not ask him to explain. When he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out. He absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse. And the very spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him in his dealings with the slaves. Desiree was miserable