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Full text of "Madame Bovary : a study of provincial life"




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MADAME BOVARY 



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in 2009 



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Copyright, 191O 
By BRENTANO'S 



PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. 



To 

Marie-Antoin!--Juu:s Sknakd. Member of the Paris 
Bar. Ex-President of the National Assembly, and 
Former Minister of the Interior. 

Dkak an'i> Tr.Li'STKiois I'kiknd: 

Permit me to inscribe your name at the opening? of 
this book, and above all to dedicate it to you; for to 
you I owe its publication. In its treatment by your 
magnificent i)lea. my work has acquired even for my- 
self an unexpected authority. Accept, then, the hom- 
age of my gratitude, which, great as it is, never can 
equal the splendour of your eloquence and the sin- 

ceritv of vour devotion. 

GusTAVK Flaubert. 

Paris, Atnl i-^, 1857. 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

IN the slcc])v little French city of Rouen, on the 
twelfth day of DocemlKT. 1821, was Ijorn to Achille 
Cle()j)has Maubert, head surgeon in the Rouen hos- 
pital, and his wife, Anne Justine Caroline (nee Fleu- 
riot. of Norman ancestry), a son, named Gustave, 
fourth in a famil)- that later numbered six children. 
Achille ['"laubert was a surgeon of high distinction, his 
reputation extending far beyond his native province ; 
his son Gustave drew a masterly portrait of him in 
the character of Dr. Lariviere in Madame Boz'ary. 

As a child, Gustave was of a quiet, thoughtful na- 
ture, imaginative and ingenuous — two characteristics 
that he retained throughout his life. His constant 
companion in childhood was his sister Caroline, the 
youngest child, three years his junior. 

The Flaubert family lived (after the father had be- 
come surgeon-in-chief of the Hotel Dieu) in a pri- 
vate wing of the hospital building. The boy's life 
there was regular and healthful, and his mind devel- 
oped rapidly in imagination and vigour, although 
strangely enough he did not learn to read till long 
past the usual age. The art once acquired, however, 
he advanced in it with amazing rapidity, and at ten 
years of age was devouring \'ictor Hugo's dramas, 
and himself composed some astonishing tragedies, in 
which he acted with his boy friends, who comprised a 
group of which several members became well known 
in later years : Ernest Chevalier, of the French magis- 



viii BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

tracy ; Alfred de Poittevin, the yoiint; poet, who met 
death in early manhood, and whose sister was later 
the mother of Guy de Maupassant ; Louis Bouilhet, 
the poet-dramatist ; Ernest le Marie, and other ro- 
mantic lads, who encourasj^ed one another in literary 
enthusiasms and exaltations, which, in the case of 
some of them, passed the bounds of wisdom, one of 
the group committing suicide from sheer excess of 
morbid fancy. From unhealthful morbidities, how- 
ever, young Flaubert was saved by the sane and nor- 
mal home life of his family circle. He was sent to a 
boarding-school in Rouen when he was ten years old, 
in company with the lads just mentioned, as it was 
then the custom to send boys to such schools even in 
the towns where the parents lived, the pupils being al- 
lowed to pass Saturdays and Sundays with their fami- 
lies. His taste for literature was not curbed by his 
parents, who permitted the young people to use the 
billiard-table as a stage, upon which the aforesaid 
tragedies were enacted before enthusiastic audiences 
of friends. 

At this period the French people were drifting to- 
ward tire era of literary revolution and the rise of the 
Romantic School. In Paris a whole seminary broke 
out in open mutiny because one of the elderly teachers 
had severely criticised the works of \'ictor Hugo, the 
secret idol of ardent youths who had long been con- 
demned to read only the severest classic works. The 
revolt indeed was entirely due to long-continued and 
arbitrary repression of literary choice among young 
people. The French governing class had for many 
years exercised a self-assumed right to dictate what 
should be the mental pabulum of its youth, especially 
in the field of fiction. This dictatorship was begun by 
the statesmen of Louis XI\^, and was earnestly pro- 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE ix 

imilj^atcd by the Emperor Xai)oleon, the result beinp, 
in Flaubert's time, that, notvvithstandinjr the break- 
iiijT of many old fetters by the French Revolution, 
the schools in which the children of the ui)1ht class 
were educated frowned upon freedom of thouj^ht and 
cluu^ to the ancient forms of the French classicists. 
Victor Ilup^o, the revolutionary literary p;iant, was the 
especial bctc iioir of the scholastic p^uides, and the 
most sedulous care was exercised in keepinf^ his illu- 
minating;', startling, free-thinking works from the 
hands of inflammable youths, who were forced instead 
to accept Racine, Corneille, Fenclon, and. as a bonnc- 
boitclic, Moliere's plays. Against all other imaginative 
literature for French lads in their 'teens there was a 
stern taboo. 

On a youth of Flaubert's intellect and temperament 
this narrowness produced a sense of grievance, re- 
flected in his letters of that period (\'ol. Mil), which 
resulted in his setting his instructors at defiance and 
plunging into all sorts of literature, some of which 
was hardly suited to his tender age. He read Rabe- 
lais. Montaigne, Shakespeare, Byron, and \'ictor Hugo 
before he was eighteen, and sets forth an emphatic 
conviction that in true literature there is no such thing 
as indecency. In reading his correspondence with his 
most intimate friends, one should always bear in mind 
that none of these letters was written with any idea 
that even one of them would ever see the light in print, 
and that therefore their freedom of expression and vio- 
lent phrases should be regarded and excused as the 
natural out)iourings of a warm and imaginative mind 
in the confidential privacy of intimate friendship. 

Gustave Flaubert attended school in Rouen until 
1830. when he went to Paris to study law, in obedience 
to his father's desire, although the idea of becoming a 



X BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

lawyer was distasteful to himself. His friend of that 
period. Maxinie Ducanip, in his recollections of Flau- 
bert, thus describes him : 

" One day in March. 1843. ^vhile Le Marie was 
pounding out Beethoven's Funeral March on the piano, 
and I was scribbling rhymes, the bell rung with a loud, 
imperious peal, and to us- entered a tall young fellow, 
wearing a sweeping blond beard and his hat cocked 
over one ear. Gustave Flaubert was then twenty-one 
years old and of a heroic style of beauty. His white 
skin showed a slight flush on the cheeks ; his long 
hair floated over his shoulders ; and with his tall, ath- 
letic figure, his thick, golden beard; his large sea- 
green eyes, with long black lashes, his resonant voice, 
sweeping gestures, and ringing laugh, he resembled 
the young Gaelic chiefs that battled with the Roman 
armies." 

For three years he studied law in Paris, horribly 
bored by it all the time, and finding pleasure only in a 
free enjoyment of literature and the society of con- 
genial students who met often at the studio of Pra- 
dier the sculptor, forming there a sort of Bohemian 
literary club. It was there that Flaubert first met 

Madame Louise Colet, the " Madame X " among 

his correspondents. She was a literary woman, the 
wife of Lucien Colet, but separated from her husband, 
and a friend of Hugo, of the De Goncourt brothers, 
and of most of the literary lights of that day. She 
died five years before Flaubert. His passion for this 
lady was comparatively brief, though friendship ex- 
isted between them for years. Except for this affaire, 
and an adoration in his early 'teens for a lady who 
afterward served as his model for Madame Arnoux 
in Sentimental Education, Flaubert's name never was 
connected with that of any woman, and he died a 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xi 

bachelor, having resolved long before Uj devote him- 
self to literary art and to the maintenance of his 
mother and his little niece, Caroline 1 laniard, who by 
that time was all he had left of his idolised sister 
Caroline. Maxime Ducamp, who was clever and 
witty, thongh reckless and inexact in statement, once 
wrote a fancifnl epitaph on Madame Colet. She had 
had ([uarrels with Alfred de iMnsset, and other dis- 
tinguished men, and had written a spiteful story, in 
one of her fits of jealousy and wounded vanity, in 
which Flaubert was made to figure as the villain. 
Ducamp wrote : " Here lies the woman who com- 
promised Victor Cousin, made Alfred de Musset ri- 
diculous, calumniated Gustave Flaubert, and tried to 
assassinate Alphonse Karr. Rcquicscat in pace." 

In 1843 the young law student was rejected by the 
bar examiners of Paris. Notwithstanding his posses- 
sion of gigantic mnemonic power, his utter distaste 
for the profession he had studied for three years, and 
his distrust of himself in the mastery of its details, 
were so great that he failed miserably in his examina- 
tions. He returned to his home in Rouen in the sum- 
mer of 1843. '^"<^1 gave up all idea of following the 
law. In October of the same year he was seized by 
the first attack of a strange nervous malady, of the 
recurrence of which he lived in fear the remainder of 
his days, although the disorder w^as so vigorously 
treated that in three years he had apparently recov- 
ered from it. suffering no further relapse until toward 
the close of his life. The world was informed, by 
Maxime Ducamp, one of Flaubert's closest friends, 
that the malady was epilepsy, but, through Flaubert's 
correspondence, and the testimony of less jealous 
writers, we may deduce that the assertions of this so- 
called friend were prompted by a spirit of envy and 



xii BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

a desire to belittle his almost life-long associate, who 
was beginning to tower far above Ducamp's literary 
stature. The distinguished French physician, Felix 
Dumesnil. has written in recent years an illuminating 
explanation of Flaubert's nervous malady, utterly dis- 
proving the jealous Ducamp's malicious story that he 
was a victim of epilepsy. Dumesnil points out also 
that the idea that Flaubert ever was addicted to the 
use of drugs is ridiculous. The gorgeous visions of 
The Temptation of Saint Antony were the result of 
tremendous preparatory studies, a marvellous power 
of fancy, and stupendous concentration. Opium 
brings visions, but not the power to record them in 
permanent literary form. George Saintsbury has 
called Saint Antony the most perfect specimen of 
dream literature in the world, because of its precision 
in details, its construction, its erudition, its deep-hued 
waking hallucination — the production of which would 
be impossible to a victim of opium. 

The Flaubert family moved from Rouen to Crois- 
set in 1845, the surgeon having bought a house at 
the latter place which had formerly been the country 
abode of the monks of the Abbey of Saint-Ouen, and 
within the walls of which the Abbe Prevost wrote his 
immortal romance of Manon Lescaut. The village of 
Croisset is the first town on the Seine as one travels 
from Rouen to Havre. But the settlement of the 
family in this historic dwelling was soon followed by 
disaster. Dr. Flaubert died in January, 1846, and in 
March the daughter Caroline, who had been married 
a year to M. Hamard, followed her father, leaving 
an infant daughter. The remainder of that year was 
passed in gloom and sadness, and in battling with his 
nervous trouble. In 1847 he took an extended trip 
through Brittany with his friend Ducamp, with whom 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xiii 

also he took, from 1840 to 1851, a lonjj;' journey 
through ( )riental countries, these travels haviuj^ the 
happy elTect of riddinj^ him of his peculiar nervous 
attacks. 

After his return from the travels in lirittany he 
wrote a record of his wanderint^s entitled Oi'cr Strand 
and Field (Par Ics i^rc-i'cs ct Ics champs), and in 1851 
he bejijan his first p^reat literary work, The Temptation 
of Saint Antony, which represents a vast spectacle 
of chani^in^ tal)leaux. wherein all the myths, fables, 
and faiths in reli,q;ion that have been cherished and 
followed by mankind assume concrete form and pass 
before the sorely tried vision of the holy Saint. This 
ti^reat work is the nearest api)roach in modern litera- 
ture to Goethe'^y Fanst in its heroic power and scope, 
its sumptuousness and sombre grandeur, its dazzling 
visions. On this he toiled for years, making three 
separate rewritings of the whole story before it was 
iniblished in complete form in 1876. In the early 
t'lfties he laid it aside, after its first draughting, to 
begin his most famous novel. Madame Bovary, a 
story of provincial life, which appeared in periodical 
parts in the Reinic de Paris (1856). 

The publication of this story aroused the greatest 
excitement and the most intense feeling, the reading 
public of France forming itself into two parties re- 
garding the right of the author to publish a work 
dealing so frankly with human passions and actions. 
So great was the clamour against it in certain quar- 
ters that its author was prosecuted on a charge of 
offending public morality and insulting the Roman 
Catholic religion. Nothing could be farther from the 
truth than this charge, and in the trial that followed 
(\'ol. \'). the judges could not be induced to con- 
demn Flaubert. Simply to placate the Imperial 



xiv BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

Prosecutor of Napoleon III, the judge criticised the 
frankness of some parts of the novel, but decided that 
it was a serious work, written with a hi£i:h moral pur- 
pose, and dismissed the charge. 

The sensation created by Madame Borary, and the 
great success that followed it, caused Flaubert to be- 
come one of the most conspicuous literary idols of 
Paris. His circle of friends widened rapidly, and 
many celebrated writers became his familiar corre- 
spondents. But he did not rest idly on his literary 
laurels ; no sooner was Madame Bovary fairly launched 
than he began the tremendous task of preparing him- 
self, by reading and study, to write Salammbo. 

This marvellous work was published toward the 
close of the year 1862, after its author had toiled upon 
it incessantly for six years. Its strength and its de- 
fects are summed up in Flaubert's own reply to a 
criticism by M. Frcehner, editor of the Revue Con- 
temporaine (see Appendix to Vol. II). After its ap- 
pearance the brilliant author was more assiduously 
courted than when Madame Bovary was published. 
He passed the winter in Paris, fascinating society 
there by his charming personality, marvellous wit, 
and amazing erudition, everywhere promulgating his 
gospel of following art for art's sake. He was in- 
vited to the royal palace, became a friend of Daudet, 
Zola, Tourgenieff, and a frequent visitor behind the 
scenes of the theatres, where he acquired a knowl- 
edge of stage-craft that prompted him later to write 
his satirical comedy, The Candidate, and a fairy play 
of absolute novelty, The Castle of Hearts, which 
latter production, brilliant as it was, presented such 
difficulties in mechanical efifects that no manager was 
willing to undertake its representation. 

About this time he resumed work on a half- 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xv 

sketclu'd outliiio of Sciititiicntal lidiication, which he 
had laid aside temporarily. On this lie worked as 
lout;;' and as arduously as upon Salainnibo, the result 
beinp a picture of daylight clarity of atmosphere, the 
supreme example of realism in fiction. Its period is 
that immediately precedinj^ and followinjj^ the Revo- 
lution of i84<S. it was published just as the I'Vanco- 
I'russian war was about to break out, and Maubert 
used to say that if the I'rench public had rea<l and 
understood his book the horrors of that war, and the 
l)olitical chaos that followed, mig'ht have been averted; 
l)ut at that critical epoch men were thinking of other 
things than the latest novel, even from the master 
hand of Flaubert. The book is an elaborate analysis 
of Parisian upjjer and lower middle-class society in 
the middle of the nineteenth century ; it contains 
much action relating to the stirring days of 1848. and 
wonderful delineation of typical characters. 

In the previous year ( iSfx)) ["laubert lost his dear- 
est and oldest friend, the poet Louis Uouiihet, be- 
tween whom and himself existed a friendship to 
which it is not easy to find a parallel. Both had many 
other friends, but the bond that united them never 
was strained by jealousy. For this friend, who was 
of a gentle and retiring nature, Flaubert would do 
anything in the way of business — see publishers, the- 
atrical managers, booksellers, and take all the labour 
upon himself when Rouilhet's plays were accepted and 
staged ; he directed rehearsals, superintended the 
painting of scenery, and drove all before him. His 
Preface to Bouilhet's posthumous volume of poems 
shows the novelist's estimate of his poet-friend, who 
was at one with him in his creed of art for art's sake. 

On the day of Bouilhet's funeral, a proposal was 
made to raise a subscription fund wherewith to erect 



xvi BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

in the city of Rt)ucn (which had longr been Bouilhet's 
place of residence) some appropriate monument to 
the dead poet. More than three thousand dollars was 
soon raised, and application was made to the Munici- 
pal Council at Rouen for permission to erect in some 
conspicuous place in the city a fountain that should 
support a bust of the poet. For some unknown rea- 
son the council declined the proposed gift, and Flau- 
bert wrote them an open letter that was widely pub- 
lished ; this was couched in his most withering style, 
sweeping away the alleged reasons of the council for 
their extraordinary behaviour, ridiculing the doggerel 
verses of one of their number, who was a member of 
the Rouen Academy, and concluding with a perora- 
tion to the commonplace bourgeois mind in general 
(Vol. V). 

After the publication of Sentimental Education 
Flaubert found it hard to set to work again ; he 
missed Bouilhet. his literary " guide, philosopher, 
friend " and critic. In a letter to George Sand he 
wrote: " I have lost my man-midwife." Soon he re- 
sumed work upon The Temptation of Saint Antony, 
but had only fairly begun it when the great war of 
1870 was declared. His sentiments with regard to 
that conflict, and the changed life in France that suc- 
ceeded it, are found in his letters of that period (Vol. 
VIII). 

During the last decade of his life Flaubert spent 
his time in devotion to his art. In 1872 his mother 
died, leaving him alone at Croisset. His niece, Caro- 
line Hamard, who had married M. Commanville in 
1864, now went to live with her uncle ; she strove to 
render his home happy and to preserve within it that 
peaceful atmosphere so necessary to his literary la- 
bour. 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xvii 

In 1875 Madame Coinmanvilk-'s liushaiul lost all 
his property; his wife was unahle. because of strict 
Norniaii laws rej^^ardinfj;^ dowries, to lend her own 
Mioney to her husband, so Flaulx^rt unhesitatingly 
gave all his fortune to the young couple to help them 
out of their trouble. In return for this King Lear- 
like generosity, he was to live at Croisset as before 
and receive a regular income, which arrangement 
continued until his death. 

The literary work of these ten years included the 
oft-postponed Sai)it Antony, which, after hanging 
fire for thirty-five years, was published at last in 1874, 
calling forth the usual storm of mingled admiration 
and condemnation ; the first part of Bouvard and 
Pccuchet; the Trois C antes (Hcrodias, A Simple 
Heart, The Leg^end of Saint Julien the Hospitable) 
and The Candidate, a play, which was produced at 
the Vaudeville Theatre at Paris in 1874. 

The "Three Stories" (Trois C antes), which the 
author wrote as a relaxation from the tremendous 
reading and study necessary to the production of 
Bouvard and Pecnchet, are the epitome of Flaubert's 
literary work. The first ( The Legend of Saint Julien 
the Hospitable) belongs to the epoch of lyricism; it 
is a sort of prose chant, reproducing the religious at- 
mosphere of the early Middle Ages. The story of 
Saint Antony was suggested to Flaubert by a picture 
of the Saint by Breughel that Flaubert saw at Genoa 
in his youth ; and a stained-glass window, represent- 
ing a scene in the life of Saint Julien, in the cathedral 
at Rouen, formed the foundation of this other remark- 
able little story. 

After writing Saint Julien, Flaubert, now enam- 
oured of the short-story mode of expression, pro- 
duced A Simple Heart, which is the life-story of a 



xviii BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

good, faithful, narrow-minded and superstitious maid- 
servant, whose whole existence is sacrificed for others ' 
— first for a man, then her mistress and that lady's 
children, then her nephew and an old man, and finally 
a parrot, which becomes her idol, her fetish, and 
which actually dominates over the old woman's latter 
years. This quaint but pathetic little tale shows the 
same faithful and exact observation, the same high 
literary art, that mark Madame Bo-c'ary. 

Following these two tales came Hcrodias, the longest 
and finest of the group of short stories. This has all 
the gorgeousness, the barbaric colour, and the strength 
of Salammbo concentrated in its few pages, in which 
are depicted, as no other hand could portray them, the 
human passions, the crudity and cruelty, voluptuous- 
ness and fanaticism of that remote day, amid which 
rises the tragic, mystical embodiment of John the Bap- 
tist, an unforgettable figure. 

Flaubert began Bouvard and Pecnchct in August, 
1874. In July he wrote to his young friend and liter- 
ary disciple, Guy de Maupassant : " I shall return to 
Croisset on Friday, and on Saturday I shall begin 
Bouvard and Pecnchct. I tremble at the idea, as if I 
were about to undertake a journey round the world." 
In 1880 he had not quite finished the first part of this 
work, which does not seem strange when one learns 
that he had read and annotated fifteen hundred vol- 
umes in order to write the four hundred pages which 
he had almost finished at the time of his death, in 
May, 1880. 

This last production of his gigantic brain and in- 
credible toil is the work that places Flaubert among 
the immortals. As a distinguished English critic has 
said : " It is as individual and distinctive as Faust is 
of Goethe, Frederick the Great of Carlvle, Henry IV 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xix 

of Shakespeare, l)i)}i (Jnixotc of Cervantes, Pantai^nicl 
of Rabelais.'" 

It is by this (juaHty that really great writers make 
themselves known : they write works that no other per- 
son could possibly produce. Generation after genera- 
tion of literary students, workers, and artists pores 
over these masterpieces, drawing therefrom knowl- 
edge, inspiration, and power. 

In BoHvard and Pccuchct the innermost mind of the 
author is opened to us. From our knowledge of his 
character as revealed in his earlier works, and particu- 
larly in his corresix)ndence, we possess the key to this 
unique production, and know that it is much more than 
a huge jest — it is the expression of Flaubert's lifelong 
struggle against the commonplace, against " accepted 
opinions." Though far from complete, as the author 
had planned it, it is a masterpiece, and its rich hu- 
mour is of that high order that appeals to the intellect. 
It is a prodigious arraignment of all scientific systems, 
opposing one to another, tearing down both sides of an 
argument by bringing newer discoveries to bear upon 
them, contradicting them by the aid of accepted and 
undisputed laws. Beliefs established for centuries are 
exposed, developed, and then dismembered in ten lines 
by placing in opposition later beliefs supported by 
proofs so deftly as to demolish the theory of the first 
named. What the author did for religious beliefs and 
antique philosophy in Tin- Temptation of Saint Antony 
he has here done for superficiality in modern knowl- 
edge. It is the Tower-of-Babel of science, wherein 
all doctrines demonstrate the impotence of human ef- 
fort and the vanity of human assertion and dogmas. 

Flaubert was about to set out for Paris to join his 
niece on the eighth day of May, 1880, when he was 
stricken with apoplexy while dressing in the morn- 



XX BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

ing ; he fell beside his writing-table, the altar on which 
he had offered up his life, and in a few minutes he 
was dead — the last of the little group of literary com- 
rades in the early days at Rouen. That city erected a 
monument to her distinguished son ; but the old house 
at Croisset was sold, pulled down, and only the study 
pavilion still stands as a memorial to the great author. 
In 1 901 a distillery was built on the site of the house 
itself, and later it was turned into a printing estab- 
lishment. 

The real Flaubert has begun to be known to the 
English-speaking world within only comparatively 
few years. His correspondence makes us feel almost 
personally intimate with the old Colossus of Croisset, 
and in reading his brilliant letters we realise that he 
is the patron saint of all true literary students. It is 
strange, in these days, when people take up the busi- 
ness of writing as if it were some mercantile enter- 
prise, to realise the point of view of Flaubert, for 
whom literary art was as sacred as religion. In a 
letter to a friend, written before he had published 
anything, although his days were spent in writing, re- 
writing, polishing, and toiling with merciless self- 
criticism over pages for which no prospect of pub- 
lication was then in sight, he says : " My muse may 
be somewhat green and awkward, but she never yet 
has prostituted herself; and when I examine some of 
the literature that sees the light I am almost tempted 
to let her die a virgin." 

The study of contemporary life in fiction had been 
inaugurated by Balzac and his fellows, but both he 
and they portrayed chiefly such phases of it as had 
dramatic interest susceptible of theatric effect. Such 
departure from ordinary everyday life was perhaps 
necessarv in order to make a certain concession to 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xxi 

the old classicalisin tliat had rci^iicd loiijf ; hut frDin 
even this concession h'lauhcrt determined to hreak 
away still more. Mis works mark an epoch in French 
fiction — the hlendinq- of Romanticism with the stronp^- 
est phase of materialistic Realism. To he sure, he 
j^rew lip in llie romantic atmosphere, and in the Hush 
of youth shared its enthusiasms. I'lUt. though he 
never lost sij^ht of his romantic ideals, hy the time 
he arrived at full maturity these ideals had fallen 
upon unromantic times and mocked him so contin- 
ually that the hopeless commonplaceness of life at 
last overwhelmed his spirit, and his contempt for it 
engendered a resolve to portray it in a form the per- 
fection of which should make it an enduring monu- 
ment to human pettiness. Thus he may be called a 
Romantic pessimist, for he was none the less a pas- 
sionate lover of the beauty of form. That which 
marked his work from the beginning, making Ma- 
dame Bo7'arx an event of the highest literary impor- 
tance, was the blending of the two schools in one 
book, equal in plastic force to the finest pages of his 
great predecessors, Gautier and Hugo, comparable in 
analytic clearness to the most masterly chapters of 
I'alzac and Stendhal, but without the over-luxuriant 
fancy and unreality of the two former or the occa- 
sional dryness of the latter. 

Among his admirers, disciples, and followers were 
Emile Zola, Edmond and Jules De Goncourt, and 
Guy de Maupassant. The De Goncourts show the 
same delight in minute details as Flaubert, but with 
them the elaborateness of style becomes painful arti- 
ficiality, a hopeless effort to translate every human 
thought and emotion into language. 

Zola studied Flaubert with the keen penetration of 
a master mind ; but he was bent upon painting hu- 



xxii BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE 

inanity from hig-hest to lowest in its most intimate 
workings, and to do this he invaded the lowest depths 
of vice and crime. While his style is free and flow- 
ing, it depends for effect more in mass than in detail, 
with no suggestion of the exquisite polish of Flaubert. 

The expression of De Maupassant's pessimism is 
wholly dififerent from the rapier-like satire of Flau- 
bert, which sought to cut away the evil that offended 
him. De Maupassant's gloomy view of life was a 
matter of deadly earnest. He lived and wrote as he 
believed — as if life were a succession of fatalities 
caused by imperative desires and ending forever with 
death. These followers of the great Flaubert may be 
said to be of the same school but not of the same 
family. 

Many critics have said that one cannot read Flau- 
bert without a sense of mental discomfort, and that 
the jarring effect of his stern analyses destroys the 
sense of enjoyment. For some minds the mission of 
fiction is believed to be simply to amuse and please, 
not to startle nor to instruct ; they consider the mild 
horrors of impossible detective stories, or thrilling 
adventures on desert islands and in little kingdoms 
that never were on land- or sea, merely a pleasant fillip 
to the imagination. But a book that stirs the con- 
science, that holds up a mirror to the reader wherein 
he may gaze upon his own sins and weaknesses — such 
a book is frowned upon by the " unco' guid," and 
they say that such literature should be legally sup- 
pressed. It is impossible, however, to legislate against 
literature ; what we can profitably do is to strive to 
recognize the form in which true literary art finds ex- 
pression. The literary master is great in proportion 
as his works cause reflection aside from the passing 
emotion of the moment. Evolved from the imagina- 



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE xxiii 

tivc writing of tin.' past, in vvliicli separate incidents 
were strung together on a thread of plot, as in Gil 
Bias, Roderick Raiuiotii, or the .Idvcnturcs of Fan- 
bias, we have the carefully constructed novel, the 
minute delineation of character and motive, which, in 
the hands of a master, is simply philosophy and 
ethics in lighter form. Thus the novel has long been 
the chosen instrument of exj)ression of some of the 
wisest among mankind ; and those who cry out 
against the works of some of these great minds be- 
cause they dare to deal with stern facts, and declare 
that their writings should not be read, are simi)Jy 
railing at the i)rophets in order to be rid of them and 
th'j home truths they proclaim so clearly. 

The Editor. 



CONTENTS 

PART I 

CHAPTER PACK 

BlULIOGRAPHICAI, PREFACE vii-Xxiii 

I The New Pupil 2 

II An Important Case 11 

III The Disconsolate Widower 19 

IV Briue and Bridegroom 25 

V The Bride's Query 30 

VI Precocious Pupil 34 

VII A Vista Opens 39 

VIII As IN a Dream 45 

IX Changes 55 

PART II 

I The New Doctor Arrives 66 

II A Poetic Youth 75 

III It Is a Girl 82 

IV Love and Poetry 94 

V Crying for the Moon 98 

VI A Discouraged Lover 109 

VII Enter Monsieur Rodolphe 122 

VIII The Agricultural Fair 131 

IX The Tempter's Voice 155 

X A Tangled Web 166 

XI Experiments in Science 176 

XII Preparations 190 

XIII Rodolphe Rides Away 205 

XIV The Consolations OF Religion 217 



CONTENTS 
PART III 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I A Dream and a Drive 239 

II Discords and Diplomacy 255 

III Another Honeymoon 267 

IV A Visit at Home 269 

V The Edge of a Precipice 273 

VI Delirium and Danger 290 

VII Desperation 309 

VIII The Blue Jar 323 

IX Priest and Philosopher 343 

X The Last Farewell 352 

XI The Fault of Fatality 358 



MADAMR ROVARY 

PART I 

CHAPTER I 

THE Ni:\v I'uriL 

OUR class was in session when the head master 
entered, followed by a new boy, not wearing 
the school uniform, and a servant of the school 
carrying a large desk. Those who had been sleepy 
roused themselves, and everyone rose as if surprised 
at his studies. 

The head master gave us a sign to sit down. Then, 
turning to the instructor, he said in a low tone : 

" Monsieur Roger, here is a pupil whom I recom- 
mend to your care; he will be in the second form. If 
his work and behaviour are satisfactory, he will enter 
one of the upper classes, as is suitable for his age." 

The " new boy," standing in the corner behind the 
door so that he could hardly be seen, was a country 
youth about fifteen years old. and taller than any of 
us. His hair was cut square across his brow, like a 
village chorister's ; he looked honest, but very uncom- 
fortable. Although he was not broad-shouldered, his 
short school jacket of green cloth with black buttons 
must have been tight about the arm. and it showed 
at the cuffs red wrists accustomed to being bare. His 
legs, in blue stockings, appeared below yellow trousers. 



2 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

drawn tight by suspenders. He wore stout, dusty hob- 
nailed boots. 

We began to recite the lesson. He listened closely, 
as attentive as if at a sermon, not daring even to cross 
his legs or lean on his elbow ; and when at two o'clock 
the bell rang, the master was obliged to tell him to fall 
into line with the rest of us. 

When we returned to work, we were accustomed to 
throw our caps on the floor so as to leave our hands 
free ; we used to toss them from the door under the 
bench, so that they hit against the wall and made a 
cloud of dust ; this was considered " the thing." 

But whether he had not noticed the trick, or did 
not dare to attempt it, the new boy was still holding 
his cap on his knees even after prayers were over. It 
was one of those head coverings of composite order, 
in which one can find traces of the bearskin, shako, 
billycock, sealskin cap, and cotton nightcap ; one of 
those poor things, in short, the dumb ugliness of which 
has depths of expression, like the face of an imbecile. 
It was oval, stiffened with whalebone, and began with 
three round knobs ; then came in succession lozenges 
of velvet and rabbit-skin, separated by a red band ; after 
that a sort of bag that ended in a cardboard polygon 
covered with complicated braiding from which hung, 
at the end of a long thin cord, small twisted gold 
threads like a tassel. The cap was new ; its peak shone. 

" Rise ! " said the master. 

The boy stood up ; his cap fell. The whole class be- 
gan to laugh. He stooped to pick it up. A neighbour 
knocked it down again with his elbow ; he picked it 
up once more. 

" Get rid of your helmet," said the master, who was 
■somewhat of a joker. 

The boys broke into a burst of laughter, which so 



MADAME BOVARY 3 

thorouplily discomfited tlic poor lad that he did not 
know whether to keep his cap in his hand, leave it on 
the floor, or put it on his head. lie sat down once 
more and placed it on his knee. 

" Rise," repeated the master, " and tell me your 
name." 

The new boy uttered in stammering tones an unin- 
telligible name. 

" Again ! " 

The same sputtering of syllables was heard, drowned 
by the giggling of the class. 

" Louder ! " cried the master ; " louder ! " 

The " new boy " then took a supreme resolution, 
opened an inordinately large mouth, and shouted at the 
top of his voice as if calling the word to some one: 
" Charbovari ! " 

A racket broke out, rose in crescendo with bursts of 
shrill voices (they yelled, barked, stamped, repeated 
"Charbovari! Charbovari!"), then died away into 
single notes, growing (piicter only with great difificulty, 
and now and again suddenly beginning again along the 
line of a bench, whence rose a stifled laugh here and 
there, like the explosion of a damp cracker. 

But, amid a rain of impositions, order was gradually 
reestablished in the class ; and the master having suc- 
ceeded in catching the name of " Charles Bovary," 
having had it dictated to him, spelled out, and re-read, 
ordered the poor devil to go and sit down on the pun- 
ishment form at the foot of the master's desk. He got 
up, but hesitated before going. 

" What are you looking for? " asked the master. 

" My cap," timidly said the new boy, casting troubled 
looks round him. 

" Five hundred verses for the whole class ! " shouted 
in a furious voice, stopped a fresh outburst, like the 



4 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Quos ego. " Silence ! " continued the master indig- 
nantly, wiping his brow with his handkerchief, which 
he had just taken from his cap. " As to you, new boy, 
you will conjugate ridiciilits sum twenty times." Then, 
in a milder voice. " Come, you'll find your cap again; 
it hasn't been stolen." 

Quiet was restored. Heads bent over desks, and the 
new boy remained for two hours in an exemplary atti- 
tude, although from time to time a paper pellet pro- 
pelled from the tip of a pen popped into his face. But 
he wiped his face with one hand and continued motion- 
less, his eyes lowered. 

In the evening, at preparation, he pulled out the pens 
from his desk, arranged his small belongings, and care- 
fully ruled his paper. We saw him working conscien- 
tiously, looking out every word in the dictionary, and 
taking the greatest pains. Thanks, no doubt, to the 
willingness he showed, he was not obliged to go to 
the class below. Rut though he knew his rules pass- 
ably, he had little finish in composition. The cure of 
his village had taught him his first Latin ; his parents, 
from motives of economy, having sent him to school 
as late as possible. 

His father. Monsieur Charles Denis Bartolome Bo- 
vary, retired assistant-surgeon-major, compromised 
about 1812 in certain conscription scandals, and forced 
at that time to leave the service, had then taken ad- 
vantage of his fine figure to get hold of a dowry of 
sixty thousand francs that offered in the person of 
a hosier's daughter who had fallen in love with his 
good looks. He was a fine man, a great talker, mak- 
ing his spurs ring as he walked, and wearing whiskers 
that ran into his moustache ; his fingers were always 
garnished with rings and he dressed in loud colours ; 
he had the dash of a militarv man with the easv bear- 



MADAME BOVARY 5 

inp^ of a comiiicrcial traveller. ( )iict' married, he lived 
for three or four years on his wife's fortune, dininj^ 
well, risinj^ late, smokinji; lonR" porcelain pipes, not 
coming in at night till after the theatre, and haunting 
cafes. The father-in-law died, leaving little ; he was 
indignant at this, tried to " manage the Inisiness," lost 
some money in it, and then retired to the country, where 
he thought he should make money. lUit. as he knew 
no more ahout farming than ahout calico, as he rcjde 
his horses instead of sending them to plough, drank 
his cider in bottle instead of selling it in cask, ate the 
finest chickens in the ]x)ultry-yard, and greased his 
hunting-boots with the fat of his pigs, he was not 
long in finding out that he would do l)etter to give up 
all speculation. 

For two hundred francs a year he managed to live 
on the border of the provinces of Caux and Picardy, 
on a kind of place half farm, half mansion ; and here, 
soured, devoured by regrets, cursing his luck, jealous 
of everyone, he shut himself up at the age of forty- 
five, sick of mankind, he said. 

His wife had adored him once ; but she had bored 
him with a thousand servilities that had only estranged 
him the more. Lively once, expansive and aflfectionate, 
in growing older she had become (after the fashion of 
wine that turns to vinegar when exposed to air) bad- 
tempered, grumbling, irritable. She had suffered much 
without complaint at first, when she had seen him 
running after all the village girls, and when a score 
of bad houses sent him back to her at night, weary 
and beastly drunk. Then her pride revolted. After 
that she was silent, burying her anger in a dumb stoi- 
cism that she maintained till her death. She was con- 
tinually going about looking after business matters. 
She called on the lawyers, the president, remembered 



6 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

when bills fell due, got them renewed, and at home 
ironed, sewed, washed, looked after the workmen, paid 
the accounts, while he, troubling himself about nothing, 
eternally besotted in sleepy sulkiness, whence he roused 
himself only to say disagreeable things to her, sat 
smoking by the fire and spitting into the ashes. 

When she had a child, it had to be sent out to nurse. 
When he came home, the lad was spoiled as if he were 
a prince. His mother stuffed him with jam ; his father 
let him run about barefoot, and, playing the philoso- 
pher, even said he might as well go about quite naked 
like the young of animals. As opposed to the mother's 
ideas, he had a certain virile ideal of childhood on 
w^hich he sought to mould his son, wishing him to be 
brought up hardily, like a Spartan, to give him a strong 
constitution. He sent him to bed without any fire, 
taught him to drink deep draughts of liquor and to 
scoff at religious processions. But, peaceable by na- 
ture, the lad answered only poorly to his notions. His 
mother always kept him near her ; she cut out card- 
board for him, told him stories, entertained him with 
endless monologues full of a kind of sad gayety and 
charming nonsense. In her life's isolation she centred 
on the child's head all her shattered little vanities. She 
dreamed of high station ; she already saw him, tall, 
handsome, clever, settled as an engineer or in the law. 
She taught him to read, and on an old piano she had 
even taught him two or three little songs. But to all 
this Monsieur Bovary, caring little for letters, said 
" It is not worth while. Shall we ever have the means 
to send him to a public school, to buy him a practice, 
or set him up in business? Besides, with plenty of 
assurance a man always gets on in the world." 

Madame bit her lips, and the child idled about the 
village. 



MADAME BOVARY 7 

lie followed the labourers, and drove away with 
clods of earth the crows that were Hyiii^ about. He 
ate blackberries aloiifj the hedji^es, teiuled the pcese 
with a long switch, went haymaking during harvest, 
ran in the woods, played games under the church 
porch on rainy days, and at great fetes begged the 
sexton to let him ring the bells, (hat he might hang 
all his weight on the long roiK* and feel himself borne 
upward by it in its swing. Meanwhile he grew like 
an oak; he was strong and fresh coloured. 

When he was twelve years old his mother had her 
own v/ay : he began to study. The priest took him 
in hrmd ; but the lessons were so short and irregular 
that they could not be of much use. They were given 
at spare moments in the sacristy, standing up, hur- 
riedly, between a baptism and a burial ; or else the 
priest, if he had not to go out, sent for his pupil after 
the ^iii::;chis. They went up to his room and sat 
there : the Hies and moths came in and fluttered round 
the candle. It was close; the child fell asleep, and the 
good man, beginning to doze with his hands on his 
stomach, was soon snoring with his mouth wide open. 
On other occasions, when Monsieur le cure, on his 
way back after administering the idaticiDu to some 
sick person in the neighbourhood, caught sight of 
Charles playing about the fields, he called him, lec- 
tured him for a quarter of an hour, and took advantage 
of the occasion to make him conjugate a verb at the 
foot of a tree. The rain interrupted them or an ac- 
quaintance passed. P.ut he was always pleased with 
him, and even said the " young man " had a very good 
memory. 

Charles could not go on like this. Madame Bovary 
took decisive steps. Ashamed, or rather tired out, 
Monsieur Bovary yielded without a struggle, and thev 



8 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

waited one year long^er, so that the lad should take his 
first communion. 

Six months more passed, and the next year Charles 
was finally sent to school at Rouen, whither his father 
took him toward the end of October, at the time of the 
St. Romain fair. 

By hard work he kept always about the middle of 
the class ; once he even got a certificate in natural 
history. But at the end of his third year his parents 
withdrew him from the school to make him study 
medicine, convinced that he could take his degree by 
himself. 

His mother chose a room for him on the fourth floor 
of the house of a dyer she knew, overlooking the Eau- 
de-Robec. She made arrangements for his board, 
bought him furniture, a table and two chairs, sent home 
for an old cherry-wood bedstead, and bought also a 
small cast-iron stove wath a supply of wood to warm 
the poor child. At the end of a week she departed, 
after a thousand injunctions to be good now that he 
was to be left to himself. 

The syllabus that he read on the bulletin-board 
stunned him : lectures on anatomy, lectures on path- 
ology, lectures on physiology, lectures on pharmacy, 
lectures on botany, clinical medicine, and therapeutics, 
without counting hygiene and materia mcdica — names 
even of whose etymology he was ignorant, and that 
were to him as so many doors to sanctuaries filled with 
magnificent darkness. 

He understood nothing of it all : it was all very well 
to listen — he did not follow. Still he worked ; he had 
bound note-books : he attended all the classes, never 
missing a single lecture. 

To spare him expense his mother sent him every 
week by the carrier a piece of veal baked in the oven, 



MADAME BOVARY 

on wliicli he lunclK-d wlicii he rcturiKvl from the hos- 
pital, while ho sal kicking his feet ajj;aiiist the wall. 
After this he had to <^o to leeturcs, to the operating 
room, to the hospital, and return to his home at the 
other end of the town. 

I le j^rew thin, his fij:!;-ure hecanie taller, his face as- 
sumed a saddened look that made it almost intcrcstintj. 
Naturally, throni:;h indifference, he abandoned all the 
resolutions he had made. Once he missed a lecture; 
the next day all the lectures ; and, enjoyinq; his idleness, 
little by little he gave up work altogether. He fell into 
the habit of going to the public-house, and acquired 
a passion for dominoes. To shut himself every even- 
ing in the dirty jniblic room, to jnish about on marble 
tables the small sheeji-bones with black dots, seemed 
to him a fine proof of his freedom, which raised him 
in his own esteem. This was beginning to see life, to 
enjoy the sweetness of stolen pleasures ; and when he 
entered he put his hand on the door-knob with a joy 
almost sensual. Then many things hidden within him 
came out ; he learned couplets by heart and sang them 
to his boon companions ; became enthusiastic about 
I'eranger, learned how to make punch, and, finally, 
iiow to make love. 

Thanks to these preparatory labours, he failed com- 
I)letely in his examination for an ordinary degree. He 
was expected home the same night to celebrate his 
success. He set out on foot, stopped at the beginning 
of the village, sent for his mother, and told her all. 
She excused him, threw the blame of his failure on the 
injustice of the examiners, encouraged him a little, 
and took upt^n herself the task of setting matters 
straight. 

So Charles set to work again and crammed for his 
examination, ceaselessly learning all the old questions 



10 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

by heart. He passed fairly well. What a happy day 
for his mother ! They gave a grand dinner. 

Where should he go to practise? To Tostes, where 
there was only one old doctor. For a long time Ma- 
dame Bovary had been waiting for his death, and the 
old fellow had barely been buried when Charles was 
installed, op])osite his place, as his successor. 

But it was not everything to have brought up a son, 
to have had him taught medicine, and discovered 
Tostes, where he could practise it ; he must have a 
wife. She found one for him — the widow of a bailiff 
at Dieppe, who was forty-five and had an income of 
twelve hundred francs. Though she was ugly, as dry 
as a bone, and had a face with as many pimples as the 
spring has buds, Madame Dubuc had no lack of suit- 
ors. To attain her ends Madame Bovary had to get 
rid of them all, and she even succeeded in very cleverly 
baffling the intrigues of a pork-butcher who was as- 
sisted by the priests. 

Charles thought he could foresee in marriage the 
advent of an easier life, that he would be more free 
to do as he liked with himself and his money. But 
his wife was master; he had to say this and not say 
that in company ; to fast every Friday ; to dress as she 
liked ; to harass at her bidding those patients who did 
not pay. She opened his letters, watched his comings 
and goings, and listened at the partition-wall when 
women came to consult him in his office. 

She must have her chocolate every morning, and 
attentions without end. She complained constantly of 
ehr nerves, her chest, her liver. The noise of footsteps 
made her ill ; when people left her, solitude became 
odious to her ; if they came back, it was doubtless to 
see her die. When Charles returned in the evening, 
she reached forth two long thin arms from under the 



MADAME BOVARY 11 

sheets, put llieiii round his neck, and havinj^ made him 
sit down on the ed.^e of tlie bi-d, hef,^'Ul to talk to him 
of her troubles : he was nej^lectinj^ her, he loved an- 
other. She had been warned that she would be un- 
happy, she said ; and she woidd end by asking him 
for a dose of medicine and a little more love. 



CHAPTRk 11 

AN IMPORTANT (ASK 

ABOUT eleven o'clock one nif^ht they were awak- 
ened by the sound of a horse stopping outside 
their door. The servant opened the garret- 
window and parleyed for some time with a man in the 
street. He had come for the doctor, had a letter for 
him. Nastasie came downstairs shivering and unfast- 
ened the bars and bolts one after another. The man 
left his horse, and, following the servant, suddenly 
entered behind her. He pulled from his wool cap with 
a grey top-knot a letter wrapped in a rag and presented 
it gingerly to Charles, who rested his elbow on the 
pillow^ to read it. Nastasie, standing near the bed, held 
the light. Madame in modesty had turned to the wall 
and showed only her back. 

This letter, sealed with a small seal in blue wax, 
begged Monsieur Bovary to come immediately to the 
farm of the Bertaux to set a broken leg. Now from 
Tostes to the Bertaux was a good eighteen miles across 
country by way of Longueville and Saint-\"ictor. It 
was a dark night ; Madame Bovary junior was afraid 
of accidents for her husband. So it was decided that 
the stable-boy should go ahead ; Charles would start 



12 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

three hours later wlicn the moon rose. A boy waf5 to 
be sent to meet him. to sliow him the way to the farm 
and open the gates for him. 

Toward four o'clock in the morning. Charles, well 
wrapped up in his cloak, set out for the Bertaux farm. 
Still sleepy from- the warmth of his bed. he let himself 
be lulled by the trot of his horse. As he passed Vas- 
sonville he came upon a boy sitting on the grass at 
the edge of a ditch. 

" Are you the doctor ? " asked the child. 

At Charles's answer he took his wooden shoes in his 
hands and ran on in front of him. 

The general practitioner, riding along, gathered from 
his guide's talk that Monsieur Rouault must be one 
of the wealthy farmers. He had broken his leg the 
evening before on his way home from a Twelfth-night 
feast at a neighbour's. His wife had been dead two 
years, and he had only his daughter, who helped him 
to keep house. 

The ruts were becoming deeper ; they were approach- 
ing the Bertaux farm. The little lad, slipping through 
a hole in the hedge, disappeared ; then he came back 
to the end of a courtyard to open the gate. 

A young woman in a blue merino gown with three 
flounces came to the threshold of the door to receive 
Alonsieur Bovary, whom she led to the kitchen, where 
a large fire was blazing. 

Charles went up to the first floor to see the patient. 
He found him in bed, sweating under the bed-clothes, 
having thrown off his cotton nightcap. He was a fat 
man of fifty, with white skin and blue eyes, the front 
part of his head being bald, and he wore earrings. 
Beside him on a chair stood a large decanter of brandy, 
from which he poured himself a little from time to time 
to keep up his spirits ; but as soon as he caught sight 



MADAME BOVARY 13 

of the physician his clati(jn subsided, and instead of 
swearing, as he had been doing for the last twelve 
hours, he began to groan feebly. 

The fracture was simjile, without any kind of com- 
plication. Charles could not have ho|)cd for an easier 
case. Remembering the devices of his masters at tiie 
bedside of patients, he comforted the sufferer with all 
sorts of kindly remarks, those caresses of the surgeon 
that are like the oil they jiut on incisions. In order 
to make some splints a bundle of laths was brought 
up from the carthouse. Charles selected one, cut it 
in two pieces and planed it with a fragment of window- 
pane, while the servant tore up sheets to make ban- 
dages, and Mademoiselle Emma tried to sew some 
pads. As it was a long time before she found her 
workcase, her father grew impatient ; she did not an- 
swer, but as she sewed she pricked her fingers, and 
quickly put them to her mouth to suck them. Charles 
was surprised at the whiteness of her nails. They 
were glossy, delicate at the tips, more polished than 
the ivory of Dieppe, and almond-shaped. Yet her 
hand was not beautiful, perhaps not white enough, and 
a little hard at the knuckles ; besides, it was too long, 
with no soft infections in the outlines. Her real beauty 
was in her eyes. Although brown, they seemed black 
because of the long dark lashes, and her glance met 
one frankly, with a candid boldness. 

The bandaging over, the doctor was invited by ]\Ion- 
sieur Rouault himself to " pick a bit " before he left. 

Charles went down into the room on the ground- 
floor. Knives and forks and silver goblets were laid 
for two on a little table at the foot of a huge bed that 
had a canopy of printed cotton with figures represent- 
ing Turks. 

First they spoke of the patient, then of the weather. 



14 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

of the great cold, of the wolves that infested the fields 
at night. Mademoiselle Rouault did not at all like 
the country, especially now that she had to look 
after the farm almost alone. As the room was chilly, 
she shivered as she ate. This showed something 
of her full lips, which she had a habit of biting when 
silent. 

Her neck rose from a white turned-down collar. Her 
hair, the two black folds of which seemed each of a 
single piece, so smooth were they, was parted in the 
middle by a delicate line that curved slightly with the 
curve of the head ; and, just showing the tip of the ear, 
it was joined behind in a thick coil, with a little wave 
at the temples that the country doctor saw now for 
the first time in his life. The upper part of her cheek 
was rose-coloured. Like a man, she had thrust in be- 
tween two buttons of her bodice a shell eyeglass. 

When Charles, after bidding farewell to old Rouault, 
returned to the room before leaving, he found her 
standing, with her forehead against the window, look- 
ing into the garden, where the bean-poles had been 
blown down by the wind. She turned. 

"Are you looking for anything?" she asked. 

" My whip, if you please," he answered. 

He began rummaging on the bed, behind the doors, 
under the chairs. It had fallen to the ground, between 
the sacks and the wall. ■ Mademoiselle Emma saw it, 
and bent over the flour sacks. Charles from politeness 
made a dash also, and as he extended his arm, at the 
same moment he felt his breast brush against the back 
of the young girl bending beneath him. She drew 
herself up, blushing scarlet, and looked at him over 
her shoulder as she handed him his whip. 

Instead of returning to the Bertaux farm in three 
days as he had promised, he called again the very next 



MADAME BOVARY 15 

day, then rcjj^iilarly twice a week, without counting 
the visits he |)ai(l now and then as if hy accident. 

Everything;-, moreover, went well; the |)atient |)ro- 
gresscd favourably ; and when, at the end of forty-six 
days, old Rouault was seen trying to walk alone in his 
den, Monsieur IJovary began to be looked uj)on as a 
man of great skill. ( )]d Rouault said that he could 
not have been cured better by tlu' first doctor of Yvetot, 
or even of Rouen. 

Charles did not ask himself why it was a pleasure 
to him to go to liertau.x. Had he done so, no doubt 
he would have attributed his zeal to the importance 
of the case, or perhaps to the money he hoped to make 
by it. But was it for this that his visits to the farm 
formed a delightful exception to the meagre occupa- 
tions of his life? On these days he rose early, set off 
at a gallop, urging on his horse, then dismounted to 
wipe his boots in the grass and put on black gloves 
before entering. He liked going into the courtyard, 
and noticing the gate turn against his shoulder, to hear 
the cock crow on the wall, to see the lads run to meet 
him. He liked the granary and the stables ; he liked 
old Rouault, who pressed his hand and called him his 
saviour; he liked the small wooden sabots of Made- 
moiselle Emma on the scoured flags of the kitchen — 
her high heels made her a little taller ; and when she 
walked in front of him the wooden soles springing up 
quickly struck against the leather of her boots with a 
sharp sound. 

She always reconducted him to the first step of the 
stairs. \\'hen his horse had not yet been brought round 
she stayed there. They had said " Good-by " ; there 
was no more talking. The air en\vrapped her, play- 
ing w'ith the soft down on the back of her neck, or 
blew to and fro on her hips her apron-strings, that 



16 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

fluttered like streamers. Once, during- a thaw, the bark 
of the trees in the yard was oozing, the snow on the 
roofs of the out-buikhngs was mehing; she stood on 
the threshold, then went to fetch her parasol and 
opened it. The jjarasol, of silk the colour of pigeons' 
breasts, through which the sun shone, tinted with shift- 
ing hues the white skin of her face. She smiled under 
the tender warmth, and drops of water could be heard 
falling one by one on the stretched silk. 

During the first period of Charles's visits to the Ber- 
taux farm, Madame Bovary, junior, never failed to in- 
quire after the invalid, and she had even chosen in the 
book that she kept on a system of double entry a clean 
blank page for Monsieur Rouault. But when she heard 
he had a daughter she began to make inquiries, and she 
learned that Mademoiselle Rouault, brought up at the 
Ursuline Convent, had received what is called " a good 
education," and so knew dancing, geography, drawing, 
how to embroider and play the piano. That was the 
last straw. 

" So it is for this." she said to herself. " that his face 
beams when he goes to see her, and that he puts on 
his new waistcoat at the risk of spoiling it with the 
rain. Ah, that woman ! that woman ! " 

And she detested her instinctively. At first she 
solaced herself by allusions that Charles did not under- 
stand, then by casual observations that he let pass for 
fear of a storm, finally by open apostrophes to which 
he knew not what reply to make. " Why do you go 
back to the Bertaux, now that Monsieur Rouault is 
cured and hasn't paid yet? Ah! it is because a young 
lady is there, some one who knows how to talk, to em- 
broider, to be witty. That is what you care about; 
you want town demoiselles." And she went on: — 

" The daughter of old Rouault a town demoiselle ! 



MADAME BOVARY 17 

Nonsense ! 'IMieir i^naiidfalher was a slicplifid, and lliev 
have a cousin who was ahnost hrouj^ht heforc the court 
for a nasty hlow in a (|uarrc'l. It is not worth while 
niakinjjf such a fuss, or showinj^^ herself at church on 
Sundays in a silk t^owii like a countess. I'.esides, if it 
hadn't heen for the colza last year, the poor old man 
wouUI have had nuich trouhle to pay up his arrears." 

For very weariness Charles left off p^oini^ to the \Wr- 
taux farm. Heloise made him swear, his hand on the 
prayer-book, that he would go there no more, after 
much sobbing and many kisses, in a p^reat outburst of 
love. He obeyed, but the strength of his desire pro- 
tested against the servility of his conduct ; and he 
thought, with a kind of naive hypocrisy, that this in- 
terdict to see Emma gave him a sort of right to love 
her. And then his wife was thin ; he had long teeth ; 
she wore in all weathers a little black shawl, the point 
of which hung down between her shoulder-blades ; her 
bony figure was sheathed in her clothes as if they were 
a scabbard ; the skirts were too short, and displayed 
her ankles with the laces of her large boots crossed 
over grey stockings. 

Charles's mother came to see them occasionally, but 
after a few days the daughter-in-law seemed to put her 
own edge on her, and then, like two knives, they scari- 
fied him with their reflections and remarks. It was 
wrong of him to eat so much. Why did he always 
oft'er a glass of something to everyone that came? 
What obstinacy not to wear flannels ! 

In the spring it happened that a notary at Ingouville, 
the trustee of the Widow Dubuc's property, one fine 
day went off, taking with him all the money in his 
office. Heloise. it is true, still possessed, besides a 
share in a boat valued at six thousand francs, her house 
in the Rue St. Franc^ois ; and yet, of this fortune that 



18 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

had been so trumpeted abroad, iiothini^ had appeared in 
Charles's home, except perhaps a little furniture and a 
few clothes. The matter had to be investigated. The 
house at Dieppe was found to be eaten up with mort- 
gages to its foundations ; what she had placed with the 
notary God only knew, and her share in the boat did 
not exceed one thousand crowns. She had lied, the 
good lady ! In his exasperation, Monsieur Bovary the 
elder, smashing a chair on the floor, accused his wife 
of having caused the misfortune of their son by har- 
nessing him to such a harridan, whose harness wasn't 
worth her hide. They came to Tostes. Explanations 
followed. There were scenes. Heloise in tears, throw- 
ing her arms about her husband, conjured him to de- 
fend her from his parents. Charles tried to speak up 
for her. The old people grew angry and left the house. 

But the blow had struck home. A week later, as she 
was hanging some clothes in the yard, she had a 
hemorrhage, and the next day, while Charles had his 
back turned to her, drawing the window-curtain, she 
said " O God ! " gave a sigh and fell. She was dead ! 

When all was over at the cemetery, Charles went 
home. He found no one downstairs ; he went up to 
the first floor to their room ; saw her gown still hang- 
ing at the foot of the alcove ; then, leaning against the 
writing table, he remained there until evening, wrapped 
in a sorrowful reverie. She had loved him, after all ! 



MADAME BOVARY I'J 

(•IIAI'll'-K III 
rni-: discoxsoi^aik w idowkr 

01,1) Ronault one day broii^lu CJKirks the money 
for setting his leg — seventy-five francs in forty- 
SDM pieces, also a turkey. He had heartl of 
his bereavement, and consoled him as well as he 
could. 

" I know what it is," said he, slapjjinij^ him on the 
shoulder; " Tve been through it. When I lost my dear 
departed. 1 went into the fields to be quite alone. I 
fell at the foot of a tree ; I cried ; I called on God ; I 
talked nonsense to Him. I wanted to be like the moles 
that I saw on the ground, their insides swarming with 
worms, dead, and an end of it. And when I thought 
that there were other men at that very moment with 
their nice little wives holding them in their embrace, 
I struck great blows on the earth with my stick. I 
was almost crazy from not eating ; the very idea of 
going to a cafe disgusted me — you wouldn't believe it. 
Well, by degrees, one day following another, a spring 
after a winter, and an autumn after a summer, this 
wore away, piece by piece, crumb by crumb ; it passed 
away, it is gone. I should say it has sunk ; for some- 
thing always remains at the bottom, as one may say — 
a weight here, at one's heart. But since it is the lot of 
all of us. one must not give way altogether, and. be- 
cause others have died, want to die too. You must pull 
yourself together, ^Monsieur Bovary. Your grief will 
pass away. Come to see us ; my daughter thinks of 
you now and again, you know, and she says you are 
forgetting her. Spring will soon be here. We'll have 
some rabbit-shooting to enliven you a bit." 



20 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Charles followed his advice. He went back to the 
Bertaux farm. He found all as he had left it — that is 
to say, as it was five months earlier. The pear trees 
were already in blossom, and Farmer Rouault, on his 
legs again, came and went, making the farm livelier. 

Thinking it his duty to press the greatest attention 
upon the doctor because of his sadness, he begged him 
not to remove his hat. spoke to him in an undertone as 
if he had been ill, and even pretended to be angry be- 
cause nothing daintier had been prepared for him than 
for the others, such as clotted cream or stewed pears. 
He told stories. Charles found himself laughing, but 
the sudden remembrance of his wife quieted him. 
Coffee was brought ; he thought no more about her. 

He thought less of her as he grew accustomed to 
living alone. The new delight of independence soon 
made his loneliness bearable. He could now change 
his meal-times, go in or out without explanation, and 
when he was very tired lie down at full length on his 
bed. So he nursed and coddled himself and accepted 
the consolations ofifered him. The death of his wife 
had not served him ill in his business, since for a month 
people had been saying. " The poor young man ! what a 
loss ! " His name had been talked about, his practice 
had increased ; and, moreover, he could go to the Ber- 
taux farm when he liked. He had an aimless hope, 
and was vaguely happy ; he thought himself better 
looking as he brushed his beard before the mirror. 

One day he arrived at the farm about three o'clock. 
Everybody was in the fields. He went into the kitchen, 
but did not at once perceive Emma ; the outside shut- 
ters were closed. Through the chinks of the wood the 
sun sent across the floor long slender rays that were 
broken at the corners of the furniture and trembled 
along the ceiling. Some flies on the table were crawl- 



MADAME BOVARY 21 

\nf^ up the glasses that had hccii used, and huz7,inp as 
they drowned themselves in the drej^'s of cider. The 
dayhj^ht that came in by the chimney made velvet of 
the soot at the back of the firej)lace. and touched the 
cold cinders with a bhie tint. I'etwcen the window 
and the hearth hjiima was scwinjj^ ; she wore no fichu ; 
he saw beads of perspiration on her bare shoulders. 

After the fashion of country folks, she asked him to 
have something- to drink. He declined ; she insisted, 
and at last lauj^hin^Iy olTcred to have a .q;lass of licpieur 
with him. So she went to fetch a bottle of curagoa from 
the cupboard, reached down two small p^lasses, filled 
one to the brim, poured hardly anything into the other, 
and, after clinking glasses, carried hers to her lips. 
As it was almost empty she bent back to drink, her 
chin thrown up, her lips pouting, her neck strained. 
She laughed at getting none of it. while with the tip 
of her tongue passing between her small teeth she 
lapped the bottom of her glass, drop by drop. 

She sat down again and took up her work, a white 
cotton stocking she was darning. She worked with 
her head bent down ; she did not speak, nor did Charles. 
The air coming in under the door blew a little dust 
over the flagged floor; he watched it drift along, and 
heard nothing but the throbbing in his head and the 
faint clucking of a hen that had laid an egg in the yard. 

She complained of suffering from giddiness since 
the beginning of the season ; she asked whether sea 
baths would do her any good ; she began talking of 
her convent, Charles of his school ; words gradually 
came to them. They went up into her bedroom. She 
showed him her old music books, the little prizes she 
had won, and the oak-leaf crowns, left at the bottom 
of a wardrobe. She spoke to him, too, of her mother, 
of the country, and even showed him the bed in the 



22 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

garden where, on the first Friday of every month, she 
gathered flowers to put on her mother's grave. But 
the gardener they had understood nothing about it ; 
servants were so careless. She would have dearly 
liked, if only for the winter, to live in town, although 
the length of the fine days made the country perhaps 
even more wearisome in the summer. 

While going home at night, Charles went over her 
words one by one. trying to recall them, to fill out their 
sense, that he might piece out the life she had lived 
before he knew her. But he never saw her in his 
thoughts other than as he had seen her the first time, 
or as he had just left her. Then he asked himself what 
would become of her — if she would be married, and to 
whom ? Alas ! old Rouault was rich, and she ! — so 
beautiful ! But Emma's face always rose before his 
eyes, and a monotone, like the humming of a top, 
sounded in his ears: " If you should marry, after all! 
if you should marry! " At night he could not sleep; 
his throat was parched ; he was thirsty. He rose to 
drink from the carafe, and opened the window. The 
sky was covered with stars, a warm wind was blow- 
ing; dogs were barking. He turned his head toward 
the Bertaux farm. 

Thinking that, after all, he should lose nothing, 
Charles promised himself to ask her in marriage as 
soon as occasion should ofl^er, but every time such 
occasion did oflfer the fear of not finding the right 
words sealed his lips. 

Old Rouault would not have been sorry to be rid of 
his daughter, who was of no use to him in the house. 
In his heart he excused her, thinking her too clever for 
farming, a calling under the curse of Heaven, since 
one never saw a millionaire in it. Far from having 
made a fortune by it, the good man was losing every 



MADAME BOVARY 23 

year; for if lie was p^ood in barJ:,^'liIlinpf. in which he 
enjoyed the tricks of the trade, on the other liand, apri- 
nillurc ])roi)cr!y so called, and the executive manage- 
ment of the farm, suited him less than most people. 
He did not willinj::^ly take his hands out of his pockets, 
but did not spare exi)ense in all that concerned him- 
self, likinjj^ to eat well, to have jij^ood fires, and to sleep 
comfortabl}-. IK' liked old cider, underdone lep^s of 
mutton, well beaten i^lorias, made of coffee and spirits. 
He took his meals in the kitchen alone, opposite the 
(ire. on a little table brought ready laid, as on the staple. 

So. when he perceived that Charles's cheeks p^rew 
led when near his daughter, which meant that he would 
pro])()se for her some day, he chewed the cud of the 
matter beforehand. He certainly thought him a little 
meagre, and not exactly the son-in-law he would have 
liked ; but it was said he was well connected, economi- 
cal, very learned, and no doubt would not make too 
many diflficulties about the dowry. Now, as old 
Rouault would soon be forced to sell twenty-two acres 
of his property, as he owed a good deal to the mason 
and the harness-maker, and as the shaft of the cider 
press wanted renewing, he said to himself, " If he asks 
for her I'll give her to him." 

At Michaelmas Charles went to spend three days at 
the Bertaux farm. The last passed like the others, in 
procrastinating from hour to hour. Old Rouault was 
seeing him off ; they were walking along the road full 
of ruts and were about to part. This was the time. 
Charles gave himself as far as the corner of the hedge, 
and at last, when past it he murmured — 

" Monsieur Ronault. I should like to say something." 

They stopped. Charles was silent. 

" Well, tell me your story. Don't I know all about 
it ? " said old Rouault, laughing softly. 



24 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Monsieur Rouaiilt — Monsieur Rouault," stam- 
mered Charles. 

" I ask nothing better," the farmer went on. " Al- 
though no doubt the little one is of my mind, still we 
must ask her opinion. So you get off — I'll go back 
home. If it is ' yes,' you needn't return because of all 
the people about, and besides it would upset her too 
much. But, so that you mayn't be eating your heart, 
I'll open wide the outer shutter of the window against 
the wall ; you can see it by leaning over the hedge." 

And he went home. 

Charles fastened his horse to a tree ; he ran into the 
road and waited. Half an hour passed, then he counted 
nineten minutes by his watch. Suddenly a noise was 
heard against the wall ; the shutter had been thrown 
back ; the hook was still swinging. 

The next day by nine o'clock he was at the farm. 
Emma blushed at he entered, and she gave a little 
affected laugh to keep herself in countenance. Old 
Rouault embraced his future son-in-law.' The dis- 
cussion of money matters was put off ; moreover, there 
was plenty of time, as the marriage could not decently 
take place till Charles was out of mourning — that is 
to say, about the spring of the following year. 

The winter was passed in waiting for this. Made- 
moiselle Rouault was busy with her trousseau. Part 
of it was ordered at Rouen, and she made herself 
chemises and nightcaps after fashion-plates that she 
borrowed. When Charles visited the farmer, the prep- 
arations for the wedding were talked over ; they held 
discussions as to which room they should have the 
dinner in ! they dreamed of the number of dishes that 
would be wanted, and what should be the entrees. 

Emma, on the contrary, would have preferred to 
have a midnight wedding with torches, but old Rouault 



MADAME BOVARY 25 

could not utulcrstaiul such an i<lea. So there was a 
home vveddiuj^ at which forty-three persons were pres- 
ent, at wliich they remained sixteen hours at table. 



CHAPTER IV 

BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM 

MOST of tlie guests arrived early in carriages, in 
one-horse chaises, two-wheeled carts, old open 
gigs, waggonettes with leather hoods, and the 
young people from the nearer villages in larger carts, 
in which they stood up in rows, holding to the sides 
so as not to fall, going at a trot and being well jolted. 
Some came from a distance of thirty miles, from 
Goderville, from Normanville, and from Cany. 

From time to time the crack of a whip was heartl 
behind the hedge ; then the gates opened, a chaise en- 
tered. Galloping up to the foot of the steps, it stopped 
short and its load alighted. They descended from all 
sides, rubbing knees and stretching arms. The ladies, 
wearing boiniets, wore gowns in the town fashion, gold 
watch-chains, pelerines with the ends tucked into belts, 
or little coloured fichus fastened down behind with a 
pin, leaving the back of the neck bare. The lads, 
dressed like their fathers, seemed uncomfortable in 
their new clothes (many that day had received the 
handsel of their first pair of boots) ; and beside them, 
speaking not a word, wearing the white gown of their 
first communion lengthened for the occasion, were 
some big girls of fourteen or sixteen, cousins or elder 
sisters, no doubt, rubicund, bewildered, their hair 



26 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

greasy with rose-pomade, and very much afraid of 
soiling their gloves. 

The Mayor's office was a mile and a half from the 
farm, and they went thither on foot, returning in the 
same way after the ceremony in the church. The pro- 
cession, first united like one long coloured scarf that 
undulated across the fields, along the narrow path 
winding amid the green corn, soon lengthened out, 
and broke up into different groups that loitered to talk. 
The fiddler walked in front with his violin, gay with 
ribbons at its pegs. Then came the married pair, the 
relatives, the friends, all following pell-mell ; the chil- 
dren stayed behind amusing themselves plucking the 
bell-flowers from oat-ears, or playing among them- 
selves unseen. Emma's dress, which was too long, 
trailed a little on the grovmd ; from time to time she 
stopped to pull it up, and then delicately, with her 
gloved hands, she picked off the coarse grass and the ' 
thistledowns, while Charles, empty-handed, waited till 
she had finished. Old Rouault, with a new silk hat and 
the cuffs of his black coat covering his hands up to 
the nails, gave his arm to Madame Bovary. senior. As 
to Monsieur Bovary, senior, who, heartily despising 
all these folk, had come simply in a frock-coat of mili- 
tary cut with one row of buttons — he passed the com- 
pliments of the bar to a fair young peasant. She 
bowed, blushed, and did not know what to say. The 
other wedding guests talked of their business or played 
tricks behind one another's backs, urging one another 
on in advance to be merry. Those who listened could 
always catch the squeaking of the fiddler, who went 
playing across the fields. 

The table was laid under the cart-shed. On it were 
four sirloins, six chicken fricassees, stewed veal, three 
legs of mutton, and in the middle a fine roast sucking- 



MADAME BOVARY 27 

pip, flanked by four chitterlings with sorrel. At the 
corners were decanters of brandy. Sweet bottled cider 
frothed round the corks, and all the fi^lasses had before- 
hand been filled to the brim with wine. Large dishes 
of yellow cream, that trembled with the least shake of 
the table, had desiijned on their smooth surface in non- 
pareil arabesques the initials of the newly-wedded pair. 
A confectioner of Yvetot had been entrusted with the 
tarts and sweets. As he had only just set up in the 
place, he had taken much trouble, and at dessert he 
himself brou<:j:ht in a set dish that evoked loud cries of 
wonder. At its base was a square of blue cardboard, 
representing a temple, with porticoes, colonnades, and 
stucco statuettes surrounding it. and in the niches were 
constellations of gilt paper stars ; on the second stage 
was a dungeon of Savoy cake, surrounded by many 
fortifications in candied angelica, almonds, raisins, and 
quarters of oranges ; finally, on the upper platform was 
a green field with rocks set in lakes of jam. nutshell 
boats, and a small Cupid balancing himself in a choco- 
late swing, the two uprights of which ended in real 
roses for balls at the top. 

They ate until night. W'hen they were tired of 
sitting, they went out for a stroll in the yard, or for a 
game with cocks in the granary, and then returned to 
table. Towards the finish some went to sleep and 
snored. But with the coffee everyone woke up. Then 
they began songs, showed off tricks, raised heavy 
weights, performed feats with their fingers, then tried 
lifting carts on their shoulders, made broad jokes, 
kissed the women. At night when they left, the horses, 
stuflFed up to the nostrils with oats, could hardly be got 
into the shafts ; they kicked and reared : the harness 
broke, their masters laughed or swore ; and all night in 
the lisfht of the moon aloncf countrv roads were runa- 



28 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

way carts at full o^allop plunging into the ditches, jump- 
ing over stone fences, clambering up the hills, with 
women leaning out to seize the reins. 

Those who stayed at the Bertaux farm spent the 
night drinking in the kitchen. The children had fallen 
asleep under the seats. 

The bride had begged her father that she might be 
spared the usual marriage pleasantries. But a fish- 
monger, one of their cousins (who had even brought a 
pair of soles for his wedding present), had begun to 
squirt water from his mouth through the keyhole when 
old Rouault came up just in time to stop him and ex- 
plain to him that the distinguished station of his son- 
in-law would not allow of such liberties. But the 
cousin did not yield readily to these reasons. In his 
heart he accused old Rouault of being proud, and he 
joined four or five other guests in a corner, who hav- 
ing, through mere chance, been served several times 
in succession with the inferior cuts of meat, were also 
of opinion they had been badly used, and were whisper- 
ing about their host, hoping with veiled hints that he 
would ruin himself. 

Madame Bovary, senior, had not opened her lips all 
day. She had been consulted neither as to the dress of 
her daughter-in-law nor as to the arrangement of the 
feast ; she went to bed early. Her husband, instead of 
following her. sent to Saint-\'ictor for some cigars and 
smoked till daybreak, drinking kirsch-punch, a mixture 
unknown to the company. This added greatly to the 
consideration in which he was held. 

Charles, who was not of a facetious turn, did not 
shine at the wedding. He answered feebly to the puns, 
doubles entcndrcs, compliments, and chaff that it was 
felt a duty to fire at him as soon as the soup appeared. 

The next day, on the other hand, he seemed another 



MADAME BOVARY 29 

man. It was lie who iiiif^Iit rather have been taken for 
the virgin of the evening heftjre, while the bride gave 
no sign that revealed anything. The shrewdest did not 
know what to make of it. and they looked at her when 
she passed near thetn with unbounded concentration 
of tnind. l>ut Charles concealed nothing. He called 
her " my wife," tutoycd her, asked for her of everyone, 
looked for her everywhere, and often he drew her into 
the orchard, where he could be seen from afar between 
the trees, putting his arm round her waist, and walking 
half-bending over her, ruflling the chemisette of her 
bodice with his head. 

Two days after the wedding the married pair de- 
parted. Because of his patients, Charles could not be 
away longer. (^Id Rouaidt had them driven back in 
his cart, and himself accompanied them as far as Vas- 
sonville. Here he embraced his daughter for the last 
time, got down, and went his way. When he had gone 
about a hundred paces he stopped, and as he saw the 
cart disappearing, its wheels turning in the dust, he 
heaved a deep sigh. Then he remembered his own 
wedding, the old times, the first jiregnancy of his wife; 
he, too, had been very happy the day when he had 
taken her from her father to his home, and had carried 
her off on a pillion, trotting through the snow, for it 
was near Christmas-time, and the country was all 
white. She held him by one arm, her basket hanging 
from the other ; the wind blew the long lace of her 
Cauchois head-dress so that it sometimes flapped across 
his mouth, and when he turned his head he saw near 
him, on his shoulder, her little rosy face, smiling 
silently under the gold bands of her cap. To warm 
her hands she put them from time to time in his breast. 
How long ago it all was ! Their son would have been 
thirty by now. Then he looked back and saw nothing 



30 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

on the road. He felt as dreary as an empty house ; and 
with tender memories minghng with the sad thoughts 
in his brain, addled by the fumes of the feast, he felt 
inclined for a moment to take a turn toward the church. 
As he was afraid, however, that this sight would make 
him still more sad, he went directly home. 

Monsieur and Madame Charles arrived at Tostes 
about six o'clock. The neighbours came to the win- 
dows to see their physician's new wife. 

The old servant presented herself, curtsied to her, 
apologized for not having dinner ready, and suggested 
that Madame, in the mean time, should look over her 
"new abode. 



CHAPTER V 

THE bride's query 

B OVARY'S house with its brick front was in line 
with the street, or rather the road. Behind the 
door hung a cloak with a small collar, a bridle, 
and a black leather cap, and on the floor, in a corner, 
was a pair of leggings, still covered with dried mud. 
On the right was the one apartment that was both din- 
ing and sitting-room. A canary-yellow paper, relieved 
at the top by a garland of pale flowers, was puckered 
everywhere over the badly-stretched cloth under it ; 
white calico curtains with a red border hung crosswise 
the length of the window ; and on the narrow mantel- 
piece a clock with a head of Hippocrates shone re- 
splendent between two plate condlesticks under oval 
shades. On the other side of the passage was Charles's 
consulting-office, a little room about six paces wide, 



MADAME BOVARY iil 

willi a tabic, three chairs, and an office-chair. Vohimes 
of the Dic/ioiiary of Medical Science, uncut, hut the 
hin(h'n^ ratlier the worse for the successive sales 
through which they had pone, occupied ahnost alone 
the six shelves of a deal bookcase. The smell of melted 
butter penetrated throujj^h the walls when he saw pa- 
tients, just as in the kitchen one could hear people 
in the consultinj^^-room coughing and recounting their 
whole histories. 

The garden, longer than it was wide, ran between 
two mud walls, against which grew espaliered apricots, 
to a hawthorn hedge that separated it from the field. 
In the middle was a slate sundial on a brick pedestal ; 
four rtower-beds with eglantines surrounded symmet- 
rically the more useful kitchen-garden. At the bottom, 
under the spruce bushes, was a plaster figure of a 
priest reading his breviary. 

Emma went upstairs. The first room was not fur- 
nished, but in the second, which was their bedroom, 
was a mahogany bedstead in an alcove with red 
drapery. A shell-box adorned the chest of drawers, 
and on the secretary near the window a bouquet of 
dried orange blossoms, tied with white satin ribbons, 
stood in a bottle. It was a bride's bouquet ; it was the 
other one's ! Emma looked at it. Charles noticed it ; 
he took it and carried it up to the attic, while Emma, 
seated in an armchair (they were putting her things 
down around her) thought of her bridal fiowers packed 
up in a bandbox, and wondered, dreamily, what would 
be done with them if she were to die. 

During the first days she occupied herself in think- 
ing about changes in the house. She took the shades 
off the candlesticks, had new wall-paper put up. the 
staircase repainted, and seats made in the garden round 
the sundial ; she even inquired how she could get a 



32 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

basin with a jet fountain and g-oldfish. Finally, her 
husband, knowing that she liked to drive out, picked 
up a second-hand dogcart, which, with new lamps and 
a dash-board in striped leather, looked almost like a 
tilbury. 

He was happy then, and without a care in the world. 
A meal together, a walk in the evening on the high- 
road, a gesture of Emma's hands over her hair, the 
sight of her straw hat hanging from the window- 
fastener, and many another thing in which Charles had 
never dreamed of taking pleasure, now made up an 
endless round of happiness for him. In bed, in the 
morning, on the pillow by her side, he watched the sun- 
light touching the down on her fair cheek, half hidden 
by the lappets of her nightcap. Seen thus closely, her 
eyes looked to him enlarged, especially when, on wak- 
ing up, she opened and shut them rapidly many times. 
Black in the shade, dark blue in broad daylight, they 
had, as it were, depths of dififerent colours, which, 
darker in the centre, grew paler toward the surface of 
the eye. His own eyes lost themselves in those depths ; 
he saw himself in miniature down to the shoulders, with 
his handkerchief round his head and the top of his shirt 
open. He rose. She came to the window to see him 
off, and stayed leaning on the sill between two pots of 
geranium, clad in her dressing gown hanging loosely 
about her. Charles in the street buckled his spurs, his 
foot on the mounting-stone, while she talked to him 
from above, picking with her mouth some scrap of 
flower or leaf which she blew out at him. Whirling 
and floating, it described semicircles in the air like a 
bird, and was caught before it reached the ground in 
the ill-groomed mane of the old white mare standing 
motionless at the door. Charles from horseback threw 
her a kiss ; she answered with a nod ; she closed the 



MADAME BOVARY 33 

window, and he set off. Alonj^- the hij^liroad, sprcadiiif^ 
out its lonj^^ ribbon of dust, alonj:;; the deep lanes that the 
trees bent over as in an arbour, alonpf i)aths where the 
corn reached to the knees, with the sun on his back and 
the niorninj^- air in his nostrils, his heart full (^f the joys 
of the past ni^lil. his mind at rest, his flesh at ease, he 
went on, nieditatinj^- on his happiness, as an epicure 
after dinner tastes aji^ain the trufiles he is dij^estinji^. 

Lentil now when had he had any pleasure in life? 
Was it during' his time at school, when he remained 
shut up within the high walls, alone, in the midst of 
comi)anions richer than he or cleverer at their work, 
who laughed at his accent, who jeered at his clothes, 
and whose mothers came to the school with cakes in 
their mufTs? W'as it later when he studied medicine, 
and never had his purse full enough to treat some little 
work-girl who might have become his mistress? Af- 
terward he had lived fourteen months with the widow, 
whose feet in bed were cold as icicles. But now he 
had for life this beautiful woman whom he adored! 
For him the universe did not extend beyond the cir- 
cinnference of her petticoat, and he reproached him- 
self with not loving her enough. lie wanted to see her 
again ; he turned back quickly, ran up the stairs with a 
beating heart. Emma, in her room, was dressing ; he 
came up on tiptoe and kissed her back ; she gave a cry. 

He could not keep from constantly touching her 
comb, her rings, her fichu ; sometimes he gave her 
great sounding kisses on her cheeks, or else little kisses 
in a row all along her bare arm from the tips of her 
fingers up to her shoulder, and she put him away half- 
smiling, half-vexed, as one does to a child that hangs 
about him. 

Before marriage she thought herself in love ; but the 
happiness that should have followed this love not hav- 



34 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ing come, she thouc^ht she must have been mistaken. 
And Emma tried to find out exactly what one meant 
in Hfe by the words felicity, passion, rapture, that had 
seemed to her so beautiful in books. 



CHAPTER VI 

A PRECOCIOUS PUPIL 

EMMA had read Paul and Virginia, and she had 
dreamed of the little bamboo house, the negro 
Domingo, the dog Fidele, but above all of the 
sweet friendship of some dear little brother, who 
seeks red fruit for you on trees taller than steeples, or 
who runs over the sand, bringing you a bird's nest. 

When she was thirteen, her father himself took her 
to town to place her in the convent school. They 
stopped at an inn in the St. Gervais quarter, where, 
at their supper, they used painted plates that set forth 
the story of Mademoiselle de la Valliere. The ex- 
planatory legends, chipped here and there by the 
scratching of knives, all glorified religion, the tender- 
nesses of the heart, and the pomps of court life. 

Far from being bored at first at the convent, she 
'took pleasure in the society of the good sisters, who, to 
amuse her, took her to the chapel, which one entered 
from the refectory by a long corridor. She played 
very little during recreation hours, knew her catechism 
well, and it was she who always answered Monsieur le 
Vicaire's difficult questions. Living thus, without ever 
leaving the warm atmosphere of the class-rooms, and 
amid these pale-faced women wearing rosaries with 
brass crosses, she was softly lulled by the mystic Ian- 



MADAME BOVARY 35 

puor exhaled in llie perfumes of the aUar, the freshness 
of tlie holy water, and the liq;hts of the caiulles. In- 
stead of attcndinpf to mass, she looked at the pious 
vignettes with their azure horders in her hook, and she 
loved the sick lamh, the sacred heart jiierced with sharp 
arrows, or the poor Jesus sinking heneath the cross he 
carries. She tried, hy way of mortification, to cat 
nothing a whole day. She puzzled her head to find 
some vow to fulfil. 

When she went to confession, she invented little sins 
in order that she might stay there longer, kneeling in 
the shadow, her hands joined, her face against the 
grating beneath the whispering of the priest. The 
comparisons of betrothed, husband, celestial lover, and 
eternal marriage, that recur in sermons, stirred within 
her soul depths of sweetness never touched before. 

In the evening, before prayers, there was religious 
reading in the study. On week-nights it was some ab- 
stract of sacred history or the Lectures of the Abbe 
Frayssinous. and on Sundays passages from the Genie 
(in Chrisfianisine, as a recreation. How she listened at 
lirst to the sonorous lamentations of its romantic melan- 
cholies reechoing through the world and eternity ! If 
her childhood had been spent in the shop-parlour of 
some business quarter, she might perhaps have opened 
her heart to those lyrical invasions of nature, which 
usually come to us only through translation in books. 
But she knew the country too well ; she knew the low- 
ing of cattle, the milking, the ploughs. Accustomed to 
calm aspects of life, she turned, on the contrary, to 
those of excitement. She loved the sea only for the 
sake of its storms, and the green fields only when 
broken up by ruins. 

At the convent an old maid came for a week every 
month to mend the linen. Patronized by the clergy, 



36 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

because she belonged to an ancient family of noblemen 
ruined by the Revolution, she dined in the refectory at 
the table of the good sisters, and after the meal had a 
little talk with them before returning to her work. The 
girls often slipped out of the study to see her. She 
knew by heart the love-songs of the last century, and 
sang them in a low voice as she stitched. She told 
stories, gave them news, went on errands in the town, 
and slyly lent the larger girls some novel, that she al- 
ways carried in the pockets of her apron, and of which 
the good lady herself swallowed long chapters in the 
intervals of her work. They were all about love, 
lovers, sweethearts, persecuted ladies fainting in lonely 
pavilions, postilions killed at every stage, horses ridden 
to death on every page, sombre forests, heart-aches, 
vows, sobs, tears and kisses, little skiffs by moonlight, 
nightingales in shady groves, " gentlemen " brave as 
lions, gentle as lambs, virtuous as no one ever was, al- 
ways well dressed, and weeping like fountains. For six 
months, then, Emma, at fifteen years of age, soiled her 
hands with books from old lending-libraries. With 
Walter Scott, later, she fell in love with historical 
events, dreamed of old chests, guard-rooms, and min- 
strels. She would have liked to live in some old manor- 
house, like those long-waisted chatelaines who, in the 
shade of pointed arches, spent their days leaning on 
the stone balcony, chin in hand, watching a cavalier 
with white plume galloping on his black horse from the 
distant fields. At this time she had a cult for Mary 
Stuart and enthusiastic veneration for illustrious or 
unhappy women. Joan of Arc, Heloise, Agnes Sorel, 
the beautiful Ferronniere, and Clemence Isaure stood 
out to her like comets in the dark immensity of heaven, 
where also were seen, lost in shadow, and all tmcon- 
nected, St. Louis with his oak, the dying Bayard, some 



MADAME BOVARY 37 

cruelties of Louis XI, a little of St. Bartholomew's, 
the plume of the l>earnais, and always the remembrance 
of those plates painted in honour f)f Louis XI\'! 

In the music-class, in the ballads she sanj^, nothing 
was heard but little angels with golden wings, madon- 
nas, lagunes, gondoliers — mild compositions that al- 
lowed her to catch a glimjjse, athwart the obscurity of 
style and the weakness of the music, of the attractive 
phantasmagoria of sentimental realities. Some of her 
companions brought " keepsakes " given them as New 
Year's gifts to the convent. These had to be hidden ; 
it was quite an undertaking ; they were read in the 
dormitory. Delicately handling the beautiful satin 
bindings, Emma looked with dazzled eyes at the names 
of the unknown authors, who had signed their verses 
for the most part as counts or viscounts. 

She trembled as she blew back the tissue paper over 
the engraving and saw it fold in two and fall gently 
against the page. Here behind the balustrade of a bal- 
cony was a young man in a short cloak, holding in his 
arms a young girl in a white gown wearing an alms- 
bag at her belt ; or there were nameless portraits of 
English ladies with fair curls, who looked at you from 
under their round straw hats with their large clear eyes. 
Some were lounging in carriages, gliding through 
parks, a greyhound bounding along in front of the 
equipage, driven at a trot by two small postilions in 
white breeches. Others, dreaming on sofas and hold- 
ing an open letter, gazed at the moon through a slightly 
open window half draped by a black curtain. 

When her mother died she wept much the first few 
days. She had a funeral picture made with the hair 
of the deceased, and, in a letter sent home full of sad 
reflections on life, she asked to be buried later in the 
same grave. The goodman thought she must be ill, 



38 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

and came to see her. Emma was secretly pleased that 
she had reached at a first attempt the rare ideal of pale 
lives, never attained by mediocre hearts. She let her- 
self glide along with Lamartine meanderings, listened 
to harps on lakes, to all the songs of dying swans, to 
the falling of the leaves, to the words of the pure vir- 
gins ascending to heaven, and the voice of the Eternal 
discoursing down the valleys. Finally she wearied of 
it, but would not confess it ; she continued from habit, 
and at last was surprised to feel herself soothed, and 
with no more sadness at heart than wrinkles on her 
brow. 

The good nuns, who had been so sure of her voca- 
tion, perceived with great astonishment that Made- 
moiselle Rouault seemed to be slipping from them. 
They had indeed been so lavish to her of prayers, re- 
treats, novenas, and sermons, they had so often 
preached the respect due to saints and martyrs, and 
given so much good advice as to the modesty of the 
body and the salvation of her soul, that she did as do 
tightly reined horses ; she pulled up short and the bit 
slipped from her teeth. This nature, positive in the 
midst of its enthusiasms, that had loved the Church for 
the sake of the flowers, and music for the words of the 
songs, and literature for its passional stimulus, rebelled 
against the mysteries of faith as it grew irritated by 
discipline — a thing antipathetic to her constitution. 
When her father took her from school, no one was 
sorry to see her go. The Lady Superior even thought 
that she had latterly been somewhat irreverent. 

Once more at home, Emma first took pleasure in 
looking after the servants, then grew disgusted with 
the country and missed her convent. When Charles 
came to the Rertaux farm for the first time, she thought 
herself quite disillusioned, with nothing more to learn. 



MADAME BOVARY 39 

I'ut the nncasincss of her new position, or perhaps 
the (listurhance caused by the presence of this man, 
liad sufficed to make her heHeve that at last she felt 
that wondrous passion which, till then, hke a preat bird 
with rose-coloured wintjs, hunt;; in the splendour of the 
skits of poesy: and now she could not helii-ve that the 
calm in which she lived was the hai)piness of which 
she had dreamed. 



CHAPTER VII 

A VISTA OPKNS 

EMMA thou.G:ht sometimes that, after all, this was 
the happiest time of her life — the honeymoon, 
as people called it. To taste the full sweetness 
of it, it would have been necessary doubtless to fly to 
those lands with sonorous names where the days after 
marriage are full of delicious laziness. In post-chaises, 
behind blue silken curtains, to ride slowly up steep 
roads, listeninj^ to the sons; of the postilion reechoed 
by the mountains, alon_c: with the bells of g;oats and the 
mul'lled sound of a waterfall ; at sunset on the shores 
of gulfs to breathe in the perfume of lemon-trees : then 
in the evening on the villa-terraces above, hand in hand 
to look at the stars, making plans for the future. 

Perhaps she would have liked to confide all these 
things to some one. But how describe an undefinable 
uneasiness, variable as the clouds, unstable as the 
winds? Words failed — the opportunity, the courage. 

If Charles had but wished it. if he had guessed it. if 
his look bad but once met her thought, it seemed to her 
that a sudden fruition of love would have come from 



40 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

her heart, as fruit falls from a tree when shaken by a 
hand. But as the intimacy of their Hfe became deeper, 
the greater became the gulf that separated them. 

Charles's conversation was as commonplace as a 
street pavement, and everyone's ideas trooped through 
it in every-day garb, without exciting emotion, laugh- 
ter, or thought. He never had had the curiosity, he 
said, while he lived at Rouen, to go to the theatre to 
see the actors from Paris. He could neither swim, nor 
fence, nor shoot, and one day he could not explain some 
term of horsemanship that she had found in a book. 

Should not a man know everything, should he not 
excel in manifold activities, initiate one into the ener- 
gies of passion, the refinements of life, all mysteries? 
But this one taught nothing, knew nothing, wished 
nothing. He thought her happy ; and she resented 
this easy calm, this serene heaviness, the very happiness 
she gave him. 

Sometimes she would draw ; and it was great amuse- 
ment to Charles to stand bolt upright and watch lier 
bend over her cardboard, with eyes half-closed the bet- 
ter to see her work, or rolling little bread-pellets be- 
tween her fingers. As to the piano, the more quickly 
her fingers glided over it the more he wondered. She 
struck the notes with dashing vigour, and ran from 
top to bottom of the keyboard without a break. 

On the other hand, Emma knew how to look after 
her house. She sent the patients' accounts in well- 
phrased letters that had no suggestion of a bill. When 
they had a neighbour to dinner on Sundays, she man- 
aged to have some tasty dish — piled-up pyramids of 
green-gages on vine leaves ; she served preserves in 
separate plates, and even spoke of buying finger- 
glasses for dessert. Because of all this much consider- 
ation was extended to Bovary. 



MADAME BOVAHY 41 

Charles finished by rising in his cnvn cstceni for pos- 
Sfssinj^^ such a wife. Jlc showed with pride in the 
sitting-room two of her small pencil sketches that he had 
had framed in very large frames, and hung np against 
the wall-])aper by long green cords. I'eople returning 
from mass saw him in his embroidered sli])pers. 

1 fe came home late — at ten o'clock, at midnight 
soiiu'tinu's. riun be asked for something to eat, and 
as the servant had gone to bed, Emma waited on 
him. I le took o(T his coat to dine more at his ease, 
lie told her, one after another, of the people he had 
met, the villages where he had been, the prescrijitions 
he had written, and, well jilcased with himself, he fin- 
ished the remainder of the boiled beef and onions, 
picked i)ieces oft the cheese, munched an apple, emptied 
his water-bottle, then went to bed and lay on his back 
and snored. 

As he had been accustomed for a time to wear night- 
caps, his handkerchief would not stay down over his 
ears, so that his hair in the morning was tumbled pell- 
mell about his face and whitened with the feathers of 
the pillow, the strings of which came untied during 
the night. He always wore thick boots that had two 
long creases over the instep running obliquely toward 
the ankle, while the rest of the upper continued in a 
straight line as if stretched on a wooden foot. He said 
that was " quite good enough for the country." 

His mother approved of his economy, for she came 
to see him as formerly, when there had been some vio- 
lent row at her place; and yet the elder Afadame Bo- 
vary seemed prejudiced against her daughter-in-law. 
She thought " her ways too fine for their position " ; 
the wood, the sugar, and the candles disappeared as 
" at a grand establishment," and the amount of fuel 
used in the kitchen would have been enough for twentx- 



42 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

five courses. She put Emma's linen in order for her 
in the closets, and taught her to keep an eye on the 
butcher when he brought the meat. Emma put up with 
these lessons. Madame Bovary was lavish of them ; 
and the words " daughter " and " mother " were ex- 
changed all day long, accompanied by little tremblings 
of the lips, each uttering gentle words in a voice shaken 
with anger. 

In Madame Dubuc's time the old woman felt that 
she was still the favourite ; but now Charles's love for 
Emma seemed to her a desertion from her own tender- 
ness, an encroachment upon what was hers, and she 
observed her son's happiness in sad silence, as a ruined 
man looks through the windows at people dining in 
his old house. She recalled to him as remembrances 
her troubles and her sacrifices, and, comparing these 
with Emma's negligence, came to the conclusion that 
it was not reasonable to adore her so exclusively. 

Charles knew not what to reply ; he respected his 
mother, and he loved his wife infinitely ; he considered 
the judgment of the one infallible, yet he thought the 
conduct of the other irreproachable. When Madame 
Bovary had gone, he tried timidly and in the same 
phrases to hazard one or two of the more pointed ob- 
servations he had heard from his mamma. Emma 
proved to him with a word that he was mistaken, and 
sent him oiif to his patients. 

And yet, in accord with theories she believed right, 
she wished to make herself in love with him. By moon- 
light in the garden she recited all the passionate rhymes 
she knew by heart, and sighing, sang to him many 
melancholy adagios ; but she found herself as calm after 
this as before, and Charles seemed no more amorous 
and no more moved. 

After she had thus for a while struck the flint on 



MADAME BOVARY 43 

lier heart willioiit drawinj^'^ a spark ; as incapahlo, more- 
over, of understaiuliiif; what she (Hd iK^t experience 
as of beHcviiij:^ anythinjr that did not present itself in 
conventional form, she persuaded herself without diffi- 
culty that Charles's ])assion was nothing very exorbi- 
tant. His demonstrations became regular ; he embraced 
her at certain fixed times. It was one habit among 
otluT habits, and, like a dessert, was looked forward 
to after the monotony of dinner. 

A gamekeeper, cured by the doctor of pneumonia, 
had given Madame a little Italian greyhound; she took 
her out walking, for she went out sometimes in order 
to be alone for a moment, and not to see before her 
eyes the eternal garden and the dusty road. 

She began In- looking around to see whether nothing 
had changed since last she had been there. She found 
in the same i)laces the foxgloves and wallflowers, the 
beds of nettles growing round the big stones, and the 
patches of lichen along the three windows, the shut- 
ters of which, always closed, were rotting on their 
rusty iron bars. Her thoughts, aimless at first, wan- 
dered at random, like her greyhound, which ran round 
and round in the fields, barking after the yellow butter- 
Ihes, chasing the field-mice, or nibbling the poppies on 
the edge of a cornfield. Gradually her ideas took 
definite shape, and sitting on the grass that she had 
(lug up with little prods of her parasol, Emma 
murmured to herself, " Oh, heavens ! why did I 
marry ? " 

She asked herself whether, by some other chance 
combination, it would not have been possible to meet 
another man ; and she tried to imagine what would 
have been these unrealised events, this diflferent life, 
this unknown husband. All men. surely, could not be 
like this one. He might have been handsome, wittv. 



44 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

distinguished, attractive, such as, no doubt, her old 
companions of the convent had married. What were 
they doing now ? In town, with the noise of the streets, 
the buzz of the theatres, and the Hghts of the ballroom, 
they were living lives where the heart expands, the 
senses bourgeon. But she — her life was as cold as a 
garret the dormer-window of which looks on the north, 
and boredom, the silent spider, was weaving its web 
in the darkness in every corner of her heart. 

But toward the end of September something extraor- 
dinary came into her life ; she was invited by the Mar- 
quis d'Andervilliers to Vaubyessard. 

The Marquis was Secretary of State under the Res- 
toration ; he was anxious to reenter political life, and set 
about preparing for his candidacy to the Chamber of 
Deputies long before the election. In the winter he 
distributed a great deal of wood, and in the General 
Council always enthusiastically demanded new roads 
for his arrondisscmcnt. During the dog-days he had 
suffered from an abscess, which Charles had cured as 
if by a miracle by giving it a timely little touch with 
a lancet. The steward sent to Tostes to pay for the 
operation reported in the evening that he had seen some 
superb cherries in the doctor's little garden. Now 
cherry-trees did not thrive at Vaubyessard ; the Marquis 
asked Bovary for some slips, and made it his business 
to go to thank him personally ; he saw Emma ; thought 
she had a pretty figure, and noted that she did not 
bow like a peasant ; so that he did not think he was 
going beyond the bounds of condescension, nor, on the 
other hand, making a mistake, in inviting the young 
couple. 

One Wednesday at three o'clock. Monsieur and 
Madame Bovary, seated in their dog-cart, set out for 
Vaubyessard, with a great trunk strapped on behind 



MADAME BOVARY 45 

and a honiut-hox in front (jii the apron. Ucsidcs these, 
Charles held a handhox between his knees. 

They arrived at (hisk. jnst as the lamps in the park 
were being lighted to show the way for the carriages. 



CHAPTER VIII 

AS IN A DKKA.M 

THE chateau, a modern huildini; in Italian style, 
with two projecting wings and three flights of 
steps, lay at the foot of a vast green-sward, on 
which some cows were grazing among groups of large 
trees set out at regular intervals, while large beds of 
arbutus, rhododendron, syringas, and guelder roses 
bulged out their iregular clusters of green along the 
curve of the gravel i>ath. 

Charles's dog-cart pulled up before the middle flight 
of steps; servants appeared; the Marquis came for- 
ward, and offering his arm to the doctor's wife con- 
ducted her to the vestibule. 

It was paved with marble slabs, very lofty, and 
the sounds of footsteps and voices reverberated through 
it as in a church. Opposite rose a straight staircase, 
and on the left a gallery overlooking the garden led to 
the billiard-room, through the door of which one could 
hear the click of the ivory balls. As Emma crossed 
it to go to the drawing-room, she saw standing round 
the table men with grave faces, their chins resting on 
high cravats. They all wore orders, and smiled silently 
as they made their strokes. Against the dark wains- 
coting of the walls large gold frames bore at the bot- 
tom names written in black letters. She read : " Jean- 



46 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Antoine d'Andervilliers d'Yverbonville, Count do la 
\'aubyessard and Baron de la Fresnaye, killed at the 
battle of Coutras on the 20th of October, 1587.' And 
on another: " Jean-Antoine-Henry-Cluy d'Andervil- 
liers de la \'aubyessard, Admiral of France and Cheva- 
lier of the Order of St. Michael, wounded at the battle 
of the Hougue-Saint-Vaast on the 29th of May, 1692; 
died at \'aubyessard on the 23rd of January, 1693." 

The Marquis opened the drawing-room door ; one 
of the ladies (the Marquise herself) came to meet 
Emma. She made her sit down by her on an ottoman, 
and began talking to her as amicably as if she had 
known her a long time. She was a woman of about 
forty,, with fine shoulders, a hook nose, a drawling 
voice, and on this evening she wore over her brown 
hair a simple guipure scarf that fell in a point at the 
back. A fair young woman was by her side in a high- 
backed chair, and gentlemen with flowers in their but- 
ton-holes were talking to ladies round the fire. 

Dinner was served at seven o'clock. The men, who 
were in the majority, sat down at the first table in the 
vestibule ; the ladies at the second, in the dining-room 
with the Marquis and Marquise. 

On entering that room. Emma felt herself wrapped 
round by the warm air, a blending of the perfume of 
flowers and fine linen, of the fumes of the viands, and 
the odour of truffles. The silver dish-covers reflected 
the lighted wax candles in the candelabra, the cut 
crystal, covered with light steam, reflected pale rays 
from one to the other ; bouquets were placed in a row 
the whole length of the table ; and in the deep-bordered 
plates each napkin, arranged in the shape of a bishop's 
mitre, held between its two gaping folds a small roll. 

Madame Bovary noticed that many ladies had not 
put their gloves in their glasses. 



MADAME BOVARY 47 

I'ut at the upper ciul (jf the t.ihle, alone anionj^'' all 
those vvoinen. kaniiijLr over his fiili plate, with a napkin 
tird rotnid his nrck h'kc a ehild, an old man sat catinp, 
lettinj^'- drops of J4;ravv drip from his month. His eyes 
were hloodshol. and lie wore a little (piene tied with a 
hlaek rihhon. Me was the Manpiis's father-in-law, the 
old Due de Laverdiere, onee a favourite of the Count 
d'Artois, in the <la\s >>{ the X'audreuil huntinp;-parties 
at the Mar(|uis de (onllans". and, it was said, the Icjver 
of Marie Antoinette, hetween Monsieur de Coijj^ny and 
Monsieur de Lanzun. lie had lived a life of noisy 
debauch, full of duels, bets, elo])ements ; he had squan- 
dered his fortune and frii^htened all his family. A ser- 
\ant behind his chair named aloud to him in his ear 
tlie dishes at which he pointed, stammering', and con- 
tinually lamina's eyes turned involuntarily to that old 
man with han,<:^intj^ lips, as to somethinjr extraordi- 
nary, lie had lived at court and slept in the bed of 
(|ueens ! 

Iced chanipai^ne was poured out. Emma shivered 
all over as she felt it cold \n her mouth. She never 
had seen ]iomei:;[ranates nor tasted pineap])les. The 
powdered suy;ar even seemed to her whiter and finer 
than elsewhere. 

After dinner the ladies went to their rooms to pre- 
pare for the ball. 

Emma made her toilet with the fastidious care of 
an actress at her debut. She arrang^ed her hair accord- 
inj;:^ to the directions of the hairdresser, and put on the 
bareije costume S])read on the bed. Charles's trousers 
were tic^ht across the belly. 

" My trouser-straps will be rather awkward for 
dancing," he said. 

" Dancing? " repeated Emma. 

" Yes ! " 



48 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Why, you must be mad ! They would make fun 
of you ; keep your place. Besides, it is more becoming 
for a doctor," she added. 

Charles was silent. He walked up and down wait- 
ing for Zmma to finish dressing. 

He saw her from behind the glass between two 
lights. Her black eyes seemed blacker than ever. Her 
hair, undulating toward the ears, shone with a blue 
lustre ; a rose in her hair trembled on its mobile stalk, 
with artificial dewdrops on the tips of the leaves. She 
wore a gown of pale saffron trimmed with three bou- 
quets of pompon roses mingled with green. 

Charles stole up and kissed her on her shoulder. 

" Let me alone ! " she said ; " you are rumpling me." 

The flourish of the violin and the notes of a horn 
were audible. She went downstairs restraining herself 
from running. 

Dancing had begun. Guests were arriving. There 
was some crushing. Emma sat near the door. 

The quadrille over, the floor was occupied by groups 
of men standing and talking and servants in livery 
bearing large trays. Along the line of seated women 
painted fans were fluttering, bouquets half hid smiling 
faces, and gold-stoppered scenj-bottles were turned in 
partly-closed hands, whose white gloves outlined the 
nails and tightened on the flesh at the wrists. Laces, 
diamond brooches, medallion bracelets trembled on 
bodices, gleamed on breasts, clinked on bare arms. 

Emma's heart beat rather faster when, her partner 
holding her by the tips of the fingers, she took her 
place in a line with the dancers, and waited for the 
first note. But her emotion soon vanished, and sway- 
ing to the rhythm of the orchestra, she glided forward 
with slight movements of the neck. A smile rose to 
her lips at certain delicate phrases of the violin, that 



MADAME BOVARY 49 

somc-tiim's played alone wliile the oilier instrunicnts 
were silent ; one could hear the clink of the lonis-d'or 
thrown upon the card-tables in the next room; then all 
struck in ai^ain. the cornet-a-piston uttered its sonorous 
note, feet marked time, skirts swelled and rustled, 
hands touched and parted : the same eyes fallinj^'^ before 
you met yours a^ain. 

A few men (fifteen or so), of twenty-tive to forty, 
scattered here and there amonjj^ the (huKvrs or talkiiifj 
at the doorways, were dislin^^uished from the crowd 
by a certain air of breedinjj;. whatever their ditYerenccs 
in aije, dress, or face. 

'J'heir clothes, better made, seemed of finer cloth, and 
their hair, broui^ht forward in curls toward the temples, 
J4^1(.)ssy with more delicate pomades. They had the com- 
])lexion of wealth — that clear complexion heightened 
by the pallor of jiorcclain, the shimmer of satin, the 
veneer of old furniture, which an ordered retjimcn of 
exquisite nurture maintains at its best. Their necks 
moved easily in their low cravats, their lonj^ whiskers 
fell over their turned-down collars, they wiped their 
lil)s upon handkerchiefs with embroidered initials that 
gave forth a subtle ])erfume. Those who were begin- 
ning to grow old had still an air of youth, while there 
was something mature in the faces of the young. In 
their unconcerned looks was a calm expression, the 
result of passions satiated daily, and through all their 
gentleness of manner pierced that peculiar brutality, 
the result of a command of half-easy things, in which 
force is exercised and vanity amused — the manage- 
ment of thoroughbred horses and the socety of loose 
women. 

The atmosphere of the ballroom was heavy ; the 
lamps were growing dim. Guests were flocking to 
the billiard-room. A servant got upon a chair and 



50 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

broke two window-panes. At the crash of the gflass 
Madame Bovary turned her head and saw in the gar- 
den the faces of peasants pressed against the window 
looking in at them. Then the memory of the Bertaux 
farm came back to her. She saw the farm again, the 
muddy pond, her father in a blouse under the apple- 
trees, and she saw herself again as formerly, skim- 
ming W'ith her finger the cream off the milk-pans in 
the dairy. But in the refulgence of the present hour 
her past life, so distinct until then, faded away com- 
pletely, and she almost doubted having lived it. She 
was there ; beyond the ball was only shadow over- 
spreading all the rest. She was eating a maraschino 
ice which she held with her left hand in a silver-gilt 
cup, with her eyes half-closed, and the spoon lingering 
between her lips. 

A lady near her dropped her fan. A gentleman was 
passing. 

" Would you have the kindness," said the lady, " to 
pick up my fan that has fallen behind the sofa ? " 

The gentleman bowed, and as he moved to stretch 
out his arm, Emma saw the hand of the young woman 
throw something white, folded in a triangle, into his 
hat. The gentleman, picking up the fan, offered it to 
the lady respectfully ; she thanked him with an inclina- 
tion of the head, and began to inhale the fragrance 
of her bouquet. 

After supper, where were plenty of Spanish and 
Rhine wines, soups a la bisque and an laif d'amandes, 
puddings a la Trafali^ar, and all sorts of cold meats 
with jellies that trembled in the dishes, the carriages 
one after the other began to drive away. 

At three o'clock the cotillon began. Emma did not 
know how to waltz. Everyone was waltzing. Made- 
moiselle d'Andervilliers herself and the Marquise ; only 



MADAME BOVARY 51 

the p^uests slayiiij^'- at tlu- castlo wi-if llu-ic, ahoiit a 
dozen persons. 

One of tlie waltzi'is. however, who was faniiUarly 
called \'isconnt, and whose low-cut waistcoat seemed 
moulded to his chest, came a second time to ask Ma- 
dame Bovary to dance, assuring her that he would 
guide her, and that she woidd get tiirough it very well. 

They hegan slowly, then went more rapidly. They 
turned ; all around them was turning — the lamps, the 
furniture, the wainscoting, the floor, like a disc on 
a pivot. ( )n passing near the doors the train of 
Emma's skirt was swept around his trousers. Their 
limbs were drawn together ; he looked down at her ; 
she raised her eyes to his. A torpor seized her ; she 
stopped. They set oflf again, and with a more rapid 
movement ; the \'iscount, dragging her along, disap- 
peared with her to the end of the gallery, where, pant- 
ing, she almost fell, and for a moment rested her head 
upon his breast. And then, still turning, but more 
slowly, he guided her back to her seat. She leaned back 
against the wall and covered her eyes with her hands. 

When she oj^ened them again, in the middle of the 
drawing-room, three waltzers were kneeling before a 
lady sitting on a stool. She chose the \ iscount, and 
the violin struck up once more. 

Everyone looked at them. They passed and re- 
passed, she with rigid body, her chin bent down, and 
he always in the same pose, his figure curved, his el- 
bow rounded, his chin thrown forw'ard. That woman 
knew how to waltz ! They kept it up a long time, and 
tired out all the others. 

Then they talked a few moments longer, and after 
the good-nights, or rather good-mornings, the guests 
of the chateau retired to bed. 

Charles dragged himself up by the balusters. He 



52 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

said that his knees were going up into his body. He 
had spent five consecutive hours standing bolt upright 
at the card-tables, watching them play whist, without 
understanding anything about it, and it was with a 
deep sigh of relief that he pulled off his boots. 

Emma threw a shawl over her shoulders, opened the 
window, and leaned out. 

The night was dark ; some drops of r;iin were fall- 
ing. She inhaled the damp wind, which refreshed her 
eyelids. The music of the ball was still murmuring in 
her ears, and she tried to keep herself awake in order 
to prolong the illusion of this luxurious life that she 
would soon have to give up. 

Day began to break. She looked long at the win- 
dows of the chateau, trying to guess which were the 
rooms of all those she had noticed the evening before. 
She would fain have known their lives, have pene- 
trated, blended with them. But she was shivering with 
cold. She undressed, and cowered down between the 
sheets against Charles, who was asleep. 

A great many people came to luncheon that day. 
The repast lasted ten minutes ; no liqueurs were served, 
which astonished the doctor. Alademoiselle d'Ander- 
villiers collected some pieces of roll in a small basket 
to take them to the swans on the artificial lake, and 
they went to walk in the hot-houses, where strange 
plants, bristling with hairs, rose in pyramids under 
hanging vases, whence, as from overfilled nests of ser- 
pents, fell long green cords interlacing. 

Charles, meanwhile, went to ask a groom to harness 
his horse. The dog-cart was brought to the foot of 
the steps, and, all the parcels being crammed in, the 
Bovarys paid their respects to the Marquis and Mar- 
quise and set out again for Tostes. 

Emma watched the turning wheels in silence. 



MADAME BOVaRY 63 

Charles, on tlu' cxlrciiK' edge of the seat, held the reins 
with his arms wide apart, and the little horse ambled 
along in the shafts that were too big for him. The 
loose reins hanging over his crupper were wet with 
foam, and the box fastened behind the chaise gave 
regular bumps against it. 

They were on the heights of Thibourville when sud- 
denly some horsemen passed, with cigars between their 
lips, laughing, l-'.mma thought she recognized the 
Viscount, turned back, and caught on the norizon only 
the movement of heads rising or falling with the un- 
equal cadence of trot or gallop. 

A mile farther on they had to stop to mend a broken 
trace with some string. Charles, giving a last look at 
the harness, saw something on the ground between 
his horse's legs, and picked up a cigar-case with a green 
silk border and blazoned in the centre like the door 
of a carriage. 

" There are even two cigars in it," said he ; " they'll 
do for this evening after dinner." 

"Why, do you smoke?" she asked. 

" Sometimes, when I get a chance." 

He put it in his pocket and whipped up the nag. 

When they reached home the dinner was not 
ready. Madame lost her temper. Nastasie answered 
rudely. 

" Leave the room ! " said Emma. " You are forget- 
ting yourself. I give you warning." 

For dinner there was onion soup and a piece of veal 
with sorrel. Charles, seated opposite Emma, rubbed 
his hands gleefully. 

" How good it is to be at home again ! " 

Nastasie could be heard crying. Charles was fond 
of the poor girl. During the wearisome time of his 
widowerhood she had kept him company many an 



54 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

evening. She had been his first patient, his oldest ac- 
quaintance in the place. 

" Have you given her warning for good ? " he asked. 

" Yes. Who is to prevent me ? " she replied. 

Then they warmed themselves in the kitchen while 
their room was being made ready. Charles began to 
smoke. He smoked with lips protruded, spitting every 
moment, shuddering at every puff. 

" You'll make yourself ill," Emma said scornfully. 

He put down his cigar and ran to swallow a glass 
of cold water at the pump. Emma, seizing the cigar- 
case, threw it quickly to the back of the cupboard. 

The next day seemed long to her. She walked about 
her little garden, up and, down the same walks, stop- 
ping before the beds, before the fruit-wall, before the 
plaster curate, looking with amazement at all these 
things of once-on-a-time that she knew so well. How 
far away the ball seemed already ! 

The memory of that ball became an occupation for 
Emma. Whenever Wednesday came round she said 
to herself as she woke, " Ah ! I was there a week — a 
fortnight — three weeks ago." And little by little the 
faces grew confused in her remembrance. She forgot 
the tune of the quadrilles ; she no longer saw the liver- 
ies and appointments so distinctly ; some details es- 
caped her, but the regret remained with her. 



MADAME BOVARY 66 

CHAPTER IX 

CIIANGKS 

WTTEN Charles was out Emma often took from 
the cupboard, between the folds of linen 
where she had put it, the j^reen silk cigar- 
case. She locked at it, opened it, and even inhaled the 
odour of the linintj; — a mixture of verbena and tobacco. 
Whose was it? The Viscount's? Perhaps it was a 
present from his mistress. It had been embroidered 
on some rosewood frame, a pretty little thing, hidden 
from all eyes, which had occupied many hours, and 
over which had fallen the soft curls of the dreamy 
worker. .\ breath of love had passed over the stitches 
on the canvas ; each prick of the needle had fixed there 
a hope or a memory, and all those .interwoven 
threads of silk were but the continuation of the same 
silent passion. Then one morning the X'iscount had 
taken it away with him. Of what had they spoken 
when it lay upon the w'ide-manteled chimney between 
fllower-vases and Pompadour clocks ? She was at 
Tostes ; he w-as at Paris now, far away ! \\'hat was 
this Paris like ? What a vague name ! She repeated 
it in a low tone, for the mere pleasure of it ; it rang in 
her ears like a great cathedral bell : it shone before her 
eyes, even on the labels of her pomade-pots. 

She bought a map of Paris, and w^ith the tip of her 
finger on it she walked about the capital. She went 
up the boulevards, stopping at every turning, between 
the lines of the streets, in front of the white squares 
that represented the houses. At last she would close 
the lids of her weary eyes, and see in the darkness the 
gas jets flaring in the wind and the steps of carriages 



56 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

lowered with much noise before the peristyles of 
theatres. 

She took in La Corbcillc, a ladies' journal, and the 
Sylphe dcs Salons. She devoured, without missing a 
word, all the accounts of first nights, races, and soirees, 
took an interest in the debut of a singer, in the open- 
ing of a new shop. She knew the latest fashions, the 
addresses of the best tailors, the days of the Bois and 
the opera. In Eugene Sue she studied descriptions of 
furniture ; she read Balzac and George Sand, seeking 
in them imaginary satisfaction for her own desires. 
Even at table she had a book by her, and turned over 
the pages while Charles ate and talked to her. 

Paris, more vague than the ocean, glimmered before 
Emma's eyes in a rose-coloured atmosphere, but the 
many lives that stirred amid this tumult were divided 
into parts, classed as distinct pictures. Emma per- 
ceived only two or three that hid from her all the rest, 
and in themselves represented all humanity. The world 
of ambassadors moved over polished floors in drawing- 
rooms lined with mirrors, round oval tables covered 
with velvet and gold-fringed cloths. There were gowns 
with trains, deep mysteries, anguish hidden beneath 
smiles. Then came the society of duchesses ; all were 
pale ; all rose at four o'clock in the afternoon ; the 
women, poor angels, w^ore English point on their petti- 
coats ; and the men, unappreciated geniuses under a 
frivolous outward seeming, rode horses to death at 
pleasure parties, spent the summer season at Baden, 
and toward their fortieth year married heiresses. In 
the private rooms of restaurants, where one sups after 
midnight by the light of wax candles, laughed the 
motley crowd of men of letters and actresses. They 
were prodigal as kings, full of ideal, ambitious, fan- 
tastic frenzy. This was an existence outside that of 



MADAME BOVARY 57 

all others, between heaven and earth, in the midst of 
storms, havinjT in it somethinp^ of the sublime. For 
the rest of the world it was lost, with no i)articnlar 
place, and as if non-existent. The nearer thinj:;s were, 
moreover, the more her th')uglUs turned away from 
them. All her immediate surroundings, the wearisome 
country, the middle-class imbeciles, the mediocrity of 
existence, seemed to her exceptional, a peculiar chance 
that had entrapped her. while beyond, as far as eye 
could see. spread an immense land of joys and pas- 
sions. She confused in her desire the sensualities of 
luxury with the delights of the heart, elegance of man- 
ners with delicacy of sentiment. 

The lad from the posting-house who came to groom 
the mare every morning tramped through the passage 
with his heavy wooden shoes ; there were holes in his 
blouse ; his bare feet were in list slippers. And this was 
the groom in knee-breeches with whom she had to be 
content ! His work done, he did not come back again 
all day, for Charles on his return put up his horse him- 
self, unsaddled him and put on the halter, while the 
servant-maid brought a bundle of straw and threw it 
into the manger as best she could. 

To replace Nastasie (who left Tostes shedding tor- 
rents of tears) Emma took into her service a young 
girl of fourteen, an orphan with a sweet face. She 
forbade her to wear cotton caps, taught her to address 
her. in the third person, to bring a glass of water on a 
plate, to knock before entering a room, to iron, starch, 
and to dress her — trying to make a lady's-maid of her. 
The new servant obeyed without a murmur, so as not 
to be sent away ; and, as Madame usually left the key 
in the sideboard, Felicite every evening took a small 
supply of sugar, which she ate alone in her bed after 
she had said her prayers. 



58 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Sometimes in the afternoon the girl went to chat 
with the postihons. Madame was in her room upstairs. 
She wore an open dressing-gown, which showed be- 
tween the turned-back facings of her bodice a pleated 
chemisette with three gold buttons. Her belt was a 
corded girdle with great tassels, and her small garnet- 
coloured slippers had large knots of ribbon that fell 
over her instep. She had bought a blotting-book, 
writing-case, pen-holder, and envelopes, although she 
had no one to write to ; she dusted her bookcase, looked 
at herself in the glass, took up a book, and then, dream- 
ing between the lines, let it fall on her lap. She longed 
to travel or to go back to her convent. She wished 
at the same time to die and to live in Paris. 

In snow and in rain Charles trotted across country. 
He ate omelettes on farmhouse tables, thrust his hand 
into damp beds, received the tepid spurt of blood-let- 
tings in his face, listened to death-rattles, examined 
basins, turned over quantities of soiled linen ; but every 
evening he found a blazing fire, his dinner ready, easy- 
chairs, and a well-dressed woman, charming with an 
aroma of freshness, though no one could say whence 
the odour came, or whether it were not her skin that 
perfumed her apparel. 

She charmed him by numerous attentions ; now it 
was some new way of arranging paper sconces for the 
candles, then a flounce that she had altered on her 
gown, or an extraordinary name for some very simple 
dish which the servant had spoiled, but which Charles 
swallowed with pleasure to the last bit. At Rouen 
she saw some ladies who wore a bunch of charms on 
their watch-chains ; she bought some charms. She 
wanted for her mantelpiece two large blue glass vases, 
and some time later an ivory ncccssairc with a silver- 
gilt thimble. The less Charles understood these re- 



MADAME BOVARY 59 

finciiicnts llu- iiiDit- tlu'v seduced him. They added 
something; to the pltasure of the seiisrs and to the crjiii- 
fort of his fireside. It was Hke a .tjolden (hist .scattered 
aIon<j^ the narrow pathway of his life. 

He was well, and he looked well; his repntation was 
firndy estahlislu'd. The country-folk loved him he- 
cause he was not proud. He petted the children, never 
went to the puhlic-house, and, moreover, his morals in- 
spired confidence. He was specially successful with 
colds and chest complaints. As a matter of fact, being 
much afraid of killing- his patients, Charles only pre- 
scribed sedatives, occasionally an emetic, a footbath, 
or leeches. It was not that he was afraid of surt^ery ; 
he bled people copiously like horses, and for the ex- 
tractinj^f of teeth he had the devil's own wrist. 

b'inally, to keep u\) with the times, he ti^ok in La 
RitcJic Mcdicalc, a new journal whose prospectus had 
been sent him. He read it a little after dinner, but in 
about five minutes the warmth of the room, added to 
the effect of his dinner, sent him to sleep ; and there 
he sat, his chin on his hands and his hair spreading 
like a mane to the standard of the lamp. Emma looked 
at him and shrugged her shoulders. Why, at least, 
was not her husband one of those men of taciturn pas- 
sions, who work at their books all night, and at last, 
when about sixty, have rheumatism set in, though they 
wear a string of orders on an ill-fitting black coat? 
She could have wished this name of Rovary, which 
was hers, had been illustrious, to see it displayed at 
the booksellers', repeated in the newspapers, known to 
all France. But Charles had no ambition. A doctor 
from Yvetot. wln^m he had lately met in consultation, 
had somewhat humiliated him at the very bedside of 
the patient, before the assembled relatives. When 
Charles told her this anecdote in the evening, Emma 



60 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

inveighed loudly against his colleague. Charles was 
much touched. He kissed her forehead with a tear m 
his eyes. But she was angered with shame ; she felt 
a wild desire to strike him ; she went to open the win- 
dow and inhaled the fresh air to calm herself. 

" What a man ! what a man ! " she muttered, biting 
her lips. 

Besides, she was becoming more irritated with him. 
As he grew older his movements grew heavier ; at des- 
sert he cut the corks of the empty bottles ; after eating 
he cleaned his teeth with his tongue ; in taking soup 
he made a gurgling noise with every spoonful ; and, as 
he was growing fatter, his pufifed-out cheeks seemed 
to push his eyes, always small, up in his head. 

Sometimes Emma tucked the red borders of his un- 
dervest into his waistcoat, rearranged his cravat, and 
threw away the soiled gloves he was about to put on ; 
and this was not done, as he fancied, for his sake ; it 
was for herself, by a diffusion of egotism, of nervous 
irritation. Sometimes, too, she told him of what she 
had read, such as a passage in a novel, a new play, or 
an anecdote of fashionable society that she had seen 
in a fcuiUcton; for, after all, Charles was something, 
a receptive ear, an always ready approbation. She con- 
fided many a thing to her greyhound. She would have 
done so to the logs in the fireplace or to the pendulum 
of the clock. 

In the depths of her heart, however, she was waiting 
for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, 
she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her 
life, seeking afar ofif some white sail in the mists of 
the horizon. She did not know what this chance would 
be, what wind would bring it to her, toward what shore 
it would drive her, whether it would be a shallop or 
a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to 



MADAME BOVARY 61 

tlic port-holes. I'ut every morninp, as she awoke, she 
hoped it would conie that day ; she listened to every 
sound, spranji^ up with a start, wondered that it did 
not eoine ; then at sunset, always more saddened, she 
longed for the morrow. 

Spring came at last. With the first warm weather, 
when the pear-trees l)i\<;an to hlossom. she suffered 
from a tendency to asthma. 

From the beginning of July she counted the weeks 
until October, thinking that perhaps the Marquis 
d'Andervilliers woidd give another ball at Vaubyessard. 
lUit September passed without letters or visits. 

After the sadness of this disap])ointment her heart 
once more remained em])ty, and then the same series 
of days began again. So they would thus follow one 
another, the same, immovable, bringing nothing. 

She gave up music. What was the use of playing? 
Who would hear her? Since she could never, in a 
velvet gown with short sleeves, striking with light 
fingers the ivory keys of an Erard at a concert, feel the 
murmur of ecstasy envelop her like a breeze, it was 
not worth while boring herself with practising, fler 
drawing cardboard and her embroidery she left in the 
cupboard. What was the use? what was the use? 
Sewing irritated her. " I have read everything." she 
said to herself. And she sat before the fire making 
the tongs red-hot, or looking at the falling rain. 

The winter was severe. Every morning the windows 
were covered with rime, and the light shining through 
thom, dim as if coming through ground-glass, some- 
times did not change the whole day long. At four 
o'clock the lamp had to be lighted. 

On fine days Emma went down into the garden. 
The dew left on the cabbages a silver lace with long 
transparent threads spreading from one to the other. 



62 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

No birds were to be beard ; everything seemed asleep, 
the fruit-wall was covered with straw, and the vine, like 
a great sick serpent, trailed under the coping of the wall, 
along which, on drawing near, one saw the many- 
footed woodlice crawling. Under the spruce by the 
hedgerow, the priest in the three-cornered hat reading 
his breviary had lost his right foot, and the plaster, 
scaling ofif, had left white scabs on his face. 

Then she went upstairs again, shut her door, put on 
coals, and fainting with the heat of the hearth, felt her 
boredom weigh more heavily than ever. She would 
have liked to go down and talk to the little maid, but 
a sense of shame restrained her. 

But it was above all the meal-times that were un- 
bearable to her, in the small room on the ground-floor, 
with its smoking stove, its creaking door, the walls 
that sweated, the damp flags ; all the bitterness of life 
seemed served up on her plate, and with the steam of 
the boiled beef rose from her secret soul whiffs of sick- 
liness. Charles was a slow eater ; she played with a 
few nuts, or, leaning on her elbow, amused herself with 
drawing lines along the oil-cloth table-cover with the 
point of her knife. 

She now let everything in her household take care 
of itself, and Madame Bovary, senior, when she came 
to spend part of Lent at Tostes, was much surprised 
at the change. She who was formerly so careful, so 
dainty, now passed whole days without dressing, wore 
grey cotton stockings, and burned tallow candles. She 
insisted that they must be economical since they were 
not rich, adding that she was very contented, very 
happy, that Tostes pleased her very much, with other 
speeches that closed the mouth of her mother-in-law. 
Besides, Emma no longer seemed inclined to follow her 
advice ; once even, Madame Bovary having thought fit 



MADAME BOVARY 63 

to maintain that mistresses ought to look after the re- 
hgion of their servants, she had answered with so angry 
a look and so cold a smile that the good woman did not 
speak of it again. 

Emma was growing difficult and capricious. She 
ordered dishes for herself, then she did not touch them ; 
one day she drank only pure milk, and the next cups 
of tea by the dozen. Often she persisted in not going 
out, then, stilling, threw open the windows and put on 
thin gowns. After she had scolded her servant severely 
she gave her presents or sent her out to see the neigh- 
bours, just as she sometimes threw to beggars all the 
silver in her purse, although she was by no means ten- 
der-hearted or easily accessible to the feelings of others, 
like most country-bred people, who always retain in 
their souls something of the horny hardness of the 
patcri>al hands. 

Toward the end of February old Rouault, in memory 
of his cure, himself brought his son-in-law a superb 
turkey, and stayed three days at Tostes. Charles being 
with his patients, Emma kept him company. He smoked 
in his room, spat on the fire-dogs, talked farming, 
calves, cows, poultry, and municipal council, so that 
when he left she closed the door on him with a feeling 
of satisfaction that surprised even herself. Moreover, 
she no longer concealed her contempt for anything or 
anybody, and at times she expressed singular opinions, 
finding fault with that which others approved, and ap- 
proving things perverse and immoral, all of which 
made her husband open his eyes wide. 

Would this misery last for ever? Would she never 
issue from it ? Yet she was as good as all the women 
who were living happily. She had seen duchesses at 
Vaubyessard with clumsier waists and commoner ways, 
and she execrated the injustice of God. She leaned her 



64 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

head against the walls to weep ; she envied lives of 
excitement, longed for masked balls, for violent pleas- 
ures, with all the wildness of which she knew nothing, 
but which these must surely yield. 

She grew pale and suffered from palpitations of the 
heart. Charles prescribed valerian and camphor baths. 
Everything that was tried only seemed to irritate her 
the more. 

At times she chattered with feverish rapidity, and 
this over-excitement was suddenly followed by a state 
of torpor, in which she remained without speaking, 
without moving. What then revived her was pour- 
ing a bottle of eau-de-cologne over her arms. 

As she was constantly complaining about Tostes, 
Charles fancied that her illness was no doubt due to 
some local cause, and fixing on this idea, began to think 
seriously of moving elsewhere. 

From that moment she drank vinegar, contracted a 
sharp little cough, and completely lost her appetite. 

It cost Charles much to give up Tostes after living 
there four years and when he was beginning to " get 
on " there. Yet if it must be ! He took her to Rouen 
to see his old master. It was a nervous complaint : 
change of air was needed. 

After looking about him on this side and on that, 
Charles learned that in the Neufchatel arrondisscnient 
there was a considerable market-town called Yonville- 
I'Abbaye, whose doctor, a Polish refugee, had de- 
camped a week before. Then he wrote to the chemist 
of the place to ask the number of the population, the 
distance from the nearest physician, what his prede- 
cessor had made a year, and so forth ; and, the answer 
being satisfactory, he made up his mind to move toward 
the spring, if Emma's health did not improve. 

One day when, in view of her departure, she was 



MADAME BOVARY 65 

tidyinpf a drawer, soiiKthiiij^r pricked her finp^er. It 
was a wire of her wedding-bouquet. The orange-blos- 
soms were yellow with dust and the silver-bordered 
satin ribbons frayed at the edges. She threw it into 
the fire. It flared up more quickly than dry straw. 
Then it was like a red bush in the cinders, slowly de- 
voured. She watched it burn. The little pasteboard 
berries burst, the wire twisted, the gold lace melted : 
and the shrivelled paper corollas, lluttering like black 
butterflies, at last flew up the chimney. 

When they left Tostes, in March, Madame Bovary 
was enceinte. 



PART II 

CHAPTER I 

THE NEW DOCTOR ARRIVES 

YONVILLE-L'ABBAYE (so called from an old 
Capuchin abbey of which not even the ruins re- 
main) is a market-town twenty-four miles from 
Rouen, between the Abbeville and Beauvais roads, at 
the foot of a valley watered by the Rieule, a little river 
that runs into the Andelle after turning three water- 
mills near its source, where there are a few trout which 
the boys amuse themselves by fishing for on Sundays. 

Until 1835 there was no practicable road to Yonville, 
but about this time a cross-road was made which joins 
that of Abbeville to that of Amiens, and is occasion- 
ally used by the Rouen waggoners on their way to 
Flanders. 

Beyond the bridge at the foot of the hill begins a 
roadway, planted with young aspens, which leads in 
a straight line to the first houses in the place. These, 
fenced in by hedges, are in the middle of courtyards 
full of straggling buildings, wine-presses, cart-sheds, 
and distilleries scattered under thick trees, with lad- 
ders, poles, or scythes hung on the branches. The 
thatched roofs, like fur caps drawn over eyes, descend 
over almost a third of the low windows, the coarse 
convex glasses of which have knots in the middle as 
in the bottoms of bottles. Against the plaster wall, 
diagonally crossed by black joists, a meagre pear tree 



MADAME BOVARY 67 

sometimes leans, and the j^round-lloDrs have at tlic (lof)r 
a small swinji^-j;ate, to keep out the chickens that come 
pilferinjT crumbs of bread steeped in cider on the 
threshold. IJut the courtyards j^rovv narrower, the 
houses arc closer top;ether, and the fences disai)pear ; a 
bundle of ferns swings under a window from the end 
of a broomstick; there is a blacksmith's forp^e and then 
a wheelwright's shoj), with two or three new carts out- 
side that partly block up the way. y\cross an open 
space appears a white house beyond a grass mound 
ornamented by a Cupid, his finger on his lips ; two 
brass vases arc at each side of a flight of steps ; 
scutcheons blaze uj)on the door. It is the notary's 
house, and the finest in the town. 

The church is on the other side of the street, twenty 
paces farther down, at the entrance of the square. The 
little cemetery that surrounds it, closed in by a wall 
brcast-h'gh, is so full of graves that the old stones, 
level with the ground, form a continuous pavement, 
on which the grass of itself has marked out regular 
green squares. The church was rebuilt during the last 
years of the reign of Charles X. The wooden roof is 
beginning to rot from the top, and here and there has 
black hollows in its blue colour. Over the door, where 
the organ should be. is a loft for the men, with a spiral 
staircase that reverberates under their wooden sabots. 

But that which most attracts the eye. opposite the 
Lion d'Or inn, is the chemist's shop of Monsieur 
Homais. In the evening especially its argand lamp 
is lighted, and the red and green jars that embellish 
his shop-front throw far across the street their two 
streams of colour ; across them, as if in Bengal lights, 
is seen the shadow of the chemist leaning over his 
desk. His house from top to bottom is placarded with 
inscriptions written in large, round hand, printed : 



C8 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

"\'ichy, Seltzer, Barege waters, blood purifiers, Raspail 
patent medicine, Arabian racabout, Darcet lozenges, 
Regnault paste, trusses, baths, hygienic chocolate," &c. 
And the signboard, which takes up all the breadth of 
the shop, bears in gold letters, the words, " Homais, 
Chemist." At the back of the shop, behind the great 
scales fixed to the counter, the word " Laboratory " 
appears on a scroll above a glass door, which about 
half-way up once more repeats " Homais " in gold let- 
ters on a black ground. 

Beyond this there is nothing to see at Yonville. The 
street (the only one), a gunshot in length, and flanked 
by a few shops on either side, stops short at the turn 
of the highroad. If it is left on the right hand and 
the foot of the Saint-Jean hills is followed, the ceme- 
tery is soon reached. 

At the time of the cholera, in order to enlarge this, 
a piece of wall was pulled down, and three acres of 
land by its side were purchased ; but all the new por- 
tion is almost tenantless; the graves, as heretofore, con- 
tinue to crowd together toward the gate. The keeper, 
who is at once gravedigger and church beadle (thus 
making a double profit out of the parish corpses), has 
taken advantage of the unused plot of ground to plant 
potatoes there. From year to year, however, his small 
field grows smaller, and when there is an epidemic he 
does not know whether to rejoice at the deaths or 
regret the burials. 

" You live on the dead, Lestiboudois ! " the priest 
at last said to him one day. This grim remark made 
him reflect ; it checked him for some time ; but to this 
day he carries on the cultivation of his little tubers, 
and even maintains stoutly that they grow naturally. 

Since the events about to be narrated, nothing has 
changed at Yonville. The tin tricolour flag still swings 



MADAME BOVARY 69 

at the top nf []\v clnn"cli-sti't'i)k' ; the two cliintz stream- 
ers still ilutter in the wind from the lineiidraper's ; the 
chemist's foetuses, like lumps of white amadou, rot 
more and more in their turhid alcohol, and ahove the 
hijjc door of the inn the old ti^olden lion, faded hy rain, 
still shows passers-hv its poodle-dog mane. 

On the cvenine^ when the Bovarys were to arrive at 
Yonville, Widow Lefrangois, the landlady of this inn, 
was so very husy that she perspired great droj)s as she 
moved her saucepans. To-morrow would he market- 
day. The meat had to be cut beforehand, the fowls 
drawn, the soup and coffee made. Moreover, she had 
the boarders' meal to see to, and that of the doctor, his 
wife, and their servant; the billiard-room was echoing 
with bursts of laughter ; three millers in the small par- 
lour were calling for brandy ; the wood was blazing, 
the brazen pan was hissing, and on the long kitchen- 
table, amid the quarters of raw mutton, rose piles of 
plates that rattled with the shaking of the block on 
which spinach was being chopped. From the poultry- 
yard was heard the squawking of the fowls which the 
servant was chasing in order to wring their necks. 

A man slightly marked with smallpox, in green 
leather slippers, and wearing a velvet cap with a gold 
tassel, was warming his back at the chimney. His face 
expressed nothing but self-satisfaction, and he ap- 
peared to take life as calmly as the goldfinch suspended 
over his head in its wicker cage : this was the chemist. 

" Artemise ! " shouted the landlady, " chop some 
wood, fill the water-bottles, bring some brandy, look 
sharp! If only I knew what dessert to offer the guests 
you are expecting ! Good heavens ! Those furniture- 
movers are beginning their racket in the billiard-room 
again ; and their van has been left before the front 
door ! The ' Hirondelle ' might run into it when it 



70 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

draws up. Call Polyte and tell him to put it up. Only 
to think, Monsieur Homais, that since morning they 
have had about fifteen games, and drunk eight jars of 
cider ! Why, they'll tear my cloth," she went on, look- 
ing at them from a distance, a strainer in her hand. 

" That wouldn't be much of a loss," replied Mon- 
sieur Homais. " You would buy another." 

" Another billiard-table ! " exclaimed the widow. 

" Since that one is coming to pieces, Madame Le- 
frangois. I tell you again you are doing yourself harm, 
much harm ! And besides, players now want narrow 
pockets and heavy cues. Hazards aren't played now ; 
everything is changed ! One must keep pace with the 
times ! Just look at Tellier ! " 

The hostess flushed with vexation. The chemist con- 
tinued : 

" You may say what you like ; his table is better than 
yours ; and if one were to think, for example, of get- 
ting up a patriotic pool for Poland or the sufferers 
from the Lyons floods " 

" It isn't beggars like him that'll frighten us," in- 
terrupted the landlady, shrugging her fat shoulders. 
" Come, come. Monsieur Homais ; as long as the Lion 
d'Or exists people will come to it. We've feathered 
our nest ; while one of these days you'll find the ' Cafe 
Frangais ' closed, with a big placard on the shutters. 
Change my billiard-table ! " she went on, "speaking to 
herself, " the table that comes in so handy for folding 
the washing, and on which, in the hunting season, I 
have slept six guests ! But that dawdler, Hivert, 
doesn't come ! " 

" Are you waiting for him for your gentlemen's 
dinner ? " 

' Wait for him ! And what about Monsieur Binet ? 
As the clock strikes six you'll see him come in, for he 



MADAME BOVARY 71 

h.asn't his equal under the sun for punctuality. l\c 
must always have his seal in the small parlour. He'd 
rather die than (hue anywhere else. And so squeamish 
as he is. and so ])articular ahout the cider! Not like 
Monsieur Leon ; he sometimes comes at seven, or even 
half-past, and he doesn't so much as look at what he 
eats. Such a nice man ! Never speaks a rouph word ! " 

" Well, you see, there's a great difference between 
an educated man and an old carabineer who is now a 
tax-collector." 

Six o'clock struck. Binet came in. 

He wore a blue frock-coat falling in a straight line 
round his thin body, and his leather cap, with its lap- 
pets knotted over the top of his head with string, 
showetl under the turned-up peak a bald forehead, flat- 
tened by the constant wearing of a helmet. He wore 
a black cloth waistcoat, a fur collar, grey trousers, and, 
all the year round, well-blacked boots, that had two 
parallel swellings due to the swelling of his big toes. 
Not a hair stood out from the regular line of fair 
whiskers, which, encircling his jaws, framed, after the 
fashion of a garden border, his long, wan face, with 
small eyes and hooked nose. He was clever at all 
games of cards, a good hunter, and wrote a fine hand ; 
he had a lathe at home, and amused himself by turning 
napkin-rings, with which he filled up his house, with 
the jealousy of an artist and the egotism of a boiirc^cois. 

He went to the small parlour, but the three millers 
had to be got out first, and during the whole time neces- 
sary for laying the cloth Binet remained silent in his 
jilace near the stove. Then he shut the door and took 
of? his cap in his usual way. 

" He won't wear out his tongue in saying civil 
things." said the chemist, as soon as he was alone with 
the landladv. 



72 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" He never talks more," she replied. " Last week 
two travellers in the cloth line were here — such clever 
chaps, who told such jokes in the evening- that I fairly 
cried with laughing ; and he stood there like a dab-fish 
and never said a word." 

"Yes," observed the chemist; "no imagination, no 
sallies, nothing that makes the society man." 

" Yet they say he has parts," objected the land- 
lady. 

" Parts ! " replied Monsieur Homais ; " he, parts ! In 
his own line it is possible," he added in a calmer tone. 
And he continued : 

" Ah ! that a merchant, who has large connections, 
a juris-consult, a doctor, a chemist, should be thus 
absent-minded, that they should become whimsical or 
even peevish, I can understand ; such cases are cited 
in history. But at least it is because they are thinking 
of something. Now I, for example, how often has it 
happened to me to look on the bureau for my pen to 
write a label, and to find, after all, that I had put it 
behind my ear ? " 

Madame Lefrangois just then went to the door to 
see if the " Hirondelle " were not coming. She started. 
A man dressed in black suddenly entered the kitchen. 
By the last gleam of the twilight one could see that his 
face was rubicund and his form athletic. 

" What can I do for you, Monsieur le cure? " asked 
the landladv, as she reached down from the chimney 
one of the copper candlesticks placed with their candles 
in a row. " Will you take something? A thimbleful of 
cassis f A glass of wine? " 

The priest declined very politely. He had come for 
his umbrella, which he had forgotten the other day at 
the Ernemont convent, and after asking Madame Le- 
frangois to have it sent to him at the presbytery in the 



MADAME BOVARY 73 

evening, he left for the chiiieh, from which tlie Anpehis 
was ringing. 

When the chemist no longer heard thr noise of his 
hoots along the S(|uare, he thought that the jjriest's he- 
haviour hail heen very unheeoming. This refusal to 
take any refreshment seemed to him the most odious 
hypocrisy ; all priests tii)pled on the sly, and were try- 
ing to hring hack the days of the tithe. 

The landlady took up the defence of her pastor. 

" I'esides, he could douhle up four men like you over 
his knee. Last year hv helped our people to bring in 
the straw ; he carried as many as six trusses at once, 
he is so strong." 

" Bravo! " said the chemist. " Now just send your 
daughters to confess to fellows with such a tempera- 
ment ! I, if I were the Government. I'd have the 
l)riests bled once a month. Yes, Madame Lefrangois, 
every month — a good phlebotomy, in the interests of 
the police and of public morals." 

" Be quiet, Monsieur Homais ! You are an infidel ; 
you've no religion." 

The chemist answered : " I have a religion, my 
religion, and T even have more than all these others 
with their mummeries and their juggling. I adore 
(iod. on the contrary. I believe in the Supreme Being, 
in a CreattM-, whatever he may be. I care little who has 
I)laced us here below to fulfil our duties as citizens and 
fathers of families ; but I don't need to go to church to 
kiss silver plates, and fatten, out of my pocket, a lot 
of good-for-nothings who live better than we do. For 
one can know Him as well in a wood, in a field, or 
even contemplating the eternal vault like the ancients. 
My God ! mine is the God of Socrates, of Franklin, of 
\'oltaire, and of Beranger ! I am for the profession of 
faith of the ' Savoyard \'icar," and the immortal prin- 



74 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ciples of eighty-nine ! And 1 can't believe in an old 
boy of a God who takes walks in his garden with a 
cane in his hand, who puts his friends in the belly of 
whales, dies uttering a cry, and rises again at the end 
of three days : things absurd in themselves, and com- 
pletely opposed, moreover, to all physical laws, which 
proves to us, by the way, that priests have always wal- 
lowed in ignorance, in which they would be glad to en- 
gulf the people with them." 

He ceased, looking round for an audience, for in his 
ebullition the chemist had for a moment fancied him- 
self in the midst of the town council. But the land- 
lady no longer heeded him ; she was listening to a dis- 
tant rolling. One could distinguish the noise of a car- 
riage, mingled with the clattering of loose horseshoes 
that beat against the ground, and at last the " Hiron- 
delle " stopped at the door. 

It was a yellow box on two large wheels, which, 
reaching to the tilt, prevented travellers from seeing 
the road and muddied their shoulders. The small panes 
of the narrow windows rattled in their sashes when 
the coach was closed, and retained here and there 
patches of mud amid old layers of dust, which not 
even the rain had altogether washed away. It was 
drawn by three horses, the first a leader, and when it 
came down-hill its bottom jolted against the ground. 

Some of the inhabitants of Yonville came out into 
the square ; they all spoke at once, asking for news, 
for explanations, for parcels. Hivert did not know 
whom to answer first. It was he who did the errands 
of the place in town. He went to the shops and 
brought back rolls of leather for the shoemaker, old 
iron for the farrier, a barrel of herrings for his mis- 
tress, caps from the milliner's, false hair from the hair- 
dresser's ; and all along the road on his return journey 



MADAME BOVARY 75 

l.i' (listiihiilcd his parcels, which he threw, standinpf up- 
rij^^ht on his scat and shoutiiii,^ at the top of his voice, 
over the fences and hedi^cs. 

An accident had delayed him. Madame Rovary's 
j^reyhoimd had run across the field. They had whistled 
for her a (|uarter of an hour; lli\ert had even p;o\ie 
back a mile and a half expecting every moment to catch 
sij^ht of her ; hut it had been necessary to go on. F.mma 
had wept and grown angry ; she had accused Charles 
of being the cause of this misfortune. Monsieur Lhcu- 
reux, a drainer, who hapjjened to be in the coach with 
her, had tried to console her by a number of examples 
of lost dogs recognizing their masters at the end of 
long years. 



CHAPTER II 

A POETIC YOUTH 

EMMA alighted first, then Felicite, Monsieur Lheu- 
reux, and a nurse, and they had to rouse Charles 
in his corner, where he had been fast asleep 
since night set in. 

Homais introduced himself ; he offered his homage 
to Madame and his respects to Monsieur ; said he was 
delighted to have been able to render them some slight 
service, and added with a cordial air that he had ven- 
tured to invite himself, his wife being away. 

After Madame Bovary entered the kitchen she drew 
near to the fire. With the tips of her fingers she lifted 
her skirt at the knee, and having pulled it up to her 
ankle, she held, out her foot in its black shoe to the 
fire above the revolving leg of mutton. The flame 



76 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

illumined her whole fi.e^urc, penetrating: with a crude 
light the material of her gown, the fine pores of her 
fair skin, and even her eyelids, which drooped now 
and then. A great red glow passed over her face as a 
gust of wind through the half-open door fanned the 
flames. On the other side of the chimney a young man 
with blond hair watched her silently. 

As he was somewhat bored at Yonville, where he 
was clerk to a notary. Monsieur Guillaumin, Monsieur 
Leon Dupuis (it was he who was the second habitue 
of the Lion d'Or) frequently delayed his dinner-hour 
in the hope that some traveller might come to the inn, 
with whom he could talk in the evening. On the days 
when his work was finished early, he had to arrive 
punctually, for want of something else to do, and to 
endure from soup to cheese a tete-ci-tcte with Binet. 
So he was delighted to accept the landlady's sugges- 
tion that he should dine with the newcomers, and they 
passed into the large parlour, where Madame Lefran- 
Qois, to show ofif, had had the table laid for four. 

Homais asked to be allowed to keep on his skull-cap, 
for fear of taking cold ; then, turning to his neighbour, 
he said : 

" Madame is no doubt somewhat tired ; one gets 
jolted so abominably in our ' Hirondelle.' " 

" That is true," replied Emma ; " but moving about 
always amuses me. I like change of scene." 

" It is so tiresome," sighed the clerk, " to be always 
riveted to the same place." 

" If you were like me," said Charles, " continually 
obliged to be in the saddle " 

' But," Leon continued, addressing Madame Bovary, 
" nothing, it seems to me, is more pleasant — when one 
can," he added. 

" Moreover," said the druggist, " the practice of 



MADAME BOVARY 77 

nu'dicinc is not very hard w(jrk in our part of ilic 
world, for the state of our roads allows us the use of 
j^ij^s, and generally, as (lie farmers are well off, they 
pay pretty well. We have, medically speakinjj^. besides 
or<linary cases of enteritis, hronchitis. bilious affections, 
and so forth, now and then a few intermittent fevers 
at harvest-time; but on the whole, little of a serious 
nature, nothing' special to note, unless it be a great 
deal of scrofula, due, no doubt, to the deplorable hy- 
gienic conditions of our peasant dwellings. Ah, you 
will find many prejudices to combat, Monsieur Bovary, 
much obstinacy in routine, with which all the efforts 
of MUir science will daily come into collision; for the 
people still have recourse to iioz'Ciias, to relics, to the 
priest, rather than to go straight to the doctor or the 
chemist. Tiie climate, however, is not bad, and we 
even have a few nonogenarians in our parish. The 
thermometer ( I have made some observations) falls in 
winter to iour degrees, and in the hottest season rises 
to twenty-five or thirty degrees Centigrade at the out- 
side, which gives us twenty-four degrees Reaumur as 
the maximum, or otherwise fifty-four degrees of Fahr- 
enheit (English scale), not more. And, as a matter 
of fact, we are sheltered from the north winds by the 
forest of Argueil on the one side, from the west winds 
by the St. Jean range on the other ; and this heat, more- 
over, which, on account of the aqueous vapours given 
oiT by the river and the considerable number of cattle 
in the fields — which, as you know, exhale much am- 
monia, that is to say. nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen 
(no, nitrogen and h}(lrogen alone), and which, sucking 
up into itself the humus from the ground, mixing to- 
gether all those different emanations, unites them into 
a stack, so to say, and combining with the electricity 
diffused through the atmosphere, when there is any. 



78 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

might in the long- run, as in tropical countries, engender 
insalubrious miasmata — this heat, I say, finds itself 
perfectly tempered on the side whence it comes, or 
rather whence it should come — that is to say, the south- 
ern side — by the southeastern winds, which, having 
cooled themselves, passing over the Seine, reach us 
sometimes all at once like breezes from Russia." 

" At any rate, you have some walks in the neigh- 
bourhood ? " continued Madame Bovary, speaking to 
the young man. 

" Oh, very few," he answered. " There is a place 
they call La Pature, at the top of the hill, on the edge 
of the forest. Sometimes on Sundays I go and sit 
there with a book, watching the sunset." 

" I think there is nothing so admirable as sunsets," 
she resumed ; " and especially beside the sea." 

" Oh, I adore the sea ! " said Monsieur Leon. 

" Does it not seem to you," continued Madame Bo- 
vary, " that the mind travels more freely over this 
limitless expanse, the contemplation of which elevates 
the soul, gives ideas of the infinite, the ideal? " 

" It is the same with mountain scenery," continued 
Leon. " A cousin of mine who travelled in Switzer- 
land last year told me that one could not picture to 
oneself the poetry of the lakes, the charm of the water- 
falls, the gigantic efifect of the glaciers. One sees pines 
of incredible size across torrents, cottages suspended 
over precipices, and, a thousand feet below one, whole 
valleys when the clouds open. Such spectacles must 
awaken enthusiasm, incline to prayer, to ecstasy ; and 
I no longer marvel at that celebrated musician who, the 
better to inspire his imagination, was in the habit of 
playing the piano before some imposing view." 

" Do you play? " she asked. 

" No, but I am very fond of music," he replied. 



MADAME BOVARY 70 

" Ah, don't you bflicvc liiin. Madame Bovary," in- 
terrupted I louiais, heudiuji over his phite. "That's 
sheer modesty. Why, my dear fellow, the other day 
ill your room you were sinf^iujL,' L'Anj^e Gardien rav- 
isliin^ly. 1 heard you from the laboratory. You rcn- 
derrd it like an aelnr." 

Let)n, in faet, I()(I,i;e(l at the chemist's, where he had 
a small room on the second door, overlooking the Place. 
He blushed at the compliment of his landlord, who had 
already turned to the doctor, and was enumeratintj^ to 
dim, one after another, all the principal inhabitants of 
Vonville. He told anecdotes and gave information; 
the fortune of the notary was not known exactly, and 
" there was the Tuvache household," who made a good 
deal of show. 

"What nuisic do \-ou jircfer?" Emma continued. 

" Oh, German music ; that which makes you dream." 

" Have you been to the opera ? " 

" Not yet ; but I shall go next year, when I shall be 
living in Paris to finish reading for the bar." 

" As I had the honour of saying to your husband," 
said the chemist, " with regard to this poor Yanoda 
who has run away, you will find yourself, thanks to 
his extravagance, in possession of one of the most com- 
fortable houses of Yonville. Its greatest convenience 
for a doctor is a door giving on the Walk, where one 
can go in and out unseen. Moreover, it contains every- 
thing that is agreeable in a household — a laundry, 
kitchen with offices, sitting-room, fruit-room, and so 
on. He was a gay dog, who didn't care what he spent. 
At the end of the garden, by the side of the water, he 
had an arbour built just for the purpose of drinking 
beer in summer ; and if Madame is fond of gardening 
she will be able " 

" Mv wife doesn't care about it." said Charles ; " al- 



80 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

though she has been advised to take exercise, she pre- 
fers always sitting in her room reading." 

" Like me," repHed Leon. " And indeed, what is 
better than to sit by one's fireside in the evening with 
a book, while the wind beats against the window and 
the lamp is burning?" 

"What, indeed?" she said, fixing her large black 
eyes wide open upon him. 

" One thinks of nothing," he continued ; " the hours 
slip by. Without moving we traverse countries we 
fancy we see, and thought, blending with the fiction, 
playing with the details, follows the outline of the 
adventures. It mingles with the characters, and it 
seems as if it were yourself palpitating in their cos- 
tumes." 

" That is true ! that is true ! " she said. 

" Has it ever happened to you," Leon went on, " to 
come across some vague idea of your own in a book, 
some dim image that comes back to you from afar, as 
the complctest expression of your own slightest senti- 
ment ? " 

" I have experienced it," she replied. 

" That is why," he said, " I especially love the poets. 
I think verse more tender than prose, and that'it moves 
far more easily to tears." 

" Still in the long run it is tiring," continued Emma. 
" Now I, on the contrary, adore stories that rush 
breathlessly along, that frighten one. I detest com- 
monplace heroes and moderate sentiments, such as 
there are in nature." 

" In fact," observed the clerk, " it seems to me that 
these works, not touching the heart, miss the true end 
of art. It is so sweet, amid all the disenchantments of 
life, to be able to dwell in thought upon noble charac- 
ters, pure affections, and pictures of happiness. For 



MADAME BOVARY 81 

myself, living here far from tlic world, this is my one 
(listiiictioii ; hut Yonvillc affords so few resources." 

"Like Tostes, no douht," replied I'-mma ; "and so 
I always suhscrihed to a lendinj^^ lihrary." 

" If IMadamc will do me the honour of makinjjf use 
of it," said the chemist, who had just caught the last 
words, " 1 have at her disposal a lihrary composed oi 
the best authors, Voltaire, Rousseau, Delille, Walter 
Scott, the Eclio dcs Fcitillctoiis; and in addition I re- 
ceive various periodicals, amonj^ them the Fanal dc 
Rouen daily, having; the advantaf^^e to he its correspon- 
dent for the districts of lUtchy, Forges, Xeufchatel, 
Yonville, and vicinity." 

For two hours and a half they had been at table ; for 
the servant Artemise, carelessly dragging her old list 
slippers over the flags, brought one ])late after the 
other, forgot everything, and constantly left the door 
of the billiard-room half open, so that its hooks beat 
against the wall. 

Unconsciously, Leon, while talking, had i)laced his 
foot on one of the bars of the chair on which Madame 
Bovary was sitting. She wore a small blue silk neck- 
tie, that kept up like a ruflf a starched cambric collar, 
and with the movements of her head the lower part of 
her face sunk into the linen or emerged from it. 

When coffee was served Felicite went away to make 
ready the rooms in the new house, and the guests soon 
raised the siege. Madame Lefrangois was asleep near 
the cinders, while the stable-boy, lantern in hand, was 
waiting to show Monsieur and Madame Bovary the 
way home. Bits of straw stuck in his red hair, and he 
limped with his left leg. \\'hen he had taken in his 
other hand the cure's umbrella, they set forth. 

As soon as she entered the passage, Emma felt the 
chill of the plaster walls settle on her shoulders like 



82 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

damp linen. The walls were new and the wooden 
stairs creaked. In their bedroom, on the first floor, a 
whitish light passed through the curtainless windows. 
She could catch glimpses of tree-tops, and beyond, the 
fields, half-drowned in the fog that lay reeking in the 
moonlight along the course of the river. 

This was the fourth time that she had slept in a 
strange place. The first was the day of her going to 
the convent ; the second, of her arrival at Tostes ; the 
third, at Yaubyessard ; and this was the fourth. And 
each one had marked, as it were, the inauguration of 
a new phrase in her life. She thought that things could 
not present themselves in the same way in different 
places, and since the portion of her life already lived 
had been bad no doubt that which remained to be lived 
would be better. 



CHAPTER III 

" IT IS A girl! " 

WHEN she was getting up the next day she 
saw the clerk in the Square. She had on a 
dressing-gown. He looked up and bowed. 
She nodded quickly and closed the window. 

Leon waited all day for six o'clock in the evening 
to come, but on going to the inn he found no one but 
Monsieur Binet, already at a table. The dinner of 
the evening before had been a considerable event for 
him ; he had never till then talked for two hours con- 
secutively to a " lady." How, then, had he been able 
to explain, and in such language, so many things that 
he could not have said so well before? He was usu- 



MADAME BOVARY 83 

ally shy, and maintained that reserve which partakes 
at once of modesty and dissimulation. At Yonville he 
was considered " well-hred." lie listened to the argu- 
ments of his elders, and did not excite himself ahout 
politics — a remarkable thinj^ for a youn^ man. Then 
he had some accomplishments : he painted in water- 
colours, could read music in the key of G, and readily 
talked literature after dinner when he did not i)lay cards. 
Monsieur ITomais respected him for his education ; 
Madame llomais liked him for his {T^ood-nature, for 
he often took the little Homais into the garden — little 
imps who were always dirtv, very much spoiled, and 
somewhat lymphatic, like their mother. Besides the 
servant to look after them, they had Justin, the 
chemist's apprentice, a second cousin of Monsieur 
Homais, who had been taken into the family from 
charity, and who was useful at the same time as a 
domestic. 

The druggist proved the best of neighbours. He 
gave Madame Bovary information as to the trades- 
people, sent expressly for his own cider merchant, 
tasted the drink himself, and saw that the casks were 
properly placed in the cellar ; he explained how to 
obtain a supply of butter cheap, and made an arrange- 
ment with Lestiboudois. the sacristan, who. besides his 
sacerdotal and funereal functions, looked after the prin- 
cipal gardens at Yonville by the hour or the year, ac- 
cording to the preference of customers. 

The need of looking after others was not the only 
thing that urged the chemist to such obsequious cor- 
diality ; there was a plan under it all. 

He had infringed the law of the 19th Ventose, year 
xi.. article i, which forbade all persons not having a 
diploma to practise medicine : so that, after certain an- 
onvmous denunciations, Homais had been summoned 



84 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

to Rouen to sec tlie procureur of the King in his own 
private room ; the magistrate received him standing, er- 
mine on shoulder and cap on head. It was in the morn- 
ing, before the court had opened. In the corridors one 
heard the heavy boots of the gendarmes walking past, 
and in the distance the sound of heavy keys turned in 
their locks, and then closed. The druggist's ear tingled 
as if he were about to have an apoplectic stroke ; he 
saw the depths of dungeons, his family in tears, his 
shop sold, all the jars dispersed ; and he was obliged 
to enter a cafe and take a glass of rum and seltzer to 
recover his spirits. 

Little by little the memory of this reprimand grew 
fainter, and he continued, as heretofore, to give medical 
consultations in his back room. But the mayor re- 
sented it, his colleagues were jealous, everything was 
to be feared ; to win Monsieur Bovary by his attentions 
was to earn his gratitude, and prevent his speaking 
out later, should he notice anything. So every morn- 
ing Homais brought him the newspaper, and often in 
the afternoon left his shop for a few moments to have 
a chat with the doctor. 

Charles was dull : patients did not come. He re- 
mained seated for hours without speaking, went into 
his consulting-room to sleep, or watched his wife sew- 
ing. Then to pass the time he employed himself at 
home as a workman ; he even tried to paint the attic 
with some paint that had been left behind by the work- 
man. But money matters worried him. He had spent 
so much for repairs at Tostes, for Madame's toilette, 
and for the moving, that the whole dowry, more than 
three thousand crowns, had slipped away in two years. 
Then how many things had been spoiled or lost during 
their carriage from Tostes to Yonville, without coimt- 
ing the plaster cure, who, falling out of the coach at 



MADAME BOVARY 86 

a {Threat jolt, had hci-ii dashed into a thousand hits on 
the pavcniciit of Ouincampoix ! 

A pleasantor trouhlc came to distract him, namely, 
the state of his wife's heaUh. As the time of her con- 
linement approached he cherished her the more. It 
was another hond of the flesh estahlishing itself, and, 
as it were, a continned sentiment of a more comi)lcx 
union. When from afar he saw her lanc^uid walk, and 
her uncorseled figure turnin<^ slowly on her hi])s; when 
opposite one another he looked at her at his case, wliile 
she took tired poses in her armchair, his happiness 
knew no hounds ; he W(jul(l rise, embrace her, pass his 
hands over her face, call her little mamma, try to make 
her dance, and, half-]aui;hin^-, half-cryins^. utter all 
kinils of caressing nonsense that came into his head. 
The idea of having begotten a child delighted him. 
Now he wanted nothing. He knew human life from 
end to end, and he sat down to it with serenity. 

lunma at first felt a great astonishment ; then was 
anxious to be delivered that she might know what it 
was to be a mother. But not being able to spend as 
much as she would have liked, to have a swing-bas- 
sinette with rose silk curtains, and embroidered caps, 
in a fit of bitterness she gave up looking after the lay- 
ette, and ordered the whole of it from a village needle- 
woman, without choosing or discussing anything. So 
she did not amuse herself with those preparations that 
stimulate the tenderness of mothers, and so her affec- 
tion was attenuated from the very outset, perhaps, to 
some extent. 

Rut as Charles spoke of " the boy " at every meal, 
she soon began to think of him more distinctly. 

She hoped for a son ; he would be strong and dark ; 
she would call him George ; and this idea of having 
a male child was like an expected revenge for all her 



86 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

impotence in the past. A man, at least, is free; he 
may travel over passions and over countries, overcome 
obstacles, taste of the most far-away pleasures. But 
a woman is always hampered. At once inert and flex- 
ible, she has against her the weakness of the flesh and 
legal dependence. Her will, like the veil of her bonnet, 
held by a string, flutters in every wind ; there is always 
some desire that draws her, some conventionality that 
restrains. 

She was confined on a Sunday at about six o'clock, 
as the sun was rising. 

" It is a girl ! " said Charles, 

She turned her head aw^ay and fainted. 

Madame Homais. as well as Madame Lefrangois of 
the Lion d'Or, almost immediately came running in 
to embrace her. The chemist, as' a man of discretion, 
only offered a few provisional felicitations through the 
half-open door. He wished to see the child, and 
thought it well made. 

While she was recovering she occupied herself much 
in seeking a name for her daughter. First she went 
over all those that have Italian endings, such as Clara, 
Louisa, Amanda, Atala ; she liked Galsuinde pretty 
well, and Yseult or Leocadie still better. Charles 
wanted the child to be called after its mother ; Emma 
opposed this. They ran over the calendar from end 
to end, and then consulted the neighbours. 

" Monsieur Leon," said the chemist, " with whom I 
was talking about it the other day, wonders you do 
not choose Madeleine. It is very much in fashion just 
now." 

But Madame Bovary, senior, protested loudly against 
this name of a sinner. As to Alonsieur Homais, he 
had a preference for all those that recalled some great 
man, an illustrious fact, or a generous idea, and it was 



MADAME BOVARY 87 

on this system that he had haptizcd his four children. 
Thus Napoleon represented j^lory and I'Vanklin liberty ; 
Irma was ])crha])s a concession to romanticism, but 
Athalie was a homaj^o to the j^reatest masterpiece of 
the I'^'cnch sla^^e. 

At last l-jiuna rrniembered that at the chateau of 
Vaulnessard she had heard the Manjuis call a young 
lady llerthc; from that moment this name was chosen; 
and as old Rouault could not come. Monsieur Homais 
was requested to stand p^od father. His gifts were all 
products from his establishment, to wit : six boxes of 
jujubes, a whole jar of racahout, three cakes of mash- 
mallow paste, and six sticks of sugar-candy into the 
bargain, which he had found in a cupboard. On the 
evening of the ceremony there was a grand dinner ; 
the cure was present ; there was much excitement. To- 
ward liqueur-time ]\Ionsieur Homais began singing 
Lc Dicii lies hoimcs gciis. Monsieur Leon sang a bar- 
carolle, and Madame Bovary, senior, who was god- 
mother, a romance of the time of the Empire ; finally, 
M. P)Ovary, senior, insisted on having the child brought 
dcnvn, and began baptizing it with a glass of cham- 
pagne that he poured over its head. This mockery 
of the first of the sacraments made the Abbe Bour- 
misien angry ; old Bovary replied by a quotation from 
La Guerre des Dieiix; the cure wished to go ; the ladies 
implored, Homais interfered ; and they succeeded in 
making the priest sit down again, and he went on 
quietly with the half-finished coflfee in his saucer. 

Monsieur. Bovary. senior, stayed at Yonville a month, 
dazzling the natives with a superb policeman's cap with 
silver tassels that he wore in the morning when he 
smoked his pipe in the square. Being also in the habit 
of drinking considerable brandy, he often sent the ser- 
vant to the Lion d'Or to buv him a bottle, which was 



88 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

put down to his son's account; and to perfume his 
handkerchiefs he used his dauj^hter-in-law's whole sup- 
ply of eau-de-cologne. 

Emma did not at all dislike his company. He had 
knocked about the world ; he talked about Berlin, 
Vienna, and Strasbom^^", of his soldier times, of the 
sweethearts he had had, the grand luncheons of which 
he had partaken ; then he was amiable, and sometimes, 
either on the stairs or in the garden, would seize 
hold of her waist, crying, " Charles, look out for your- 
self!" 

Then Madame Bovary, senior, became alarmed for 
her son's happiness, and fearing that her husband 
might in the long run have an immoral influence 
upon the ideas of the young woman, she took care to 
hurry their departure. Perhaps she had more serious 
reasons for uneasiness. Monsieur Bovary was not the 
man to respect anything. 

One day Emma was suddenly seized with a desire 
to see her little girl, who had been put to nurse with 
the carpenter's wife ; and, without looking at the al- 
manac to see whether the six weeks of the Virgin were 
yet passed, she set out for the Rollets's house, situated 
at the extreme end of the village, between the high- 
road and the fields. 

It was mid-day, the shutters of the houses were 
closed, and the slate roofs that glittered beneath the 
fierce light of the blue sky seemed to strike sparks from 
the crest of their gables. A high wind was blowing; 
Emma felt weak as she walked ; the stones, of the pave- 
ment hurt her feet ; she was doubtful whether she 
would not go home again, or go in somewhere to rest. 

At this moment Monsieur Leon came out from a 
neighbouring door with a bundle of papers under his 
arm. He came to greet her, and stood in the shade in 



MADAME BOVAKY 89 

front of LIu'iircu\"s slinp iiii<k'r the prnjcctinp prey 
awning. 

Madame IJovary said she was j^oiiip to see her hnhy, 
but that she was licginninj^ to feel tired. 

" If " Leon bcjj^an, not daring to say more. 

" Have you any business to attend to?" she asked. 

At tlie clerk's ne.^ative answer, she bej^^p^ed him to 
accompany her. That same eveninj^j this was known 
throug^hout ^'ollville. and Madame Tuvache, the 
mayor's wife, declared in the presence of her ser- 
vant that " Madame Ilovarv was compnjmisinp her- 
self." 

To get to the Rollet house it was necessary to turn 
to the left on leaving the street, as if going toward 
the cemetery, and to follow between little houses and 
yards a small path bordered with privet hedges. They 
were in bloom, and so were the speedwells, eglantines, 
thistles, and the sweetbrier that sprang up from the 
thickets. Through openings in the hedges one could 
see into the huts, some i)igs on a dung-heap, or teth- 
ered cows rubbing their horns against the trunks of 
trees. The two-, side by side, walked slowly, she lean- 
ing upon him and he moderating his pace, which he 
regulated by hers ; in front of them a swarm of midges 
fluttered, buzzing in the warm air. 

They recognized the house by an old walnut-tree 
which shaded it. It was low and covered with brown 
tiles, and outside it, beneath the dormer-window of 
the garret, hung a string of onions. Faggots upright 
against a thorn fence surrounded a bed of lettuces, a 
few square feet of lavender, and sweet peas strung on 
sticks. Dirty water was running through the grass, 
and several indefinite rags, knitted stockings, a red 
calico jacket, and a large sheet of coarse linen were 
spread over the hedge. At the noise of the gate the 



90 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

nurse appeared with a baby she was suckHng on one 
arm. With her other hand she dragged a poor puny 
httle fellow, his face covered with scrofula, the son of 
a Rouen hosier, whom his parents, too taken up with 
their business, left in the country. 

" Go in," she said ; " your little one is there asleep." 

The room on the ground floor, the only one in the 
dwelling, had at its farther end, against the wall, a 
large bed without curtains, while a kneading-trough 
took up the side by the window, one pane of which 
was mended with a piece of blue paper. 

Emma's child was asleep in a wicker-cradle. She 
took it up in the wrapping that enveloped it and began 
singing softly as she rocked herself to and fro. 

Leon walked up and down the room ; it seemed 
strange to him to see this beautiful woman in her nan- 
keen gown in the midst of all this poverty. Aladame 
Bovary blushed ; he turned away, thinking that perhaps 
there had been an impertinent look in his eyes. Then 
she put back the little one, who had just vomited over 
her bib. The nurse at once came to dry her, protesting 
that it w^ouldn't show. 

" She gives me other doses," she said ; " I am always 
a-washing of her. If you would have the goodness to 
order Camus, the grocer, to send me a little soap ; it 
would really be more convenient for you, as I needn't 
trouble you then." 

" Very well, very well ! " said Emma. " Good morn- 
ing. Madame Rollet," and she went out, wiping her 
shoes at the door. 

The good woman accompanied her to the end of the 
garden, talking all the time of the trouble she had get- 
ting up at night. 

"I'm that worn out sometimes as I drop asleep on 
my chair. I'm sure you might at least give me just 



MADAME BOVARY 91 

a pound of proiiiul colTi-c ; that would last mc a month, 
and I'd take it of a niorninjL:^ with sonic milk." 

After submittini^ to her thanks, Madame Bovary left. 
She had q-onc a little way down the path when, at the 
sound of sabots, she turned round. It was the nurse 
again. 

" What is it? " 

Then the peasant woman, takin|i; her asidi- behind 
an elm tree, bei;an talking; to her of her husband, who 
with his trade and sixty francs a year that the cap- 
tain 

" Oh, l)e quick ! " said Emma. 

'" Well," the nurse went on, beavinq- si^bs between 
each word, " I'm afraid he'll be vexed at seeing' me 
have coffee alone ; you know men " 

" But you are to have some," Emma repeated ; " I 
will give you some. You annoy mc ! " 

"Oh, dear! my jioor, dear lady! you see, in consc- 
(|uencc of his wounds he has terrible cramps in the 
chest. He even says that cider weakens him." 

" Do make haste, Mere Rollet ! " 

" Well," the latter continued, making a curtsey, " if 
it weren't asking too much," and she curtsied once 
more, "if you would" — and her eyes implored — "a 
bottle of brandy," she said at last, " and I'd rub your 
little one's feet with it ; they're as tender as one's 
tongue." 

Once rid of the nurse, Emma again took Monsieur 
Leon's arm. She walked rapidly for some time, then 
more slowdy, and looking straight in front of her. 
Presently her eyes rested on the shoulder of the young 
man, whose frock-coat had a black-velvet collar. His 
brown hair fell over it. straight and carefully arranged. 
She noticed his nails, whicb were longer than tbose 
usuallv worn in Yonville. It was one of the clerk's 



92 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

chief occupations to trim them, and for this purpose 
he kept a special knife in his writing-desk. 

They returned to Yonville hy the water-side. In the 
warm season the river-bed, wider than at other times, 
showed the foot of the garden walls whence a few steps 
led to the river. It flowed noiselessly, swiftly, and 
looked cold ; long, thin grasses huddled together in it 
as the current drove them, and spread themselves upon 
the limpid water like streaming hair ; sometimes at the 
top of the reeds or on the leaf of a water-lily an insect 
with slender legs crawled or rested. 

They spoke of a company of Spanish dancers 
who were expected to appear soon at the Rouen 
theatre. 

"Are you going?" she asked. 

" If I can," he answered. 

Had they nothing else to say to each other? Their 
eyes were full of more serious things, and while they 
forced themselves to find trivial phrases, the same lan- 
guor stole over both of them. It was the whisper of 
the soul, deep, continuous, dominating that of their 
voices. Surprised at feeling this strange sweetness, 
they did not think of speaking of the sensation or of 
seeking its cause. Coming joys, like tropical shores, 
throw over the immensity before them their innate soft- 
ness in odorous breaths, and we are lulled by this in- 
toxication without a thought of the horizon that we do 
not even know. 

When they arrived in front of her garden, Madame 
Bovary opened the little gate, ran up the steps and 
disappeared. 

Leon returned to his office. His chief was away ; 
he merely glanced at the briefs, then cut himself a pen, 
and at last took up his hat and went out. 

He went to La Pature at the top of the Argueil hills 



MADAME BOVARY 03 

at the entrance to the forest; he threw himself on the 
ground under the pines and gazed at the sky. 

" How bored I am! " he said to himself, " how bored 
I am ! " 

He thought he was to be pitied for living in this vil- 
lage, with Homais for a friend and Monsieur Guillau- 
min for master. The latter, entirely absorbed by his 
business, wearing gold-rimmed spectacles and a red 
beard over a white cravat, understood nothing of men- 
tal refinements, although he affected a stifT, English 
manner, which once had impressed the clerk. 

As to Madame Homais, she was the best wife in 
Normandy, gentle as a sheep, loving her children, her 
father, her mother, her cousins, weeping for the trou- 
bles of others, letting everything slip along easily in 
her household, and detesting corsets ; but so slow of 
movement, such a bore to listen to, so vulgar in ap- 
pearance, and of such narrow ideas and conversation, 
that although she was thirty and he only twenty, al- 
though they slept in rooms next each other and he 
spoke to her daily, he never thought that she might 
be a woman for another man, or that she possessed 
anything more of her sex than her gown. 

And who else was there ? Binet, a few shopkeepers, 
two or three publicans, the priest, and, finally, Mon- 
sieur Tuvache. the mayor, with his two sons, rich, 
crabbed, obtuse persons, who worked their own farms 
and had feasts among themselves, very bigoted, and 
quite unbearable as companions. 

But from the general background of all these human 
faces Emma's stood out isolated and yet farthest oflF; 
for between her and himself seemed to be a gulf. 

Soon after her arrival he called on her several times 
in company with the chemist. Charles had not ap- 
peared particularly desirous to see him again, and Leon 



94 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

did not know what to do, between his fear of being 
indiscreet and the desire for an intimacy that seemed 
ahnost impossible. 



CHAPTER IV 

LOVE AND POETRY 

AT the beginnin_2f of cold weather Emma left her 
bedroom for the sitting-room, a long apartment 
with a low ceiling, in which on the mantelpiece 
a large bunch of coral was spread out against the look- 
ing-glass. From her armchair near the window she 
could see the villagers pass along the street. 

Twice a day Leon went from his office to the Lion 
d'Or. Emma could hear him coming from a distance; 
she leaned forward listening, and the young man glided 
past the curtained window, always dressed in the same 
way and without turning his head. But in the twi- 
light, when, her chin resting on her left hand, she let 
the embroidery she had begun fall on her lap, she often 
trembled at the apparition of this shadow suddenly 
moving past. She would rise and order the table to 
be laid. 

]\Ionsieur Homais often called at dinner-time. With 
his skull-cap in hand, he entered on tiptoe, in order to 
disturb no one, always repeating the same phrase, 
" Good evening, everybody." When he had taken his 
seat at table between the pair, he asked the doctor about 
his patients, and the latter consulted him as to the prob- 
ability of their payment. Next they talked of what 
was in the newspaper. Homais by the evening hour 
knew it almost by heart, and he repeated it from end 



MADAME BOVARY 95 

to end, with the rrllections of the penny-a-hiicrs, antl 
all the stories of individual catastrophes that had oc- 
curred in h'rancc or ahroad. When the suhjcct was 
exhausted, he was not slow in niakin|:^ remarks on the 
dishes before him. Sometimes even, half-risinp, he 
delicately pointed out to Madame the tenderest morsel, 
or, turninjT to the servant, p^ave her some advice on 
the preparation of stews and the hyj^iene of seasoning. 

At ei.qht o'clock Justin came to fetch him to shut up 
the shop. Then Monsieur Ilomais would give him a 
sly look, especially if I'Y-licite was there, for he had 
noticed that his apprentice was fond of going to the 
doctor's house. 

" The young rascal," he said. *' is beginning to have 
ideas, and the devil take me if I don't believe he's in 
love with your maid ! " 

But a more serious fault with which he reproached 
Justin was his constantly listening to conversation. On 
Sunday, for example, one could not get him out of the 
drawing-room, whither Madame Homais had called 
him to fetch the children, who were falling asleep in 
the armchairs, and dragging down with their backs the 
calico chair-covers which were too large. 

Not many people came to these soirees at the chem- 
ist's, his scandal-mongering and political opinions hav- 
ing successively alienated various respectable persons 
from him. Rut Leon never failed to be there. As soon 
as he heard the bell he ran to meet Madame Bovary, 
took her shawd, and put away under the shop-counter 
the thick boots she wore when there was snow. 

One night they played several games of trcutc-et-nn : 
next Monsieur Plomais played ccartc with Emma : 
Leon, standing behind her. gave her advice. Standing 
with his hands on the back of her chair, he noted the 
teeth of her comb that bit into the coils of her hair. 



96 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

With every movement she made to throw her cards 
the right side of her bodice was drawn up. From the 
piled-up mass of her hair a shadow fell over her back, 
and growing gradually paler, lost itself little by little. 
The swelling folds of her skirt fell on both sides of her 
chair and trailed on the ground. When Leon occa- 
sionally felt the sole of his boot resting on it, he drew 
back as if he had trodden upon some person. 

When the game of cards was over, the chemist and 
the doctor played dominoes, and Emma, changing her 
place, leaned her elbow on the table, turning over the 
leaves of L'lUustration. She had brought her ladies' 
journal with her. Leon sat down near her ; they looked 
at the engravings together, and waited for one another 
at the foot of the pages. She begged him to read her 
the verses ; Leon declaimed them in a languid voice, 
to which he carefully gave a dying fall in the love pas- 
sages. But the noise of the dominoes annoyed him. 
INIonsieur Homais was strong at the game ; he could 
beat Charles and give him a double-six. When the 
three hundred was finished, both men stretched them- 
selves out in front of the fire, and were soon dozing. 
The fire was dying out ; the teapot was empty, Leon 
was still reading. Emma listened to him, mechanically 
turning round the lamp-shade, on the gauze of which 
were painted clowns in carriages, and tight-rope 
dancers with their balancing-poles. Leon stopped, 
pointing with a gesture to his sleeping audience ; then 
they talked in low tones, and their conversation seemed 
the more sweet to them because it was unheard. 

Thus a kind of bond was established between them, 
a constant interchange of the ideas in books and ro- 
mances. Monsieur Bovary, little given to jealousy, 
did not trouble himself about it. 

On his birthday he received from Leon a beautiful 



MADAME BOVARY 07 

plironolop^ical lu-ad, all inarl<i<I with fij^urcs and painU-d 
hluc. Leon showed him many other attentions, even 
to doinjT errands for him at Rouen ; and, as a novehst 
had made the mania for cacti fashionable, Leon bought 
some for Madame Bovary. brinfjinp^ them back on his 
knees in the "' I lirondelle," prickinj^ his finj^ers with 
their stiff hairs. 

Emma had a board with a railing: fixed against her 
window to hold the pots. The clerk, too, had his small 
hanging garden : they saw each other tending these 
flowers at the windows. 

Among the village windows there was one still more 
often occupied ; for on Sundays from morning to night, 
and every morning when the weather was bright, one 
could see at the dormer-window of a garret the profile 
of Monsieur Binet bending over his lathe, the monot- 
onous humming of wdiich could be heard at the Lion 
d'Or. 

One evening on coming home Leon found in his room 
a rug in velvet and wool with green leaves on a pale 
ground. He called Madame Homais, Monsieur Ho- 
niais, Justin, the children, the cook ; he spoke of it to 
his chief; everyone wished to see this rug. Why did 
the doctor's wife give presents to the clerk? It looked 
queer. They decided that she must be his sweetheart. 

He made this seem likely, so ceaselessly did he talk 
of her charms and of her wit ; so much that Binet 
once roughly answered him : 

" What does it matter to me since I don't belong in 
her class? " 

He tortured himself to find out how he could make 
a declaration to her, and. always halting between the 
fear of displeasing her and the shame of being a cow- 
ard, he wept with discouragement and desire. Then 
he took energetic resolutions, wrote letters that he tore 



98 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

up, put off his avowal to times that he again deferred. 
( )ften he set out with the determination to dare all ; but 
this resolution soon deserted him in Emma's presence, 
and when Charles, dropping in, invited him to jump 
into his carriage to go with him to see some patient 
in the neighbourhood, he at once accepted, bowed to 
Madame, and went out. Was not her husband some- 
thing belonging to her? 

Emma did not ask herself whether she loved. Love, 
she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts 
and lightnings — like a hurricane from the skies, falling 
upon life, revolutionizing it, rooting up the will like 
a leaf, and sweeping the whole heart into the abyss. 
She did not know that on the roofs of houses the floods 
make lakes when the pipes are choked, and she would 
thus have remained in her security when she suddenly 
discovered a rent in its wall. 



CHAPTER V 

CRYING FOR THE MOON 

ONE Sunday afternoon in February the snow was 
falling fast. 

Monsieur and Madame Bovary, Homais, and 
Monsieur Leon had gone to see a yarn-mill that was 
building in the valley a mile and a half from Yonville. 
The chemist had taken Napoleon and Athalie to give 
them some exercise, and Justin accompanied them, 
carrying the umbrellas on his shoulder. 

Nothing, however, could be less curious than this 
curiosity. All they saw was a great piece of waste 
ground, on which pell-mell, amid a mass of sand and 



MADAME BOVARY 09 

stones, were a few hrakc-wliecls, already rusted, sur- 
rounded by a f|uadraii}4ular huildinj^ pierced l)y a num- 
ber of little windows. The buildinj^ was unfinished ; 
the sky could be si'eii through the joists of the roof. 
Attached to the sl(i])-|)lank of the jijable, a bunch of 
straw and ears of corn lluttered a knot of tricolourcd 
ribbons in the wind. 

Honiais ex])lained to the company the future im- 
portance of this establi.shment. computed the strenp;th 
of the floorings, the thickness of the walls, and re- 
['•retted extremely not havint;^ a yard-stick such as Mon- 
sieur llinet ])ossessed for his own special use. 

Emma, who had taken his arm. leaned lif^htly ajj^ainst 
his shoulder, and looked at the sun's disc sheddingf 
its ]xde splendour through the mist. She turned. 
Charles was near her. His cap was drawn down over 
his eyebrows, and his thick lips were trembling, which 
added a look of stupidity to his face ; even his back, his 
placid back, was irritating- to behold, and she saw writ- 
ten upon his coat all the platitude of the wearer. 

While she was considering him thus, tasting a sort 
of depraved pleasure in her irritation. Leon made a 
step forward. The cold air that made him pale seemed 
to add a more gentle languor to his face ; between his 
cravat and his neck the somewhat loose collar of his 
shirt showed the firm white skin ; the lobe of his ear 
peeped from beneath a lock of hair, and his large 
blue eyes, raised toward the sky. seemed to Emma 
more limpid and beautiful than those mountain lakes 
wherein the heavens are mirrored. 

" Wretched boy ! " the chemist cried suddenly. 

He ran to his son. who had just precipitated himself 
into a heap of lime in order to whiten his boots. At 
the reproaches with which he was being overwhelmed 
Napoleon began to roar, while Justin dried his shoes 



100 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

with a wisp of straw. But a knife was wanted ; Charles 
offered his. 

" Ah ! " said Emma to lierself, " he carries a knife 
in his pocket Hke a peasant ! " 

The hoar frost was falHng, and they turned hack. 

In the evening Madame Bovary did not go to her 
neighbour's, and when Charles had left her and she 
felt herself alone, the comparison began again with a 
clearness of sensation almost physical, and with that 
lengthening of perspective which memory gives to 
things. Looking from her bed at the clear fire, she 
still saw, as she had seen down there, Leon standing 
with one hand bending his cane, and with the other 
holding Athalie, who was quietly sucking a piece of 
ice. She thought him charming ; she could not tear 
herself away from him ; she recalled his other attitudes 
on other days, the words he had spoken, the sound of 
his voice, his whole person ; and she repeated, pouting 
out her lips as if for a kiss : 

" Yes, charming! charming! Is he not in love? But 
with whom ? With me ? " 

Proofs of this arose before her at once ; her heart 
throbbed. The flame of the fire threw a joyous light 
upon the ceiling ; she turned on her back, stretching out 
her arms. 

Then began the eternal lamentation : " Oh, if Heaven 
had but willed it! Why not? What prevented it? " 

When Charles came home at midnight, she seemed 
to have just awakened, and as he made a noise un- 
dressing she complained of a headache, then asked care- 
lessly what had happened that evening. 

" Monsieur Leon," he said, " went to his room early." 

She could not help smiling, and fell asleep, her soul 
filled with a new delight. 

The next day, at dusk, she received a visit from 



MADAME BOVARY 101 

Monsieur Lhcureux, the draper. He was a man oi 
ability, was this shojjkeeper. Horn a (iascon hut bred 
a Norman, he j^rafted upon his southern volubihly the 
eunningof the Cauehois. His fat, pulTy, beardless face 
seemed dyed by a decoction of H(iuorice, and his white 
hair made even more vivid the keen briUiance of his 
small black eyes. No one knew what he had been 
formerly ; a peddler, said some, a banker at Routot, 
accordiui;- to others. What was certain was that he 
could make complex calculations in his head that would 
have fri_<;htened IJinet himself. Polite to obsequious- 
ness, hetilways held himself with his back inclined in 
the position of one who bows or invites. 

After leavins^ at the door, his hat surrounded with 
crape, he put a sj^reen bandbox on the table, and be^an 
by complaining to Madame, with many compliments, 
that he should have remained till that day without 
j^aining her confidence. A poor shop like his was not 
made to attract a " fashionable lady " (he emphasized 
the words) : yet she had only to command, and he 
would undertake to provide her with anything she 
might wish, either in haberdashery or linen, millinery 
or fancy goods, for he went to town regularly four 
times a month. He was connected with the best 
houses. You could speak of him at the "Trois Freres," 
at the " Barbe d'Or," or at the " Cirand Sauvage " ; 
the proprietors of these places knew him as well as the 
insides of their pockets. To-day. then, he had come 
to show Madame, in passing, various articles he hap- 
pened to have, thanks to the most rare opportunity. 
And he drew forth half-a-dozen embroidered collars 
from the box. 

Madame llovary examined them. " I do not require 
anything," she said. 

Then Monsieur Lheureux delicatelv exhibited three 



102 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Algerian scarves, several packets of English needles, 
a pair of straw slippers, and, finally, four eggcups in 
cocoa-nut wood, carved in openwork by convicts. With 
both hands on the table, his neck stretched out, his 
figure bent forward, open-mouthed, he watched Em- 
ma's look, as she walked to and fro, undecided amid 
these goods. From time to time, as if to remove some 
dust, he filliped with his nail the silk of the scarves 
spread out at full length, and they rustled with a little 
noise, making the gold spangles of their tissue scin- 
tillate like little stars in the green twilight. 

" How much are they? " 

" A mere nothing," he replied, " a mere nothing. 
But there's no hurry ; pay me whenever it's convenient. 
We are not Jews." 

She reflected for a few moments, and ended by 
again declining Monsieur Lheureux's offer. He re- 
plied quite unconcernedly : 

" Very well. We shall understand one another by 
and by. I have always succeeded with ladies — if I 
didn't with my own ! " 

Emma smiled. 

" I wanted to tell you," he went on good-naturedly, 
after his joke, " that it isn't the money I should trouble 
about. Why, I could let you have some, if need be." 

She made a gesture of surprise. 

" Ah ! " said he quickly and in a low voice, " I 
shouldn't have to go far to find you some." 

And he began asking after Pere Tellier, the pro- 
prietor of the Cafe Frangais, whom Monsieur Bovary 
was then attending. 

"What's the matter with Pere Tellier? He coughs 
so that he shakes his whole house, and Fm afraid he'll 
soon want a deal covering rather than a flannel vest. 
He was such a rake as a young man ! That sort of 



MADAME BOVARY I():i 

people, Madaiiu'. Iiave not the least regularity; lie's 
burned up with brandy. Still it's sad, all the same, to 
sec an ac(|uaintance p^o off." 

And vvhili- he fastened up his box he discoursed 
about the doctor's patients. 

" It's the weather, no doubt," he said, lookinpc frown- 
in^q'ly at the floor, " that causes these illnesses. I, too, 
don't feel (|uite well. ( )ne of these days even I shall 
have to consult the doctor for a pain I have in my 
back. Well, j2:ood-by, Madame Bovary. At your ser- 
vice ; your very humble servant." And he closed the 
door i^ently. 

I'^mma had her dinner served in her bedroom on a 
tray by the tireside ; she was a long time over it ; every- 
thing seemed well with her. 

"How good 1 was!" she said to herself, thinking 
of the scarves. 

She heard steps on the stairs. It was Leon. She 
rose and took from the chest of drawers the first of 
a pile of dusters to be hemmed. When he came in she 
seemed very busy. 

The conversation languished ; Madame Bovary let 
it drop often, while Leon seemed quite embarrassed. 
Seated on a low chair near the fire, he turned the ivory 
thimble-case round in his fingers. Emma stitched on, 
or from time to time turned down the hem of the 
cloth with her nail. She did not speak ; he was silent. 
caj)tivated by her silence, as he would have been by 
her speech. 

" Poor fellow ! " she thought. 

" How have I displeased her? " he asked himself. 

At last, however, Leon said that one of these days 
he must go to Rouen on some oflfice business. 

" Your music subscription is out," he added ; " am 
I to renews it ? " 



104 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" No," she replied. 

"Why?" 

" Because " 

And pursing her Hps she slowly drew a long stitch 
of grey thread. 

This work irritated Leon. It seemed to roughen the 
ends of her fingers. A gallant phrase came into his 
head, but he did not risk uttering it. 

" Then you are giving it up? " he went on. 

" What? " she asked hurriedly. " Music? Ah, yes! 
Have I not my house to look after, my husband to 
attend to. a thousand things, in fact — many duties that 
must be considered first ? " 

She looked at the clock. Charles was late. Then 
she affected anxiety. Two or three times she even 
repeated, " He is so good ! " 

The clerk was fond of Monsieur Bovary, but this 
tenderness in his behalf astonished him unpleasantly ; 
nevertheless, he took up his praises, which he said 
everyone was singing, especially the chemist. 

" Ah, he is a good fellow," continued Emma. 

" Certainly," replied the clerk. 

And he began talking of Madame Homais, whose 
generally untidy appearance made them laugh. 

"What does it matter?" interrupted Emma. "A 
good housewife does not trouble about her looks." 

Then .she relapsed again into silence. 

It was the same on the following days ; her talk, her 
manners, everything changed. She took interest in 
the housework, went to church regularly, and looked 
after her servant with more severity. 

She took Berthe from nurse. When visitors called, 
Felicite brought her in, and Madame Bovary un- 
dressed her to show ofif her limbs. She declared she 
adored children ; this was her consolation, her joy, her 



MADAME BOVARY 105 

passion, and slic accompanied licr caresses with lyrical 
outbursts that would have reminded anyone but the 
Yonville people of Sachcttc in Notre Dame dc Farts. 

When Charles came home he found his slipjjcrs put 
to warm near the fire. His waistcoat now never 
wanted liniui^, nor his shirt its buttons, and it was 
quite a pleasure to see in the cupboard the night-caps 
arranged in piles of the same height. She no longer 
grumbled as formerly at taking a turn in the garden ; 
what he proposed was always done, although she difl 
not understand the wishes to which she submitted with- 
out a murmur; and when Leon saw him by his fire- 
side after dinner, his hands folded on his stomach, his 
feet on the fonder, his cheeks red with feeding, his 
eyes moist with hajiiMncss, the child crawling along 
the carpet, and this woman with the slender waist who 
came behind his armchair to kiss his forehead, he said 
to himself : 

" What madness! And how can I reach her! " 

She seemed so virtuous and inaccessible to him that 
lie lost all hope, even the faintest. But by this renun- 
ciation he placed her on an extraordinary pinnacle. 
To him she stood outside those fleshly attributes from 
which he had nothing to obtain, and in his heart she 
rose ever, and became farther removed from him, after 
the magnificent manner of an apotheosis that is taking 
flight. It was one of those pure feelings that do not 
interfere with life, that are cultivated because they 
are rare, the loss of which would atilict more than their 
passion rejoices. 

Emma grew thinner, her cheeks paler, her face 
longer. \\'ith hor black hair, her large eyes, her aqui- 
line nose, her birdlike walk, and her prolonged silence, 
did she not seem to be passing through life barely 
touching it. and to bear on her brow the vague impress 



lOG GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

of some divine destiny ? She was so sad and so calm, 
at once so gentle and so reserved, that near her one 
felt oneself seized by an icy charm, as we shudder in 
churches at the perfume of the flowers minglhig with 
the chill of the marble. Others, even, did not escape 
from this seduction. The chemist said : 

" She is a woman of great parts, w'ho wouldn't be 
misplaced in a sub-prefecture." 

The housewives admired her economy, the patients 
her politeness, the poor her charity. 

But all this time she was devoured with desires, with 
rage, with hate. That dress wnth the narrow folds 
concealed a distracted heart, of whose torment those 
chaste lips said nothing. She was in love with Leon, 
and sought solitude that she might with the more ease 
delight in his image. The actual sight of his form 
troubled the voluptuousness of this meditation. Emma 
thrilled at the sound of his step, but in his presence 
the emotion subsided ; and afterward she felt only an 
immense astonishment that ended in sorrow. 

Leon did not know that when he left her in despair 
she rose after he had gone to look after him in the 
street. She concerned herself about his comings and 
goings ; she watched his face ; she invented quite a 
history to find an excuse for going to his room. The 
chemist's wife seemed to her fortunate in sleeping 
under the same roof, and her thoughts constantly cen- 
tred upon that house, like the Lion d'Or pigeons, which 
came there to dip their red feet and white wings 
in its gutters. But the more Emma recognized her 
love, the more she crushed it down, that it might not 
be evident, that she might make it less. She would 
have liked Leon to guess it, and she imagined chances, 
catastrophes that should facilitate this. What re- 
strained her was, no doubt, idleness and fear, and a 



MADAME BOVARY I()7 

sertse of shame also. She lliouj^lit she had repulsed 
him too much, that the rip^ht time was past, that all 
was lost. Then pride, the joy of heinj::^ ahle to say to 
herself, " T am virtuous," aud to look at herself iu the 
g^lass takinj? resic;ned poses, consoled her a little for 
the sacrifice she helieved she was making;'. 

Then the lusts of the flesh, the lonpfinj^ for money, 
and the melancholy of passion all blended into one suf- 
fering', and instead of turninpf her thouji^hts from it, 
she clun^ to it the more, urj^inj^ lierself to pain, and 
seekin!^ everywhere occasions for it. She was irri- 
tated hy an ill-served dish or by a half-open door; be- 
wailed the velvets she had not, the happiness she had 
missed, her too exalted dreams, her narrow home. 

What exasperated her was that Charles did not seem 
to notice her sadness. His conviction that he was 
making her happy seemed to her an imbecile insult, 
and his sureness on this point, ingratitude. For whose 
sake, then, was she virtuous? Was it not for him, 
the obstacle to all felicity, the cause of all misery, and, 
as it were, the sharp clasp of that complex strap that 
buckled her in on all sides? 

On him alone, then, she concentrated the various 
hatreds that resulted from her boredom, and every ef- 
fort to diminish it only augmented it ; for this useless 
trouble was added to the other reasons for despair 
and contributed still more to the separation between 
them. Her own gentleness to herself made her rebel 
against him. Humdrum domestic mediocrity drove 
her to lewd fancies, marriage tenderness to adulterous 
desires. She would have liked Charles to beat her. 
that she might have a better right to hate him, to re- 
venge herself upon him. She was surprised sometimes 
at the atrocious fancies that came into her mind, and 
she had to go on smiling, to hear repeated to her at 



108 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

all hours that she was happy, to pretend to be happy, 
to let it be believed. 

Yet she loathed this hypocrisy. She was seized with 
the temptation to flee somewhere with Leon to try 
a new life ; but at once a vague chasm full of darkness 
opened within her soul. 

'* Besides, he no longer loves me," she thought. 
" What is to become of me ? What help is to be hoped 
for, what consolation, what solace?" 

She was left broken, breathless, inert, sobbing softly 
with flowing tears. 

" Why don't you tell master? " the servant asked her 
when she came in during these crises. 

" It is my nerves," said Emma. " Do not speak to 
him of it ; it would worry him." 

" Ah, yes," Felicite said, " you are just like La 
Guerine, Pere Guerine's daughter, the fisherman at 
Pollet, that I used to know at Dieppe before I came 
to you. She was so sad, so sad, that to see her at the 
threshold of her house, she seemed like a winding- 
sheet standing upright before the door. Her illness, 
it appears, was a kind of fog that she had in her head, 
and the doctors could not do anything, nor the priest 
either. When she was taken too bad she went ofif 
quite alone to the sea-shore, so that the customs officer, 
going his rounds, often found her lying flat on her 
face, crying on the shingle. Then, after her riiarriage, 
it went ofif, they say." 

" But with me," replied Emma, " it was after mar- 
riage that it began." 



MADAME BOVARY lO'J 

CTTAPTF.R VI 

A DISCOUKACi:!) I-OVFCFi 

WHEN the window was open one eveninp^, and 
Kninia, sitting- by it, had been watching Lcs- 
tiboudois, the beadle, trimminjif the box, she 
suddenly heard the Angclus rinp^inp;-. 

It was the bes^inninp^ of April, when the ])rimroses 
are in bloom, a warm wind blows over the newly turned 
(lower-beds, and the gardens, like women, seem to be 
preparing- for the summer fetes. In the distance cattle 
moved about ; neither their ste])S nor their lowing 
could be heard, but the bell, still ringing through the 
air. kept up its peaceful lamentation. 

With this repeated tinkling the thoughts of the 
young woman lost themselves in old memories of her 
youth and school-days. She remembered the great 
candlesticks that rose above the vases full of flowers 
on the altar, and the tabernacle with its small columns. 
She would have liked to be once more lost in the long 
line of white veils, marked here and there by the stiff 
black hoods of the good sisters bending over their f^ric- 
Dicii. At mass on Sundays, when she looked up, she 
saw the gentle face of the Virgin amid the blue smoke 
of the rising incense. Then she was moved ; she felt 
herself weak and quite deserted, like the down of a 
bird whirled by the tempest, and unconsciously she 
walked toward the church, inclined to no matter what 
devotions, so that her soul was absorbed and all exist- 
ence lost in it. 

In the Place she met Lestiboudois on his way back, 
for, in order not to shorten his day's labour, he pre- 



110 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ferred interrupting his work, then beginning it again, 
so that he rang the Angehis to suit his own con- 
venience. Besides, to have the ringing over a Httle 
earher warned the lads of catechism hour. 

Already a few who had arrived were playing marbles 
on the stones of the cemetery. Others, astride the 
wall, swung their legs, kicking with their clogs the 
large nettles growing between the little enclosure and 
the newer graves. This was the only green spot. All 
the rest was but stones, always covered with a fine 
powder, despite the vestry-broom. 

Children in list shoes ran about there as if it were 
an enclosure made for them. The shouts of their 
voices could be heard through the tinkling of the 
bell. 

"Where is IMonsieur le cure?." asked ^Madame Bo- 
vary of one of the lads, who was amusing himself by 
shaking a swivel in a hole too large for it. 

" He is just coming," he answered. 

In fact the door of the presbytery grated ; Abbe 
Bournisien appeared ; the children fled, pell-mell, into 
the church. 

" These young scamps ! " murmured the priest, " al- 
w^ays the "same ! " Then, picking up a tattered cate- 
chism that he had struck with his foot, " They respect 
nothing ! " But as soon as he caught sight of Madame 
Bovary. " Excuse me," he said ; " I did not recognise 
you." 

He thrust the catechism into his pocket, and stopped 
short, balancing the vestry key between his fingers. 

The light of the setting sun that fell full upon his 
face paled the lasting of his cassock, shiny at the el- 
bows, ravelled at the hem. Grease and tobacco-stains 
followed along his broad chest the lines of the buttons, 
and grew more numerous the farther they were from 



MADAME BOVARY 1 I I 

liis neckcloth, in vvliicli the massive folds of his red 
chin rested ; this was dotted with yellow spots, that dis- 
appeared henealh the coarse hair f)f his rjreyish heard, 
lie had jnst dined, and was hreathinp noisily. 

" How are yon ? " he added. 

" Not well," replied I'",inina : " 1 am ill." 

"Well, and so am I," the ])riest answered. "These 
first warm da\s weaken one most remarkahly, don't 
they? lUit. afltr all. we are horn to snffer, as St. Panl 
says. r>ut wlial does Monsieur Ilovar)- think of it?" 

" He ! " she said with a c^esture of contempt. 

" What ! " replied the prood fellow, quite astonished, 
" doesn't he prescrihe something for you ? " 

" Ah ! " said Emma, " it is no earthly remedy I 
need." 

The cure from time to time looked into the church, 
where the kneeling- hoys were shoulderini^ one another, 
and tumbling- over like packs of cards. 

" I should like to know " she went on. 

" Take care, Riboudet," cried the priest in an angry 
voice : " I'll warm your cars, you imp ! " Then turning 
to Emma : " He's Roudet the carpenter's son ; his 
parents are well off, and let him do just as he pleases. 
Yet he could learn quickly if he would, for he is very 
bright. And so sometimes for a joke I call him Ri- 
boudet (like the road one takes to go to Maromme), 
and T even say ' Mon Riboudet.' Ha ! ha ! ' Mont Ri- 
lioudet.' The other day I repeated that jest to Mon- 
signor. and he laughed at it ; he condescended to laugh 
at it. And how is Monsieur Bovary?" 

She appeared not to hear him. And he continued: 

" Always very busy, no doubt ; for he and I are cer- 
tainly the busiest people in the parish. But he is doc- 
tor of the body." he added with a thick laugh, " and 
I of the soul." 



112 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

She fixed her pleading: eyes upon the priest. " Yes," 
she said, " you solace all sorrows." 

" Ah, don't talk to me of it. IMadame Bovary ! This 
morning- I had to go to Bas-Dianville for a cow that 
was ill ; they thought it was under a spell. All their 

cows, I don't know how it is But pardon me ! 

Donguemarre and Boudet ! Bless me ! will you leave 
ofif?" 

And with a bound he ran into the church. 

The boys were clustering round the large desk, 
climbing over the precentor's footstool, opening the 
missal ; and others on tiptoe were just about to venture 
into the confessional. But the priest suddenly distrib- 
uted a shower of cuffs among them. Seizing them by 
the collars of their coats, he lifted them from the 
ground, and deposited them on their knees on the 
stones, firmly, as if he meant to plant them there. 

" Yes," said he, when he returned to Emma, unfold- 
ing his large cotton handkerchief, one corner of which 
he put between his teeth, " farmers are much to be 
pitied." 

" Others, too," she replied. 

" Assuredly. Town-labourers, for example." 

" It is not they " 

" Pardon! I've there known poor mothers of fami- 
lies, virtuous women, I assure you, real saints, who 
wanted even bread." 

" But those," replied Emma, and the corners of her 
moutli twitched as she spoke, " those. Monsieur le cure, 
who have bread and have no " 

" Fire in the winter," said the priest. 

"Oh. what does that matter?" 

"What! What does it matter? It seems to me 
that when one has firing and food — for, after all " 

" My God ! my God ! " she sighed. 



MADAME BOVARY 11.5 

"Do you feci inivvcll?" he asked, approacliinp her 
anxiously. " It is indijj^cstion, no doubt? You must 
po lioiiK', Madame ilovary; drink a little lea, that will 
strenj^then you, or else a ^lass of fresh water with a 
little moist sugfar." 

" Why? " And slit- looked like one awaking from a 
dream. 

" Well, you see, you were puttinj^ your hand to your 
forehead. I thought you felt faint." Then, bethinking 
himself, " lUit you were asking me something? What 
was it? T really don't remember." 

"I? Nothing! nothing!" repeated I'juma. 

And the glance she cast round her slowly fell upon 
the old man in the cassock. They looked at one 
another face to face without speaking. 

" Then, ATadame P)Ovary," he said at last, " excuse 
me, but duty first, you know ; I must look after my 
good-for-nothings. The first coninnmion will soon be 
upon us, and I fear we shall be behind, after all. So 
after Ascension Day I keep them recta an extra hour 
every Wednesday. Poor children! One cannot lead 
them too soon into the path of God, as. moreover, fie 
has himself recommended us to do by the mouth of his 
Divine Son. Good health to you, Madame ; my re- 
spects to your husband." 

And he went into the church, making a genuflexion 
as soon as he reached the door. 

Emma saw him disappear betw^een the double row 
of pews, walking with heavy tread, his head bent a 
little sidewise. his hands half-open behind him. 

Then she turned on her heel, like a statue on a pivot, 
and went home. But the loud voice of the priest, the 
clear voices of the boys still reached her ears, and 
sounded behind her. 

" Are vou a Christian ? " 



114 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Yes, I am a Christian. " 

"What is a Christian? " 

" He who, being baptised — baptised — baptised " 

She went up the steps of the staircase holding to the 
banisters, and when she was in her room threw herself 
into an armchair. 

The white light from the window-panes fell with soft 
undulations. The furniture in its place seemed to have 
become more immobile, and to lose itself in the shadow 
as in an ocean of darkness. The fire was out, the clock 
went on ticking, and Emma vaguely marvelled at this 
calm of all things while within herself was such tumult. 
But little Berthe was there, between the window and 
the work-table, tottering in her knitted shoes, and try- 
ing to come to her mother to catch hold of the ends of 
her apron-strings. 

" Let me alone," said Emma, putting the child from 
her with her hand. 

The little girl soon came up closer against her knees, 
and leaning on them with her arms, she looked up with 
her large blue eyes, while a small thread of pure saliva 
dribbled from her lips on her mother's silk apron. 

" Let me alone," repeated the young woman quite 
irritably. 

Her face frightened the child, who began to scream. 

" Will you let me alone? " said Emma, pushing her 
with her elbow. 

Berthe fell at the foot of the drawers against the 
brass handle, cutting her cheek against it. Her face 
began to bleed. Madame Bovary sprang to lift her vip, 
broke the bell-rope, called for the servant with all her 
might, and she was just about to curse herself when 
Charles appeared. It was the dinner-hour ; he had 
come home. 

" Look, dear ! " said Emma, in a calm voice, " the 



MADAME BOVARY 115 

little one fi'll ddun whili' she wris |)la\•iIlJ^^ and has 
hurt hcTsclf." 

Chark'S rcassurrd lur ; tlu' case was not a serious 
one, and he went for some court-plaster. 

Madame Uovary did not ^o downstairs to the <lininj.j- 
room ; she wished to remain alone to look after the 
child. Then watchinq- her sleej), the little anxiety she 
felt s'radually wore olT. an<l she seemed very stui)id to 
herself, and very pjod to have been so worried just 
now at so "little, l^erthe, in fact, no lon.iTer sobbed. 
Her breathin,t!^ now almost imperceptibly stirred the 
cotton coverinj:;^. I'i^ tears lay in the corner of the 
half-closed eyelids, throujj^h whose lashes one could 
see two pale sunken pupils ; the plaster stuck on her 
cheek drew the skin obliquely. 

" It is very strange," thou<:^ht Emma, " how up^ly 
this child is ! " 

When at eleven o'clock Charles came back from the 
chemist's sho]-), whither he had g^one after dinner to 
return the remainder of the plaster, he found his wife 
standing by the cradle. 

" I assure you it's nothing," he said, kissing her on 
the forehead. "Don't worry, my poor darling; you 
will make yourself ill." 

He had stayed a long time at the chemist's. Al- 
though he had not seemed much moved, Homais, nev- 
ertheless, had exerted himself to buoy him up, to " keep 
up his spirits." Then they had talked of the various 
dangers that threaten childhood, of the carelessness of 
servants. Madame Homais knew something of it, hav- 
ing still upon her chest the marks left by a basin full 
of soup that a cook had formerly dropped on her pina- 
fore, and her good parents had taken no end of trouble 
for her. 

Charles, however, had tried several times to interrupt 



116 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

the conversation. " I should like to speak to you," he 
had whispered in the ear of the clerk, who went up- 
stairs in front of him. 

"Can he suspect anything?" Leon asked himself. 
His heart beat, and he racked his brain with surmises. 

At last, Charles, having^ shut the door, asked him to 
see himself what would be the price at Rouen of a fine 
daguerreotype. It was a sentimental surprise he in- 
tended for his wife, a delicate attention — his portrait in 
a frock-coat. But he wanted first to know " how much 
it would be." The inquiries would not inconvenience 
Leon, since he went to town almost every week. 

Why? Monsieur Homais suspected some "young 
man's afifair " at the bottom of it, an intrigue. But he 
was mistaken. Leon was after no love-making. He 
was sadder than ever, as Madame Lefranqois saw from 
the amount of food he left on his plate. To find out 
more about it she questioned the tax-collector. Binet 
answered roughly that he " wasn't paid by the police." 

But his companion seemed very strange to him, for 
Leon often threw himself back in his chair, and 
stretching out his arms, complained vaguely of li^e. 

" It's because you don't take enough recreation," 
said the collector. 

" What recreation ? " 

" If I were you I'd have a lathe." 

" But I don't know how to turn," said Leon. 

" Ah ! that's true," said the other, rubbing his chin 
with an air of mingled contempt and satisfaction. 

Leon was weary of loving without any result ; more- 
over, he was beginning to feel that depression caused 
by the repetition of the same kind of life, when no in- 
terest inspires and no hope sustains it. He was so 
tired of Yonville and the Yonvillers that the sight 
of certain persons, of certain houses, irritated him be- 



MADAME BOVARY I 17 

vond endurance; and the chemist, ^(^()(\ fellow thouj^h 
he was, was becoininp^ abscjlutely unbearable U) him. 
Yet the prospect of a new condition of life alarmed as 
much as it seduced him. 

This apprehension soon chaiii^i'd into impatience, 
and then from afar Taris sounded its fanfare of masked 
balls with the lauj^h of s;risetles. As he was to finish 
his reading; there, why not set out at once? What pre- 
vented him? And he bet;;an makinj^ l)reparations ; In- 
arran_G;^e<l his occupations beforehand. 

The difticulty was to obtain the consent of his 
mother ; nothin,^;, however, seemed more reasonable. 
Kven his employer advised him to £2^0 to some other 
chambers where he could advance more rapidly. Tak- 
ing a middle course, then, Leon looked for some place 
as second clerk at Rouen ; found none, and at last wrote 
his mother a louii; letter full of details, in which he set 
forth the reasons for g^oing to live at Paris immedi- 
ately. She consented. 

He did not hasten. Every day for a month Hi vert 
carried boxes, valises, parcels for him from Yonville 
to Rouen and from Rouen to Yonville ; and when Leon 
had packed up his wardrobe, had his three armchairs 
restufTed. bought a stock of neckties, in a word, had 
made more preparations than for a voyage round the 
world, he put off going from week to week, until he 
received a second letter from his mother urging him 
to leave, since he must pass his examination before the 
vacation. 

When the moment for the farewells arrived. Madame 
Homais wept, Justin sobbed; Homais, as a man of 
nerve, concealed his emotion ; he wished to carry his 
friend's top-coat himself as far as the gate of the 
notary, who was taking Leon to Rouen in his carriage. 
He had just time to bid farewell to Monsieur Bovary. 



118 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

When he reached the head of the stairs he stopped, 
he was so out of breath. On his coming in, Madame 
Bovary rose hurriedly. 

" It is I again ! " said Leon. 

" I was sure of it ! " 

She bit her Hps, and a rush of blood made her rosy 
from the roots of her hair to the top of her collar. 
She remained standing, leaning her shoulder against 
the wainscot. 

" The doctor is not here? " he went on. 

" He is out." She repeated, " He is out." 

Then there was silence. They looked one at the 
other, and their thoughts, confounded in the same 
agony, clung close together like two throbbing breasts. 

" I should like to kiss Berthe," said Leon. 

Emma went down a few steps and called Felicite. 

He threw one long look around him that took in the 
walls, the brackets, the fireplace, as if to penetrate 
everything, carry away everything. But she returned, 
and the servant brought Berthe, who was swinging a 
windmill at the end of a string. Leon kissed her sev- 
eral times on the neck. 

" Good-bye, poor child ! good-bye, dear little one ! 
good-bye ! " 

And he gave her back to her mother. 

" Take her away," she said. 

They remained alone — Madame Bovary, her back 
turned, her face pressed against a window-pane ; Leon 
held his cap in his hand, knocking it against his thigh. 

" It is going to rain," said Emma. 

" I have a cloak," he answered. 

" Ah ! " 

She turned round, her chin lowered, her forehead 
bent forward. The light fell on it as on a piece of 
marble to the curve of the eyebrows, without one's be- 



MADAME BOVARY 119 

ing' able to fitness what T'Jiima was sccinj:,' in tlic horizon 
or what she was thinking'. 

" Well, pood-bye," he sij^hed. 

She raised her head with a quick movement. 

" Yes, good-bye — ^o ! " 

They advanced toward each other ; he heUI out his 
hand ; she hesitated. 

" In the Rn^i^lish fashion, then," she said, givinj.j her 
own hand wholly to him, and forcing a laugh. 

Leon felt it between his fingers, and the very essence 
of all his being seemed to pass into that moist palm. 
Then he oi)ened his hand ; their eyes met again, and he 
disappeared. 

When he reached the market-place, he stopped and 
hid behind a ])illar to look for the last time at that 
white house with the four green blinds. He thought 
he saw a shadow behind the window in the room ; but 
the curtain, sliding along the pole as if no one were 
touching it. slowly opened its long oblique folds, that 
spread out with a single movement, and thus hung 
motionless as a plaster wall. Leon set off running. 

From afar he saw his employer's gig in the road, and 
beside it a man in a coarse apron holding the horse. 
Homais and Monsieur Guillaumin were talking. They 
were waiting for him. 

" Embrace me," said the chemist with tears in his 
eyes. " Here is your coat, my good friend. Mind the 
cold; take care of yourself; look after yourself." 

" Come, Leon, jump in," said the notary. 

Homais bent over the dash-board, and in a voice 
broken by sobs uttered these three sad words : 

" A pleasant journey ! " 

" Good-night," said Monsieur Guillaumin. " Give 
him his head." 

Thev set out. and Homais w^ent back. 



120 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Madame Bovary opened her window overlooking 
the garden and watched the clouds. 

" Ah, how far away he must be already ! " thought 
Emma, 

Monsieur Homais. as usual, came at half-past six 
during dinner. 

" W'ell," said he, *' so we've sent off our young 
friend ! " 

" So it seems," replied the doctor. Then turning on 
his chair: " Any news at home? " 

" Nothing much. Only my wife was a little moved 
this afternoon. You know women — a nothing upsets 
them, especially my wife. And we should be wrong 
to object to that, since their nervous organisation is 
much more malleable than ours." 

" Poor Leon ! " said Charles. '' How will he live at 
Paris? Will he get used to it? " 

Madame Bovary sighed. 

" Get along ! " said the chemist, smacking his lips. 
" The outings at restaurants, the masked balls, the 
champagne — all that will be jolly enough." 

" I don't think he'll go wrong," objected Bovary. 

" Nor do I," said Monsieur Homais quickly ; " al- 
though he'll have to do like the rest for fear of pass- 
ing for a Jesuit. And you don't know what a life those 
dogs lead in the Latin Quarter with actresses. Besides, 
students are thought a great deal of at Paris. Pro- 
vided they have a few accomplishments, they are re- 
ceived in the best society ; there are even ladies of the 
Faubourg Saint-Germain who fall in love with them, 
which subsequently furnishes them opportunities for 
making very good matches." 

" But," said the doctor, " I fear for him that down 
there " 

" You are right," interrupted the chemist ; " that is 



MADAME BOVARY 121 

the reverse of the medal. And one is constantly 
obliged to keep one's hand in one's pocket there. Thus, 
we will suppose you are in a public garden. An in- 
dividual i)rescnts himself, well dressed, even wearing 
an order, whom one would take for a diplomatist. I le 
approaches you, ho insinuates him.self; offers you a 
pinch of snuff, or picks up your hat. Then you be- 
come more intimate; he takes you to a cafe, invites 
you to his country-house, introduces you, between two 
drinks, to all sorts of people ; and three fourths of the 
time it's only to plunder you of your watch or lead 
you to take some pernicious step." 

" That is true," said Charles ; " but I was thinking 
specially of illness — of typhoid fever, for example, that 
attacks students from the provinces." 

Emma shuddered. 

" Because of the change of regimen," continued the 
chemist, " and of the perturbation that results there- 
from in the whole system. And then the water at 
Paris, don't you know ! The dishes at restaurants, all 
the spiced food, end by heating the blood, and what- 
ever people may say, are not worth a good soup. For 
my own part. I have always preferred plain living ; it 
is more healthful. So when I was studying pharmacy 
at Rouen, I lived in a boarding-house ; I dined with 
the professors." 

And he continued, expounding his opinions gener- 
ally and his personal likings, until Justin came to fetch 
him for a mulled egg that was wanted. 

" Not a moment's peace ! " he cried ; " always at it ! 
I can't go out for a minute! Like a plough-horse, I 
have always to be moiling and toiling. What drudg- 
ery ! " Then, when he was at the door, " By the way, 
do you know the news ? " 

" What news? " 



122 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" That it is very likely," Homais went on, raising 
his eyebrows and assuming one of his most serious ex- 
pressions, " the agricultural meeting of the Seine-In- 
ferieure will be held this year at Yonville-rAbbayc. 
The rumour, at all events, is going the round. This 
morning the paper alluded to it. It would be of the 
utmost importance for our district. But we'll talk it 
over later. I can see ; Justin has the lantern." 



CHAPTER VII 

ENTER MONSIEUR RODOLPHE 

DREARY, indeed, was the next day for Emm.a. 
Everything seemed to her enveloped in a black 
atmosphere floating confusedly over the ex- 
terior of things, and sorrow was engulfed within her 
soul, with soft shrieks such as the winter wind makes 
in ruined castles. 

As on the return from Vaubyessard, when the 
quadrilles were running in her head, she was full of a 
gloomy melancholy, a numb despair. Leon reappeared 
in her mind, taller, handsomer, more charming, more 
vague. Though separated from her, he had not left 
her ; he was there, and the walls of the house seemed 
to hold his shadow. Ah! now he was gone, the only 
charm of her life, the only possible hope of joy ! Why 
had she not seized this happiness when it came to her? 
Why not have kept hold of it with both hands, when 
it was about to flee from her? And she cursed her- 
self for not having loved Leon. She thirsted for his 
lips. She was possessed by a wish to run after and 
rejoin him, throw herself into his arms and say to 



MADAME BOVAKY IJH 

liiin, " It is I : I am ytnirs ! ' I'.ut she rccoik-d at the 
difficulties of the eiiter])rise. and her desires, increased 
by regret, became only the more acute. 

Thenceforth the memory of Leon was the centre of 
her boredom ; it burnt there more brightly than the 
fire that travellers leave on the snow of a Russian 
steppe. She sjirang toward him, she pres.sed against 
him, she stirred carefully the dying embers of her pas- 
sion, sought for anything that could revive it. 

But the flames subsided, either because the supply 
had exhausted itself, or because it had been choked. 
Little by little, love was quelled by absence : regret was 
stifled under habit ; and this incendiary light that had 
enpurplcd her pale sky was overspread and faded by 
degrees. In the supineness of her conscience she even 
took her repugnance toward her husband for aspira- 
tions toward her lover, the burning of hatred for the 
warmth of tenderness ; but as the tempest raged, and 
passion burnt itself down to the very cinders, and no 
help came, no sun rose, night closed in on all sides, 
and she was lost in the cold that pierced her soul. 

The evil days of Tostes began again. She thought 
herself far more imlia])py now ; for she had the ex- 
perience of grief, with the certainty that it would not 
end. 

A woman who had made such sacrifices could well 
allow herself certain whims. She bought a gothic 
pric-Dicn, and in a month spent fourteen francs on 
lemons for bleaching her nails ; she sent to Rouen for 
a blue cashmere gown ; she chose one of Lheureux's 
finest scarves, and wore it tied round her waist over 
her dressing-gown ; and. with closed blinds and a book 
in her hand, she lay on a couch in this garb. 

She often changed the style of her coiflFure ; she ar- 
ranged her hair a la Cliiiwisc, then in flowing curls, in 



124 GUST AVE FLAUBERT 

plaited coils ; she parted it on one side and rolled it 
under like a man's. 

She wished to learn Italian ; she bought dictionaries, 
a grammar, and a supply of white paper. She tried 
serious reading, history and philosophy. Sometimes 
in the night Charles woke with a start, thinking he 
was being called to a patient. " I'm coming," he stam- 
mered ; and it w^as the noise of a match Emma had 
struck to light the lamp. But her reading fared like 
her pieces of embroidery, all of which, only just be- 
gun, filled her cupboard ; she took it up, left it, passed 
on to other books. 

She had strange attacks in which she could easily 
have been driven to commit any folly. She main- 
tained one day, in opposition to her husband, that she 
could drink a large glass of brandy, and, as Charles 
was foolish enough to dare her to, she swallowed it 
to the last drop. 

In spite of her vapourish airs (as the housewives 
of Yonville called them), Emma never seemed gay, 
and usually she had at the corners of her mouth that 
fixed contraction that puckers the faces of old maids 
and of men whose ambition has failed. She was pale 
as a sheet ; the skin of her nose was drawn at the nos- 
trils, her eyes looked at one vaguely. After discov- 
ering three grey hairs, she talked of her old age. 

She often fainted. One day she even spat blood. 

" Bah ! " she answered, as Charles fussed round her 
showing his anxiety, " what does it matter? " 

Charles fled to his study and wept there, both his 
elbows on the table, sitting in an armchair at his desk 
under the phrenological head. 

He wrote to his mother to beg her to come, and 
they had many long consultations about Emma. 

"Do you know what your wife needs?" remarked 



MADAME BOVARY llT. 

Madame Bovary senior. " She needs to be compelled 
to occnpy herself with some manual work. If she 
were obliged, like so many others, to earn her living, 
she wouldn't have these notions, which come to her 
from a lot of silly ideas she stuffs into her head, and 
from the idle life she i)asses." 

** Yet she is always busy." said Charles. 

" Ah ! always busy at what ? Reading novels, bad 
books, works against religion, in which they mock at 
priests in language taken from \'oltaire. All that leads 
one far astray, my poor child. Anyone that has no re- 
ligion always ends by turning out badly." 

So it was decided to prohibit the novel-reading. 
The enterprise did not seem easy. The good lady un- 
dertook it. She was to go herself to the lending- 
library, when she passed through Rouen, and say that 
Emma had discontinued her subscription. 

The farewells of uK^ther and daughter-in-law were 
cold. During the three weeks that they had been to- 
gether they had not exchanged half-a-dozen words 
apart from necessary inquiries and phrases when they 
met at table and in the evening before going to bed. 

Madame Bovary left on a Wednesday, the market- 
day at Yonville. 

The square had been blocked since morning by a 
row of carts, which, standing on end with their shafts 
in the air. extended along the line of houses from the 
church to the inn. On the other side were canvas 
booths, where cotton checks, blankets, and woollen 
stockings were sold, together with harness, and pack- 
ets of blue ribbon, the ends of which fluttered in the 
wind. Coarse hardware was spread out on the ground 
between pyramids of eggs and hampers of cheeses, 
from which sticky straw protruded. Near the corn- 
cutters clucking hens passed their necks through the 



126 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

bars of flat cages. The people, crowding in the same 
place and unwilling to move thence, were in danger of 
smashing the shop-front of the chemist. On Wednes- 
days his shop never was empty, and the people pushed 
in less to buy drugs than for consultations, so great 
was Homais' reputation in the neighbouring villages. 
His robust assurance had fascinated the rustics. They 
considered him a greater doctor than all the regular 
physicians. 

Emma was leaning out of the window ; she was 
often there. The window in the provinces replaces 
the theatre and the promenade, and she amused her- 
self with watching the crowd of boors, when she des- 
cried among them a gentleman in a green velvet coat. 
He had on yellow gloves, although he wore heavy 
gaiters ; he was coming toward the doctor's house, 
followed by a peasant, walking with bent head and a 
thoughtful air, 

" Can I see the doctor? " he asked Justin, who was 
talking on the doorsteps with Felicite, and, taking him 
for a servant of the house : " Tell him that Monsieur 
Rodolphe Boulanger of La Huchette is here." 

It was not from territorial vanity that the new ar- 
rival added " of La Huchette " to his name, but to 
make himself the better known. La Huchette, in fact, 
was an estate near Yonville, where he had bought the 
chateau and two farms which he cultivated himself, 
without, however, troubling very much about them. 
He lived as a bachelor, and was supposed to have " at 
least fifteen thousand francs a year." 

Charles entered the room. Alonsieur Boulanger in- 
troduced his man, who wanted to be bled because he 
felt " a tingling all over." 

" That'll purge me," he urged as an argument 
against all reasoning. 



MADAME BOVARY 127 

So llovary ordered a handa^c and a basin, and asked 
Justin to liold it. TlK-n addressing the countryman, 
already pale, he said : 

" Don't he afraid, my lad." 

" No, no, sir," said the other; " j?et on." 

And with an air of bravado he held out his great 
arm. At the prick of the lancet the blood spurted 
out, splashing- against the mirror. 

" Hold the basin near," exclaimed Charles. 

" Lord ! " said the jieasant, " one would swear it was 
a little fountain flowing. How red my blood is! 
That's a good sign, isn't it?" 

" Sometimes one feels nothing at first," answered 
the doctor, " and then syncope sets in, and more es- 
pecially with people of strong constitution like this 
man." 

At these words the rustic let go the lancet-case he 
was twisting between his fingers. A shudder of his 
shoulders made the chair creak. His hat fell ofT. 

" I thought as much," said Bovary, pressing his fin- 
ger on the vein. 

The basin was beginning to tremble in Justin's 
hands ; his knees shook, he turned pale. 

" Emma ! Emma ! " called Charles. 

\\'ith a bound she came down the staircase. 

"Some vinegar!" he cried. "Oh, dear! two at 
once ! " 

And in his excitement he could hardly put on the 
compress. 

" It is nothing," said Monsieur Boulanger quietly, 
taking Justin in his arms. He seated him on the table 
with his back resting against the wall. 

Madame Bovary began to take off his cravat. The 
strings of his shirt had got into a knot, and for some 
minutes she moved her light fingers about the young 



128 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

fellow's neck. Then she poured some vinegar on her 
cambric handkerchief; she moistened his temples with 
little dabs, and then blew u]wn them softly. The 
ploughman revived, but Justin's syncope lasted, and 
his eyeballs disappeared in their pale sclerotic, looking 
like blue flowers in milk. 

" We must hide this from him," said Charles. 

Madame Bovary took the basin to put it under the 
table. With the movement she made in bending, her 
skirt (it was a summer gown with four flounces, yel- 
low, long in the waist and wide in the skirt) spread 
around her on the flags of the room ; and as she 
stooped she staggered a little as she stretched out her 
arms, and the stuff here and there gave with the move- 
ment of her bust. Then she went to fetch a bottle of 
water, and was melting some pieces of sugar when the 
chemist arrived. In the tumult her servant had been to 
fetch him. Seeing his pupil with his eyes open he drew 
a long breath ; then walking round the lad Homais 
looked at him fpom head to foot. 

" Fool ! " he said, " really a little fool ! A fool in 
four letters ! A phlebotomy's a big affair, isn't it ! 
And this is a fellow who isn't afraid of anything ; a 
kind of squirrel, who climbs to vertiginous heights to 
shake down nuts. Oh, yes! you just talk to me, boast 
about yourself! Here's a fine fitness for practising 
pharmacy later ; for in serious circumstances you may 
be called before the tribunals in order to enlighten the 
minds of the magistrates, and you would have to keep 
your head then, to reason, show yourself a man, or else 
pass for an imbecile." 

Justin made no reply. The chemist continued : 

" Who asked you to come? You are always pester- 
ing the doctor and Madame. On Wednesdays, more- 
over, your presence is indispensable to me. There are 



MADAME BOVARY 120 

now twenty people in the shop. I K-ft everylhinp be- 
cause of the interest I take in yon. Come, j^et alonjLj! 
Wait for me, and keep an eye on the jars." 

When Justin, after learranLjins:^ his (ht'ss, had j^oni-, 
the)' talked for a lillle while ahoiu faintinj;-fits. 
Madame llovar}- never had svvoonetL 

" That is extraorthnary for a lady," said Afonsieur 
rjOulanf;;er ; " hut some people are very susccptihle. in 
a duel, I liave seen a second lose consciousness at the 
mere soiuid nf the loadinc^ of pistols." 

" I*"or my part," said the chemist, " the sic^ht of an- 
other jxTS(^n's l)lood doesn't affect me at all ; hut the 
mere thoui;ht of my own flowing' would make me faint, 
if I should think about it too much." 

Monsieur P)Oulanii;'er dismissed his servant, advis- 
ing him to calm himself, since his fancy was over. 

" It procured me the advantage of making your ac- 
quaintance, at any rate," he added, and he looked at 
Emma as he said this. Then he laid tiiree francs on a 
corner of the table, bowed negligently, and went out. 

He was soon on the other side of the river (this was 
his way back to La Iluchette), and Emma saw him in 
the meadow, walking under the poplars, slackening 
his pace now and then as one who reflects. 

"She is very pretty," he said to himself; "she is 
very pretty, that doctor's wife. Fine teeth, black eyes, 
a dainty foot, a figure like a Parisienne's. Where the 
devil does she come from? Wherever did that fat fel- 
low pick her up? " 

Monsieur Rodolphe Boulanger was thirty-four ; he 
was of brutal temperament yet of intelligent perspi- 
cacity ; he had had much to do with women, and knew 
them well. This one had seemed jiretty to him : so 
he was thinking about her and her husband. 

*' I think he is very stupid. She is tired of him, no 



130 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

doubt. He has dirty nails, and hasn't shaved for three 
days. While he is trotting after his patients, she sits 
there darning socks. And she gets bored ! She would 
like to live in town and dance polkas every evening. 
Poor little woman ! She is gaping for love as a carp 
on a kitchen-table gapes for water. With three words 
of gallantry she would adore one, I'm sure of it. She 
would be tender, charming ! Yes ; but how get rid of 
her later? " 

The difficulties of love-making seen from a distance 
made him think by contrast of his mistress. She was 
an actress at Rouen, whom he kept ; and when he had 
pondered over her image, with which, even in remem- 
brance, he was satiated, he said to himself: 

" Ah ! Madame Bovary is much prettier, much 
fresher. Virginie is beginning to grow decidedly fat. 
She is so eccentric with her pleasures ; and, besides, 
she has a mania for prawns." 

The fields were empty, and Rodolphe heard only the 
swish of the grass striking against his boots, and the 
cry of the grasshopper among the oats. He again saw 
Emma in her room, dressed as he had seen her, and 
in his fancy he undressed her. 

" Oh, I will have her ! " he cried, striking a blow 
with his stick at a clod in front of him. And he at 
once began to make plans for the enterprise. 

"Where shall we meet?" he asked himself; "by 
what means ? We shall always be having the youngster 
on our hands, and the servant, the neighbours, the hus- 
band, all sorts of bother. Pshaw ! I should lose too 
much time over it." 

Then he resumed : " She really has eyes that pierce 
one's heart like a gimlet. And that pale complexion ! 
I adore pale women ! " 

When he reached the top of the Argueil hills he had 



MADAME BOVARY 131 

made up his niiiid. " It's only a (lucstion of fiiidinp: 
opportunities. Well, I will call now and then. I'll 
send tluin venison, poultry; I'll have myself bled, if 
necessary. We shall become friends; I'll invite them 
to La lluchette. I'.y Jovr!" he added, "there's the 
agricultural show coiniuj^ on. She'll be there. I shall 
see her. We'll begin boldly, for that's the surest way." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE Ar.RICULTUR.\L F.\TR 

IX due time the famous agricultural fair opened. On 
the morning of the solemnity all the inhabitants 
were chatting at their doors over the prepara- 
tions. The pillars of the town hall had been hung with 
wreaths of ivy ; a tent had been erected in a field for 
the banquet ; and in the middle of the square, in front 
of the church, a kind of fanfare was to announce the 
arrival of the prefect and the names of the successful 
farmers that had won prizes. The National Guard of 
Buchy (there was none at Yonville) had come to join 
the corps of firemen, of whom Binet was captain. On 
that day he wore a collar even higher than usual ; and. 
tighly buttoned in his tunic, his body was so stiff and 
rigid that the whole vital portion of his person seemed 
to have descended into his legs, which moved in a ca- 
dence of set steps with a single action. As there was 
some rivalry between the tax-collector and the colonel, 
both drilled their men separately, to show off their 
talents. The red epaulettes and the black breastplates 
passed and repassed alternately ; there w^as no end to 



132 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

the drill, which was continually repeated. There never 
had been such a display of pomp. 

The crowd came into the main street from both ends 
of the village. People poured in from the lanes, the 
alleys, the houses ; and from time to time one heard 
knockers banging- against doors that closed behind 
women with gloves on, who were going out to see the 
fete. The things that were most admired were two 
long lamp-stands covered with lanterns, which flanked 
a platform on which the dignitaries were to sit. 

But the jubilation that brightened all faces seemed to 
darken that of Madame Lefrangois, the innkeeper. 
Standing on her kitchen-steps she muttered to herself, 
" What folly ! Wliat rubbish ! With their canvas 
booth ! Do they think the prefect will be glad to dine 
down there under a tent like a gypsy ? They call all 
this nonsense doing good to the place ! Well, it wasn't 
worth while to send to Neufchatel for the keeper of a 
cookshop ! And for whom ? For cowherds 1 tatter- 
demalions ! " 

The chemist was passing. He had on a frock-coat, 
nankeen trousers, beaver shoes, and, for a wonder, a 
hat with a low crown. 

" Your servant ! Excuse me, I am in a hurry." And 
as the fat widow asked where he was going — 

" It seems odd to you, doesn't it, that I who am al- 
ways more cooped up in my laboratory than the man's 
rat in his cheese " — 

" W'hat cheese ? " asked the landlady. 

" Oh, nothing ! nothing ! " Homais continued. " I 
merely wished to convey to you, Madame Lefrangois, 
that I usually live at home like a recluse. To-day, how- 
ever, in the circumstances, it is necessary " 

" Oh, you're going down there ! " she said sneering. 

" Yes. I am going," replied the chemist, astonished. 



MADAME BOVARY 133 

" Am I not a mcmhcT oi llu- consulting commis- 



sion 



7 " 



Mere Lefran(;ois looked at him for a few moments, 
and ended by sayinj^ with a smile — 

" That's another pair oi shoes! lUit what does agri- 
culture matter to you? Do you understand auythinj^ 
about it ? " 

" Certainly I understand it, since 1 am a drujj^j^ist — 
that is to say, a chemist. And the object of chemistry, 
Madame Lefraui^ois, beino^ the knowledge of the recip- 
rocal and molecular action of all natural bodies, it fol- 
lows that agriculture is comprised within its domain. 
In fact, the composition of manure, the fermentation of 
liquids, the analyses of gases, and the influence of mias- 
mata, what, I ask you, is all this, if it isn't chemistry, 
pure and simple? " 

The landlady did not answer. Homais continued : 

" Do you think that to be an agriculturist it is neces- 
sary to have tilled the earth or fattened fowls oneself? 
It is necessary rather to know^ the composition of the 
substances in question — the geological strata, the at- 
mospheric actions, the quality of the soil, the minerals, 
the waters, the density of the different bodies, their 
capillary qualities, and so forth. And one must be 
luaster of all the principles of hygiene in order to di- 
rect, criticise the construction of buildings, the feeding 
of animals, the diet of the domestics. Moreover. Ma- 
dame Lefrangois, one must know botany, be able to dis- 
tinguish between plants, you understand, those that 
are wholesome and those that are deleterious, which are 
unproductive and which nutritive ; whether it is well to 
pull them up here and re-sow them there, to propagate 
some, destroy others ; in brief, one must keep pace with 
science by means of pamphlets and public papers, and 
be always on the alert to find out improvements." 



134 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

The landlady never took her eyes off the Cafe Fran- 
<;ais, and the chemist proceeded : 

" Would to God our agriculturists were chemists, or 
that at least they would pay more attention to the coun- 
sels of science ! Thus lately I myself wrote a consider- 
able tract, a memoir of more than seventy-two pages, 
entitled Cider, its Manufacture and its Effects, to- 
gether icith Some Xezc Reflections on this Subject, 
which I sent to the Agricultural Society of Rouen, and 
which even procured me the honour of being received 
among its members — Section. Agriculture; .Class, 
Pomological. Well, if my work had been given to the 

public " But the chemist paused, Madame Le- 

frangois seemed so preoccupied. 

"Just look at them! " she said. " It's past compre- 
hension ! Such a cookshop as that ! " And with a 
shrug of the shoulders that stretched over her breast 
the stitches of her knitted bodice, she pointed with 
both hands at her rival's inn, whence songs were heard 
issuing. " Well, it won't last long," she added ; '* it 
will be over before a week." 

Homais drew back with stupefaction. She came 
down three steps and whispered in his ear: 

"What! you didn't know it? There will be an ex- 
ecution in next week. It's Lheureux who is selling 
him up ; he has killed him with bills." 

" AMiat a terrible catastrophe ! " cried the chemist, 
who always found expressions to suit all imaginable 
circumstances. 

The landlady began telling him this story, which 
she had heard from Theodore, Monsieur Guillaumin's 
servant, and although she detested Tellier, she blamed 
Monsieur Lheureux, calling him " a wheedler. a 
sneak." 

" There I " she said. " Look at him ! he is in the 



MADAME BOVARY 1:^5 

market; he is bowiiij^'- to Madaiiio IJovar)', wlu) has a 
^rocii hoiitu't on. Why. she's takiiifi^ Monsieur I'lou- 
hinpi'cr's arm." 

"Madame IJovar) ! " exclaimed I lomais. "I must 
jTf) at once and ])ay lier my respects. Perhaps she 
would he very p^lad to have a seat in the enclosure 
under the perist\lc." And, without hecdinp^ Madame 
I.efranicois, who was callinjr him back to tell him more 
about the Tellier affair, the chemist walked away with 
a smile on his lips, with straii^ht knees, bowinc^ fre- 
quently to right and left, and takinj^ up much room 
with the large tails of his frock-coat that fluttered be- 
hind him in the wind. 

Rodolphe having caught sight of him from afar, 
hurried on. but Madame I'ovary lost her breath; so 
he walked more slowly, and, smiling at her, said 
rather bruscjuely : 

" It's only to get away from that fat fellow — you 
know, the druggist." She pressed his elbow. 

"What does that mean?" he asked himself. And 
he looked at her out of the corner of his eye. 

Ilcr profile was so caliu that one could guess noth- 
ing from it. It stood out in the light from the oval of 
her bonnet, with pale green ribbons on it like the 
leaves of reeds. Her eyes, with their long curved 
lashes, looked straight before her. and though wide 
open, they seemed slightly puckered by the cheek- 
bones, because of the blood pulsing gently under the 
delicate skin. A pink line ran along the partition be- 
tween her nostrils. Her head was leaning a little on 
one side, and the pearly tips of her white teeth were 
visible between her lips. 

" Is she laughing at me? " thought Rodolphe. 

Emma's gesture, however, had only been meant for 
a warning ; for Monsieur Lheureux was accompany- 



136 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ing them, and occasionally he spoke as if to enter into 
the conversation. 

" What a superb day ! Everyone is here ! The 
wind is east ! " 

Neither Madame Bovary nor Rodolphe answered 
him, whilst at the slightest movement made by them 
he drew near, saying, " I beg your pardon ! " and rais- 
ing his hat. 

When they reached the farrier's house, instead of 
following the road up to the fence, Rodolphe suddenly 
turned down a path, drawing Emma with him. 

" Good evening, Monsieur Lheureux ! " he called 
out. " I'll see you again later." 

" How you got rid of him ! " said Emma, laughing. 

" Why allow oneself to be intruded upon by 
others?" said Rodolphe. " Andas to-day I have the 
happiness of being with you " 

Emma blushed. He did not finish his sentence. 
Then he spoke of the fine weather and of the pleasure 
of walking on the grass. A few daisies had sprung up. 

" Here are some pretty Easter daisies," he said, 
" and enough of them to furnish oracles to all the 
amorous maids in the place. Shall I pick some? 
What do you think ? " 

" Are you in love? " she asked, coughing a little. 

" H'm, h'm ! who knows?" Rodolphe answered. 

The meadow began to fill, and the housewives 
hustled one with their great umbrellas, their baskets, 
and their babies. 

The beasts were there, their noses toward the cord, 
making a confused line with their unequal rumps. 
Drowsy pigs were burrowing in the earth with their 
snouts, calves were bawling, lambs bleating ; the cows, 
on knees folded in, were stretching their bellies on the 
grass, slowly chewing the cud, and blinking their 



MADAME BOVARY i:i7 

licavy eyelids at the jriiats that buzzed round tluni. 
I'l(Mij;linien with bare anus were hoUHnj^ by the halter 
pranciu}^ stallions that neij^hcd with dilated nostrils, 
lookinjj^ toward the mares. These stood quietly 
stretching out their heads and flowinpf manes, while 
their foals rested in their shadow, or now and then 
came and sucked them. 

Between the two lines the judg^es were walking with 
heavy steps, examining each animal, then consulting 
one another in a low voice. One who seemed of more 
importance now and then took notes in a book as he 
walked along. This was the president of the jury, 
Monsieur Derozerays de la Panville. As soon as he 
recognised Rodoljihe he came forward quickly, and 
smiling amiably, said : 

"Eh! Monsieur Boulanger, are you deserting us?" 

Rodolphe protested that he was just about to join 
them. But when the president had disappeared — 

'M/a foil " said he, " I shall not go. Your company 
is better than his." 

While laughing at the show, Rodolphe, in order to 
go about more freely, showed the gendarme his blue 
card, and even stopped now and then in front of some 
fine beast, which Madame Bovary did not at all admire. 
He noticed this, and began jeering at the Yonville la- 
dies and their gowns ; then he apologised for the negli- 
gence of his own attire. lie had that incongruity of 
the common and the elegant in which the habitu- 
ally vulgar think they see the revelation of an eccen- 
tric existence, of the perturbations of sentiment, the 
tyrannies of art. and always a certain contempt for 
social conventions, which seduces or exasperates them. 
Thus the front of his cambric shirt with plaited cuffs 
was inflated by the wind in the opening of a waist- 
coat of grey ticking, and his rough, broad-striped 



138 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

trousers disclosed at the ankle nankeen boots with 
patent leather gaiters. These were so polished that 
they reflected the grass. He trampled on horses' dung 
with them, one hand in the pocket of his jacket and 
his straw hat on one side. 

" Resides." added he, " when one lives in the 
country " 

" It is waste of time," said Emma. 

" That is true," replied Rodolphe. " To think that 
not one of these people is capable of understanding 
even the cut of a coat ! " 

Then they talked about provincial mediocrity, of the 
lives it crushed, the illusions lost therein. 

" I too," said Rodolphe, " am drifting into de- 
pression." 

" You ! " she said in astonishment ; " I thought you 
very light-hearted." 

" Ah, yes ! I seem so, because in the midst of the 
world I know how to wear the mask of a scofifer on 
my face ; yet how many a time at the sight of a 
cemetery by moonlight have I not asked myself 
whether it were not better to join those sleeping 
there ! " 

" Oh ! and your friends ? " she said. " You do not 
think of them." 

" My friends ! What friends ? Have I any ? Who 
cares for me?" And he accompanied the last words 
with a kind of whistling of the lips. 

But they were obliged to separate from each other 
because of a great pile of chairs that a man was car- 
rying behind them. He was so overladen with them 
that one could only see the tips of his wooden shoes 
and the ends of his two outstretched arms. It was 
Lestiboudois, the gravedigger, who was carrying the 
church chairs about among the people. 



MADAME BOVARY l.'iO 

Madame Dovary took Rodolphc's arm aj:::aiii ; lie 
conliiuK-(l as if spcakincc to himself: 

" Yes, I have missed many thin.^s. Always alone ! 
Ah, if T had some aim in life, if I had met some love, 
if I had found some one! Oh, how I should have 
spent all the enorc^y of which I am capable, sur- 
mounted everythin.i^, overcome everythint:^ ! " 

" Yet it seems to me," said Emma, " that you arc 
not to be pitied." 

"Ah! you think so?" said Rodolphe. 

" For, after all." she went on, " }ou are free " 

she hesitated, " rich " 

" Do not mock me," he replied. 

She protested that she was not mockinj:^ him, when 
the report of a cannon resounded. Immediately all 
began hustling- one another toward the village. 

It was a false alarm. The prefect seemed not to be 
coming-, and the members of the jury felt much em- 
barrassed, not knowing whether they ought to begin 
the meeting or wait longer. 

At last at the end of the square a large hired landau 
appeared, drawn by two thin horses, which a coach- 
man in a white hat was whipping lustily. Binet had 
only just time to shout, "Present arms!" and the 
Colonel to imitate him. 

And after presenting arms, during which the clang 
of the band, let loose, rang out like a brass kettle roll- 
ing downstairs, all the guns were grounded. Then, 
stepping down from the carriage a gentleman ap- 
peared in a short coat with silver braiding ; he was 
bald, and wore a tuft of hair at the back of his head ; 
he had a sallow complexion and a most benign appear- 
ance. His eyes, very large and covered by heavy lids, 
were half-closed to look at the crowd, while at the 
same time he raised his sharp nose, and forced a smile 



140 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

to his sunken moutli. He recognised the mayor by his 
scarf, and explained to him that the prefect was not 
able to come. He himself was a councillor at the pre- 
fecture ; then he added a few apologies. Monsieur Tu- 
vache answered them with compliments ; the other 
confessed himself nervous ; and they remained thus, 
face to face, their foreheads almost touching, with the 
members of the jury all round, the municipal council, 
the notable personages, the National Guard and the 
crowd. The councillor, pressing his little cocked hat 
to his breast, repeated his bows, while Tuvache, bent 
like a bow, also smiled, stammered, tried to say some- 
thing, protested his devotion to the monarchy and the 
honour that was being done to Yonville. 

Hippolyte, the groom from the inn, took the head of 
the horses from the coachman, and, limping along with 
his club-foot, led them to the door of the Lion d'Or, 
where a number of peasants collected to look at the 
carriage. The drum beat, the howitzer thundered, 
and the gentlemen one by one mounted the platform, 
where they sat down in red Utrecht velvet armchairs 
that had been lent by Madame Tuvache. 

The ladies of the company stood at the back under 
the vestibule between the pillars, while the common 
herd was opposite, standing up or sitting on chairs. 
As a matter of fact, Lestiboudois had brought thither 
all those that he had moved from the field, and he even 
kept running back every minute to fetch others from 
the church. He caused such confusion with this 
piece of business that the speakers had great diffi- 
culty in getting to the small flight of steps of the 
platform. 

" I think," said Monsieur Lheureux to the chemist, 
who was passing to his place, " that they ought to have 
put up two Venetian masts with something rather se- 



MADAME BOVARY 141 

vcrc and rich for oniaimnls ; it would have hteii a 
very pretty effect." 

"To be sure," replied llomais; "but what can you 
expect? The mayor took everythinj^ on his own shoul- 
ders. He hasn't much taste. I'oor Tuvache ! and he 
is even destitute of what is called the i^^-nius of art." 

Rodolphe. meanwhile, with Madame I '.ovary, had 
j^-one up to the fust lloor of the town hall, to the 
" council-room," and. as it was empty, he declared that 
thev could enjoy the proceedini^s there more comfort- 
ahlv. lie brought three stools from tlie round table 
under the bust of the monarch, and having carried 
them to one of the windows, they sat side by side. 

There was a commotion on the platform, lonc^ whis- 
perinj^s, much ]-)arle} ini^. At last the councillor rose. 
They knew now that his name was Lieuvain, and in 
the crowd the name was passed from one to another. 
After he had run over a few paj^^es, and bent over 
them to see better, he beg-an : 

" Clcntlemen ! May I be permitted first (before ad- 
dressing you on the object of our meeting to-day, and 
this sentiment will. I am sure, be shared by you all), 
may I be permitted, I say, to pay a tribute to the 
higher administration, to the government, to the mon- 
arch, gentlemen, our sovereign, to that beloved King, 
to whom no branch of public or private prosperity is a 
matter of indilTerence. and who directs with a hand at 
once so firm and wise the chariot of the State amid 
the incessant perils of a stormy sea. knowing, more- 
over, how to make peace respected as well as war, in- 
dustry, commerce, agriculture, and the fine arts." 

" I ought to move back a little further," said Ro- 
dolphe. 

" Why ? " Emma inquired. 



142 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

But at this moment the voice of the councillor rose 
to an extraordinary pitch. He declaimed : 

" This is no longer the time, gentlemen, when civil 
discord ensanguined our public places, when the land- 
lord, the business-man, the working-man himself, fall- 
ing asleep at night, lying down to peaceful slumber, 
trembled lest he should be awakened suddenly by the 
noise of incendiary tocsins, when the most subversive 
doctrines audaciously sapped foundations." 

" Well, some one down there might see me," Ro- 
dolphe resumed, " then I should have to invent ex- 
cuses for a week ; and with my bad reputation " 

" Oh, you are slandering yourself," said Emma. 

" No ! It is dreadful, I assure you." 

" But, gentlemen," continued the councillor, " if, 
banishing from my memory the remembrance of those 
sad pictures, I turn my eyes back to the actual situa- 
tion of our dear country, what do I see? Everywhere 
commerce and the arts are flourishing ; everywhere 
new means of communication, like so many new 
arteries in the body of the State, establish new relations 
within it. Our great industrial centres have recovered 
all their activity ; religion, more consolidated, smiles in 
all hearts ; our ports are full, confidence is born again, 
and France breathes once more ! " 

" Besides," added Rodolphe, " perhaps from the 
world's point of view they are right." 

" How so ? " she asked. 

" What ! " said he. " Do you not know that there 
are souls constantly tormented? They need by turns 
to dream and to act, the purest passions and the most 



MADAME BOVAKY 1 l.'i 

turl)ul(Mit jn\s, and thus iIk'v flinj^ tlicmscvcs into all 
sorts of fantasies and follies." 

She looked at him as one looks at a travelUr who 
has traversed stranj^e lands, and said : 

" We have not even this distraction, we poor 
women ! " 

" A sad distracti(ui, fur happiness is not found in it." 

" Hut is it ever found ? " she asked. 

" Yes ; one day it comes/' he answered. 

" And this is what you have understood." said the 
councillor. " You, farmers, agricultural labourers ! 
you pacific pioneers of a work that belongs wholly to 
civilisation ! you, men of progress and morality, you 
have understood, I say, that political storms are even 
more redoubtable than atmosjiheric disturbances ! " 

" It comes one day," repeated Rodolphe, " one day 
suddenly, and when one is despairing of it. Then the 
horizon expands ; it is as if a voice cried. ' It is here ! ' 
\'ou feel the need of confiding the whole of your life, 
of giving everything, sacrificing everything to this 
being. There is no need for explanations; they under- 
stand each other. They have seen each other in 
dreams! " (And he looked at her.) " In short, here 
it is, this treasure so sought after, here before you. It 
glitters, it flashes ; yet one still doubts, one does not 
believe it; one remains dazzled, as if going from dark- 
ness into light." 

As he ended Rodolphe suited the action to the word, 
lie passed his hand over his face, like a man seized 
with dizziness. Then he let it fall on Emma's. She 
took hers away. 

"And who would be surprised at it. gentlemen? 
Only he that is so blind, so plunged (I do not fear to 



144 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

say it), so plunged in the prejudices of another age 
as still to misunderstand the spirit of agricultural pop- 
ulations. Where, indeed, is to be found more patriot- 
ism than in the country, greater devotion to the public 
welfare, more intelligence, in a word? And, gentle- 
men, I do not mean that superficial intelligence, vain 
ornament of idle minds, but rather that profound and 
balanced intelligence which applies itself above all else 
to useful objects, thus contributing to the good of all. 
to the common amelioration and to the support of the 
State, born of respect for law and the practice of 
duty " 

" Ah, again ! " said Rodolphe. " Always * duty.' I 
am sick of the word. They are old blockheads in flan- 
nel vests and old women with foot-warmers and 
rosaries who constantly drone into our ears ' Duty, 
duty!' Ah. by Jove! one's duty is to feel what is 
great, to cherish the beautiful, and not accept all the 
conventions of society with the ignominy that it im- 
poses upon us." 

" Yet — yet " objected Madame Bovary. 

" No. no ! Why cry out against the passions ? Are 
they not the one beautiful thing on the earth, the 
source of heroism, of enthusiasm, of poetry, music, 
the arts, of everything, in a word? " 

" But one must, to some extent, bow to the opinion 
of the world and accept its moral code," said Emma. 

" Ah, but there are two," he re])lied. " The small, 
the conventional, that of men, that which constantly 
changes, brays so loudly, and makes such a commo- 
tion here below, of the earth earthy, like the mass of 
imbeciles you see down there. But the other, the eter- 
nal, that is about us and above, like the landscape that 
surrounds us, and the blue heavens that give us light." 



MADAME BOVARY 1 \', 

Monsieur Licuvain had just wiped his hps with a 
handkerchief, lie conlinued: 

" And what should 1 do here, gentlemen, pointing 
out to you the uses of agriculture? Who supplies our 
wants? who provides our means of suhsistence? Is it 
not the agriculturist? The agriculturist, gentlemen, 
who, sowing with lahorious hand the fertile furrows 
of the country, hrings forth the corn, which, being 
ground, is made into a powder by means of ingenious 
machinery, comes out thence under the name of flour, 
and from there, transported to our cities, is soon de- 
livered at the baker's, who makes it into food for poor 
and rich alike. Again, is it not the agriculturist who 
fattens, for our clothing, his abundant Hocks in the 
pastures? For how should we clothe ourselves, how 
nourish ourselves, without the agriculturist? And, 
gentlemen, is it even necessary to go so far for exam- 
ples? Who has not frequently reflected on all the 
momentous things that we get from that modest ani- 
mal, the ornament of poultry-yards, which provides 
us at once with a soft pillow for our bed. with suc- 
culent flesh for our tables, and with eggs? But I 
never should end were I to enumerate one after an- 
other all the difterent products which the earth, well 
cultivated, lavishes upon her children like a generous 
mother. Here it is the vine, elsewhere the apple-tree 
for cider, there colza, farther on cheeses and flax. 
Gentlemen, let us not forget flax, which has made such 
great strides of late years, and to which I will more 
particularly call your attention." 

Pie had no need to call it, for all the mouths of the 
multitude were wide open, as if to drink in his words. 
Tuvache by his side listened to him with staring eyes. 
Monsieur Derozerays from time to time softly closed 



146 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

his eyelids; and farther on the chemist, with his son 
Napoleon between his knees, put his hand behind his 
ear in order not to lose a syllable. The chins of the 
other members of the jury moved slowly up and down 
in their cravats in sign of approval. 

The square as far as the houses was crowded with 
people. One saw folk leaning on their elbows at all 
the windows, others standing at doors, and Justin, in 
front of the chemist's shop, seemed quite transfixed 
by the spectacle. In spite of the silence, Monsieur 
Lieuvain's voice was lost in the air. It reached one in 
fragments of phrases, and interrupted here and there 
by the creaking of chairs in the crowd ; then one sud- 
denly heard the long bellowing of an ox, or else the 
bleating of the lambs, which answered one another. 

Rodolphe had drawn nearer to Emma, and said to 
her in a low voice, speaking rapidly : 

" Does not this conspiracy of the world revolt you? 
Is there a single sentiment it does not condemn ? The 
noblest instincts, the purest sympathies are persecuted, 
slandered ; and if at length two poor souls do meet, 
all is so organised that they cannot blend. Yet they 
will make the attempt ; they will flutter their wings j 
they will call upon each other. Oh, no matter ! 
Sooner or later, in six months, ten years, they will 
come together, will love ; for fate has decreed it, and 
they are born one for the other." 

His arms were folded across his chest, and lifting 
his face toward Emma, close by her, he looked fixedly 
at her. She noticed in his eyes small golden lines radi- 
ating from black pupils ; she even detected the per- 
fume of the pomade that made his hair glossy. Then 
a faintness came over her ; she recalled the Viscount 
who had waltzed with her at Vaubyessard ; his beard 
had exhaled like this hair an odour of vanilla and cit- 



MADAME BOVARY 147 

ron, and mcclianically she Iialf-closcd lu-r eyes the bet- 
ter to inhale it. I^nt in inakiiij^^ this niDvenient, as she 
leant l)acl< in her chair, she saw in the (Hstancc, on the 
hue of the horizon, the old dih^ence, the " Iliron- 
delle," ihal was slowly descending the hill of Lcux, 
leaving behind it a lonp^ trail of dnst. It was in that 
yellow carriajj^e that I>eon had so often come back to 
her, and by that route down there that he had ^onc 
forever. She fancied she saw him opposite at his win- 
dow : then all p^rew confused; clouds f^^athered ; it 
seemed to her that she was again turninj^ in the waltz 
under the li^ht of the lustres on the arm of the \'is- 
count, and that Leon was not far away, that he was 
coming-; and yet all the time she was conscious of the 
scent of Rodolphe's hair by her side. This sweetness 
of sensation pierced through her old desires, and these, 
like grains of sand under a gust of wind, eddied to and 
fro in the subtle breath of the perfume which suflfused 
her soul. She opened wide her nostrils several times 
to drink in the freshness of the ivy round the capitals. 
She took off her gloves, she wiped her hands, then 
fanned her face with her handkerchief, while despite 
the throbbing of her temples she heard the murmur of 
the crowd and the voice of the councillor intoning his 
phrases. He said: 

" Continue, persevere ! Listen neither to the sug- 
gestions of routine, nor to the over-hasty councils of a 
rash empiricism. Apply yourselves, above all. to the 
amelioration of the soil, to good manures, to the de- 
velopment of the equine, bovine, ovine, and porcine 
races. Let these shows be to you pacific arenas, where 
the victor in leaving it will hold forth a hand to the 
vanquished, and will fraternise with him in the hope 
of better success. And you, aged servants, humble 



148 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

domestics, whose hard labour no government up to this 
day has taken into consideration, come hither to re- 
ceive the reward of your silent virtues, and be assured 
that the State henceforth will have its eye upon you ; 
that it encourages you, protects you ; that it will ac- 
cede to your just demands, and alleviate as much as in 
it lies the burden of your painful sacrifices." 

Monsieur Lieuvain then sat down ; Monsieur De- 
rozerays arose, beginning another speech. His was 
not perhaps so florid as that of the councillor, but it 
recommended itself by a more direct style, that is to 
say, by more special knowledge and higher considera- 
tions. Thus the praise of the Government took up less 
space in it ; religion and agriculture more. He showed 
in it the relations of these two, and how they had al- 
ways contributed to civilisation. Rodolphe was talk- 
ing to Madame Bovary of dreams, presentiments, 
magnetism. Turning back to the cradle of society, 
the orator painted those fierce times when men lived 
on acorns in the heart of the woods. Then they had 
left ofif the skins of beasts, had put on cloth, tilled the 
soil, planted the vine. Was this a good, and in this 
discovery was there not more of injury than of gain? 
Monsieur Derozerays set himself to solve this problem. 

From magnetism Rodolphe had come by degrees to 
talk of affinities, and while the president was citing 
Cincinnatus and his plough, Diocletian planting his 
cabbages, and the Emperors of China inaugurating 
the year by the sowing of seed, the young man was ex- 
plaining to the young woman that these irresistible at- 
tractions find their cause in some previous existence. 

" Thus we," he said, " why did we come to know 
each other? What chance willed it? It was because 
across the infinite, like two streams that flow but to 



MADAME BOVARY 149 

unite, our bents of hind drove us toward eacli other." 

And he seized her hand; she (hd not withdraw it. 

" [•'or good farming generally! " cried the president. 

" Just now, for exaiuple, when I went to your 
house." 

" To Monsieur I'izat of Ouincanipoix." 

" Did I know I should accompany you?" 

" Seventy francs." 

" A hundred times I wished to gcj ; and I followed 
you — I remained." 

" Manures ! " 

" And 1 shall remain to-night, to-morrow, all other 
days, all my life ! " 

" To Monsieur Caron of Argueil, a gold medal ! " 

" For I never have found in the society of any other 
person so complete a charm." 

" To Monsieur I'ain of (livry-Saint-Martin." 

" And I shall carry away with me the remembrance 
of you." 

" For a merino ram ! "' 

" But you will forget me ; I shall pass away like a 
shadow." 

" To Monsieur Belot of Notre-Dame." 

" Oh, no ! I shall be something in your thought, in 
your life, shall I not?" 

" Porcine race ; prizes — equal, to Messieurs Le- 
herisse and Cullembourg, sixtv francs ! " 

Rodolphe was pressing Emma's hand, and he felt 
it warm and quivering like a captive dove that tries 
to fly away ; but, wdiether she was trying to take it 
away or whether she was answering his pressure, she 
made a movement with her fingers. 1 le exclaimed : 

" Oh, I thank you ! You do not repulse me ! You 
are good ! You understand that I am yours ! Let me 
look at you ; let me contemplate you ! " 



150 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

A gust of wind that IjIcw in at the window ruffled 
the cloth on the table, and in the square below all the 
great caps of the peasant women were uplifted by it 
like the fluttering wings of white butterflies. 

" Use of oil-cakes," continued the president. He 
was hurrying on : " Flemish manure — flax-growing — 
drainage — long leases — domestic service." 

Rodolphe no longer spoke. They looked at each 
other. A supreme desire made their dry lips tremble, 
and languorously, without effort, their fingers clasped. 

" Catherine Nicaise Elizabeth Leroux, of Sassetot- 
la-Guerriere, for fifty-four years of service at the same 
farm, a silver medal — value, twenty-five francs ! " 

" Where is Catherine Leroux? " repeated the coun- 
cillor. 

She did not present herself, and one could hear 
voices whispering: 

" Go up ! " 

" Don't be afraid ! " 

" Oh, how stupid she is ! " 

" Well, is she there? " cried Tuvache. 

" Yes ; here she is." 

" Then let her come up ! " 

On the platform came forward a little old woman 
with timid bearing, who seemed to shrink within her 
poor clothes. On her feet she wore heavy wooden 
clogs, and from her hips hung a large blue apron. 
Her pale face framed in a borderless cap was more 
wrinkled than a withered russet apple, and from the 
sleeves of her red jacket appeared two large hands 
wnth knotty joints. The dust of barns, the potash of 
washings, and the grease of wools had so incrusted, 
roughened, hardened these, that they seemed dirty al- 
though they had been rinsed in clear water; and by 
reason of long service they remained half open, as if 



MADAME BOVARY IT. I 

to hi'.'ir liunihlc uitiu'ss for tlitiiisclvcs of so imicli 
sullcrinj;- ciidurcd. Soiiu'tliiii};" of monastic rigidity 
dipiificd Ikt face. Notliinpc of sadness or of einotion 
wcakc'iK'd that pale look. In licr constant livinj^ with 
animals she had acfinircd sonu-thing' of their dmnh- 
ness and their calm. It was the first time she ever 
had fonnd herself in the midst of so larp^c a company, 
and inwardly scared l)\ the flaj2^s, the drnms, the gen- 
tlemen in frock-coats, and the order of the conncillor, 
she stood motionless, not knowing' whether to advance 
or to rmi away, nor why the crowd was pnshing her 
and the jnry were smiling at her. Thus stood before 
these radiant houri:;eois this half-century of servi- 
tude. 

" :\.pproach, venerable Catherine Xicaisc J'llizabeth 
I.eron.x!" said the councillor, who had taken the list 
of prize-winners from the president ; and. looking at 
the piece of paper and at the old woman by turns, he 
repeated in a fatherly tone : 

" Approach ! approach ! " 

"Are you deaf?" said Tuvachc, fidgeting in his 
armchair; and he began shouting in her ear, " Fifty- 
four years of service. A silver medal ! Twenty-five 
francs ! For you ! " 

When she had received her medal, she looked at it, 
and a smile of beatitude spread over her face. As she 
walked away they could hear her muttering : 

" I'll give it to our priest up home, to say some 
masses for me ! " 

" What fanaticism ! " exclaimed the chemist, leaning 
across to the notary. 

The meeting was over, the crowd dispersed, and 
now that the speeches had been read, each one fell 
back into his place again, and everything into the old 
grooves. 



I52 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

The National Guards, however, had gone up to the 
first-floor of the town hall with huns spitted on their 
bayonets, and the drummer of the battalion carried a 
basket with bottles. Madame Bovary took Rodolphe's 
arm ; he escorted her home ; they separated at her 
door ; then he walked about alone in the meadow while 
he waited for the time of the banquet. 

The feast was long, noisy, ill served ; the guests were 
so crowded that they could hardly move their elbows ; 
and the narrow planks used for seats almost broke 
down under their weight. They ate hugely. Each one 
stuffed himself on his own account. Sweat stood on 
every brow, and a whitish steam, like the vapour of a 
stream on an autumn morning, floated above the table 
between the hanging lamps. Rodolphe, leaning 
against the side of the tent, was thinking so earnestly 
of Emma that he heard nothing. 

He saw her again in the evening during the fire- 
works, but she was with her husband, Madame Ho- 
mais, and the chemist, who was worrying about the 
danger of stray rockets, and leaving the company 
every moment to go and give some advice to Binet. 

The pyrotechnic pieces sent to Monsieur Tuvache, 
through an excess of caution, had been shut up in his 
cellar, and so the damp powder would not light, and 
the principal set piece, which was to represent a 
dragon biting his own tail, failed completely. Now 
and then a meagre Roman-candle w- ent off ; then the 
gaping crowd sent up a shout that mingled with the 
cry of the women, whose waists were being squeezed 
in the darkness. Emma silently nestled gently against 
Charles's shoulder; then, raising her chin, she watched 
the luminous rays of the rockets against the dark sky. 
Rodolphe gazed at her in the light of the lanterns. 

Thev went out one bv one. The stars shone out. A 



MADAME BOVARY ir,3 

few drops of rain befjan to fall. iMiima knottrd her 
rtchu round her hare head. 

At this inonient the councillor's carriage came out 
from the inn. Mis coachman, who was drunk, sud- 
denly dozed off, and one could see from the distance, 
above the hood, between the two lanterns, the mass of 
his body, that swayed from right to left with the giv- 
ing of the traces. 

" Truly," said the chemist, " one ought to proceed 
most rigorously against drunkenness ! I should like 
to see written up weekly at the door of the town hall 
on a board ad hoc the names of all those who during 
the week got intoxicated on alcohol. P»csidcs, with re- 
gard to statistics, one would thus have, as it were, pub- 
lic records that one could refer to in case of need. 
But excuse me ! " 

And he once more ran off to the captain. The lat- 
ter was going back to see his lathe again. 

" Perhaps you would not do ill," Homais said to 
him. " to send one of your men, or to go yourself " 

" Leave me alone ! " answered the tax-collector. 
" It's* all right ! " 

" Do not be uneasy," said the chemist, when he re- 
turned to his friends. " Monsieur Binet has assured 
nie that all precautions have been taken. No sparks 
have fallen ; the pumps are full. Let us go to rest." 

" Ma foi! I want it," said Madame Homais. yawn- 
ing at large. " But never mind ; we've had a beautiful 
day for our fete." 

Rodolphe repeated in a low voice, and with a tender 
look, " Oh, yes ! very beautiful ! " 

And having bowed to each other, they separated. 

Two days later, in the Fanal dc Rouen, there was a 
long article on the show. Homais had composed it, 
with gusto, the very next morning. 



154 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Why these festoons, these flowers, these garlands? 
Whither hurries this crowd hke the waves of a furious 
sea under the torrents of a tropical sun pouring its 
heat upon our heads ? " 

Then he alluded to the condition of the peasants. 
Certainly the Government was doing much, but not 
enough. " Courage ! " he cried to it ; " a thousand re- 
forms are indispensable ; let us accomplish them ! " 
Then touching on the entry of the councillor, he did 
not forget " the martial air of our militia," nor " our 
merry village maidens," nor the " bald-headed old men 
like patriarchs who were there, and of whom some, 
the remnants of our immortal phalanxes, still felt their 
hearts beat at the manly sound of the drums." He 
mentioned himself among the first of the members of 
the jury, and he even called attention in a note to the 
fact that Monsieur Homais, chemist, had sent a 
memoir on cider to the agricultural society. When he 
wrote of the distribution of the prizes, he sung the joy 
of the prize-winners in dithyrambic strophes. " The 
father embraced the son, the brother the brother, the 
husband his consort. More than one showed his hum- 
ble medal with pride ; and no doubt when he got home 
to his good housewife, weeping, he hung it up on the 
modest walls of his cot. 

" About six o'clock a banquet prepared in the 
meadow of Monsieur Liegeard brought together the 
principal personages of the fete. The greatest cordi- 
ality reigned here. Divers toasts were proposed : Mon- 
sieur Lieuvain, the King ; Monsieur Tuvache. the Pre- 
fect ; Monsieur Derozerays, Agriculture ; Monsieur 
Homais, Industry and the Fine Arts, those twin sis- 
ters ; Monsieur Leplichey, Progress. In the evening 
some brilliant fireworks suddenly illumined the air. 
One would have called it a veritable kaleidoscope, a 



MADAME BOVARY 155 

real operatic scene: and for a moment our little village 
might have thought itself transported into the midst 
of a dream of the 'Thousand and ( )ne Nights.' 

" Let us add that uo untoward event disturhed this 
family meeting." And he added : " Only the ahsence 
of the clergy was remarked. Xo douht the priests un- 
derstand progress in another fashion. Just as you 
please, Messieurs the followers of Loyola ! " 



CHAPTER IX 
THE tempter's voice 

SIX weeks passed, and no more was seen of Ro- 
dolphe. Finally he apjieared one evening. 

The day after the fair he had said to himself: 
" I mustn't go there again too soon ; that would be a 
nn'stake." 

And at the end of a week he had gone away hunting. 
After the hunting he had thought it was too late, and 
then he reasoned : 

" If from the first day she loved me. she must, from 
impatience to see me again, love me more. I'll go on 
with it ! " 

He knew that his calculation had been right when, 
as he entered the room, he saw Emma turn pale. 

She was alone. The day was closing. The small 
muslin curtain along the windows deepened the twi- 
light, and the gilding of the barometer, on which the 
rays of the sun fell, shone in the mirror between the 
branches of the coral. 

Rodolphe remained standing, and Emma hardly an- 
swered his first conventional phrases. 



156 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" I liave been busy," be said, " and I bave been ill." 

"Seriously?" sbc exclaimed. 

" Well," said Rodolpbe, sittini:^ down at ber side on 
a footstool, " no ; it was because I did not wisb to come 
back." 

"Why?" 

" Can you not guess ? " 

He looked at ber again, but so fixedly that she low- 
ered her head, blushing. He went on : 

" Emma ! " 

" Monsieur," she said, drawing back a little. 

" Ah ! you see," replied he in a melancholy voice, 
" that I was right not to come back ; for this name, 
this name that fills my whole soul, and that escaped me, 
you forbid me to use ! Madame Bovary ! why, all the 
world calls you thus ! Besides, it is not your name ; 
it is the name of another ! " he repeated, " of another ! " 
And he buried his face in his hands. " Yes, I think of 
you constantly. The memory of you drives me to de- 
spair. Ah. forgive me! I will leave you! Farewell! 
I will go far aw'ay, so far that you never will hear of 
me again ; and yet-to-day — I know not what force nn- 
pelled me toward you. For one does not struggle 
against Heaven ; one cannot resist the smile of angels ; 
one is carried away by that which is beautiful, charm- 
ing, adorable." 

It w^as the first time that Emma had heard such 
words spoken to herself, and her pride, like one who 
reposes bathed in warmth, expanded softly and fully 
at this glowing language. 

" But if I did not come," he continued, " if I could 
not see you, at least I have gazed long on all that sur- 
rounds you. At night — every night — I arose ; I came 
here ; I watched your house, its roof glimmering in 
the moon, the trees in the garden swaying before your 



MADAME BOVARY If,? 

vviiulovv, and llic little lamp, a j^Hcaiii shininp; through 
tlic vviiulow-paiics in the darkness. Ah, you never 
knew tliat there, so near you, so far from you, was a 
poor wretch ! " 

She turned toward him with a sol). 

" Oh, you are f^ood ! " she said. 

" No, 1 love you, that is all ! You do tKjt doubt 
that! Tell me — one word — only one word!" 

And Rodolphe impercei)tibly j^lided from the foot- 
stool to the floor ; hut a sound of wooden shoes was 
heard in the kitchen, and he noticed that the door of 
the room was not closed. 

" Ht)w kind it would be of you," he went on, risinpf, 
" if you would humour a whim of mine." It was to 
go over her house ; he wished to know it : and as 
Madame Bovary saw no objection to this they both 
rose, when Charles came in. 

" Good morninj^, doctor," Rodolphe said to him. 

The doctor, flattered at this unexpected title, 
launched out into obsequious phrases. Of this the 
other took advantage to compose himself a little. 

" Madame was speaking- {n me." he said, " about her 
health." 

Charles interrupted hijn ; he had indeed a thousand 
anxieties ; his wife's palpitations of the heart were be- 
ginning again. Then Rodolphe asked whether riding 
would not be good. 

"Certainly! excellent! just the thing! There's an 
idea ! You ought to follow it up." 

And as Emma objected that she had no horse. Mon- 
sieur Rodolphe offered one. She refused his offer; he 
did not insist. Then to explain his visit he said that 
his ploughman, the man of the blood-letting, still suf- 
fered from dizziness. 

" I'll call," said Bovary. 



158 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" No. no! I'll send him to yon; we will come here; 
that will be more convenient for you." 

" Ah, very good ! I thank you." 

As soon as they were alone, Charles inquired, " Why 
don't you accept Monsieur Ikiulanger's kind offer?" 

Emma assumed a sulky air, invented a thousand ex- 
cuses, and finally declared that perhaps it would look 
strange. 

"Well, what the deuce do I care for that?" said 
Charles, turning a pirouette. " Health before every- 
thing ! You are wrong." 

" And how do you think I can ride when I haven't a 
habit?" 

" You must order one," he answered. 

The riding-habit decided her. When it was ready, 
Charles wrote to Monsieur Boulanger that his wife 
was at his command, and that they counted on his 
kindness. 

The next day at noon Rodolphe appeared at 
Charles's door with two saddle-horses. One had pink 
rosettes at his ears and a deerskin side-saddle. 

Rodolphe had put on high, soft boots, saying to him- 
self that no doubt Emma never had seen anything like 
them. In fact, she was charmed with his appearance 
as he stood on the landing in his great velvet coat and 
white corduroy breeches. 

Justin escaped from the chemist's to see her set out, 
and the chemist also came over. He gave Monsieur 
Boulanger a little good advice. 

" An accident happens so easily ! Be careful ! Your 
horses perhaps are mettlesome." 

She heard a noise above her ; it was Felicite drum- 
ming on the window-panes to amuse little Berthe. 
The child blew her a kiss ; her mother answered with 
a wave of her whip. 



MADAME BOVARY 159 

"A pleasant ride!" cried Monsieur ITomais. 
" J'rudence! above all, j)riulence ! " And he flourished 
his newspai)er as he saw them disappear. 

As soon as he felt the ground, lemma's horse set off 
at a j^allop. Kodolphe j^^'dloped hy her side. At times 
they exchanj^ed a word. Willi her fii^aire slijj^htly bent, 
her hands well up. she gave herself up to the cadence 
of the movement tliat rocked her in her saddle. At 
the bottom of the hill Rodolphe j^^ave his horse its 
head ; they started together at a boiuid, then at the 
top suddenly the iKirses stopped, and lemma's larj^^e 
blue veil fell about her. 

On the lurf between the ])ines a brown light shim- 
mered in the warm atmosphere. The earth, ruddy- 
brown lik'e the powder of tobacco, deadened the noise 
of their steps, and with the edges of their shoes the 
horses kicked the fallen fir cones in front of them as 
they walked. 

Rodolphe and Emma thus went along the skirt of 
the wood. She turned away from time to time to avoid 
his look, and then she saw only the pine trunks in 
lines, the monotonous succession of which made her a 
little dizzy. The horses were panting ; the leather of 
the saddles creaked. 

As they entered the forest the sun shone out. 

" God protects us ! " said Rodolphe. 

" Do you think so? " she said. 

" Forward ! forward ! " he continued. 

He clicked with his tongue. The two beasts set off 
at a trot. Long ferns by the roadside caught in Em- 
ma's stirrup. Rodolphe leaned forward and removed 
them as they rode along. At other times, to turn aside 
the branches, he passed close to her, and Emma felt his 
knee brushing against her own. 

They dismounted. Rodolphe fastened the horses. 



160 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT • 

Emma walked in front on the moss between the paths. 
But her long habit got in her way. although she held 
it up by the skirt ; and Rodolphe walking behind her, 
saw between the black cloth and the black shoe the 
fineness of her white stocking, which seemed to him 
as if it were a part of her flesh. 

She stopped. " I am tired." she said. 

" Come, try again," he went on. " Courage ! " 

About a hundred paces farther on she stopped again, 
and through her veil, that fell sidewise from her man- 
nish hat to her hips, her face appeared in a bluish 
transparency as if she were floating under azure waves. 

" But where are we going? " she inquired. 

He did not answer. She was breathing quickly. 
Rodolphe looked around, biting his moustache. They 
came to a larger space where the underbrush had been 
cut, and sat down on the trunk of a fallen tree. Ro- 
dolphe began speaking to her of his love. He did not 
begin by frightening her with compliments. He was 
calm, serious, melancholy. 

Emma listened to him with bowed head, and stirred 
the bits of wood on the ground with the tip of her 
foot. 

But at the words, " Are not our destinies now 
one " 

" Oh, no ! " she replied. " You know that well. It 
is impossible ! " 

She rose to go. He seized her by the wrist. She 
stopped. Then, having gazed at him for a few seconds 
with an amorous look, she said hurriedly : 

" Ah, do not speak of it again ! \\' here are the 
horses? Let us go back." 

He made a gesture of anger and annoyance. She 
repeated : 

"Where are the horses? Where are the horses?" 



MADAME BOVARY ](\] 

Then, smilinjj;^ a straiif^fo sniilc, his |)U|)ils fixed, his 
tcclh clenched, he advanced with ontstrelclied arms. 
She recoiled trembling, and stammered : 

" Oh, you frip^hten me ! You hurt me ! Let us po ! " 

" If it must he," he went on, his face chanj^inj^; and 
he again became res|)ectful, caressing, timid. .She 
gave him her arm. They went back. 

"What was the matter with you?" he said. 
" Why? I do not understand, ^'ou were mistaken, no 
doul)t. In my soul you are as a Madomia on a pedes- 
tal, in a i)lace lofty, secure, immaculate. But I want 
you for my life. I must have your eyes, your voice, 
your thought! Wc my friend, my sister, my angel!" 

He put his arm round her waist. She tried feebly 
to disengage herself. lie supported her thus as they 
walked along. 

They heard the horses browsing among the leaves. 

" Oh, one moment ! " said Rodolphe. " Do not let us 
go ! Stay ! " 

He drew her farther on to a small pool where duck- 
weeds made a greenness on the water. Faded water- 
lilies lay motionless between the reeds. At the noise 
of their steps in the grass frogs jumped away to hide 
themselves. 

" I am wrong ! I am wrong ! " she said. " I am mad 
to listen to you ! " 

"Why? Emma! Emma!" 

"Oh, Rodolphe!" said the young woman slowly, 
leaning on his shoulder. 

The cloth of her habit caught against the velvet of 
his coat. She threw back her white neck, swelling 
with a sigh, and faltering, in tears, with a long shud- 
der and hiding her face, she yielded to him. 

The shadow of twilight was falling ; the sun between 
the branches dazzled the eves. Here and there around 



162 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

her. in the leaves or on the g^round, trembled luminous 
patches, as if humminij-birds flying about had scat- 
tered their feathers. Silence was everywhere ; some- 
thing sweet seemed to come forth from the trees ; she 
felt her heart, which began to throb again, and the 
warm blood coursed through her veins like a stream of 
milk. Far away, beyond the wood, on the other hills, 
she heard a vague prolonged cry, a voice which lin- 
gered, and in silence she heard it mingling like music 
with the last pulsations of her throbbing nerves. Ro- 
dolphe, a cigar between his lips, was mending with his 
penknife one of the two broken bridles. 

They returned to Yonville by the same road. In 
the mud they saw again the traces of their horses side 
by side, the same thickets, the same stones in the 
grass ; nothing around them seemed changed ; and yet 
for her something had happened more stupendous 
than if the mountains had moved in their places. 
From time to time Rodolphe bent forward and took 
her hand to kiss it. 

She was charming on horseback — erect, with her 
slender waist, her knee bent on the neck of her horse, 
her face flushed by the fresh air in the rosy glow of 
evening. 

On entering Yonville she made her horse prance 
along the road. People looked at her from the win- 
dows. 

At dinner her husband thought she looked well, but 
she pretended not to hear him when he inquired about 
her ride, and she remained sitting there with her el- 
bow at the side of her plate between the two lighted 
candles. 

" Emma ! '" he said. 

"What?" 

" I spent the afternoon at Monsieur Alexandre's. 



MADAME BOVARY 103 

ITc has an old liorso. still very fine, only a little brokc-n- 
kiiced, which could he bouj^ht. I am sure, for a hun- 
dred crowns." lie added. "And thinking it mip^ht 
please vou. 1 have bespoken it — bought it. Have I 
cK)ne ri^ht? Do tell nic ! " 

She nodded her head in assent. 

" Are you J^oing^ out to-night? " she asked, a quarter 
of an hour later. 

"Yes. Why?*" 

" Oh, nothing, nothing, my dear ! " 

And as soon as she had got rid of Charles she went 
and shut herself up in her room. 

At first she felt stunned ; she saw the trees, the paths, 
the ditches. Rodolphe. and again she felt the pressure 
of his arm, while the leaves rustled and the reeds 
whistled. 

But when she looked at herself in the mirror she 
wondered at her face. Never had her eyes been so 
large, so black, of so profound a depth. Something 
subtle about her being transfigured her. She repeated, 
" I have a lover ! a lover ! " delighting in the idea as 
if a second puberty had come to her. At last she was 
to know those joys of love, that fever of happiness of 
which she had despaired ! She was entering a marvel- 
lous region where all would be passion, ecstasy, de- 
lirium. An azure infinity encompassed her, the heights 
of sentiment sparkled under her thought, and ordinary 
existence appeared only afar off, down in the shade, 
seen through the interspaces of these heights. 

She recalled the heroines in books she had read, and 
the lyric region of these adulterous women began to 
sing in her memory with the voice of sisters that 
charmed her. She became herself, as it were, an actual 
part of these imaginings, and realised the love-dream 
of her youth as she saw herself in this type of amorous 



164 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

women whom she had so envied. Besides all this, she 
felt a satisfaction of revens^e. Had she not suffered 
enough? But now slie triumphed, and the love so long 
pent up burst forth in full, joyous effervescence. She 
tasted it without remorse, without anxiety. 

The day following passed with a new sweetness. 
They made mutual vows. She told him of her sor- 
rows. Rodolphe interrupted her with kisses ; and she, 
looking at him through half-closed eyes, asked him 
to call her again by her name — to say that he loved 
her. They were in the forest, as yesterday, in a shed 
belonging to a wooden-shoe maker. The walls were 
of straw, and the roof was so low they had to stoop. 
They were seated side by side on a bed of dry leaves. 

Thenceforth they wrote to each other regularly 
every evening. Emma put her letter at the end of the 
garden, by the river, in a fissure of the wall. Ro- 
dolphe came to find it, and put another there, with 
which she always found fault as being too short. 

One morning, when Charles had gone out before 
daybreak, she was seized with the fancy to see Ro- 
dolphe at once. She would go quickly to La Huchette, 
stay there an hour, and be back again at Yonville while 
everyone was still asleep. This idea fired her with 
desire, and she spon found herself in the middle of 
the field, walking swiftly, without looking behind 
her. 

Day was just breaking. Emma recognised her lov- 
er's house from afar. Its two dove-tailed weather- 
cocks stood out black against the pale dawn. 

Beyond the farmyard was a detached building that 
she thought must be the chateau. She entered it as 
if the doors at her approach had opened wide of their 
own accord. A wide, straight staircase led up to the 
corridor. Emma raised the latch of a door, and sud- 



MADAME BOVARY lOr, 

(Iciily at tlu- cud of the room sIh- saw a iiiati sleeping. 
It was Kodolphc. She uttered a cry. 

" Vou here? Voii here?" he repeated. " How did 
you manage to come? Ah, your dress is damp." 

" I love you ! " she answered, passing her arms 
round his neck. 

This first piece of daring liaving been successful, 
every time Charles went out early I"2mma dressed 
(|uickly and slipped on tiptoe down the stej)s that led to 
the waterside. 

15ut when the plank for the cows was taken up, she 
had to go by the walls alongside the river ; the bank 
was slip[)ery ; to save herself from falling she caught 
hold of the tufts of faded w^allflowers. Then she went 
across ploughed fields, in which she sank, stumbling, 
and clogging her thin shoes. Her scarf, tied round 
her head, fluttered in the wind from the meadows, 
.^he w'as afraid of the oxen ; she began to run ; she 
arrived out of breath, with rosy cheeks, and exhaling 
from her whole person a fresh perfume of sap. of 
verdure, of the open air. At this hour Rodolphe still 
slept. It was like a spring morning coming into his 
room. 

The yellow curtains along the windows admitted a 
heavy, whitish light. Emma felt about, opening and 
closing her eyes, w hile the drops of dew hanging from 
her hair formed, as it were, a topaz aureole around 
her face. Rodolphe, laughing, drew her to him and 
pressed her to his breast. 

Then she examined the apartment, opened rhe 
drawers of the tables, combed her hair with his comb, 
and looked at herself in his shaving-mirror. Often 
she even put between her teeth the big jiipe that lay 
on the table by the bed. among lemons and pieces of 
sugar near a bottle of water. 



166 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

It took at least a quarter of an hour to say good- 
bye. Then Emma would weep. She wished never to 
leave Rodolphe. Something stronger than herself 
forced her to him ; so much so, that one day, when 
she arrived unexpectedly, he frowned as if vexed. 

"What is the matter with you?" she said. "Are 
you ill ? Tell me ! " 

At last he declared with a serious air that her visito 
were becoming imprudent — that she was compromis- 
ing herself. 



CHAPTER X 

A TANGLED WEB 

RODOLPHE'S fears by degrees took possession of 
Emma also. At first love had intoxicated her, 
and she had thought of nothing further. But 
now that he was indispensable to her life, she feared 
to lose anything of this, or even that it should be dis- 
turbed. When she returned from his house, she 
looked all about her, anxiously watching every form 
that passed in the horizon, and every village window 
from which she could be seen. 

One morning as she was returning thus, she sud- 
denly thought she saw the long barrel of a carbine that 
seemed to be aimed at her. Tt stuck out sidewise 
from the end of a small tub half-buried in the grass 
beside a ditch. Emma, half-swooning with terror, 
nevertheless walked on, and a man stepped out of the 
tub like a Jack-in-the-box. He had gaiters buckled up 
to the knees, a cap pulled down over his eyes, trem- 



MADAME BOVARY |(i7 

I)linj^ lips, and a red nose. It was C aptain liinct. lyiiif.,' 
ill ainhush for wild ducks. 

" ^'on oii,i;lil to have called out lonj^ 'ip^'> ' " lie ex- 
claimed. " When one sees a .mni, one should always 
,L;ive warning." 

The tax-collector was tryinj^ to hide the fri^^ht he 
had had, for, a prefectorial order havinjj^ prohibited 
duck-hunting- except in boats, Monsieur l)inet, de- 
spite his respect for the law, was infrinjji'ing it, and so 
he expected every moment to see the rural guard ap- 
pear. lUit this anxiety whetted his pleasure, and, all 
alone in his tub, he congratidated himself on his luck 
and his cleverness. 

At sight of Emma he seemed relieved from a great 
alarm, and at once opened a conversation. 

" It isn't very warm ; it is really cold." 

Emma made no reply. He continued : 

" And \ou're out so early? " 

" Yes," she said stammering ; " I am just coming 
from the nurse where my child is." 

"Ah! very good! very good! As for me. I have 
been here, just as you see me, since daybreak; but the 
weather is so foggy, that unless one had the bird at 
the mouth of the gim " 

" Good morning. Monsieur Binet," she interrupted 
him, turning on her heel. 

"Your servant. Madame," he replied dryly; and he 
went back into his tub. 

I'juma regretted having left the tax-collector so 
abru]itly. No doubt he would form unfavourable con- 
jectmes. The story about the nurse was the worst 
possible excuse, everyone at Yonville knowing that 
the little Bovary girl had been at home with her 
parents for a year. Besides, no one lived in that di- 
rection : this path led only to La Huchette. Binet. 



168 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

then, would guess whence she came, and he would not 
be quiet; he would talk, that was certain. Until 
evening she racked her brain with every conceivable 
lying project, and had continually before her eyes that 
inbecile with the game-bag. 

Seeing her gloomy, Charles proposed, after dinner, 
by way of distraction, to take her to the chemist's, and 
the first person she saw in the shop was the tax-col- 
lector again. He was standing before the counter, 
lighted by the gleams of the red bottle, and was say- 
ing: 

" Please give me half an ounce of vitriol." 

" Justin," called the chemist, " bring us the sul- 
phuric acid." Then to Emma, who was going up to 
Madame Homais' room, " No, stay here; it isn't worth 
while going up; she is just coming down. Warm 
yourself at the stove in the mean time. Excuse me. 
Good evening, doctor" (for the chemist much en- 
joyed pronouncing the word " doctor," as if addressing 
another by it reflected on himself some of the gran- 
deur that he found in it). "Now, take care not to 
upset the mortars ! You had better bring some chairs 
from the little room ; you know very well that the 
armchairs are not to be taken out of the drawing- 
room." 

And to put his armchair back in its place he was 
darting away from the counter, when Binet asked him 
for half an ounce of sugar acid. 

" Sugar acid ! " said the chemist contemptuously, 
" don't know it ; I'm ignorant of it ! Perhaps you want 
oxalic acid. It is oxalic acid, isn't it? " 

P)inet explained that he wanted a corrosive to make 
himself some copper-water with which to remove rust 
from his hunting equipments. 

Emma trembled. The chemist began saying: 



MADAME BOVARY 160 

" Indeed the weather is not propitious on account 
of the damp." 

" Nevertheless," repHed the tax-collector, with a sly 
wink, " there are people who like it." 

Emma was stillinj^. 

" And give me " 

** Will he never go ? " she thought. 

" Half an ounce of resin and turpentine, four ounces 
of yellow wax, and three half ounces of animal char- 
coal, if you please, to clean the varnished leather of 
my things." 

The chemist was beginning to cut the wax when 
Madame Homais appeared. Irma in her arms. Na- 
poleon by her side, and .Vthalie following. She sat 
down on the velvet seat by the window, and the boy 
squatted on a footstool, while his elder sister hovered 
round the jujube box near her papa. The latter was 
filling fuiuiels and corking bottles, sticking on labels, 
making up i)arcels. Around him all were silent ; only 
from time to time were heard the weights jingling in 
the balance, and a few low words from the chemist 
giving directions to his pupil. 

"And how's the little girl?" suddenly asked Ma- 
dame Homais. 

" Silence ! " exclaiiued her husband, who was writ- 
ing down some figures in his waste-book. 

"Why didn't you bring her?" she continued in a 
low voice. 

" Hush ! hush ! " said Emma, pointing with her fin- 
ger to the chemist. 

But Binet, quite absorbed in looking over his bill, 
had probably heard nothing. At last he went out. 
Then Emma, relieved, uttered a deep sigh. 

" 1 low hard you are breathing ! " said Madame Ho- 
mais. 



170 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Well, you see, it's rather warm," she replied. 

So the next day she and Rodolphe talked about ar- 
ranging their rendezvous. Emma wished to bribe her 
servant with a present, but it would be better to find 
some safe house at Yonville. Rodolphe promised to 
look for one. 

Tiiroughout the winter, three or four times a week, 
he came to the garden at night. Emma had taken 
away the key of the gate, and Charles thought it was 
lost. 

To summon her, Rodolphe threw a handful of sand 
at the shutters. She jumped up with a start; but 
sometimes he had to wait,- for Charles had a mania for 
chatting by the fireside, and would not stop. She was 
wild with impatience ; if her eyes could have done it, 
she would have hurled him out of the window. At 
last she would begin to undress, then take up a book, 
and read very quietly as if the book interested her. 
But Charles, who would then be in bed, would call 
to her to come too. 

" Come, now, Emma," he said, " it is time." 

" Yes, I am coming," she answered. 

Then, as the candles annoyed him, he turned to the 
wall and fell asleep. She escaped, smiling, palpitating, 
in nci:^ligcc. 

Rodolphe had a large cloak ; he wrapped her in it, 
and putting his arm round her waist, he drew her with- 
out a word to the end of the garden. 

They entered the arbour, and sat on the same seat 
of old sticks where formerly Leon had looked at her so 
amorously in the summer evenings. She never 
thought of him now. 

The stars shone through the leafless jasmine 
branches. Behind them they heard the river rippling, 
and at times on the bank the rustling of the dry reeds. 



MADAME BOVARY 171 

Masses of shadow loomed in the darkness here and 
there, and sometimes, vihratin^ with one movement, 
they rose and swaged hke immense black waves press- 
int^ forward to ensoul f them. The coldness of the 
nights made them embrace closer; the sighs of theic 
lips seemed to them deeper; llieir eyes, which they 
could hardly see, larger; and in the midst of the si- 
lence low words were spoken that fell on their sonls 
sonorous, crystalline, reverberating in multiplied vi- 
brations. 

When the night was rainy tlu'y took refuge in the 
consulting-room between the carriage-house and the 
stable. She lighted one of the kitchen candles, which 
she had hidden behind the books. Rodolphe settled 
down there as if at home. The sight of the library, 
of the desk, of the whole apartment, in short, excited 
his merriment, and he could not refrain from making 
jokes about Charles, which rather embarrassed Emma. 
She would have liked to see him more serious, and 
even on occasions more dramatic ; as, for example, 
when she thought she heard steps in the alley. 

" Some one is coming ! " she said. 

lie blew out the light. 

" Have vou vour pistol ? " 

"Why?'" 

" Why. to defend yourself," replied Emma. 

" From your husband? Oh, poor devil ! " And Ro- 
dolphe finished his sentence with a gesture that said, 
" I could crush him with a stroke of my finger." 

She was amazed at his bravery, although she felt in 
it a sort of indecency and a naive coarseness that 
shocked her. 

Rodolphe reflected for some time on the affair of the 
pistol. If she spoke seriously, it was very ridiculous, 
he thought, even odious ; for he had no reason to hate 



172 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

the good Charles, not being what is called devoured 
by jealousy; and on this subject Emma had taken a 
solemn vow that he did not think in the best taste. 

Besides, she was growing very sentimental. She 
had insisted on exchanging miniatures ; they had cut 
off locks of hair, and now she was asking for a ring — 
a real wedding-ring, in sign of eternal union. She 
often spoke to him of the evening chimes, of the voices 
of nature. Then she talked to him of her mother — 
hers ! and of his mother — his ! Rodolphe had lost his 
twenty years ago. But Emma consoled him with ca- 
ressing words as one would have spoken to a lost child, 
and she sometimes even said, gazing at the moon : 

" I am sure that up there they approve of our love." 

But she was so pretty ! He had possessed few women 
of such ingenuousness. This love without debauchery 
was a new experience for him, and, drawing him out 
of his lazy habits, it flattered at once his pride and his 
sensuality. Emma's enthusiasm, which his bourgeois 
common sense disdained, seemed charming to him in 
his heart of hearts, since it was lavished on himself! 
After awhile, sure of being loved, he no longer kept 
up an appearance of ardour, and insensibly his ways 
changed. 

He used no longer, as formerly, words so gentle 
that they made her weep, nor passionate caresses that 
made her mad, so that their great love, which en- 
grossed her life, seemed to grow shallow beneath her, 
like the water of a stream absorbed into its channel, 
and she could see the bed of it. She would not believe 
it ; she redoubled in tenderness, and Rodolphe con- 
cealed his indifference less and less. 

She did not know whether she regretted having 
yielded to him, or whether she did not wish, on the 
contrary, to enjoy him the more. The humiliation of 



MADAME BOVARY 17:{ 

feelinp herself weak was tuniinj^ to rancour, tempered 
by their vohiptuons pleasures. If was not affection ; 
it was like a continual seduclinu. lie suhjuf^ated her; 
she almost feared him. 

Appearances, nevertheless, were calmer than ever, 
ivodolphe havinj^^ succeeded in carrying out the afTair 
after his own fancy; and at the end of six months, 
when the springtime came, they were to one another 
like a married coui)!e, keepin<^ up a domestic flame. 

It was the time of year when old Rouault sent his 
turkey in rememhrancc of the setting of his leg. The 
present always arrived with a letter. Emma cut the 
string that tied it to the basket, and read the follow- 
ing lines: 

"My Dkar Cnn.DREN: I liope this will find you in good 
health, and tliat it will he as good as the others, for it seems 
to me a little more tender, if 1 may venture to say so, and 
heavier. But next time, for a change, I'll give you a turkey- 
cock, unless you have a preference for some little ones ; and 
send me hack tlie basket, if you please, with the two old ones. 
I have had an accident with my cart-sheds, the covering flew 
off among the trees one windy night. The iiarvest has not 
been very good either. I""inally, I don't know when I shall 
come to see you. It is so difficult now to leave the house 
since I am alone, my poor Emma." 

Here there was a break in the lines, as if the old 
man had dropped his pen to dream a little while. 

" For myself, 1 am very well, except for a cold I caught the 
other day at the fair at Yvetot. where I had gone to hire a 
shepherd, having turned away mine because he was too dainty. 
How we are to be pitied with such a lot of thieves! Besides, 
ho was also rude. I heard from a pedlar, who, travelling 
through your part of the country this winter, had a tooth 
drawn, that Bovary was working hard as usual. That doesn't 
surprise me ; and he showed me his tooth ; we had some cof- 
fee togetlicr. I asked him whether he had seen you, and he 
said he had not, but that he had seen two horses in the stable, 
from which 1 conclude that business is improving. So much 



174 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

tlie better, tny dear children, and may God send you every 
imaginable happiness ! It grieves me not yet to have seen my 
dear little granddaughter, Bcrthe Bovary. I have planted an 
Orleans plum-tree for her in the garden under your room, and 
1 won't have it touched unless it is to have jam made for her 
by-and-bye, which I will keep in the cupboard for when she 
comes. 

" Good-bye, my dear children. I kiss you, my girl, you too, 
my son-in-law, and the little one on both cheeks. I am, with 
best compliments, your loving father, 

"Theodore Rouault." 

She held the coarse paper in her fingers for some 
minutes. The mistakes in spelling were interwoven 
one with another, and Emma followed the kindly 
thought that cackled through it like a hen half hid- 
den in a hedge of thorns. The writing had been dried 
with ashes from the hearth, for a little grey powder 
fell from the letter on her skirt, and she almost thought 
she saw her father bending over the hearth to take up 
the tongs. How long it was since she had been with 
him, sitting on the footstool in the chimney-corner, 
where she used to burn the end of a bit of wood in the 
great flame of the sea-sedges ! She remembered the 
summer evenings, full of sunshine. The colts neighed 
when any one passed, and galloped, galloped. Under 
her window was a beehive, and sometimes the bees, 
wheeling round in the light, struck against her panes 
like rebounding balls of gold. What happiness she 
had enjoyed at that time, what freedom, what hope! 
What an abundance of illusions ! Nothing was left of 
them now. 

But what made her so unhappy, then ? What was 
the extraordinary catastrophe that had transformed 
her? And she raised her head, looking round as if to 
seek the cause of that which made her suffer. 

An April ray was dancing on the china of the cab- 
inet ; the fire burned ; beneath her slippers she felt the 



MADAME BOVARY HT} 

softness of tlu- carpet ; tin- day was hrij^dit. the air 
warm, and she heard her child shoulinjj^ with lauj^diler. 

In fact, the hule j^^irl was jnst then rolHn^ on the 
lawn in the midst of the ^rass that was heing turned. 
She was Ivinjj^ t1at on her stomach at the top of a rick. 

" r.rinj^ her to nie.'" said her mother, rnsliinp to em- 
hrace her. " llow I lo\i' son. my poor child! How 1 
love you ! " 

Then, noticintj that the tips of her ears were not 
clean, she ranp^ at once for warm water, and washed 
her, chang'ed her linen, her stockiui^s. her shoes, asketi 
a thousand (piestions ahout her health, as if she had 
just returned from a Ions;' journey, and finally, kissing 
her aj^ain and cryin<^ a little, she gave her back to the 
maid, who stood amazed at this excess of tenderness. 

That evening Rodolphe found her more serious than 
usual. 

" That will pass over," he concluded ; " it's a whim." 

And he missed three rendezvous ruiuiing. When he 
did come, she showed herself cold and almost con- 
temptuous. 

" Ah! you're losing your time, my lady! " said he to 
himself. 

lie pretended not to notice her melancholy sighs, 
nor the handkerchief she took out. 

Then Emma repented. She even asked herself why 
she detested Charles, and whether it would not have 
been better to be able to love him ? P>ut he gave her 
no opportunities for such a revival of sentiment, so 
that she was much embarrassed by her desire for sac- 
rifice, when the chemist came just in time to provide 
her with an opportunity. 



176 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 



CHAPTER XI 

EXTERIiMENTS IN SCIENCE 

HOMAIS had recently read a eulogy on a new 
method for curing club-foot, and as he was a 
partisan of progress, he conceived the patriotic 
idea that Yonville, in order to keep up to the times, 
ought to have some operations for strephopody or 
club-foot. 

"What risk is there?" said he to Emma. "See" 
(and he enumerated on his fingers the advantages of 
the attempt), " success, almost certain relief and beau- 
tifying of the patient, celebrity acquired by the opera- 
tor. Why, for example, should not your husband re- 
lieve Hippolyte of the Lion d"Or? Remember that 
he would not fail to tell about his cure to all the trav- 
ellers, and then " (Homais lowered his voice and 
looked round him) " who is to prevent me from send- 
ing a short paragraph on the subject to the paper? 
Well, an article gets about; it is talked of; it ends by 
making a snowball ! And who knows ? who knows ? " 

In fact, Bovary might succeed. Nothing as yet had 
proved to Emma that he was not clever ; and what a 
satisfaction for her to have urged him to a step where- 
by his reputation and fortune would be increased ! 
She wished to lean on something more solid than love. 

Charles, urged by the chemist and by Emma, al- 
lowed himself to be persuaded. He sent to Rouen for 
Dr. Duval's volume, and every evening, holding his 
head between both hands, plunged into study. 

While he was studying equinus, varus, and valgus, 
that is to say, katastrcphopody, cndostrcpJiopody, and 



MADAME BOVARY 177 

cxostrcphoj^ody (or bettor, the various tiirniup^s of the 
foot downward, inward, and (nitward, with the liyf^os- 
trcphopodx and aiiastrcphnf>ody) , otherwise torsion 
downward and npward. Monsieur I lomais. with all 
sorts of arj^uments, was exhortinj; tlu' lad at the inn 
to submit to the operation. 

" \'ou will feel, probably, only a slight pain ; it is a 
simple prick, like a little blood-letting, less than the 
extraction of certain corns." 

Hippolyte, reflecting^, rolled his stupid eyes. 

" However," continued the chemist, " it doesn't con- 
cern me. It's for your sake, for pure humanity ! I 
should like to see you. my friend, rid of your hideous 
claudication. to£jcther with that waddling^ of the lum- 
bar regions which, whatever you say, must consider- 
ably interfere with you in the exercise of your callino^." 

Then Homais represented to him how much jollier 
and brisker he would feel afterward, and even hinted 
that he would lie more likely to please the women ; 
whereat the stable-boy began to smile heavily. Then 
he attacked him through his vanity : 

" Aren't you a man ? Hang it ! what would you 
have done if you had had to go into the army, to go 
and fight beneath the standard ? Ah, Hippolyte ! " 

And Homais retired, declaring that he could not 
understand this obstinacy, this blindness in refusing 
the benefactions of science. 

The poor fellow yielded, for it was like a conspiracy. 
Binet, who never interfered with other people's busi- 
ness, Madame Lefrangois. Artemise, the neighbours, 
even the Mayor, Monsieur Tuvache — everyone per- 
suaded him. lectured him. shamed him ; but what 
finally decidetl him was that it would cost him noth- 
ing. Bovary even undertook to provide the machine 
for the operation. This generosity was an idea of 



178 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Emma's, and Charles consented to it, thinking in his 
heart of hearts that his wife was an angel. 

So by the advice of the chemist, and after three at- 
tempts, he had a kind of box made by the carpenter, 
with the aid of the locksmith, that weighed about 
eight pounds, and in which iron, wood, sheet-iron, 
leather, screws, and nuts had not been spared. 

But to know which of Hippolyte's tendons to cut. it 
was first necessary to find out what kind of club-foot 
he had. 

He had a foot forming almost a straight line with 
the leg. which, however, did not prevent it from being 
turned in, so that it was an equinus together with 
something of a varus, or else a slight varus with a 
strong tendency to equinus. But with this equinus, 
wide in foot like a horse's hoof, Avith rugose skin, dry 
tendons, and large toes, on which the black nails 
looked as if made of iron, the club-footed man ran 
about like a deer from morning till night. He was 
constantly to be seen in the square, jumping round the 
carts, thrusting his limping foot forward. He seemed 
even stronger on that leg than the other. 

Now, as it was an equinus, it was necessary to cut 
the tendon Achillis, and, if need were, the anterior 
tibial muscle could be operated on afterward for get- 
ting rid of the varus ; for the doctor did not dare to 
risk both operations at once ; he was even trembling 
already for fear of injuring some important region 
that he did not know. 

Neither Ambrose Pare, applying for the first time 
since Celsus, after an interval of fifteen centuries, a 
ligature to an artery, nor Dupuytren, about to open 
an abscess in the brain, nor Gensoul when he first took 
away the superior maxilla, had hearts that trembled, 
hands that shook, minds so strained as had Monsieur 



MADAME BOVARY 179 

I '.ovary when he a|)i)roachc(l IIij)polytc, his tenotome 
between his finj^ers. And. as at hospitals, near hy on 
a table lay a heap of lint, with waxed thread, many 
bandaj^es — a pyramid of bandages — every bandap^e to 
be found at the ehemist's. It was Monsieur Homais 
who sinee morninj^ had been orjj^anisin^ all these prep- 
arations, as nnich to da/./.le the multitude as to keep 
u]) his own illusions. C"harles pierced the skin; a dry 
cracklinj^ was heard. The tendon was cut, the opera- 
tion was over, llippolyte could not recover from his 
surjirise. but bent over I'ovary's hands to cover them 
with kisses. 

" Come, be calm." said the chemist : " later you will 
show your gratitude to your benefactor." 

And he went down to tell the result to five or six 
inquirers who were w-aiting in the yard, and who fan- 
cied that llippolyte would reappear walking properly. 
Then Charles, having buckled his patient into the ma- 
chine, went home, where Emma, all anxiety, awaited 
him at the door. She threw herself on his neck; they 
sat down to table ; he ate much, and at dessert he even 
wanted to take a cup of coffee, a luxury he permitted 
himself only on Sundays when there was company. 

The evening was charming, full of prattle, of dreams 
together. They talked about their future fortune, of 
the improvements to be made in their house ; he saw 
people's estimation of him growing, his comforts in- 
creasing, his wife always loving him; and she was 
happy to refresh herself with a new sentiment, health- 
ier, better, to feel at last some tenderness for this poor 
fellow who adored her. The thought of Rodolphe for 
one moment passed through her mind, but her eyes 
turned again to Charles : she even noticed with sur- 
prise that he had not bad teeth. 

They were in bed when Monsieur Homais, in spite 



180 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

of the servant, suddenly entered the room, holding in 
his hand a sheet of paper just written. It was the par- 
agraph he intended for the Faiial dc Rouen. He 
brought it them to read. 

" Read it yourself," said Bovary. 

He read — 

" ' Despite the prejudices that still invest a part of 
the face of Europe like a net, the light nevertheless 
begins to penetrate our country places. On Tuesday 
our little town of Yonville found itself the scene of a 
surgical operation which is at the same time an act of 
loftiest philanthropy. Monsieur Bovary, one of our 
most distinguished practitioners ' " 

" Oh. that is too much ! too much ! " said Charles, 
choking with emotion. 

'' Xo, no ! not at all ! What next ! " 

" ' Performed an operation on a club-footed 

man.' 

" I have not used the scientific term, because you 
know in a newspaper perhaps everyone would not un- 
derstand. The masses must " 

" Xo doubt," said Bovary ; " go on ! " 

" I proceed," said the chemist : 

" ' Monsieur Bovary, one of our most distinguished 
practitioners, performed an operation on a club-footed 
man called Hippolyte Tautain, stable-man for the last 
twenty-five years at the hotel of the " Lion d'Or." kept 
by Widow Lefrangois, at the Place d'Armes. The nov- 
elty of the attempt, and the interest incident to the sub- 
ject, had attracted such a concourse of persons that 
there was a veritable obstruction on the threshold of the 
establishment. The operation, moreover, was performed 
as if by magic, and barely a few drops of blood appeared 
on the skin, as if to say that the rebellious tendon had 
at last given way beneath the eflforts of art. The pa- 



MADAME BOVARY 1S1 

ticnt, stranp^cly enough — we affirm it as an cyc-witnc-ss 
— did not complain of pain. His condition up to the 
present time leaves nothinj^ to be desired. Everything 
lends to show that his convalescence will be brief; and 
who knows even if at our next village festivity we 
shall not see our good Ilijipolyte figuring in the bac- 
chic dance in the midst of a chorus of joyous boon 
com])anions. thus ])roving to all eyes by his gayety and 
his capers his complete cure? Honour, then, to the 
generous savants ! I lonour to those indefatigable spir- 
its who consecrate their vigils to the amelioration or 
to the alleviation of their kind! Honour, thrice 
honour! Is it not time to cry that the blind shall see, 
the deaf hear, the lame walk? Ikit that which fanati- 
cism formerly promised to its elect science now accom- 
l)lishes for all men. We shall keep our readers in- 
formed as to the successive phases of this remarkable 
cure." " 

This did not prevent Mere Lefrangois from coming 
five days later, scared, and crying out : 

" Help! he is dying! I am going crazy! " 

Charles rushed to the Lion d'Or, and the chemist, 
who caught sight of him passing along the square hat- 
less, abandoned his shop. He appeared himself breath- 
less, red, anxious, and asking everyone who was going 
up the stairs : 

" Why, what's the matter with our interesting 
strephopode? " 

The strephopode was writhing in hideous convul- 
sions, so that the machine in which his leg was en- 
closed was knocked against the wall violently enough 
to break it. 

With many precautions, in order not to disturb the 
position of the limb, the box was removed, and an 
awful sight was revealed. The outlines of the foot 



182 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

had disappeared in such a swelling that the skin 
seemed about to burst, and it was covered with ecchy- 
mosis, caused by the famous machine. Hippolyte had 
already complained of sufiferinq; from it. No atten- 
tion had been paid to him ; they had to acknowledge 
that he had not been altogether wrong, and he was 
freed for a few hours. But hardly had the oedema 
gone down to some extent, than the two savants 
thought fit to put back the limb in the apparatus, strap- 
ping it tighter to hasten matters. At last, three days 
later, as Hippolyte was unable to endure it any longer, 
they once more removed the machine, and were much 
surprised at the result they saw. The livid tumefac- 
tion had spread over the leg, with blisters here and 
there, whence oozed a black liquid. Matters were tak- 
ing a serious turn. Hippolyte began to worry himself, 
and Mere Lefranqois had him installed in the little 
room near the kitchen, so that he might at least have 
some distraction. 

But the tax-collector, who dined there every day, 
complained bitterly of such companionship. Then 
Plippolyte was removed to the billiard-room. He lay 
there moaning under his heavy coverings, pale, with 
unshaved beard, sunken eyes, and turning his perspir- 
ing head on the dirty pillow, where the flies alighted. 
Madame Bovary went to see him. She brought him 
linen for his poultices ; she comforted and encouraged 
him. Besides, he did not want for company, especially 
on market-days, when the peasants were knocking 
about the billiard-balls, fencing with the cues, smok- 
ing, drinking, singing, and bawling. 

" How are you ? " they said, clapping him on the 
shoulder. " Ah ! you're not up to much, it seems, but 
it's your own fault. You should do this — do that!" 
They told him stories of people who had been cured by 



MADAME BOVARY 183 

other rcmcflies. By way of ccjiisolation they added: 

" You p^et discouraged too easily ! Get up ! You 
nurse yourself like a king! And, besides, old boy, you 
don't smell sweet ! " 

Gangrene, in fact, was spreading more and more. 
Bovary himself turned sick at the sight of it. He 
came every hour, every moment. Ilippolyte looked at 
him with eyes full of terror, sobbing: 

" When shall I got well? Oh, save me! How un- 
fortunate I am! how unfortunate I am!" 

Then the doctor would go away, always recommend- 
ing him to diet himself. 

" Don't listen to him, my lad," said Mere Lefran- 
(^ois. "Haven't they tortured you enough already? 
You'll grow still weaker. Here ! swallow this." 

And she gave him some good beef-tea, a slice of 
mutton, a piece of bacon, and sometimes small glasses 
of brandy, which he had not the strength to drink. 

Abbe Bournisien, hearing that he was growing 
worse, asked to see him. He began by pitying his suf- 
ferings, declaring at the same time that he ought to 
rejoice at them since it was the will of the Lord, and 
take advantage of the occasion to reconcile himself to 
Heaven. 

" For," said the ecclesiastic in a paternal tone, " you 
rather neglected your duties ; you were rarely seen at 
divine worship. How many years is it since you ap- 
proached the holy table ? I understand that your work, 
that the whirl of the world, may have kept you from 
care for your salvation. But now is the time to re- 
flect. Yet don't despair. I have known great sinners, 
who, about to appear before God (you are not yet at 
this point, I know), had implored His mercy, and who 
certainly died in the best frame of mind. Let us hope 
that, like them, you will set us a good example. Thus, 



184 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

as a precaution, what is to prevent you from saying 
morning and evening a ' Hail Mary, full of grace,' and 
' Our Father which art in heaven ' ? Yes, do that, for 
my sake, to oblige me. That won't cost you anything. 
Will you promise me ? " 

The poor devil promised. The priest came back day 
after day. He chatted with the landlady, and even told 
anecdotes interspersed with jokes and puns that Hip- 
polyte did not understand. Then, as soon as he could, 
he fell back upon matters of religion, putting on an 
appropriately pious expression. 

His zeal seemed successful, for the patient soon 
manifested a desire to go on a pilgrimage to Bon- 
Secours if he were cured ; to which Monsieur Bour- 
nisien replied that he saw no objection ; two precau- 
tions were better than one ; it was ho risk anyhow. 

The chemist was indignant at what he called the 
manoeuvres of the priest ; they were prejudicial, he 
said, to Hippolyte's convalescence, and he kept repeat- 
ing to Madame Lefrangois, " Let him alone ! let him 
alone ! You disturb his morals with your mysticism." 

But the good woman would listen to him no longer ; 
he was the cause of it all. From a spirit of contradic- 
tion she hung up near the bedside of the patient a 
basin filled with holy-water and a branch of box. 

But religion seemed no more able to succour him 
than surgery, and the invincible gangrene still spread 
from the extremities toward the stomach. It was all 
very well to vary the potions and change the poultices ; 
every day the muscles rotted more and more ; and at 
last Charles replied by an affirmative nod of the head 
when Mere Lefranqois asked him if she might not, as 
a forlorn hope, send for Monsieur Canivet of Neuf- 
chatel, who was a celebrity. 

This was a doctor of medicine, fifty years of age, en- 



MADAME BOVARY 1S5 

joying a fjood position and sclf-i)osscssc(l, and he did 
not refrain from laughinj;^ disdainfully when lie had 
uncovered the leg, mortified to the knee. Then, having 
llatly declared that it must he amputated, he went 
off to the chemist's [o rail at the asses who could 
have reduced a poor man to such a state. Shaking 
Monsieur Ilomais hy the coat, he shouted out in the 
shop : 

" These are the inventions of Paris! These are the 
ideas of those gentry of the capital ! It is like strabis- 
mus, chloroform, lithotrity, a heap of monstrosities that 
the Government ought to prohibit. lUit they wish to be 
considered clever, and they stuff you with remedies 
without troubling about the consccpicnccs. We are not 
so clever, not we ! We are not savants, coxcombs, 
fops ! We are practitioners ; we cure people, and we 
should not dream of operating on anyone who is in 
perfect health. Straighten club-feet! As if one could 
straighten club-feet! It is as if one wished, for exam- 
ple, to make a hunchback straight ! " 

Homais suffered as he hstened to this discourse, and 
he concealed his discomfiture beneath a courtier's 
smile ; for he needed to humour Monsieur Canivet, 
whose prescriptions sometimes came as far as Yonville. 
So he did not take up the defence of Bovary ; he did 
not even make a remark, and, renouncing his princi- 
ples, he sacrificed his dignity to the more serious in- 
terests of his business. 

This amputation of the leg by Dr. Canivet was a 
great event in the village. On that day all the in- 
habitants arose earlier, and the Grande Rue, although 
full of people, had something lugubrious about it, as 
if an execution had been expected. At the grocer's 
they discussed Hippolyte's illness ; the shops did no 
business, and Madame Tuvache. the mayor's wife, did 



186 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

not stir from her window, such was lier impatience to 
see the surgeon arrive. 

He came in his gig, wliich he drove himself. But 
the springs of the right side having sunk beneath the 
weight of his corpulence, the carriage leaned over a 
little, as it rolled along, and on the cushion beside him 
could be seen a large box covered with red leather, 
with three brass clasps shining grandly. 

After the doctor had entered like a whirlwind the 
porch of the Lion d'Or. he ordered them to unhar- 
ness his horse. Tlien he went into the stable to see 
that it was eating its oats ; for on arriving at a pa- 
tient's he looked after his mare and his gig first of all. 
This made people say : 

" Ah ! Monsieur Canivet's an odd character ! " 

And he was the more esteemed for this imperturb- 
able coolness. The whole world to the last man might 
have died, and he would not have omitted the smallest 
of his habits. 

Homais presented himself. 

" I count on you," said the doctor. " Are we ready? 
Come along ! " 

But the chemist, turning red, confessed that he was 
too sensitive to assist at such an operation. 

" When one is a simple spectator," he said, " the 
imagination, you know, is impressed. And then I 
am so very nervous ! " 

" Pshaw ! " interrupted Canivet ; '* on the contrary, 
you seem to me inclined to apoplexy. Besides, that 
doesn't astonish me, for you chemist fellows are al- 
ways poking about your kitchens, which must end by 
spoiling your constitutions. Now^ just look at me. I 
get up every day at four o'clock ; I shave with cold 
water (and am never cold). I don't wear flannels, 
and I never catch cold ; my carcass is good enough ! 



MADAME BOVARY 1S7 

I live now in f)nc' way. now in anollu-r. like a philoso- 
pher, takinj:^ pot-ltick; that is why I am not scpieamish 
like you, and it is as indifferent to nie to carve a 
Christian as tin- Hrst fowl that turns up. Perhaps, you 
will say ' hahit ! hahit ! ' " 

Then, without any consideration for llijipolyte, who 
was sweatinjjf with at^ony hetween his sheets, these 
gentlemen entiiid into a conversation in which the 
chemist compared the coolness of a surj^eon to that of 
a general ; and this comparison was pleasing to Cani- 
vet, who launched out on the demands of his art. He 
looked upon it as a sacred office, although the ordinary 
practitioners dishonoured it. At last, coming hack to 
the patient, he examined the handages hrought hy IIo- 
mais, the same that had appeared for the cluh-foot, 
and asked for some one to hold the limb for him. Les- 
tiboudois was sent for, and Monsieur Canivet, having 
turned up his sleeves, passed into the billiard-room, 
while the chemist stayed with Artemise and the land- 
lady, both whiter than their aprons, and with ears 
strained toward the door. 

During this tiiiie Bovary did not dare to stir from 
his house. He kept downstairs in the sitting-room 
beside the fireless chimney, his chin on his breast, his 
hands clasped, his eyes staring. " What a mishap ! " 
he thought, " what a mishap ! " Perhaps, after all, he 
had made some slip. He thought it over, but could 
decide on nothing. Hut the most famous surgeons also 
made mistakes ; yet that is what no one would ever be- 
lieve ! On the contrary, people would laugh, jeer ! It 
would spread as far as Forges. Xeufchatel. Rouen, 
everywhere ! \\'ho could say whether his colleagues 
would not write against him. Polemics would ensue ; 
he would have to reply in the papers. Hippolyte might 
even prosecute him. He saw himself dishonoured. 



188 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ruined, lost ; and his imagination, assailed by a world 
of hypotheses, tossed among them like an empty cask 
borne by the sea and floating on the waves. 

Sitting opi^osite, Emma watched him ; she did not 
share his humiliation ; she felt another — that of hav- 
ing supposed such a man was worth anything. As if 
twenty times already she had not sufficiently perceived 
his mediocrity ! 

Charles was walking up and down the room ; his 
boots creaked on the floor. 

" Sit down," she said ; " you make me nervous." 

He sat down. 

How was it that she — she, who was so intelligent — 
could have allowed herself to be deceived again? and 
through what deplorable madness had she thus ruined 
her life by continual sacrifices?' She recalled all her 
instincts of luxury, all the privations of her soul, the 
sordidness of marriage, of the household, her dreams 
sinking into the mire like wounded swallows ; all that 
she had longed for, all that she had denied herself, all 
that she might have had ! And for what? for what? 

In the midst of the silence that hung over the vil- 
lage a heartrending cry arose on the air. Bovary 
turned white and almost fainted. Emma frowned with 
a nervous gesture. And it was for him, for this 
creature, for this man, who understood nothing, who 
felt nothing ! For he sat there, quiet, not even sus- 
pecting that the ridicule of his name would henceforth 
sully hers as well as his. She had made efforts to love 
him, and she had repented with tears for having 
yielded to another ! 

" But it was perhaps a valgus ! " suddenly exclaimed 
Bovary, who was meditating. 

At the unexpected shock of this phrase falling on 
her thought like a leaden bullet on a silver plate, 



MADAME BOVARY IS!) 

Emma, slmddcrinjj^, raised lur head to find out what 
ho meant to say; and they looked at each other in si- 
lence, almost amazed to see each other, so far snndered 
were they hy their inner thouj^dits. Charles ^azed at 
her with the dull look of a drunken man, while he 
listened motionless to the last cries of the sufTerer, 
that followed one another in lonj^-drawn modulations, 
hrokcn hy sharp yells like the far-off howlinjr of some 
heast hein^- slaughtered. l*!mma hit her pale lips, and 
rollint;; hetwcen her finj^^crs a i)iece of coral that she 
had broken, fixed on Charles the burning j^lance of her 
eyes like two arrows of fire about to dart forth. Ev- 
erything about him irritated her now: his face, his 
dress, what he did not say. his whole person, his exist- 
ence, in short. She repented of her past virtue as of a 
crime, and what still remained of it crumbled away be- 
neath the furious bhnvs of her pride. She revelled in 
all the sinful ironies of trium])hant adultery. The 
memory of her lover came back to her with dazzlinc^ 
attractions ; she threw her whole soul into it, borne 
away toward this image with fresh enthusiasm ; and 
Charles seemed to her as much removed from her life, 
as absent forever, as impossible and annihilated, as if 
he had been about to die. 

There was a sound of steps on the pavement. 
Charles looked up, and through the lowered blinds he 
saw at the corner of the market in the broad sunshine 
Dr. Cavinet, who was wiping his forehead with a 
handkerchief. Homais, behind him, was carrying a 
large red box in his hand, and both were going toward 
the chemist's. 

With a feeling of sudden tenderness and discourage- 
ment Charles turned to his wife, saying to her: 

" Oh, kiss me, my love ! " 

" Leave me ! " she said, red with ang-er. 



190 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

"What is the matter?" he asked, stupefied. "Be 
cahn ; compose yourself. You know well enough that 
I love you. Come ! " 

" Enough ! " she cried, with a terrible look. 

And, escaping from the room, Emma closed the 
door so violently that the barometer fell from the wall 
and smashed on the floor. 

Charles sank back into his armchair overwhelmed, 
trying to discover what could be wrong with her, fan- 
cying some nervous illness, weeping, and vaguely feel- 
ing something fatal and incomprehensible whirling 
round him. 

When Rodolphe came to the garden that evening, he 
found his mistress waiting for him at the foot of the 
steps on the lowest stair. They threw their arms 
round each other, and all their rancour melted like 
snow beneath the warmth of that kiss. 



CHAPTER XII 

TREPARATIONS 

THEIR love was renewed. Often, even in the 
middle of the day, Emma suddenly wrote to 
him, then from the window made a sign to Jus- 
tin, who, taking his apron off, quickly ran to La Hu- 
chette with the note. Rodolphe would come ; she had 
sent for him to tell him that she was bored, that her 
husband was odious, her life frightful. 

" But what can I do ? " he said impatiently one day. 

" Ah ! if you would " 

She was sitting on the floor between his knees, her 
hair loose, her look abstracted. 



MADAME BOVARY 191 

"Well, what?" Kodolplu- asked. 

Slic sighed. 

"We would ^() and live elsewhere — soiiiewlicre ! " 

"You are really mad!" hv said lauj^hinj,''. "How 
could ihat he possihle?" 

She retuiiu'd lo ihe suhjcct ; ho pretended not to 
undersland, and turned the conversation. 

What he did n^t understand was all this worry 
about so simple an affair as love. But Emma had a 
motive, a reason, a pendant to her afTcction. 

Her tenderness, in fact, ^rew each clay with her re- 
pulsion to her husband. The more she p^ave herself u]) 
to the one, the more she loathed the other. Never had 
Charles seemed to her so disaj^'recable, to have such 
clumsy fingers, such common ways, to be so dull as 
when they found themselves together after she met 
Rodolphe. While playing the spouse and virtue she 
was burning at the thought of that head whose black 
hair fell in a curl over the sunburned brow, of that 
form at once so strong and elegant, of that man, in a 
word, who had such experience in his reasoning, such 
passion in his desires. It was for him that she filed 
her nails with the care of a gold-chaser, and that there 
never was enough cold cream for her skin, nor of pat- 
chouli for her handkerchiefs. She loaded herself with 
bracelets, rings, and necklaces. When he was coming 
she filled the two large blue glass vases with roses, 
and prepared her room and her person like a courtesan 
expecting a prince. The servant had to be constantly 
washing linen, and all day Felicite did not stir from 
the kitchen, where young Justin, who often kept her 
company, watched her at work. 

With his elbows on the long board on which she was 
ironing, he greedily watched all this feminine attirt 
spread out about him — the dimity petticoats, the fichus. 



J92 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

the collars, and the drawers with ninning'-strings, 
wide at the hips and g^rowinp; narrower below. 

" What is that for? " asked the young fellow, pass- 
ing his hand over the crinoline or the hooks and eyes. 

"Why, haven't you ever seen anything?" Fclicite 
answered laughing. " As if your mistress, Madame 
Homais, didn't wear the same." 

"Oh, I daresay! Madame Homais!" And he 
added with a meditative air, " As if she were a lady 
like Madame ! " 

But Felicite grew impatient of seeing him hanging 
round her. She was six years older than he, and Theo- 
dore, Monsieur Guillaumin's servant, w-as beginning 
to pay court to her. 

" Let me alone," she said, moving her pot of starch. 
" You'd better be off and pound almonds ; you are al- 
ways dangling about women. Before you meddle with 
such things, naughty boy, w'ait till you've got a beard 
to your chin." 

" Oh, don't be cross! I'll go and clean her boots." 

And he took down from the shelf Emma's boots, 
all coated with mud, the mud of the rendezvous, which 
crumbled into powder beneath his fingers, and which he 
watched as it gently rose in a ray of sunlight. 

" How afraid you are of spoiling them ! " said the 
servant, who wasn't so particular when she cleaned 
them herself, because as soon as the leather of the 
boot was no longer fresh Madame handed them to her. 

Emma had several pairs in her cupboard that she 
wore out one after the other, without Charles allowing 
himself the slightest observation. So also he disbursed 
three hundred francs for a wooden leg of which she 
thought proper to make a present to Hippolyte. Its 
top was covered with cork, and it had spring joints, a 
complicated mechanism, covered over by black trous- 



MADAME BOVARY 193 

crs ending in a patcnt-lcatlicr brx^t. T'.ut Ilippolytc, 
not (larinq- to use sueli a handsome lep^ every day, 
begpcd Madame liovary to j^a-t him anotlier more con- 
venient one. The doctor, of course, had again to de- 
fray the expense of this purchase. 

So httle by Httle the stable-man took up his work 
again. ( )ne saw him running about the village as l)e- 
fore, and when Charles heard from afar the sharp 
nose of the wooden leg, he went in another direc- 
tion. 

It was Monsieur Lheureux, the shopkeeper, who had 
undertaken the order ; this i:)rovide<l him with an ex- 
cuse for visiting Enuua. He chatted with her about 
the new goods from Paris. al)out a thousand fciuinine 
trifles, made himself very obliging, and never asked for 
his money. Emma yielded to this lazy mode of satis- 
fying all her caprices. Thus she wanted to have a very 
handsome riding-whip that was at an umbrella-maker's 
at Rouen to give to Rodolphe. The next week Mon- 
sieur Lheureux laid it on her table. 

But the following day he called on her with a bill 
for two hundred and seventy francs, not counting the 
centimes. Emma was much embarrassed ; all the 
drawers of the writing-table were emjity ; they owed 
over a fortnight's wages to Lestiboudois, two quar- 
ters to the servant, and for any quantity of other 
things, and Bovary was impatiently expecting Mon- 
sieur Derozerays' account, which he was in the habit of 
paying him every year about midsummer. 

She succeeded at first in putting off Lheureux. At 
last he lost patience ; he was being sued ; his capital 
was out, and unless he got some in he should be forced 
to take back all the goods she had received. 

" Oh, very well, take them ! " said Emma. 

" I was only joking," he replied ; " the only thing I 



194 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

regret is the wliii). I'll ask Monsieur Bovary to return 
it to me." 

" No, no ! " she said. 

"Ah! I've caup^ht you!" thought Lheureux. 

And, certain of his discovery, he went out repeat- 
ing in an undertone, and with his usual low whistle : 

" Good ! we shall see I we shall see ! " 

Emma was thinking how to get out of this when the 
servant coming in put on the mantelpiece a small roll 
of blue paper " From Monsieur Derozerays." Emma 
pounced upon and opened it. It contained fifteen na- 
poleons ; it was the account. She heard Charles on 
the stairs ; threw the gold to the back of her drawer, 
and took out the key. 

Three days later Lheureux reappeared. 

" I have an arrangement to suggest to you," he said. 
" If, instead of the sum agreed on, you would 
take " 

" Here it is," she said, placing fourteen napoleons in 
his hand. 

The tradesman was dumfounded. Then, to con- 
ceal his disappointment, he was profuse in apologies 
and profifers of service, all of which Emma declined ; 
she remained a few moments fingering in the pocket 
of her apron the two five-franc pieces that he had given 
her in change. She promised herself she would econo- 
mise in order to pay back later. " Pshaw ! " she 
thought, " he won't think about it again." 

Besides the riding-whip with its silver-gilt handle, 
Rodolphe had received a seal with the motto Amor ncl 
cor ; furthermore, a scarf for a muffler, and, finally, a 
cigar-case exactly like the \^iscount's which Charles 
had formerly picked up in the road, and which Emma 
had kept. These presents, however, humiliated him ; 



MADAME BOVARY 195 

lie refused several ; she insisted, and he ended by ohcy- 
inj;-. thinUinjjf lier tyrannical and over-exaclinj:^. 

Then she had stranj:jc ideas. 

" When midnight strikes," she said, " you must 
think of me." 

And if he confessed that he had not thought of her, 
there were Hoods of reproaches that always ended with 
the eternal (|uestion : 

" Do you love me? " 

" Why, of course I love you," he answered. 

" A great deal?" 

" Certainly ! " 

"You ha\en't loved any others?" 

"Did }ou think ycni'd found a virgin?" he ex- 
claimed, laughing. 

Emma wept, and he tried to console her, adorning 
his protestations with puns. 

" Oh," she went on, " I love you ! I love you so 
that I could not live without you, do you see? There 
are times when I long to see you again, w^hen I am 
torn by all the anger of love. I ask myself, Where is 
he? Perhaps he is talking to other women. They 
smile upon him ; he approaches. Oh, no ! no one else 
pleases you. There are some more beautiful, but I 
love you best. I know how to love best. I am your 
slave, your concubine ! You are my king, my idol ! 
You are good, you are beautiful, you are clever, you 
are strong ! " 

He had so often heard these things said that they 
did not strike him as original. Emma was like all his 
mistresses ; and the charm of novelty, gradually fall- 
ing away like a garment, laid bare the eternal monot- 
ony of passion, which has always the same forms and 
the same language. He did not distinguish, this man 
of so much experience, the difference of sentiment be- 



106 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

neatli the sameness of e-xprcssion. Because lips that 
were Hbertine and venal had murmured such words to 
him, he believed little in the candour of hers; exag- 
p^erated speeches hidings mediocre aflfections must be 
(hscounted ; as if the fulness of the soul did not some- 
times overflow in the emptiest metaphors, since no one 
can ever give the exact measure of his needs, nor of 
his conceptions, nor of his sorrows ; and since human 
speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we ham- 
mer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to 
move the stars. 

But with that superior critical judgment that be- 
longs to him who, in no matter what circumstance, 
holds back, Rodolphe saw other delights to be got out 
of this love. He thought all modesty in the way. He 
treated her quite without ceremony, making of her 
something supple and corrupt. Hers was an idiotic 
sort of attachment, full of admiration for him, of 
voluptuousness for herself, a beatitude that benumbed 
her ; her soul sank into this drunkenness, shrivelled, 
drowned in it, like Clarence in his butt of Malmsey. 

By the mere efifect of this love Madaine Bovary's 
manners changed. Her looks grew bolder, her speech 
more free ; she even committed the impropriety of 
walking out with Monsieur Rodolphe, a cigarette in 
her mouth, as if to defy the people. At last, those who 
had still doubted, doubted no longer when one day they 
saw her getting out of the " Hirondelle," with her 
waist squeezed into a waistcoat like a man ; and Ma- 
dame Bovary senior, who, after a terrible scene with 
her husband had taken refuge at her son's, was not the 
least scandalised among the women. Many other 
things displeased her. First. Charles had not at- 
tended to her advice about the forbidding of novels; 
then the " ways of the house " annoyed her ; she al- 



MADAME BOVARY 197 

lowed licrsclf to make some remarks, and there were 
quarrels, especially one on account of Fclicitc. 

Madame IJovary senior, the eveninj^f before, going 
through the passage, had surjirised her in the company 
of a man — a man with a brown collar, about forty 
years old, who, at \hv sound oi Iter step, had fpiickly 
escaped through the kilclien. Then Emma began to 
laugh, but the good lady grew angry, declaring that 
unless morals were to be laughed at one ought to look 
after those of one's servants. 

"Where were you brought up?" asked the 
daughter-in-law, with so impertinent a look that Ma- 
dame Uovary asked her if she were not perhaps de- 
fending her own case. 

" Leave the room 1 " said the young woman, spring- 
ing up with a boimd. 

"Emma! Manuna!" cried Charles, trying to re- 
concile them. 

But both had lied in their exasperation. Emma was 
stamping her feet as she repeated : 

" Oh ! what manners ! What a peasant ! " 

He ran to his mother ; she was beside herself. She 
stammered : 

" She is an insolent, giddy thing, or perhaps even 
worse ! " 

And she was for leaving at once if the other did not 
apologise. 

So Charles went back again to his wife and im- 
plored her to give way ; he knelt to her ; she ended by 
saying : 

" \'ery well! Ell go to her." 

And in fact she held out her hand to her mother-in- 
law with the dignity of a marchioness as she said : 

" Excuse me. Madame." 

Then, having gone up again to her room, she threw 



198 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

herself flat on her bed and wept there like a child, her 
face buried in the pillow. 

She and Rodolphe had agreed that, in the event of 
anything extraordinary occurring, she should fasten a 
small piece of white paper to the blind, so that if by 
chance he happened to be in Yonville, he could hurry 
to the lane behind the house. Emma made the signal ; 
she had been waiting three quarters of an hour when 
she suddenly spied Rodolphe at the corner of the 
market. She felt tempted to open the window 
and call him. but he had disappeared. She fell back 
in despair. 

But soon it seemed to her that some one was walk- 
ing on the pavement. It was he, no doubt. She went 
downstairs, crossed the yard. He w'as outside. She 
threw herself into his arms. 

" Do take care ! " he said. 

" Ah, if you knew^ ! " she replied. 

And she began telling him everything, hurriedly, 
disjointedly, exaggerating the facts, inventing many, 
and so prodigal of parentheses that he understood 
nothing of it. 

" Come, my poor angel, courage ! Be comforted ! 
be patient ! " 

" But I have been patient ; I have suffered for four 
years. A love like ours ought to show itself in the face 
of heaven. They torture me ! I can bear it no longer ! 
Save me ! " 

She clung to Rodolphe. Her eyes, full of tears, 
flashed like flames beneath a wave ; her breast heaved ; 
he had never loved her so much, so that he lost his 
head and said : 

" What is it ? What do you wish ? " 

" Take me aw^ay," she cried, " carry me off ! Oh, I 
implore you ! " 



MADAME BOVARY 199 

And she cluii!^ to his Hps, as if to seize there the 
unexpected consent it breathed forth in a kiss. 

" P.ut " Kodolphe resumed. 

"What?" 

" 'S'our Htlle t;irl ! " 

She rcllecled a feu moments, then rephed : 

" We will lake her! It can't ])e helped! " 

"What a wiiinan!" he said to himself, watching 
her as she left him. h\ir she had run into the tjarden. 
Some one was callinj^ her. 

On the following days Madame Bovary senior was 
much surprised at the change in her daughter-in-law. 
Emma, in fact, was showing herself more docile, and 
even carried her deference so far as to ask for a reci])e 
for pickling gherkins. 

Was this done the better to deceive them both? C)r 
did she wish by a sort of volujituous stoicism to feel 
more profoundly the bitterness of the things she was 
about to leave ? 

But she paid no heed to them ; on the contrary, she 
lived as if lost in the anticipatetl delight of her coming 
happiness. It was an eternal subject for conversation 
with Rodolphe. She leaned on his shoulder, saying: 

" Ah, when we are in the mail-coach ! Do you think 
about it ? Can it be ? It seems to me that the moment 
I feel the carriage start it will be as if we were rising 
in a balloon, as if we were setting out for the clouds. 
Do you know that I count the hours? And you?" 

Never had Madame Bovary been so beautiful as at 
this period ; she had that indefinable beauty that re- 
sults from joy, from enthusiasm, from success, and 
which is only the harmony of temperament with circum- 
stances. Her desires, her sorrows, the experience of 
pleasure, and her ever-young illusions, had gradually 
developed her, as the soil and rain and winds and the 



200 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

sun make flowers grow, and she at length blossomed 
forth in all the plenitude of her nature. Her eyelids 
seemed chiselled expressly for her long, amorous looks 
in which the pupil disajipeared, while a strong inspira- 
tion expanded her delicate nostrils and raised the fleshy 
corner of her lips, shaded in the light by a little black 
down. One would have thought that an artist apt in 
conception had arranged the curls of hair upon her 
neck ; they fell in a thick mass, negligently, and with 
the changing chances of their caresses, which unbound 
them every day. Her voice now took more mellow in- 
flections, her figure also ; something subtle and pene- 
trating escaped even from the folds of her gown and 
from the line of her foot. Charles, as when they were 
first married, thought her delicious and irresistible. 

When he came home in the middle of the night, he 
did not dare to wake her. The porcelain night-light 
threw a round trembling gleam upon the ceiling, and 
the drawn curtains of the little cot formed a kind of 
wdiite hut standing out in the shade, and by the bed- 
side Charles looked at them. He seemed to hear the 
light breathing of his child. She would grow larger 
now ; every season would bring rapid progress. He 
already saw her coming from school as the day closed, 
laughing, with ink-stains on her jacket, and carrying 
her basket on her arm. Then she would have to be 
sent to a boarding-school ; that would cost much ; how 
was it to be done ? He reflected. He thought of hir- 
ing a small farm in the neighbourhood, which he 
would superintend every morning on his way to his 
patients. He would save what he brought in ; he 
w^ould put it in the bank. Then he would buy shares 
somewhere, no matter where ; besides, his practice 
would increase ; he counted upon that, for he wanted 
Berthe to be well-educated, to be accomplished, to 



MADAME BOVARY 201 

learn to play the ])iaiu). Ah, lunv pretty she would be 
later, when she was fifteen, when, resembling her 
mother, sJie would, lilce her, wear larjiije straw hats in 
the summer-time ; from a distance they would be taken 
for two sisters. He pictured her to himself workinj^ 
in the evening by their side beneath the light of the 
lamp; she would embroider him slippers; she would 
look after the house; she would fill all the home with 
her charm and her gaiety. At last, they would think 
of her marriage; they would find her some good young 
fellow with a steady business; he would make her 
happy ; this would last forever. 

h2mma was not asleep; she ])retende(l to be; and 
while he dozed off beside her she awakened to other 
dreams. 

To the gallo]") of four horses she was carried away 
for a week toward a new land, whence they would re- 
turn no more. She and Rodoljihe went on and on, 
their arms entwined, without a word. Often from the 
top of a mountain they caught sudden glimpses of 
some splendid city with domes, and bridges, and ships, 
forests of citron trees, and cathedrals of white marble, 
on whose pointed steeples were storks' nests. But 
then the child began to cough in her cot or llovary 
snored more loudly, and Kmma did not fall asleep 
till morning, wdien the dawn whitened the windows, 
and when young Justin was already in the square tak- 
ing down the shutters of the chemist's shop. 

She had sent for Monsieur Lheureux, and said : 

" I want a cloak — a large, lined cloak with a deep 
collar." 

" You are going on a journey ? " he asked. 

" No ; but — never mind. I may count on you, may 
I not, and soon ? " 

He bowed. 



202 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Besides, I shall want," she continued, " a trunk — 
not too heavy — a g^ood one." 

" Yes, yes, I understand. Ahout three feet by a foot 
and a half, as they are being made just now." 

" And a travelling bag." 

" Decidedly," thought Lheureux, " there's some 
trouble in the family." 

'' And," said ]\ladanie Bovary, taking her watch 
from her belt, " take this ; you can pay yourself out 
of it." 

But the tradesman exclaimed that she was wrong; 
they knew one another ; did he doubt her ? What 
childishness ! 

She insisted, however, on his taking the chain, at 
least, and Lheureux had already put it in his pocket 
and was about to go, when she called him back. 

" You will leave everything at your place. As to 
the cloak " — she seemed to be reflecting — " do not 
bring that here, either ; you can give me the maker's 
address, and tell him to have it ready for me." 

They were to run away the next month. She was 
to leave Yonville as if going on some business to 
Rouen. Rodolphe would have booked the seats, pro- 
cured the passports, and even have written to Paris 
in order to have the whole mail-coach reserved for 
them as far as Marseilles, where they would buy a 
carriage, and go on thence without stopping to Genoa. 
She would take care to send her luggage to Lheureux', 
whence it w-ould be taken direct to the " Hirondelle," 
so that no one would have any suspicion. In all this 
there never was any allusion to the child. Rodolphe 
avoided speaking of her ; perhaps he no longer thought 
about it. 

First, he wished to have two more weeks before him 
to arrange some affairs; then at the end of a week he 



MADAME BOVARY 203 

wanted two more; tlun Ir- said he was ill; next he 
went on a journey, 'ihe month of Aup^nst ])assed, and, 
after all these delays, they decided that their flip^ht was 
to he fixed for the fmirlh of September — a Monday. 

At len^^th the Saturday before that date arrived. 

Rodolphe came in the cveninpf earlier than usual. 

" Evervthins::; is ready? " she asked him. 

" Yes." 

They walked round a j^arden-bed, and went to sit 
down near tlu- terrace on the copestone of the wall. 

" You arc sad," said Enuna. 

" No ; why ? " 

Yet he looked at her stranj^ely in a tender fashion. 

" Is it because you are going away? '' she went on ; 
" because you are leaving what is dear to you — your 
life? Ah, I understand. I have nothing in the world! 
You are all to me ; so shall I be to you. I will be your 
people, your country ; I will tend. I will love you ! " 

" How sweet you are ! " he said, seizing her in his 
arms. 

" Really ! " she said, with a voluptuous laugh. " Do 
you love me ? Swear it, then ! " 

" Do I love you — love you? I adore you, my love! " 

The moon, full and purple, was rising out of the 
earth at the end of the meadow. She rose quickly be- 
tween the branches of the poplars, which hid her here 
and there like a black curtain pierced with holes. 
Then she appeared dazzling white in the clear heavens, 
and now, sailing more slowly along, she let fall upon 
the river a great stain that broke up into an infinity of 
stars ; and the silver sheen seemed to writhe through 
the very depths like a headless serpent covered with 
luminous scales. 

" Ah. what a lovely night ! " said Rodolphe. 

" We shall have others," replied Emma ; and. as if 



204 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

speaking to herself, " Yes, it will be good to travel. 
And yet, why should my heart be so heavy? Is it 
dread of the unknown ? The efifect of habits left ? (3r 

rather ? No; it is the excess of happiness. How 

w-eak I am, am I not ? Forgive me ! " 

" There is still time ! " he cried. " Reflect ! perhaps 
you may repent ! " 

"Never!" she cried impetuously. And coming 
closer to him : " What ill could come to me? There is 
no desert, no precipice, no ocean I would not traverse 
with you. The longer we live together the more it will 
be like an embrace, every day closer, more heart to 
heart. There will be nothing to trouble us, no cares, 
no obstacle. We shall be alone, all to ourselves eter- 
nally. Oh, speak! Answer me ! " 

At regular intervals he answered, " Yes — Yes — " 
She had passed her hands through his hair, and she 
repeated in a childlike voice, despite large tears that 
were falling, " Rodolphe ! Rodolphe ! Ah, Rodolphe ! 
dear little Rodolphe ! " 

Midnight struck. 

" Midnight ! " said she. " Come ! it is to-morrow ! 
One day more ! " 

He rose to go; and as if the movement he made had 
been the signal for their flight, Emma said, suddenly 
assuming a gay air : 

" You have the passports? " 

" Yes." 

" You are forgetting nothing? " 

" No." 

" Are you sure ? " 

" Certainly." 

" It is at the Hotel de Provence, is it not, that you 
will wait for me at mid-day ? " 

He nodded. 



MADAME BOVARY 206 

" Till to-inorrow then! " said JMiiiiia in a last caress; 
and she watched him depart. 

He did not turn. She ran after him. and, leaning 
over the water's edge hetween the hnhnshes: 

" To-morrow ! " she cried. 

lie was alreadv on (he otlur side r)f the river and 
walking ra|)i(ll\ across the field. 

After a few moments Rodolphe stopped; and when 
he saw her with her white gown gradually fade away 
in the shade like a ghost, he was seized with such a 
beating of the heart that he leaned against a tree lest 
he should fall. 

"What an imbecile I am!" he said with a terrible 
oath. " No matter! she was a pretty mistress! " 

And immediately Emma's beauty, with all the pleas- 
ures of their love, came back to him. For a moment 
he softened ; then he rebelled against her. 

" For, after all." he exclaimed, gesticulating, " I 
can't exile myself — have a child on my hands." 

He said these things to give himself firmness. 

" And besides, the worry, the expense ! Ah ! no, 
no. no, no ! a thousand times no ! It would have been 
too stupid ! " 



CHAPTER Xni 

RODOLPIII-: RIDF,S AWAY 

AS soon as Rodolphe reached home he sat down 
quickly at his desk under the stag's head that 
hung as a trophy on the wall. But after he 
had taken the pen between his fingers, he could think 
of nothing to write, so that, resting on his elbows, he 



206 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

began to reflect. Emma seemed to him to have re- 
ceded into a far-oflf past, as if the resolution he had 
taken had suddenly placed a distance between them. 

To bring back something of her, he took from the 
cupboard at the bedside an old Rheims biscuit-box, in 
which he usually kept his letters from women, and 
from it came an odour of dry dust and withered roses. 
Mrst, he saw a handkerchief with pale little spots. It 
was a handkerchief of Emma's. Once when they 
were walking her nose had bled ; he had forgotten it. 
Near it, chipped at all the corners, was a miniature 
given him by Emma : her toilette seemed to him pre- 
tentious, and her languishing look in the worst pos- 
sible taste. From looking at this image and recalling 
the memory of its original, little by little Emma's feat- 
ures grew confused in his remembrance, as if the liv- 
ing and the painted face, rubbing one against the other, 
had etTaced each other. Finally, he road some of her 
letters ; they were full of explanations relating to their 
journey, short, technical, and urgent, like business 
notes. He wished to read the long ones again, those of 
earlier times. In order to find them at the bottom of 
the box, Rodolphe disturbed all the others, and me- 
chanically began rummaging amid this mass of papers 
and things, finding bouquets, garters, a black mask, 
pins, and hair — hair ! dark and fair ; some of it, catch- 
ing in the hinges of the box, broke when the lid was 
opened. 

Thus dallying with his souvenirs, he examined the 
writing and the style of the letters, as varied as their 
orthography. They were tender or merry, facetious, 
melancholy ; some asked for love, others for money. A 
word recalled faces to him, certain gestures, the sound 
of a voice ; sometimes, however, he remembered noth- 
ins: at all. 



MADAME BOVARY 207 

In fact, all these women, rushinp toj^ethcr into his 
thoughts, cranii)e(l one another and lessened, as re- 
duced to a uniform level of love that e(|nalised them 
all. So, takin.ij handfnis of the letters, he anuised him- 
self for some mDnunts with lettinj^ them fall in cas- 
cades from his ri^ht hand into his left. At last, bored 
and weary, Rodolphe took hack the box to the cup- 
board, sayinj^ to himself. " What a mass of rubbish! " 
This smnmed up his opinion ; for pleasures, like 
schoolboys in a school courtyard, had so worn his 
heart that no <^reen thint:^ crrew there, and that which 
passed throuj^h it, more heedless than children, did not 
even, like them, leave a name carved u])on the wall. 

" Come," said he. " we nuist begin." 

He wrote : 

" CouraRc, Fmma ! courage ! I would not bring misery 
into your life." 

" And that is true," thought Rodolphe. "I am act- 
ing in her interest ; I am honest." 

"Have you weiglied your resohition carefully? Do you 
realise to wliat an abyss I was dragging you, poor angel ? No, 
you do not, do you ? Vou were coming contident and fear- 
less, believing in happiness in the future. Ah ! unhappy that 
we are — insensate ! " 

Rodolphe stopped here to think of some good ex- 
cuse for breaking off with her. 

" Suppose I tell her all my fortune is lost ? Xo ! 

Besides, that would stop nothing. It would all have 

to be begun over again later. As if one could make 

women like that listen to reason ! " He reflected, then 
continued : 

" I shall not forget you, oh ! believe it ; and I shall alwavs 
have a profound devotion for you ; but some day, sooner or 



208 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

later, this ardour (such is the fate of human things) would 
have cooled, no doubt. Lassitude would have come to us, and 
who knows whether I should not even have had the atrocious 
pain of witnessing j-our remorse, of sharing it myself, since I 
should have been its cause? The mere idea of the grief that 
would come to you tortures me, Emma. Forget me ! Why 
did 1 ever know you? Why were you so beautiful? Is it my 
fault ? O my God ! No, no ! Accuse only fate." 

" That's a word that always tells," he said. 

"Ah! if you had been one of those frivolous women that 
one often sees, certainly I might, through egotism, have made 
an experiment, in that case without danger for you. But that 
delicious exaltation, at once your charm and your torment, has 
prevented you from understanding, adorable woman that you 
are, the falseness of our future position. Nor did I reflect 
upon this at first ; I rested in the shade of that ideal happiness 
as beneath that of the manchineel tree, without foreseeing the 
consequences." 

" Perhaps she'll think I'm giving- it np from stingi- 
ness. Ah, well ! so much the worse ; it must be 
stopped ! " 

" The world is cruel, Emma. Wherever we might have gone, 
it would have persecuted us. You would have had to suffer 
from indiscreet questions, calumny, contempt, insult perhaps. 
Insult to you ! Oh ! And I, who would place you on a 
throne! I, who bear with me your memor\f as a talisman! 
For I am about to punish myself by exile for all the evil I 
have done you. I am going away. Whither I know not. I 
am mad. Adieu ! Be good always. Preserve the memory of 
the unfortunate who has lost you. Teach my name to your 
child ; let her repeat it in her prayers." 

The candle-wicks flickered. Rodolphe rose to close 
the window, and when he had sat down, he muttered : 

" I think that will do. Ah ! and I will add this for 
fear she should come and hunt me up." 

" I shall be far away when you read these sad lines, for I 
have wished to flee as quickly as possible to shun the tempta- 
tion of seeing you again. No weakness ! Some time I shall 



MADAME BOVARY 209 

return, and perhaps later we shall talk tojjether very coldly <>i 
our former love. Adieu ! " 



And iIkic was a last " adieu " dividocl into two 
words: "A Dieu ! " — which he thi)Ui;ht in very ex- 
cellent taste. 

" Now shall I sic^n it. he said to himself, 
" ' Yours devotedly ? ' No ! ' Your friend ? ' Yes, 
that will do " — 

— " Your friend." 

He read his letter over once more. He thought it 
very good. 

" Poor little woman ! " he said with emotion. " She 
will think me harder than a stone. There ought to 
have been some tears on this ; but I can't weep ; it isn't 
my fault." He emptied some water into a glass, 
dipped his finger into it, and let a big drop fall on the 
paper ; it made a pale stain on the ink. Looking for 
a seal, he came upon the one inscribed Amor ncl cor. 

" That doesn't quite suit the circumstances ! Bah ! 
never mind ! " 

After which he smoked three pipes and went to bed. 
\ The next day when he arose (at about two o'clock — 
he had slept late), Rodolphe had a basket of apricots 
gathered. He put his letter at the bottom under some 
vine leaves, and at once ordered Girard, his plough- 
man, to take it with care to Madame Bovary. He had 
made use of this means before for corresponding with 
her, sending fruits or game, according to the season. 

"If she asks for me," he said, " you will tell her 
that I have gone on a journey. You must give the 
basket to her herself, into her own hands. Go now, 
and be careful! " 

Girard put on his new blouse, spread his handker- 



210 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

chief over the apricots, and, walking heavily in his 
thick iron-bound shoes, made his way to Yonville. 

When he reached Madame Bovary's house, she was 
arranging a bundle of linen on the kitchen-table with 
Felicite. 

" Here," said the ploughboy, " is something for you 
from master." 

She was seized with apprehension, and as she sought 
in her pocket for some coppers, she looked at the 
peasant with wild eyes, while he himself looked at her 
with amazement, not understanding how such a pres- 
ent could so move anyone. At last he departed. Fe- 
licite remained. Emma could bear it no longer ; she 
ran into the sitting-room as if to take the apricots 
there, overturned the basket, tore away the leaves, 
found the letter, opened it, and, as if some fearful fire 
were behind her, flew to her room terrified. 

Charles was there ; she saw him ; he spoke to her ; 
she heard nothing, but went on quickly up the stairs, 
breathless, distraught, dumb, holding this horrible 
piece of paper, which crackled between her fingers like 
a plate of sheet-iron. On the second floor she stopped 
before the attic-door, which was closed. 

Then she tried to calm herself; she recalled the let- 
ter ; she must finish it ; she did not dare. And where ? 
How ? She would be seen ! " Ah, no ! here," she 
thought, " I shall be safe." 

She pushed open the door and entered. 

The slate roof threw down a heavy heat that pressed 
her temples, stifled her ; she dragged herself to the 
closed garret-window. She drew back the bolt, and 
the dazzling light burst in. 

Opposite, beyond the roofs, stretched the open coun- 
try till it was lost to sight. Below, the village square 
was empty ; the stones of the pavement glittered, the 



MADAME BOVARY 211 

weathercocks on the Ikjuscs were motionless. At the 
corner of the street, from a lower story, rose a kinrl 
of huininiui;- with strident mcxhilations. It was IJinet 
turning-. 

She leaned aj^ainsl the casement of the window, and 
read the letter a<^ain with antj^ry sneers. I hit the more 
she fixed her attention upon it, the more confused 
were her ideas. She saw him aj^ain. heard him, en- 
circled him with her arms, and the throhs of her heart, 
heatiny; against her hreast like hlows of a hammer, 
.q'rew faster and faster, with uneven intervals. She 
looked about her with the wish that the earth might 
cnnnhle into pieces. Why not end it all? What re- 
strained her? She was free. She advanced, looked at 
the paving-stones, saying to herself, " Come! come! " 

The luminous ray that came from below drew her 
toward the ab}ss. It seemed to her that the ground of 
the oscillating square was mounting the walls, and that 
the floor stood on end like a tossing boat. She was 
close to the edge, almost hanging, surrounded by vast 
space. The blue of the heavens suffused her, the air 
wa& whirling in her dizzy head; she had but to yield, 
to let herself go; and the humming of the lathe never 
ceased, like an angry voice calling her. 

" Emma ! Emma ! " cried Charles. 

She turned. 

" Where are you ? Come ! " 

The thought that she had just escaped from death 
almost made her faint with terror. She closed her 
eyes ; then she shivered at the touch of a hand on her 
sleeve ; it was Felicite. 

" Master is waiting for you, Madame ; the soup is 
on the table." 

And she had to go down to sit at tal)le. 

She tried to eat. The food choked her. She un- 



212 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

folded her najikin as if to examine tlie darns, and she 
really thought of applying herself to this work, count- 
ing the threads in the linen. Suddenly the remem- 
hrancc of the letter returned to her. Where had she 
dropped it? Where could she find it? But she felt 
such weariness of spirit that she could not even invent 
a pretext for leaving the tahle. Then she became a 
coward; she was afraid of Charles; he knew all, that 
was certain ! Indeed he pronounced these words in a 
strange manner : 

" We are not likely to see ^lonsieur Rodolphe soon 
again, it seems." 

" Who told you? " she asked, trembling. 

" Who told me ! " he replied, rather astonished at 
her abrupt tone. " Why. Girard. whom I met just now 
at the door of the Cafe Franqais. He has gone on a 
journey, or is to go." 

Emma gave a sob. 

"What surprises you in that? He absents himself 
like that from time to time for a change, and, ma foi, I 
think he is right, when one has a fortune and is a bach- 
elor. Besides, he has jolly times, has our friend. 
He's a bit of a rake. Monsieur Langlois told me " 

He stopped for propriety's sake because the servant 
entered. She put back into the basket the apricots 
scattered on the sideboard. Charles, without noticing 
his wife's colour, had them brought to him, took one, 
and bit into it. 
• " Ah, perfect ! "' said he ; " just taste ! " 

And he handed her the basket, which she pushed 
from her gently. 

"Do just smell! What an odour!" he remarked, 
passing it under her nose several times. 

" I am choking! " she exclaimed, springing up. But 
by an effort of will the spasm passed ; then 



MADAME BOVARY 213 

"It is nothiiif^," she said. " It is only nervousness. 
Sit down aufl j^o on eatinj^." l-'or she dreaded lest he 
should hej^iu (|uestionin}j^ her, attending to her, that 
she should not he left alone. 

Charles sat down ai^ain, and he spat the stones of 
the apricots into his hands, afterward putting them on 
his plate. 

Suddenly a blue tilhiny passed across the square at 
a rapid trot. Eiunia uttered a cry and fell to the floor. 

In fact, Rodolphe, after many rellections. had de- 
cided to set out for Rouen. Now, as from La Iluchette 
to lUichy there is no other way than by Vonvillc, he 
had to ^o throujj^h the village, and Emma had recog- 
nised him by the rays of the lanterns, which flashed 
like lightning through the twilight. 

The chemist, at the tunudt which broke out in the 
Bovary house, ran thither. The table with all the 
plates was upset ; sauce, meat, knives, the salt, and 
cruet-stand were strewn over the room. Charles was 
calling for help ; Berthc. scared, was crying ; and Fe- 
licite. whose hands trembled, was unlacing her mistress, 
whose body shivered convulsively. 

" I'll run to my laboratory for some aromatic vine- 
gar," said the chemist. 

Then, as Emma opened her eyes on smelling the 
bottle : 

" I was sure of it," he remarked ; " that would wake 
a dead person ! " 

" Speak to us," said Charles; " collect yourself; it is 
I — your Charles, who loves you. Do you know me? 
See ! here is your little girl. Oh. kiss her ! " 

The child stretched out her arms to her mother to 
cling to her neck. But, turning away her head, Emma 
said in a broken voice : 

" No, no ! no one ! " 



214 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

She swooned again. They carried her to her bed. 
She lay there at full length, her lips apart, her eye- 
lids closed, her hands open, motionless, and white as a 
waxen image. Two streams of tears flowed from her 
eyes and fell slowly upon the pillow. 

Charles was standing at the back of the alcove, and 
the chemist, near him, maintained that meditative si- 
lence that is becoming on the serious occasions of life. 

" Do not be uneasy," he said, touching Charles's el- 
bow ; " I think the paroxysm is past." 

" Yes, she is resting a little now," answered Charles, 
watching her sleep. " Poor girl ! poor girl ! She is 
dozing now ! " 

Then Homais asked how the accident had come 
about. Charles answered that she had been taken ill 
suddenly while eating some apricots. 

" Extraordinary! " continued the chemist. " But it 
might be that the apricots brought on the syncope. 
Some natures are very sensitive to certain smells ; and 
it would be a fine question to study in both its patho- 
logical and physiological relation. The priests know 
the importance of it, they who have introduced aro- 
matics into all their ceremonies. It is to stupefy the 
senses and to bring on ecstasies — a thing, moreover, 
very easy to do with persons of the weaker sex, who 
are more delicate than the other. Some are cited who 
faint at the smell of burned hartshorn, of new 
bread " 

" Take care ; you'll wake her ! " said Bovary in a 
low voice. 

" And not only are human beings subject to such 
anomaljes, but animals also," the chemist continued. 
" Thus you are not ignorant of the singularly aphrodi- 
siac efifect produced by the Ncpcta cataria, vulgarly 
called catnip, on the feline race ; and, on the other 



MADAME BOVARY 215 

liaiid, to(|n()k' an cxanipk' whose .'luthcntic-ity 1 can an- 
swer for, liridaux (one of my old comrades, at present 
cstablislied in tlie Rue Malpalu) possesses a doj^ that 
falls into roiivulsions as soon as a snufif-box is held out 
(o him. lie often makes the exix^riment before his 
friends at his smnmer-liouse at (iuillaume Wood. 
Would any one believe that a simple sternutation could 
produce such ravat^es on a quadrupedal orj^anism ? It 
is extremely curious, is it not?" 

" Yes," said Charles, who was not listening to him. 

" This shows us," continued the other, smilinp^ with 
benip^n self-sufficiency, '' the innumerable irret^ularities 
of the nervous system. With ret^ard to Madame, she 
has always seemed to me, I confess, very susceptible. 
And so I should by no means recommend to you, my 
dear friend, any of those so-called remedies that, under 
the pretence of attacking the symptoms, attack the con- 
stitution. No; no useless physic! Diet, that is all; 
sedatives, emollients, dulcification. Then, don't you 
think^^that her imagination should be worked upon ? " 

" In what way? How? " said Bovary. 

*' Ah, that is it. Such is indeed the question. * That 
is the question,' as I lately read in a newspaper." 

But suddenly Emma awoke and cried : 

" The letter! the letter! " 

They thought she was delirious ; and she was so by 
midnight. Brain-fever had set in. 

For forty-three days Charles did not leave her. He 
gave up all his patients ; he no longer went to bed ; he 
was constantly feeling her pulse, putting on sinapisms 
and cold-water compresses. He sent Justin as far as 
Neufchatel for ice ; the ice melted on the way ; he sent 
him back again. He called Monsieur Canivet into con- 
sultation ; he sent for Dr. Lariviere, his old master, 
from Rouen ; he was in despair. What alarmed him 



216 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

most was Emma's prostration, for she did not speak, 
did not listen, did not even seem to suffer, as if body 
and soul were resting together after all their trials. 

About the middle of October she could sit up in bed 
supported by pillows. Charles wept when he saw her 
eat her first bread-and-jelly. Her strength returned; 
she rose for a few hours of an afternoon, and one day, 
when she felt stronger, Charles tried to take her, lean- 
ing on his arm, for a walk round the garden. The 
sand of the paths was disappearing beneath the dead 
leaves ; she walked slowly, dragging her slippers along, 
and leaning against Charles's shoulder. She smiled all 
the time. 

They went thus to the bottom of the garden near the 
terrace. She drew herself up slowly, shading her eyes 
with her hand to look. She looked far off, as far as 
she could, but on the horizon were only great bonfires 
of grass smoking on the hills. 

" You will tire yourself, my darling ! " said Bovary. 
And, pushing her gently to make her go into the ar- 
bour, " Sit down on this seat; you'll be comfortable." 

" Oh, no ; not there ! " she said in a faltering voice. 

She was seized with dizziness, and from that evening 
her illness began again, with a more uncertain char- 
acter, it is true, and more complex symptoms. Now 
she suffered in her heart, then in the chest, the head, 
the limbs ; she had vomitings, in which Charles thought 
he saw the first signs of cancer. 

Besides all this trouble, the poor fellow was worried 
about money matters. 



MADAME BOVARY 217 



CHAPTER XIV 

Till': CONSOLATIONS ol' KKIJC.ION 

HI'' (lid not know how ho could i^ay Monsieur IIo- 
niais for all iho medicine supplied by him, and 
thouj^h, as a jjliysician, he was not com])cllcd 
to pay for it, he blushed a little at the thought of such 
an oblii^ation. Then the ex])enses of the household, 
now that the servant was mistress, became alarming^. 
Bills rained in u])on the house ; the tradesmen jrrum- 
bled ; Monsieur Lheiu-eux especially harassed him. In 
fact, at the heii^ht of Emma's illness, the latter, taking 
advantage of the circumstances to make his bfll larger, 
had hastily brought the cloak, the travelling-bag, two 
trunks instead of one, and several other things. It was 
of no use for Charles to say he did not want them. 
The tradesman answered arrogantly that these articles 
had beeh ordered, and that he would not take them 
back ; besides, it would vex Madame in her convales- 
cence ; the doctor had better reconsider ; in short, he 
was resolved to sue him rather than give up his rights 
and take back his goods. Charles subsequently or- 
dered them to be sent back to the shop. But Felicite 
forgot to send them ; he had other things to attend to ; 
then thought no more about them. Monsieur 
Lheureux returned to the charge, and, by turns threat- 
ening and whining, so managed that Bovary ended by 
signing a bill at six months. But hardly had he signed 
this bill than a bold idea occurred to him ; it was to 
borrow a thousand francs from Lheureux. So, with 
an embarrassed air, he asked whether it were possible 
to obtain this sum, adding that it would be for a year. 



218 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

at any interest he wished. Lheurcux ran off to his 
shop, brought back the money, and dictated another 
bill, whereby Bovary undertook to pay to his order on 
the first day of the following September the sum of 
one thousand and seventy francs, which, with the one 
hundred and eighty already agreed to, made just twelve 
hundred and fifty, thus lending at six per cent, in ad- 
dition to one fourth for commission ; and, the things 
bringing him in a good third at the least, this in twelve 
months should give him a profit of a hundred and 
thirty francs. He hoped that the business would not 
stop there ; that the bills would not be paid ; that they 
would be renewed ; and that his poor little money, hav- 
ing thriven at the doctor's as at a hospital, would come 
back to him one day considerably more plump, indeed, 
fat enough to burst the bag. 

Charles asked himself several times by what means 
he should next year be able to pay back so much 
money. He reflected, imagined expedients, such as ap- 
plying to his father or selling something. But his 
father would not lend him anything, and he — he had 
nothing to sell. Then he foresaw such worries that he 
quickly dismissed so disagreeable a subject from his 
mind. He reproached himself with forgetting Emma, 
as if, all his thoughts belonging to this woman, it was 
robbing her of something not to be continually thinking 
of her. 

The winter was severe, and Madame Bovary's con- 
valescence slow. When it was fine they wheeled her 
armchair to the window that overlooked the square, 
for she now had an antipathy to the garden, and the 
blinds on that side were always down. She wished the 
horse to be sold ; what she had liked formerly dis- 
pleased her now. All her ideas seemed to be limited 
to the care of herself. She stayed in bed taking little 



MADAME BOVARY 219 

meals, raiif:!^ for llie servant to iii(|iiirc about her j^riiel 
or to chat with her. The snow on the niarkct-roof 
threw a white, still light into the room; then the rain 
bejj;an to fall ; and hZnnna waited daily with a mind full 
of eat^erness for the inevitable return of some triHinj^ 
events which nevertheless had no relation to her. The 
most important was the arrival of the " Hirondelle " in 
the evening'. Then the landlad)- shouted, other voices 
answered, while 1 lippolyte's lantern, as he fetched the 
boxes from the boot, was like a star in the darkness. 

Monsieur Bournisien usually came to see her at this 
hour. He inquired after her health, gave her news, ex- 
horted her to religion in a coaxing little gossip that was 
not without its charm. The mere thought of his cas- 
sock comforted her. 

One day, when at the height of her illness, she had 
thought herself dying, and had asked for the com- 
munion ; and, while they were making the preparations 
in her room for the sacrament, while they were turning 
the nig4i^:-table covered with sirups into an altar, and 
while Felicite was strewing dahlia flowers on the floor, 
Emma felt some power passing over her that freed her 
from her pains, from all perception, from all feeling. 
Her body, relieved, no longer thought; another life 
was beginning ; it seemed to her that her being, mount- 
ing towartl God, would be annihilated in that love as in 
a burning incense that melts into vapour. The bed- 
clothes were sprinkled with holy water, the priest drew 
from the holy pyx the white wafer ; and, fainting with 
a celestial joy, she put out her lips to accept the body 
of the Saviour presented to her. The curtains of the 
alcove floated gently round her like clouds, and the 
rays of the two tapers burning on the night-table 
seemed to shine like dazzling halos. Then she let her 
head fall hack, fancying she heard in space the music 



220 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

of seraphic harps, and perceiving in an azure sky, on a 
golden throne in the midst of saints holding green 
palms, God the Father, resplendent with majesty, who 
with a sign sent to earth angels with fiery wings to 
bear her away in their arms. 

This splendid vision dwelt in her memory as the 
most beautiful thing that it was possible to dream, so 
that now she strove to recall her sensation, which still 
lasted, but in a less exclusive fashion and with a deeper 
sweetness. Her soul, tortured by pride, at length 
found rest in Christian humility, and tasting the joy of 
weakness, she saw within herself the destruction of her 
will, that must have left a wide entrance for the in- 
roads of heavenly grace. There existed, then, in the 
place of happiness, still greater joys — another love be- 
yond all loves, without pause and without end, one 
that would grow eternally ! She saw amid the illusions 
of her hope a state of purity floating above the earth 
mingling with heaven, to which she aspired. She 
longed to become a saint. She bought chaplets and 
wore amulets ; she wished to have in her room, beside 
her bed, a reliquary set in emeralds that she might kiss 
it every evening. 

The cure marvelled at this humour, although 
Emma's religion, he thought, might, from its fervour, 
end by touching on heresy in its extravagance. But 
not being much versed in these matters, as soon as they 
went beyond a certain limit he wrote to Monsieur Bou- 
lard, bookseller to Monsignor. to send him " some- 
thing good for a lady who was very clever." The book- 
seller, who was as indififerent as if he had been sending 
off hardware to negroes, packed up, pell-mell, every- 
thing of a pious nature that was then the fashion in the 
book trade. There were little manuals in questions and 
answers, pamphlets of aggressive tone after the manner 



MADAME BOVARY 221 

of Monsieur do Maistrc, and certain novels in rose- 
coloured l)indint(s and with a honeyed style manufac- 
tured by troubadour seminarists or penitent l)lue- 
stockinjil^s. There were the Think of it ; the Man of the 
H'orld at Mary's Feet, by Monsieur de * * *, dec- 
orated with many Orders; The Trrors of Voltaire, 
for the Use of the )'oiiiii^, and similar works. 

Madame Bovary's mind was not yet sufficiently clear 
to apply herself seriously to anythinj^; moreover, she 
bet^an this rcadiiiij too hastily. She j^^rew vexed at the 
doctrines of relis^ion ; the arrogance of the polemic 
writings displeased her by their inveteracy in attacking 
people of whom she knew nothing ; and the secular 
stories, relieved with religion, seemed to her written 
in such ignorance of the world that they insensibly es- 
tranged her from the truths for whose proof she was 
looking. Nevertheless, she persevered ; and when the 
volume slipped from her hands, she fancied herself 
seized with the finest Catholic melancholy that an 
ethereal soul could conceive. 

As for the memory of Rodolphe, she had thrust it 
back to the bottom of her heart, and it remained there 
as solemn and motionless as a king's mummy in a cata- 
comb. But an exhalation escajied from this embalmed 
love, which, penetrating through everything, perfumed 
with tenderness the immaculate atmosphere in which 
she longed to live. When she knelt on her Gothic prie- 
Dieii, she addressed to the Lord the same suave words 
that she had murmured formerly to her lover in the 
outpourings of illicit love. It was to make faith come ; 
but no delights descended from heaven, and she arose 
with tired limbs and a vague feeling of being the vic- 
tim of a gigantic dupery. 

This searching after faith, she thought, was only 
one merit the more, and in the pride of her devoutness 



222 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Emma compared herself to those grand ladies of long 
ago whose glory she had dreamed of over a portrait 
of La \'alliere, and who, trailing with so much majesty 
the lace-trimmed trains of their long gowns, retired 
into solitude to shed at the feet of Christ all the tears of 
hearts that life had wounded. 

Then she gave herself up to excessive charity. She 
sewed for the poor, she sent wood to women in child- 
bed ; and Charles one day, on coming home, found 
three tramps in the kitchen seated at the table eating 
soup. She had her little girl, whom during her illness 
her husband had sent back to the nurse, brought home. 
She wished to teach her to read ; even when Berthe 
cried, she was not vexed. She had made up her mind 
to resignation, to universal indulgence. Her language 
about everything was full of ideal expressions. She 
said to her child, " Is your stomach-ache better, my 
angel ? " 

Madame Bovary senior found nothing to censure ex- 
cept perhaps this mania of making jackets for orphans 
instead of mending her own house-linen ; but, harassed 
with domestic quarrels, the good woman took pleasure 
in this quiet house, and she even stayed there till after 
Easter, to escape the sarcasms of old Bovary, who 
never failed on Good Friday to order chitterlings. 

Besides the society of her mother-in-law, who 
strengthened her a little by the rectitude of her judg- 
ment and her grave ways, Emma almost every day had 
other visitors. These were Madame Langlois, Ma- 
dame Caron, Madame Dubreuil, Madame Tuvache, 
and regularly from two to five o'clock the excellent 
Madame Homais, who, for her part, never had be- 
lieved any of the gossip about her neighbour. The lit- 
tle Homais also came to see her ; Justin accompanied 
them. He went up with them to her bedroom, and 



MADAME BOVARY 223 

remained slaiuliiij^ near the donr, nK)tionles.s and mute. 
Often Madame IJovary, t.akinjj^ no heed of him, would 
bcpin her toilette. vShc bcpan by takinp out her comb, 
shaking her head with a quick movement, and when 
he for the first time saw all that mass of hair that 
fell to her knees unrolliu}^ in black rinj^lcts, it was 
to him, ])oor boy ! like a sudden entrance into some- 
thing new and strange, the s])lcudiiur of which terri- 
fied him. 

Emma, no doubt, did not notice his silent attentions 
or his timidity. She had no suspicion that the love 
vanished from her life was there, paljMtating by her 
side, beneath that coarse holland shirt, in that youthful 
heart o])en to the emanations of her beauty. Besides, 
she now regarded all things with such indifference, she 
had words so affectionate with looks so haughty, such 
contradictory ways, that one could no longer distin- 
guish egotism from charity, or corruption from virtue. 
One evening, for example, she was angry with the 
servant, who had asked to go out, and stammered as 
she tried to find some pretext. 

" So you love him?" said Emma suddenly. 

And without waiting for any answer from Felicite, 
who was blushing, she added, " There ! run along ; en- 
joy yourself! " 

In the beginning of spring she had the garden turned 
up from end to end, despite Bovary's remonstrances. 
However, he was glad to see her at last manifest a wish 
of any kind. As she grew stronger she displayed more 
wilfulness. First, she found occasion to expel Mere 
Rollet, the nurse, who during Emma's convalescence 
had contracted the habit of coming too often to the 
kitchen with her two nurslings and her boarder, bet- 
ter off for teeth than a cannibal. Then she got rid of 
the Homais familv, successivelv dismissed all other vis- 



224 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

itors, and even frequented church less assiduously, to 
the great approval of the chemist, who said to her in 
a friendly way : 

" You were getting very fond of the cassock ! " 

As formerly. Monsieur Bournisien dropped in every 
day when he came out after catechism class. He pre- 
ferred staying out of doors to taking the air " in the 
grove," as he called the arbour. This was the time 
when Charles came home. They were warm ; some 
sweet cider was brought out, and they drank together 
to Madame's complete restoration. 

Binet was there ; that is to say, a little farther down 
against the terrace wall, fishing for crayfish. Bovary 
invited him to have a drink, and he thoroughly under- 
stood the uncorking of the stone bottles. 

" You must," he said, throwing a satisfied glance all 
round him, " hold the bottle perpendicularly on the 
table, and after the strings are cut, press up the cork 
with little thrusts, gently, gently, as indeed they do 
with seltzer-water at restaurants." 

But during his demonstration the cider often spurted 
right into their faces, and then the priest, with a thick 
laugh, never missed saying : 

" Its goodness strikes the eye ! " 

He was, in fact, a good fellow, and one day he was 
not even scandalised at the chemist, who advised 
Charles to give ^Madame some distraction by taking her 
to the theatre at Rouen to hear the illustrious tenor, 
Lagardy. Homais, surprised at this silence, wished to 
know his opinion, and the priest declared that he con- 
sidered music less dangerous than literature. 

But the chemist took up the defence of letters. The 
theatre, he contended, served for railing at prejudices, 
and, beneath a mask of pleasure, taught virtue. 

'' Casfii^at ridcndo mores. Monsieur Bournisien! 



MADAME BOVARY 225 

Thus, consider tlic j^rcalcr i)art of X'oltairr's tra^'cdies ; 
they arc cleverly strewn with i)hil()so|)hical rellections, 
that make them a very school of morals and dii)lomacy 
for the i^cople." 

" I once saw a piece," said I'.inet, " called the (idiitni 
dc Paris, in which there was the character of an old 
general that was really hit off exactly. He punishes 
a young swell who had seduced a working girl, who at 
the end " 

" Ccrtainlv," continued ITomais. "there is had lit- 
erature as there is bad pharmacy, but to condenui iti a 
lump the most important of the fine arts seems to me 
a stupidity, a Gothic idea, worthy of the abominable 
time that imprisoned Galileo." 

" I know very well," objected the priest, " that there 
are good works, good authors. However, if it were 
only the uniting of those persons of diflferent sexes in 
a bewitching aj^artment. decorated with worldly pomp, 
and those pagan disguises, that rouge, those lights, 
those eflfeminate voices — all that must, in the long- 
run, engender a certain mental libertinage, give rise to 
immodest thoughts and im]:)ure temi)tations. Such, at 
any rate, is the oi)inion of all the Fathers. Finally." 
he added, suddenly assuiuing a mystic tone of voice, 
while he rolled a pinch of snuff between his fingers, 
" if the Church has condemned the theatre, she must be 
right : we nuist submit to her decrees." 

" Why." asked the chemist. " should she excom- 
municate actors? For once they openly took part in 
religious ceremonies. Yes. in the middle of the chan- 
cel they acted ; they performed a kind of farce called 
' ]\Iysteries.' which often oflfended against the laws of 
decency." 

The priest contented himself with uttering a groan, 
and the chemist continued : 



226 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" It's just as it is in the Bible ; there — there are, you 
know, more than one piquant detail, matters really li- 
bidinous ! " 

And on a gesture of irritation from Monsieur Bour- 
nisien — 

" Ah! you'll admit that it is not a book to place in 
the hands of a voung girl, and I should be sorrv if 
Athalie ." 

" But it is the Protestants, and not we," cried the 
other impatiently, " who recommend the Bible." 

" No matter," said Homais. " I am surprised that 
in our days, in this century of enlightenment, any one 
should still persist in proscribing an intellectual relax- 
ation that is inoffensive, moral, and sometimes even 
hygienic ; is it not, doctor ? " 

" No doubt," replied the doctor carelessly, either be- 
cause, sharing the same ideas, he wished to offend no 
one, or else because he had not any ideas. 

The conversation seemed at an end when the chem- 
ist thought fit to shoot a Parthian dart. 

" I've known priests who put on ordinary clothes 
to go and see dancers kicking about." 

" Come, come ! " said the priest. 

"Ah! I've known some!" And separating the 
words of his sentence, Homais repeated, " I — have — 
known — some ! " 

" Well, they did wrong," said Bournisien, resigned 
to anything. 

" By Jove ! they go in for more than that," ex- 
claimed the chemist. 

" Sir ! " replied the priest, with such angry eyes that 
the chemist was intimidated by them. 

" I only mean to say," he replied, in a tone less bru- 
tal, " that toleration is the surest way to draw people 
to religion." 



MADAME BOVARY 227 

" That is true ! that is true ! " a;;reerl the p^ood fel- 
low, sitting^ down a^ain on his chair. But he stayed 
only a few moments. 

As soon as he had pone, Monsieur Homais said to 
the doctor : 

" That's what I call a cock-fif::ht. I heat him, did 
you see, in a way ! — Now take my advice. Take Ma- 
dame to the theatre, if it were only for once in your 
life, to enrarje one of these black crows, hanpf it! If 
any one could take my place, I would accompany you 
myself. Be quick about it. Lagardy will j^^ive only 
one performance ; he's engaged to go to England at a 
high salary. From what I hear, he's a regular dog; 
he's rolling in money ; he's taking three sweethearts 
and a cook along with him. All these great artists 
burn the candle at both ends ; they require a dissolute 
life, which stirs the imagination to some extent. But 
they die in the hospital, because they haven't the sense 
to save money when young. Well, a pleasant dinner I 
Good-bye till to-morrow." 

The idea of the theatre quickly germinated in Bo- 
vary's head, and he at once communicated it to his 
wife, who at first refused, pleading the fatigue, the 
worry, the expense ; but. for a wonder, Charles did not 
yield, so sure was he that this recreation would be good 
for her. He saw nothing to prevent it : his mother had 
sent them three hundred francs which he had no longer 
expected ; the current debts were not very large, and 
the falling in of Lheureux's bills was still so far oflf 
that there was no need to think about them. Besides, 
imagining that she was refusing from delicacy, he in- 
sisted the more : so that after his teasing her she at last 
made up her mind, and the next day at eight o'clock 
they set out in the " Hirondelle." 

The chemist, whom nothing whatever kept at Yon- 



228 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ville, but who thought himself bound not to budge 
from it, sighed as he saw them go. 

" Well, a pleasant journey ! " he said to them ; 
" happy mortals that you are! " 

Then addressing himself to Emma, who was wear- 
ing a blue silk gown with four flounces : 

*' You are as lovely as a \''enus. You'll cut a figure 
at Rouen." 

The diligence stopped at the Croix-Rouge in the 
Place Beauvoisine. It was the inn that is in every pro- 
vincial faubourg, with large stables and small bedrooms, 
where one sees in the middle of the court chickens pil- 
fering the oats under the muddy gigs of the commer- 
cial travellers ; — a good old house, with worm-eaten 
balconies that creak in the wind on winter nights, al- 
ways full of people, noise, and feeding, whose black 
tables are sticky with coffee and brandy, the thick win- 
dows made yellow by the flies, the damp napkins 
stained with cheap wine ; this sort of place always 
smells of the village, like ploughboys dressed in Sun- 
day-clothes, has a cafe on the street, and toward the 
countryside a kitchen-garden. 

Charles at once set out for the theatre. He muddled 
the stage-boxes with the gallery, the pit with the 
boxes ; asked for explanations, did not understand 
them ; was sent from the box-ofifice to the acting-man- 
ager ; came back to the inn, returned to the theatre, 
and thus several times traversed the whole length of 
the town from the theatre to the boulevard. 

Madame Bovary bought a bonnet, gloves, and a bou- 
quet. The doctor was much afraid of missing the be- 
ginning, and, without having had time to swallow a 
plate of soup, they presented themselves at the doors 
of the theatre, which were still closed. 



MADAME BOVARY 229 

CHAPTER XV 

TIIF. MIKKOR OF PASSION 

A GREAT throns; was standin.c: against the wall, 
svnimctrically enclosed hclwccn the balustrades. 
At the corners of tlu' neij^hbourin}^^ streets huj;c 
posters announced in (|uaint letters " Lucia di Lammcr- 
moor — Lag:ardy — Opera — &c." The weather was fine, 
the ])eople were warm ; perspiration trickled amid curls, 
and handkerchiefs taken from pockets were mopping 
red foreheads ; now and then a warm wind that blew 
from the river gently stirred tlie border of the awnings 
hanging from the doors of the public-houses. 

In fear of seeming ridiculous, Emma wished to have 
a little stroll in the harbour before going in, and I'o- 
vary prudently kept his tickets in his hand, in the 
pockeTT)f his trousers, which he pressed against his 
stomach. 

Emma's heart began to throb faster as soon as she 
reached the vestibule. She involuntarily smiled with 
vanity on seeing the crowd rushing to the right by the 
other corridor while she went up the staircase to the 
reserved seats. She was as pleased as a child to push 
open with her fingers the large tapestried door. She 
inhaled deeply the dusty odour of the lobbies, and when 
she was seated in her box she leaned back with the air 
of a duchess. 

The theatre was beginning to fill ; opera-glasses were 
taken from their cases, and the subscribers, catching 
sight of one another, were bowing. They came to seek 
relaxation in the fine arts after the anxieties of busi- 
ness, but " business " was not forgotten ; they still 
talked of cottons, wines, or indigo. 



230 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Now the lights of the orchestra shone out ; the lustre, 
let down from the ceiling, throwing by the glimmering 
of its facets a sudden gaiety over the theatre ; then the 
musicians came in one after another ; and there was the 
protracted hubbub of the basses grumbling, violins 
squeaking, cornets trumpeting, flutes and flageolets 
whistling. Presently three knocks were heard on the 
stage, a rolling of drums began, the brass instruments 
played some chords, and the curtain rising discovered a 
country-scene. 

It was a cross-roads in a wood, with a fountain 
shaded by an oak to the left. Peasants and lords with 
plaids on their shoulders were singing a hunting-song 
together ; then a captain suddenly came on, who evoked 
the spirit of evil by lifting both his arms to heaven. 
Another appeared ; they went away, and the hunters 
began afresh. 

She felt herself transported to the reading of her 
youth, into the midst of Walter Scott's tales. She 
seemed to hear through the mist the sound of the 
Scotch bagpipes reechoing over the heather. Her re- 
membrance of the novel helped her to understand the 
libretto, and she followed the story phrase by phrase, 
while vague thoughts that came back to her dispersed 
at once again with the bursts of music. She gave her- 
self up to the lulling effect of the melodies, and felt all 
her being vibrate as if the violin bows were drawn over 
her nerves. She had not eyes enough to look at the 
costumes, the scenery, the actors, the painted trees 
that shook when any one walked, and the velvet caps, 
cloaks, swords — all those imaginary things that floated 
amid the harmony as in the atmosphere of another 
world. But a young woman stepped forward, throw- 
ing a purse to a squire in green. She was left alone, 
and the flute was heard like the murmur of a fountain 



MADAME BOVARY 231 

or the warhliui^ of birds. Lucia attacked her cavatina 
in (j major bravely. She .sanj^ of love; she lonpcd for 
wiii^s. I'^iiima loo, Heciii}^'^ from Hfc, would have liked 
to lly away in an embrace. Suddenly Edj^ar-Lagardy 
appeared. 

He had that sjjlendid pallor that gives something of 
the majesty of marble to the ardent races of the South. 
His vigorous form was clad in a tight brown-coloured 
doublet ; a small chiselled p(jniard hung against his left 
hip, and he cast laughing looks, showing his white 
teeth. They said that a Polish princess having heard 
him sing one night on the beach at Biarritz, where he 
mended boats, had fallen in love with him, and had 
ruined herself for him. He had deserted her for other 
women ; and this sentimental celebrity did not fail to 
enhance his re]iutation as an artist. The diplomatic 
mummer took care always to slip into his advertise- 
ments some poetic phrase on the fascination of his per- 
son a nd th e susceptibility of his soul. 

From the first scene he evoked enthusiasm. He 
clasped Lucia in his arms, he left her, he came back, 
he seemed desperate ; he had outbursts of rage, then 
elegiac gurglings of infinite sweetness, the notes escap- 
ing from his bare white throat full of sobs and kisses. 
Emma leaned forward to see him, clutching the velvet 
of the box with her nails. She was filling her heart 
with these melodious lamentations that were drawn out 
to the accompaniment of the double-basses, like the 
cries of the drowning in the tumult of a tempest. She 
recognised all the intoxication and the anguish that had 
almost killed her. The voice of the prima donna 
seemed to her to be but echoes of her conscience, and 
this illusion that charmed her as some actual thing in 
her own life. But no one on earth had loved her with 
such love. Rodolphe had not wept like Edgar that last 



232 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

moonlit ni.c^lit when they said, " To-morrow ! to-mor- 
row ! " The theatre rang with cheers ; they sang again 
the entire movement ; the lovers spoke of the flowers on 
their tomb, of vows, exile, fate, hopes ; and when they 
uttered the final adieu, Emma gave a sharp cry that 
mingled with the vibrations of the last chords. 

" Ikit why." asked Bovary, "does that gentleman 
persecute her? " 

" No, no ! ■' she answered ; " he is her lover ! " 
" Yet he vows vengeance on her family, while the 
other one who came on before said, ' I love Lucia and 
she loves me ! ' Besides, he went off with her father 
arm in arm. For he certainly is her father, isn't he — 
the uglv little man with a cock's feather in his hat ? " 
Despite Emma's explanations, as soon as the recita- 
tive duet began in which Gilbert lays bare his abomin- 
able machinations to his master, Ashton, Charles, seeing 
the false troth-ring that is to deceive Lucia, thought it 
was a love-gift sent by Edgar. He confessed, more- 
over, that he did not understand the story because of 
the music, which interfered very much with the words. 
"What does it matter?" said Emma. "Do be 
quiet ! " 

" Yes, but you know," he went on, leaning against 
her shoulder, " I like to understand things." 
" Be quiet ! be quiet ! " she cried impatiently. 
Lucia advanced, half supported by her women, a 
wreath of orange blossoms in her hair, and paler than 
the white satin of her gown. Emma dreamed of her 
own marriage-day ; she saw herself at home again amid 
the corn in the little path as they walked to the church. 
Oh, why had not she, like this woman, resisted, im- 
plored? She, on the contrary, had been joyous, with- 
out seeing the abyss into which she was throwing her- 
self. Ah, if, in the freshness of her beauty, before the 



MADAME BOVARY 'j:i3 

soilinpf of niarriajj^c and the disillusions of adultery, 
she could have anchored her life ujjon sonic prcat, 
stronp^ heart, then, virtue, tenderness, voluptuousness, 
and duty hlendin^, she never would have fallen from 
so hi^h a happiness. But such haj)i)iness, no douht, 
was a lie invented for the desjiair of all desire. She 
now knew the sniallness of the ])assions that arc exaj^- 
j^erated. h^o, striving- to divert her ihouj^hts, l*!nima 
determined now to see in this reproduction of her sor- 
rows only a plastic fantasy, well enout;h to please the 
eye, and she even smiled with disdainful pity when at 
the back of the stage under the velvet hangings a man 
appeared in a black coat. 

His large Spanish hat fell at a gesture he made, and 
immediately the instruments and the singers began the 
sextet. Edgar, flashing with fury, dominated all the 
others with his clearer voice ; Ashton hurled homicidal 
provocations at him in deep notes ; Lucia uttered her 
])iercing ])laint, Arthur at one side, his modulated tones 
in the middle register, and the bass of the clergyman 
pealed forth like an organ, while the voices of the 
women repeating his words took them up in chorus 
delightfully. They stood in a row gesticulating, and 
anger, vengeance, jealousy, terror, and stupefaction 
breathed forth at once from their half-opened mouths. 
The outraged lover brandished his naked sword ; his 
guipure ruffle rose tumultuously with the movements 
of his chest, and he stalked from right to left with long 
strides, clanking against the boards the silver-gilt spurs 
of his soft boots, widening out at the ankles. Emma 
thought he must have an inexhaustible love to lavish it 
upon the crowd with such effusion. All her small 
fault-findings faded before the poetry of the character 
that absorbed her ; and drawn toward the man by the 
illusion of that character, she tried to imagine his life — 



234 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

that life resonant, extraordinary, splendid, which might 
have been hers if fate had willed it. • They would have 
known one another, loved one another. With him, 
through all the kingdoms of Europe she would have 
travelled from capital to capital, sharing his fatigues 
and his pride, picking up the flowers thrown to him, her- 
self embroidering his costumes. Then each evening, at 
the back of the box, behintl the golden trellis-work, she 
would have drunk in eagerly the expansions of this 
soul that would have sung for her alone ; from the 
stage, even as he acted, he would have looked at her. 
And then the mad idea seized her that he tvas looking 
at her ; it was certain ! She longed to run to his arms, 
to take refuge in his strength, as in the incarnation of 
love itself, and to say to him, to cry out, " Take me 
away ! carry me with you ! let us go ! Thine, thine ! 
all my ardour and all my dreams ! " 

The curtain fell. 

The odour of gas mingled with that of breaths, and 
the waving of fans made the air more suffocating. 
Emma wanted to go out ; the crowd filled the corridors, 
and she fell back in her armchair with palpitations that 
choked her. Charles, fearing that she would faint, 
ran to the refreshment-room to get a glass of barley- 
water. 

He had great difficulty in getting back to his seat, 
for his elbows were jerked at every step because of 
the glass he held in his hands, and he even spilled 
three fourths on the shoulders of a Rouen lady in short 
sleeves, who feeling the cold liquid running down to 
her loins uttered cries like a peacock, as if she were 
being assassinated. Her husband, who was a mill- 
owner, railed at the clumsy fellow, and while with her 
handkerchief she was wiping the stains from her hand- 
some cherry-coloured tafifeta gown, he angrily mut- 



MADAME BOVARY 235 

tcred sonictliiiii,^ ahoiU iiulcinnily, costs, reimburse- 
ment. At last Charles reached liis wife, saying to her, 
quite out of breath : 

"Dear me! I thought I should have had to stay 
there. There is such a crowd — such a crowd ! " 

He added: 

"Just guess whom I met u\) there! Monsieur 
Leon ! " 

" Leon ? " 

"Himself! Here he comes to pay his respects." 
As he finisheil these words the ex-clerk of Yonville en- 
tered the box. 

lie held out his hand with the ease of a gentleman ; 
and Madame Uovary extended hers, without doubt 
obeying the attraction of a stronger will. She had not 
felt it since that spring evening when the rain fell upon 
the green leaves, and they had said good-bye standing 
at the whidow. Hut soon recalling herself to the neces- 
sities of the situation, with an effort she shook off the 
torpor of her memories, and began stammering a few 
hurried words. 

"Ah, good-evening! What! you here?" 

" Silence ! " cried a voice from the pit, for the third 
act was beginning. 

" So vou are at Rouen ? " 

" Yes." 

" And since when ? " 

" Turn them out ! turn them out ! " People were 
looking at them. They were silent. 

But from that moment she listened no more ; and 
the chorus of the guests, the scene between Ashton 
and his servant, the grand duet in D major, all were 
for her as far oflf as if the instruments had grown less 
sonorous and the characters more remote. She re- 
membered the games at cards at the chemist's, and the 



236 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

walk to the nurse's, the readin<T in the arbour, the 
tcte-a-tctc by the fireside — all that poor love, so calm 
and so protracted, so discreet, so tender, which she 
had nevertheless forgotten. And why had he come 
back ? \Miat combination of circumstances had brought 
him back into her life? He was standing behind her, 
leaning with his shoulder against the wall of the box ; 
now and again she felt herself trembling beneath his 
hot breath falling upon her hair. 

" Does this amuse you?" he said, 1)en(ling over her 
so closely that the end of his moustache brushed her 
cheek. She replied carelessly : 

" Oh, dear me, no, not much." 

Then he proposed that they should leave the theatre 
and go and take an ice somewhere. 

" Oh, not yet ; let us stay," said Bovary. " Her 
hair's undone ; this is going to be tragic." 

But the mad scene did not interest Emma at all, and 
the acting of the singer seemed to her exaggerated. 

" She screams too loud," said she, turning to Charles, 
who was listening. 

" Yes — perhaps — a little," he replied, undecided be- 
tween the frankness of his pleasure and his respect for 
his wife's opinion. 

Then, with a sigh, Leon said: 

" The heat is unbearable ! Yes!" 

" Do you feel unwell ? " asked Bovary. 

" Yes, I am stifling; let us go." 

Monsieur Leon put Emma's long lace shawl care- 
fully about her shoulders, and all three went ofif to sit 
down in the harbour, in the open air, outside the win- 
dows of a cafe. 

First they spoke of her illness, although Emma in- 
terrupted Charles from time to time, for fear, she said, 
of boring Monsieur Leon ; and the latter told them that 



MADAME BOVARY 'Z'.H 

he had come to spend two years at Rouen in a larjje 
office, in order to aec|uire practice in his profession, 
wliich was (h'fferent in Normandy and Paris. Then 
lie inquired after Berthe, the Ilomais, Merc Lcfrancjois, 
and as hi- and Emma had nothinjr more to say to one 
another in the husband's presence, the conversation 
soon caiue to an end. 

People cominj^ out of the theatre passed along the 
pavement, humming or shouting at the top of their 
voices, " O bcl a)ii:;e, nui Lucie! " Then Leon, playing 
the dilettante, began to talk music. He had seen Tam- 
burini, Kubini, Persiani. Cirisi, and, compared with 
them, Lagartly, despite his grand outbursts, was no- 
where. 

" Yet," interrupted Charles, who was slowly sipping 
his rum-sherbet, " they say that he is quite admirable 
in the last act. I regret leaving before the end, be- 
cause it-was beginning to amuse me." 

" Well," said the clerk. " he will soon give another 
performance." 

But Charles replied that they were returning home 
the next day. " Unless," he added, turning to his wife. 
" you would like to stay alone, my love ? " 

Changing his tactics at this unexpected opportunity 
which presented itself to his hopes, the young man 
sang the praises of Lagardy in the last number. It was 
really superb, sublime. Then Charles insisted : 

" You would get home on Sunday. Come, make up 
your mind. You are wrong not to stay if you feel that 
this is doing you the least good." 

The tables round them, however, were being de- 
serted ; a waiter came and stood discreetly near them. 
Charles, who understood, took out his purse ; the clerk 
held back his arm. and did not forget to leave two more 
pieces of silver that he made chink on the marble. 



238 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" I am really sorry," said Bovary, " about the money 
which you are " 

The other made a careless gesture full of cordiality, 
and takiui^^ his hat said : 

" It is settled, isn't it? To-morrow at six o'clock! " 

Charles explained once more that he could not ab- 
sent himself longer, but that nothing prevented 
Emma 

" But," she stammered, with a strange smile, " I am 
not sure " 

" Well, you nnist think it over. We'll see. The 
night brings counsel." Then to Leon, who was walk- 
ing along with them, " Now that you are in our part 
of the world, I hope you'll come and ask us for some 
dinner occasionally." 

The clerk declared he would not fail to do so, being 
obliged, moreover, to go to Yonville on some business 
for his office. They parted before the Saint-HerblaiKl 
Passage just as the cathedral clock struck half-past 
eleven. 



PART III 

(■ii.\i'1I':k I 

A I)RI:AM AM) A DRIVE 

WITTT.K stiulyini^ law, Leon had frequented the 
(lance-halls, where he was even a p;reat suc- 
cess anions^st the grisettes, who thought he 
had a distin.q;uished air. lie had the best manners of 
all the students; he wore his hair neither too long nor 
too short, did not s]iend all his quarter's money on the 
first day of the month, and kept on good terms with 
his prof^essors. As for excesses, he had always ab- 
stained from them, as much from cowardice as from 
refinement. 

(^ften. when he stayed in his room to read, or when 
sitting of an evening under the lime-trees of the Lux- 
embourg, he let his Code fall to the ground, and the 
memory of Emma returned to him. But gradually this 
feeling grew weaker, and other desires gathered over 
it. although it still persisted through them all. For 
Leon did not lose all hope; there was for him, as it 
were, a vague promise floating in the future, like a 
golden fruit hanging from some fantastic tree. 

Then, seeing her again after three years of absence, 
his passion reawakened. He must, he thought, at last 
make up his mind to jiossess her. Moreover, his timid- 
ity had worn otT by contact with gay companions, and 
he returned to the provinces despising everyone who 
had not trodden the asphalt of the boulevards with 



240 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

varnished shoes. Beside a Parisienne in her laces, in 
the (h"a\vint^-rooni of some ilUistrious physician, a per- 
son (h'ivin<;- his own carriage and wearing many or- 
ders, the poor clerk would no doubt have trembled 
like a child ; but here, at Rouen, in the harbour, with 
the wife of this small doctor he felt at his ease, sure 
beforehand that he would shine. Self-possession de- 
pends on its environment. We don't speak on the first 
floor as on the fourth ; and the wealthy woman seems 
to have about her, to guard her virtue, all her bank- 
notes, like a cuirass, in the lining of her corset. 

On leaving the Bovarys the night before, Leon had 
followed them through the streets at a distance ; having 
seen them stop at the Croix-Rouge, he went home, and 
spent the night meditating a plan. 

So the next day about five o'clock he walked into the 
kitchen of the inn, with a choking sensation in his 
throat, pale cheeks, and that resolution of cowards that 
stops at nothing. 

" The gentleman isn't in," answered a servant. 

This seemed a good omen. He went upstairs. 

Emma was not disturbed at his api^roach ; on the 
contrary, she apologised for having neglected to tell 
him where they were staying. 

" Oh, I divined it ! " said Leon. 

He pretended he had been guided toward her by 
chance, by instinct. She began to smile ; and at once, 
to repair his folly, Leon told her that he had spent his 
morning in looking for her in all the hotels in the 
town, one after another. 

" So you have made up your mind to stay ? " he 
added. 

" Yes," she said, " and I am wrong. One ought not 
to accustom oneself to impossible pleasures when there 
are a thousand demands upon her." 



MADAME BOVARY 241 

" Oh, I cm iinaj^iiic ! " 

" Ah, no! for you — you arc a man! " 

l)Ut men too had their trials, and the conversation 
went off into certain philosophical reflections. Emma 
expatiated mudi on the misery of earthly affections and 
the eternal isolation in which the heart remains en- 
tombed. 

To show off, or from a naive imitation of this melan- 
choly which called forth his own, the yo.unj.; man de- 
clared that he had been awfully bored during the wIkjIc 
course of his studies. The law irritated him, other 
vocations attracted him, and his mother never ceased 
worryitiQ^ him in every one of her letters. As they 
talked they explained more and more fully the motives 
of their sadness, working themselves up in their pro- 
gressive confidence. But they sometimes stopped short 
of the complete exposition of their thought, and then 
sought to invent a phrase that still might ex])ress it. 
She did not confess her passion for another; he did not 
say that he had forgotten her. 

Perhaps he no longer remembered his suppers with 
girls after masked balls; and no doubt she did not rec- 
ollect the rendezvous of old when she ran across the 
fields in the morning to her lover's house. The noises 
of the town hardly reached them, and the room seemed 
small, as if on purpose to hem in their solitude more 
closely. Emma, in a dimity dressing-gown, leaned her 
head against the back of the old arm-chair ; the yellow 
wall-paper formed, as it were, a golden background 
behind her, and her head was mirrored in the glass 
with the white parting in the middle, and the tips of 
her ears peeping out from the folds of her luxuriant 
hair. 

" But pardon me ! " she said. " This is wrong of 
me. I weary you with my eternal complaints." 



242 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" No, never, never ! " 

" If you knew," she went on, raising toward heaven 
her beautiful eyes, in which a tear was trembHng, " all 
that I had dreamed! " 

" And I ! Oh, I too have suffered ! Often I went 
out ; T went away. I dragged myself along the quays, 
seeking distraction amid the din of the crowd without 
being able to banish the heaviness that weighed upon 
me. In an engraver's shop on the boulevard there is an 
Italian print of one of the Muses. She is draped in a 
tunic, and she is looking at the moon, with forget-me- 
nots in her flowing hair. Something drove me there 
continually ; I stayed there hours together." Then, in 
a trembling voice, he added : " She resembled you a 
little." 

Madame Bovary turned away her head that he might 
not see the irrepressible smile rising to her lips. 

" Often," he went on, " I wrote you letters that I 
tore up." 

She did not answer. He continued : 

" I sometimes fancied that some chance would bring 
you. I thought I recognised you at street-corners, and 
I ran after all the carriages through whose windows I 
saw a shawl fluttering, or a veil like yours." 

She seemed resolved to let him go on speaking with- 
out interruption. Crossing her arms and bending 
down her face, she looked at the rosettes on her slip- 
pers, and at intervals made little movements with her 
toes inside the satin tips. 

At last she sighed. 

"But the most w^retched thing — is it not? — is to 
drag out, as I do, a useless existence. If our pains 
were only of some use to some one, we should find con- 
solation in the thought of the sacrifice." 

He began a eulogy of virtue, duty, and silent immo- 



MADAME BOVARY 243 

lation, liaviii};- himself an incredible loiif;iii^ for self- 
sacrifice that he could not satisfy. 

" I shoidd inuch like," slie said, " to he a nurse at a 
hosj)ital." 

" Alas! men have none of these holy missions, and I 
sec nowhere any callinj:^ — unless perhajjs that of a 
doctor." 

With a slij^ht shru^ of her shoulders, I-'ninia inter- 
rupted him to speak of her illness, which had almost 
killed her. What a i)ity it had not! She should not 
he sulTerincf now ! Leon at once expressed envy of the 
calm of the tomb, and said that one eveninj^ he had 
even made his will, asking? to he buried in that beautiful 
rug with velvet stripes he had received from her. For 
this was how they would have wished to be, each set- 
ting up an ideal to which they were now ada|)ting their 
past life. r)esides. speech is a rolling-mill that always 
thins ^wt sentiment. 

At this invention of the rug, however, she asked, 
" But why ? " 

" Why? " he hesitated. " Because I loved you so! " 
And congratulating himself at having surmounted the 
difficulty, Leon watched her face. 

It was like the sky when a gust of wind drives the 
clouds away. The mass of sad thoughts that darkened 
them seemed to be lifted from her blue eyes ; her whole 
face shone. He waited. At last she replied : 

" I always suspected it." 

Then they recalled all the trifling events of that far- 
ofT existence, the joys and sorrows of which they had 
just summed up in one phrase. They recalled the ar- 
bour with the clematis, the gowns she had worn, the 
furniture of her room, the whole of her house. 

" And our poor cactuses, where are they ? " Leon 
asked. 



244 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" The cold killed them this winter." 

" Ah ! how I have thought of them, do you know ? 
I often saw them again as of old, when on the summer 
mornings the sun beat down upon your blinds, and I 
saw your two bare arms passing out among the 
flowers." 

" Poor friend! " she said, holding out her hand. 

Leon swiftly pressed his lips to it. Then, when he 
had taken a deep breath, he continued : 

" At that time you were to me I know not what in- 
comprehensible force that took captive my life. Once, 
for instance. I went to see you ; but you, no doubt, do 
not remember it." 

" I do," she said ; " go on." 

" You were downstairs in the ante-room, ready to go 
out, standing on the last step ; you were wearing a bon- 
net with small blue flowers : and without any invitation 
from you, in spite of myself, I went with you. Every 
moment, however, I grew more and more conscious of 
my folly, and I went on walking by you, not daring to 
follow you completely, yet unwilling to leave you. 
When vou went into a shop, I waited in the street, and 
I watched you through the window taking off your 
gloves and counting the change on the counter. Then 
you rang at Madame Tuvache's ; you were let in, and I 
stood like an idiot in front of the great heavy door 
that had closed after you." 

Madame Bovary, as she listened to him, wondered 
that she was so old. All these things reappearing be- 
fore her seemed to widen out her life : it was like some 
immensity of sentiment to which she returned ; and 
from time to time she said in a low voice : 

" Yes, it is true — true — true ! " 

They heard eight strike on the different clocks of the 
Beauvoisine quarter, which is full of schools, churches, 



MADAME BOVARY 245 

and larj^c empty hotels. Tliey spoke no lonp^cr, but felt 
as they hooked ui)on each other a buzzing in their heads, 
as if something sonorous had escaped from the fixed 
eyes of each. They were hand in hand now, and the 
past, the future, reminiscences and dreams, all were 
confounded in the sweetness of this ecstasy. 

She rose to lif^ht two wax-candles on the table, then 
she sat down ai;ain. 

" Well ! " said Leon. 

" Well ! " slu' rei)lied. 

He was thinkini^ how he could resume the inter- 
rupted conversation, when she said to him: 

" How is it that no one until now ever has expressed 
such sentiments to me? " 

The clerk said that ideal natures were difficult to 
understand. He had loved her from the first moment, 
and he desjiaired when he thouti^ht of the happiness 
that would have been theirs if, thanks to fortune, meet- 
ing her earlier, they had been indissolubly bound to 
each other. 

" I have sometimes thoug^ht of it." she ventured. 

*' What a dream ! " murmured Leon. And, finirer- 
ing gently the blue edge of her long white sash, he 
added, " And what prevents us from beginning now? " 

" No, my friend," she replied; " I am too old; you 
are too young. Forget me ! Others will love you ; you 
will love them." 

" Not as I love you ! " he cried. 

" What a child you are ! Come, let us be sensible. 
I wish it." 

She explained to him the impossibility of their love, 
and said that they must remain, as formerly, on the 
simple terms of a fraternal friendship. 

Did she say this seriously? No doubt Emma her- 
self did not know, absorbed as she was bv the charm of 



246 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

the seduction, and the necessity of defending herself 
from it ; and, contemplating- the young man with a 
moved look, she gently repelled the timid caresses that 
his trembling hands attempted. 

" Ah, forgive me! " he cried, drawing back, 

Emma was seized with a vague fear at this shyness, 
more dangerous to her than the boldness of Rodolphe 
when he advanced to her open-armed. No man ever 
had seemed to her so beautiful. An exquisite candour 
emanated from his being. He lowered his long, fine 
eyelashes, which curled upward. His soft cheek was 
reddened, she thought, with desire of her person, and 
Emma felt an invincible longing to press her lips to it. 
Then, leaning toward the clock as if to see the time — 

" Ah, how late it is! " she said; " how we do chat- 
ter!" 

He understood the hint and took up his hat. 

" It has even made me forget the theatre. And poor 
Bovary left me here especially for that. Monsieur 
Lormeaux, of the Rue Grand-Pont, was to take me 
with his wife." 

So the opportunity seemed lost, as she was to leave 
the next day. 

" Really ! " said Leon. 

" Yes." 

" But I must see you again," he went on. " I wanted 
to tell you " 

"What?" 

" Something — important — serious. Oh, no ! Be- 
sides, you will not go ; it is impossible ! If you should 
— listen to me. Then you have not understood me ; 
you have not guessed " 

" Yet you speak plainly," said Emma, 

"Ah, you can jest! Enough! enough! Oh, for 
pity's sake, let me see you once — only once ! " 



MADAME BOVARY 247 

" Well— — " She sU)])pc(l ; then, as if thinkin^j;; bet- 
ter of it, " ( )li, not here! " 

" Where you will." 

" Will you " She seenietl to reflect ; then ab- 
ruptly, " To-morrow at eleven o'clock in the cathedral." 

" I shall be there," he cried, seizing her hands, 
which she disengaged. 

And as they were both standing up, he behind her, 
and Emma with her head bent, he stooped over her, and 
l)ressed long kisses on her neck. 

" You are mad! Ah, you are mad! " she said, with 
ringing little laughs, while the kisses multiplied. 

Hending his head over her shoulder, he seemed to 
beg the consent of her eyes. They fell upon him full 
of icy dignity. 

Leon stepped back to go out. He stopped on the 
threshold ; then he whispered with a trembling voice, 
" To-morrow ! " 

She answered with a nod, and disappeared like a 
bird into the next room. 

In the evening Emma wrote the clerk an intermin- 
able letter, in which she cancelled the rendezvous ; all 
was over ; they must not, for the sake of their happi- 
ness, meet again. But when the letter was finished, as 
she did not know Leon's address, she was puzzled. 

" I'll give it to him myself." she said ; " he will 
come." 

The next morning, at the open window, and hum- 
ming on his balcony, Leon himself varnished his pumps 
with several coatings. He put on white trousers, fine 
socks, a green coat, poured all the scent he had into his 
handkerchief, then having had his hair curled, he un- 
curled it to give it a more natural elegance. 

" It is still too early." he thought, looking at the hair- 
dresser's cuckoo-clock, which pointed to the hour of 



248 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

nine. He read an old fashion journal, went out. 
smoked a cigar, walked up three streets, thought it was 
time, and went toward the porch of Notre Dame. 

It was a beautiful summer morning. Silver plate 
sparkled in the jewellers' windows, and the light fall- 
ing obliquely on the cathedral made mirrors of the cor- 
ners of the grey stones ; a flock of birds fluttered in 
the grey sky round the trefoil bell-turrets ; the square, 
resounding with cries, was fragrant with the flowers 
that bordered its j^avcment : roses, jasmines, pinks, nar- 
cissi, and tuberoses, unevenly spaced out between moist 
grasses, catnip, and chickweed for the birds ; the foun- 
tains gurgled in the centre, and under large umbrellas, 
amid melons piled up in heaps, bare-headed flower- 
w^omen were twisting paper round bunches of violets. 

The young man took a cluster. It was the first time 
that he had bought flowers for a woman, and his 
breast, as he smelled them, swelled with pride, as if 
this homage that he meant for another had recoiled 
upon himself. 

But he was afraid of being seen ; he resolutely en- 
tered the church. The beadle, who was just then stand- 
ing on the threshold in the middle of the left doorway, 
under the " Dancing Marianne," with featlrer cap, and 
rapier dangling against his calves, came in, more ma- 
jestic than a cardinal, and as shining as a saint on a 
holy pyx. 

He went toward Leon, and, with that smile of 
wheedling benignity assumed by ecclesiastics when 
they question children : 

" The gentleman, no doubt, does not belong to these 
parts ? The gentleman would like to see the curiosities 
of the church ? " 

" No ! " said the other. 

And he first walked through the lower aisles. Then 



MADAME BOVARY 249 

he went out to look at the square. Emma was not 
coming yet. He went up a^^ain to the choir. 

The nave was reflected in the full fonts with the foot 
of the arches and some portions of the glass windows. 
But the reflections of the paintings, hroken by the 
marble rim, were continued farther on upon the flag- 
stones, like a many-coloured carj)ct. The broad daylight 
from without streamed into the church in three enor- 
mous rays from the three wide-open portals. 

Leon walked solemnly along by the walls. Life 
never had seemed so good to him. She would come 
directly, charming, agitated, looking back at the 
glances that followed her. wearing her flounced gown, 
her gold eyeglass, her dainty shoes, all sorts of elegant 
trifles that he never had enjoyed, and exhaling the in- 
effable seduction of yielding virtue. The church like 
a huge boudoir would encompass her ; the arches would 
bend down to gather in the shade the confession of her 
love ; the windows would shine resplendent to illumine 
her face, and the censers would burn that she might 
appear like an angel amid the fumes of the sweet-smell- 
ing odours. 

But she did not come ! He sat down on a chair, and 
his eyes fell upon a blue stained window representing 
boatmen carrying baskets. 

The beadle, standing at a distance, was inwardly 
angry at this individual who took the liberty of ad- 
miring the cathedral by himself. He seemed to him to 
be conducting himself in a monstrous fashion, to be 
robbing him in a way, and almost committing a sacri- 
lege. 

Presently there was a rustle of silk on the flags, the 
tip of a bonnet appeared, a lined cloak — it was she ! 
Leon rose and ran to meet her. 

Emma was pale. She had walked fast. 



250 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Read ! " she said, holding out a paper to him. 
"Oh, no!" 

And she abruptly withdrew her hand to enter the 
chapel of the Virgin, where, kneeling on a chair, she 
began to pray. 

The young man was irritated at this bigot's fancy ; 
then he experienced a certain pleasure in seeing her, 
in the midst of a rendezvous, thus lost in her devotions, 
like an Andalusian marchioness ; then he grew bored, 
for it seemed that she never would come to an end. 

Emma prayed, or rather tried to pray, hoping that 
some sudden resolution might descend to her from 
heaven ; and to draw down divine aid she filled her 
eyes with the splendours of the tabernacle. She in- 
haled the perfumes of the full-blown flowers in the 
large vases, and listened to the stillness of the church, 
which only heightened the tumult of her heart. 

At last she rose, and they were about to go, when 
the beadle came forward, hurriedly saying : 

" Madame, no doubt, does not belong to these parts? 
Madame would like to see the curiosities of the 
church ? " 

" Oh, no ! " exclaimed Leon. 

" Why not ? " said she. For she clung with her ex- 
piring virtue to the Mrgin, the sculptures, the tombs — 
to anything. 

Then, in order to proceed " by rule." the beadle con- 
ducted them first to the entrance near the square, where 
he pointed out with his cane a large circle of block- 
stones without inscription or carving. 

" This," he said majestically, " is the circumference 
of the beautiful bell of Amboise. It weighed forty 
thovisand pounds. There was not its equal in all Eu- 
rope. The workman who cast it died of the joy " 

" Let us go on," said Leon. 



MADAME BOVARY 251 

The old fellow set o(T aj^ain ; then, havinj^^ returned 
to the chapel of the \'ir^iii, he stretched forth his arm 
with an all-enihraciiiir gesture of dcnionstration, and, 
prouder than a country scpiire exhihitini^ his espaliers, 
continued : 

" This siiuple stone covers IMerre de Breze, Lord of 
\'arenne and of lirissac, Grand Marshal of Poitou, 
and ( lovernor of NcMMiiandy, who died at the battle of 
Montlhery on the sixteenth of July, fourteen hundred 
and sixty-five." 

Leon bit his lips, fuminq- with impatience. 

" And on the ris^ht, this gentleman all encased in 
iron, on the prancinj^ horse, is his f^randson, Louis de 
Rreze, Lord of Breval and of Montchauvet, Count de 
Maulevrier, Baron de Mauny, Chamberlain to the king^, 
Knit^ht of the Order, and also Governor of Normandy ; 
died on tlje twenty-third of July, fifteen hundred and 
thirty-one — on a Sunday, as the inscription specifies ; 
and below, this figure, about to descend into the tomb, 
portrays the same person. It is not possible, is it, to see 
a more perfect representation of annihilation? " 

Madame Bovary put up her eyeglasses. Leon, mo- 
tionless, looked at her, no longer even attempting to 
speak a single word, to make a gesture, so discouraged 
was he at this two-fold obstinacy of gossip and indif- 
ference. 

The everlasting guide went on : 

" Near him. this kneeling woman who weeps is his 
spouse. Diane de Poitiers, Countess de Breze. Duchess 
de \'alentinois, born in fourteen hundred and ninety- 
nine, died in fifteen hundred and sixty-six, and to the 
left, the woman with the child is the Holy Virgin. 
Now turn to this side ; here are the tombs of the Am- 
boise. They were both cardinals and archbishops of 
Rouen. That one was minister under Louis Twelfth. 



252 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

He did a great deal for the cathedral. In his will he 
left thirty thousand gold crowns for the poor." 

And without stopping, still talking, he pushed them 
into a chapel full of balustrades, put some away, and 
disclosed a kind of block that certainly might once 
have been an ill-made statue. 

" Truly," he said with a groan, *' it adorned the tomb 
of Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England and Duke 
of Normandy. It was the Calvinists, sir, who reduced 
it to this condition. They buried it for spite in the 
earth, under the episcopal seat of Monsignor. See! 
this is the door by which Monsignor passes to his 
house. Let us pass on to see the gargoyle win- 
dows." 

But Leon hastily took some silver from his pocket 
and seized Emma's arm. The beadle stood dum- 
founded, not able to understand this untimely munifi- 
cence when there were still so many things for the 
stranger to see. So calling him back, he cried : 

" Sir ! sir ! The steeple ! the steeple ! " 

" No, thank you," said Leon. 

" You are wrong, sir ! It is four hundred and forty 
feet high, nine less than the great pyramid of Egypt. 
It is all cast ; it " 

Leon was fleeing, for it seemed to him that his love, 
which for nearly two hours had become petrified in the 
church like the stones, would vanish like a vapour 
through that sort of truncated funnel, oblong cage, or 
open chimney that rises so grotesquely from the cathe- 
dral like the extravagant attempt of some fantastic 
brazier. 

" But where are we going? " Emma inquired. 

Making no answer, he walked on with a rapid step ; 
and ]\Iadame Bovary was already dipping her finger in 
the holy water when behind them they heard a panting 



MADAME BOVARY 253 

breath interruplod by the regular tappinjj^ of a cane. 
Leon turned hack. 

" Monsieur! " 

" What is it ? " 

He recognised the beadle, holding under his arms 
and balancing against his stomach twenty large sewn 
volumes. They were works " which treated of the 
cathedral." . 

" Idiot! " growled Leon, rushing out of the church. 

A lad was playing about the close. 

" Go and get me a cab! " 

The child bounded off like a ball toward the Rue 
Quatre-Vents ; then they were alone a few minutes, 
face to face, and a little embarrassed. 

"Ah, Leon! Really — 1 don't know — whether I 
ought," she whisiK?red. Then with a more serious air, 
" Do you know, it is very improper? " 

" How so? " said Leon. " It is done in Paris." 

And that, as an irresistible argument, decided her. 

But the cab was long in coming. Leon was afraid 
she might reenter the church. At last it came. 

" At all events, go out by the north porch," cried the 
beadle, who was left alone on the threshold, " so as to 
see the Resurrection, the Last Judgment, Paradise, 
King David, and especially the Coiulemn.ed in Hell- 
flames." 

" Where to, sir ? " asked the coachman. 

" Where you like," said Leon, hurrying Emma into 
the cab. 

And the lumbering machine set out. It went down 
the Rue Grand-Pont, crossed the Place des Arts, the 
Quai Napoleon, the Pont Neuf, and stopped before the 
statue of Pierre Corneille. 

" Go on," cried a voice from within the cab. 

The vehicle went on again, and as soon as it reached 



254 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

the Carrefour Lafayette, it set off down-hill, and en- 
tered the station at a gallop. 

" No, go straight on !" called the same voice. 

The cab came out by the gate, and soon having 
reached the Cours, rolled quietly beneath the elm-trees. 
The coachman wiped his brow, put his leather hat be- 
tween his knees, and drove his carriage beyond the 
side alley by the meadow to the margin of tjie water. 

It went along by the river, along the towing-path 
paved with sharp pebbles, and ambled for a long while 
in the direction of Oyssel, beyond the isles. 

But suddenly it turned with a dash across Ouatre- 
mares, Sotteville. La Grande-Chaussee, the Rue d'El- 
beuf, and made its third stop in front of the Jardin des 
Plantes. 

" Go on, will you ? " cried the voice more furiously. 

At once resuming its course, it passed by Saint- 
Sever, by the Quai des Curandiers, the Quai aux 
JMeules, once more over the bridge, by the Place au 
Champ de Mars, and behind the hospital gardens, 
where old men in black coats were walking in the sun- 
shine along the terrace all green with ivy. It went up 
the Boulevard Bouvreuil, along the Boulevard Cau- 
choise, then through the whole of JMont-Riboudet to 
the Deville hills. 

It returned; and then, without any fixed plan or di- 
rection, wandered about at hazard. That fiacre was 
seen at Saint-Pol, at Lescure, at Mont Gargan, at La 
Rouge-Marc and the Place du Gaillardbois ; in the Rue 
Maladrerie, Rue Dinanderie, before Saint-Romain, 
Saint-Vivien, Saint-Maclou, Saint-Nicaise — in front of 
the Customs, at the Vieille Tour, the Trois Pipes, and 
the Monumental Cemetery. At times the coachman on 
his box cast despairing eyes at the public-houses. He 
could not understand what furious desire for loconio- 



MADAME BOVARY 2r).'5 

tion urged these persons to go on and never wish to 
stop, lie tried to do so now and then, and at once 
exclamations of anger burst forth heliind him. Then 
he lashed his perspiring jades afresh, but was indiffer- 
ent to their jolting; he ran up against things here and 
there, not caring whether he did, demoralised, and al- 
most weeping with thirst, fatigue, and depression. 

On the streets along the harbour, in the midst of 
drays and casks, the good folk opened large, wonder- 
stricken eyes at this sight, so extraordinary in the pro- 
vinces — a cab with blinds drawn, ap])earing to be shut 
more closely than a tonil). and tossing like a vessel. 

Once, in the middle of the day, in the open country, 
just as the sun beat most fiercely against the old plated 
lanterns, a biared hand passed beneath the small blinds 
of yellow canvas, and threw out some scraps of paper 
that scattered in the wind, and farther off alighted 
like white butterflies on a field of red clover in bloom. 

At about six o'clock the carriage stopped in a back 
street of the Beauvoisine Quarter, and a woman got 
out, who walked raj^dly away with her veil down, and 
without turning her head. 



CHAPTER II 

DISCORDS AND DIPLOMACY 

WHEN IMadame Bovary reached the inn she was 
surprised not to see the diligence. Hivert, 
who had waited for her fifty-three minutes, 
had at last set forth without her. 

Nothing forced her to go ; but she had said positively 
that she would return that evening. Besides, Charles 



256 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

expected her, and in her heart she felt already that cow- 
ardly docility which is for some women at once the 
chastisement and the atonement of adnltery. 

She packed her baj^ quickly, paid her bill, took a 
cab in the yard, hurrying the driver, urging him on, 
every moment inquiring about the time and the miles 
traversed. He succeeded in overtaking the " Hiron- 
delle " as it approached the first houses of Quincam- 
poix. 

Hardly was she seated in her corner than she closed 
her eyes ; she opened them at the foot of the hill, where 
from afar she recognised Felicite, who was watching 
in front of the farrier's shop. Hivert pulled in his 
horses, and the maid, climbing up to the window, said 
mysteriously : 

" Madame, you must go at once to Monsieur Ho- 
mais. It is for something important." 

The village was as quiet as usual. At the corner of 
the streets were small pink heaps that steamed in the 
air, for this was the time of year for jam-making, and 
everyone in Yonville prepared a supply on the same 
day. In front of the chemist's shop one might admire 
a much larger heap, which surpassed the others with 
the superiority that a laboratory must have over ordi- 
nary shops, a general need over individual fancy. 

Emma went in. The large armchair was upset, and 
even the Faiial de Rouen lay on the ground, outspread 
between two pestles. She pushed open the lobby door, 
and in the middle of the kitchen, amid brown jars full 
of currants, powdered sugar and lump sugar, with 
scales on the table, and pans on the fire, she saw all the 
Homais family, small and large, with aprons reaching 
to their chins, and with forks in their hands. Justin 
was standing with bowed head, and the chemist was 
screamino- : 



MADAME BOVARY 257 

"Who told you to u^o aiul fdcli it in the Ciipliar- 
naiim ? " 

" What is it? What is the matter? " asl<c<l Emma. 

"What is it?" rcpHcd tlie chemist. " VVc arc 
makinpf preserves ; they are simmeriiif^ ; I)iit they were 
ahout to boil over, because there is too much juice, and 
I ordered another pan. Then he, from indolence, from 
laziness, went and took, hanginjj^ on its nail in my 
laboratory, the key of the Capharnaiim." 

Thus the chemist called a small room under the leads, 
filled with the utensils and jj^oods of his trade. He 
often spent lons^ hours there alone, labellinc^, decantinp;, 
and doing up again ; and he looked upon it not as a 
simple store Iput as a veritable sanctuary, whence after- 
ward issued, elaborated by his hands, all sorts of pills, 
boluses, infusions, lotions, and potions, that would 
soread his celebrity far and wide. No one set foot 
there, and he respected it so much that he swept it 
himself. Finally, if the pharmacy, 0])en to all comers, 
was the spot where he displayed his pride, the Caphar- 
naiim was the refuge where, egoistically concentrating 
himself, Homais delighted in the exercise of his pre- 
dilections, so that Justin's thoughtlessness seemed to 
him a monstrous piece of irreverence, and, redder than 
the currants, he repeated : 

" Yes, from the Capharnaiim ! The key that locks 
up the acids and caustic alkalis ! To go and get a 
spare pan ! a pan with a lid ! which i)crhaps I shall 
never use! Everything is of imjiortance in the deli- 
cate operations of our art ! Dut, devil take it ! one 
must make distinctions, and not employ for almost do- 
luestic purposes that which is meant for pharmaceuti- 
cal ! It is as if one were to carve a fowl with a scalpel ; 
as if a magistrate " 

" Now be calm," said Madame Homais. 



258 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

And Athalie, pulling at his coat, cried " Papa ! 
papa ! " 

" No, let me alone." continued the chemist, " let me 
alone, hang- it ! Good heavens ! One might as well 
set up for a grocer. That's it! go it! respect nothing! 
break, smash, let loose the leeches, burn the mallow- 
paste, pickle the gherkins in the window-jars, tear up 
the bandages ! "' 

" I thought you had " said Emma. 

" Yes, yes, Madame ! Do you know to what you ex- 
posed yourself? Didn't you see anything in the corner, 
on the left, on the third shelf? Speak, answer, articu- 
late something." 

" I — don't — know," stammered the young fellow. 

" Ah, you don't know ! Well, then, I do know ! You 
saw a jar of blue glass, sealed with yellow wax, which 
contains a white powder, on which I have even written 
* Dangerous ! ' And do you know what is in it ? Ar- 
senic ! And you go and touch it ! You take a pan 
that was next to it ! " 

" Next to it 1 " cried Madame Homais, clasping her 
hands. "Arsenic! You might have poisoned us all." 

The children began howling as if already they had 
frightful pains in their stomachs. 

" Or poisoned a patient ! " continued the chemist. 
" Do you wish to see me in the prisoner's dock with 
criminals in a court of justice? To see me dragged to 
the scaffold? Don't you know what care I take in 
managing things, although I am so thoroughly used to 
it? Often I am horrified myself when I think of my 
responsibility ; for the Government persecutes us, and 
the absurd legislation that rules us is a veritable Da- 
mocles' sword over our heads." 

Emma no longer dreamed of asking what they 
wanted her for, and the chemist went on in breathless 
phrases : 



MADAME BOVARY 259 

" That is your return for all the kindnesses we have 
shown you ! That is how you recompense nic for the 
really paternal care that I lavish on you ! For without 
uie where would you he? What would you he doinp;? 
Who provides you with food, education, clothes, and 
all the means of fij^urinjj^ one day with honour in the 
ranks of society? lUit you must jnill hard at the oar if 
you are to do that, and, as they say, get callosities 
upon your hands. Fabricaiido fit fahcr, a<^c quod 
iuris." ' 

lie was so exasperated he quoted T.atin. He would 
have quoted Chinese or (Jreenlandish had he known 
those two languages, for he was in one of those crises 
in which the whole soul shows indistinctly what it con- 
tains, like the ocean, which, in the storm, opens itself 
from the seaweeds on its shores down to the sands of 
its abysses. 

He persisted : 

" I am beginning to repent terribly of having taken 
you up ! I should certainly have done better to leave 
you to rot in your poverty and the dirt in which you 
were born. Oh, you'll never be fit for anything but to 
herd horned animals ! You have no aptitude for sci- 
ence ! You hardly know how to paste a label ! And 
there you arc, living with me snug as a parson, in 
clover, taking your ease ! " 

But Emma, turning to Madame Homais, said : " I 
was told to come here " 

" Oh, dear! " interrupted the good woman with a sad 
air, " how shall I tell you? It is a misfortune! " 

She could not go on, for the chemist was thunder- 
ing : " Empty it ! Clean it ! Take it back at once ! Be 
quick ! " 

Seizing Justin by the collar of his blouse, he shook 
a book out of his pocket. The youth stooped, but Ho- 



260 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

mais was the quicker, and having picked up the volume, 
contemplated it with wide eyes and open mouth. 

" Cojijui^al — loz'e! " he said, slowly separating the 
two words. " Ah ! very good ! very fine ! very pretty ! 
And with illustrations ! Oh, this is too much ! " 

Madame Homais came forward. 

" No, do not touch it ! " he commanded. 

The children wanted to look at the pictures. 

'' Leave the room ! " he said imperiously ; and they 
went out. 

He walked up and down with the open book in his 
hand, rolling his eyes, choking, tumid, apoplectic. 
Then he approached his pupil, and, planting himself in 
front of him with crossed arms, he said : 

" Have you every vice, then, little wretch ? Take 
care! you are on a downward path. Did you not re- 
flect that this infamous book might fall into the hands 
of my children, kindle a spark in their minds, tarnish 
the purity of Athalie, corrupt Napoleon? He is al- 
ready formed like a man. Are you quite sure, anyhow, 
that they have not read it ? Can you certify to me " 

" But really, sir," said Emma, " you wished to tell 
me " 

" Ah, yes ! Madame. Your father-in-law is dead." 

In fact. Monsieur Bovary senior had expired the 
evening before suddenly from an attack of apoplexy as 
he rose from dinner, and by way of greater precaution, 
on account of Emma's sensibility, Charles had begged 
Homais to break the terrible news to her gradually. 
Homais had pondered his speech ; he had rounded, pol- 
ished it, made it rhythmical ; it was a masterpiece of 
prudence and transitions, of subtle turns and delicacy ; 
but anger had got the better of rhetoric. 

Emma, giving up all hope of hearing any details, 
left the pharmacy ; for Monsieur Homais had taken up 



MADAME BOVARY 261 

tlic thread of his vituperations. lUit he was growing 
cahiier, and was now p^runibHnp in a j)aternal tone 
while he fanned himself with his sknll-caj). 

" It is not that I entirely disai)|)r()ve of the work. 
Its author was a physician. There are certain scien- 
tific points in it which it is not wrong that a man should 
know, and I would even venture to say a man ought 
to know. JUit later — later! At any rate, not till you 
are a man yourself and yoiu" constitution is formed." 

When Emma knocked at the door, Charles, who was 
waiting for her, came forward with open arms and said 
to her with tears in his \()ice : 

" Ah, my dear ! " 

And he bent over her gently to kiss her. But at the 
contact of his lips the memory of the other seized her, 
and she passed her hand over her face, shuddering. 

" Yes, I know, I know ! " she replied. 

He showed her the letter in which his mother told 
the event withc.ut any sentimental hypocrisy. She only 
regretted that her hushand had not received the con- 
solations of religion, as he had died at Daudeville, in 
the street, at the door of a cafe, after a patriotic din- 
ner with some ex-officers. 

Emma handed him back the letter ; then at dinner, 
for api^earance's sake, she affected a certain repug- 
nance to eating. But as Charles urged her to try. she 
resolutely began, while opposite her he sat motionless 
in a dejected attitude. 

At times he raised his head and gave her a long 
look full of distress. Once he sighed, " I should have 
liked to see him again ! " 

She was silent. At last, feeling that she must say 
something, she asked, "How old was vour father?" 

" Fiftv-eight." 

"Ah!" 



262 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

And that was all. 

A quarter of an hour later he added, " My poor 
mother ! what will become of her now ? " 

Emma made a gesture signifying that she did not 
know. Seeing her so taciturn, Charles imagined she 
was deeply afifected, and forced himself to keep silence, 
not to reawaken this sorrow which moved him. And, 
shaking off his own mood — 

" Did you enjoy yourself yesterday? " he asked, 
les. 

When the cloth was removed, Bovary did not rise, 
nor did Emma ; and as she looked at him, the monot- 
ony of the spectacle gradually drove all pity from her 
heart. He seemed to her paltry, weak, a cipher — in a 
word, a poor thing in every way. How should she get 
rid of him? What an interminable evening! Some- 
thing stupefying like the fumes of opium seized her. 

They heard in the passage the sharp noise of a 
wooden leg on the boards. It was Hippolyte bringing 
back Emma's luggage. In o^^der to put it down he 
described painfully a quarter of a circle with his 
stump. 

" He doesn't even remember any more about that," 
she thought, looking at the poor wretch, whose coarse 
red hair was wet with perspiration. 

Bovary was searching at the bottom of his purse for 
a centime, without appearing to understand all there 
was of humiliation for him in the mere presence of 
this man, who stood there like a personified reproach 
to the doctor's hopeless incapacity. 

"Hallo! you have a pretty bouquet," he said, no- 
ticing Leon's violets on the chimney. 

" Yes," she replied indifferently ; " some flowers I 
bought just now from a beggar." 

Charles picked up the flowers, and freshening his 



MADAME BOVARY 'iO.'i 

I'vc's, n-d with tears, aj^'ainst tlicm, inhaled their odour 
dehcately. 

I'jiiina took thcni (|nickly from his hand and put 
thcni in a ,t;lass of \\aUi-. 

The next (Ia\' Madaint' lloxary senior arrived. She 
and her son wepl inueh. l-jnnia, on the ])retext of 
<;ivinjj^ orck'rs, (hsappianck The following;' day they 
had a talk oxcv the niourninsj^. They sat with their 
workhoxes hy {\\v walersick- luuk-r the arhour. 

Charles was thinkintj of his father, and was sur- 
prised to feel so nuich afTcction for this man. whom 
till then he had thought he cared httle about, ^^adanle 
r>o\'ar\- senk)r was thinking;;' of her husband. The 
worst da\s of the ])ast seemed desirable to her. .Ml 
evil was fori^otlen beneath the instinctive regret of long 
hal)it. and from time to time while she sewed, a big tear 
rolle<l along her nose and hung susjiended there a 
moment. I'jiinia was thinking that it was barely forty- 
eight hours since she and LecMi had been together, 
far from the world, in a frenzy of joy. and not having 
eyes enough to gaze upon each other. 

She was ripping the lining of a gown, and the strips 
were scattered around her. Madame Rovary senior 
was plying her scissors without looking up, and 
Charles, in his list slippers and his old brown surtout 
that he used as a dressing-gown, sat with both hands 
in his ixKkets, and did not sjieak cither ; near them 
Berthe, in a little white apron, was digging the sand 
in the walks with her spade. 

Suddenly Emma saw' INIonsieur T.heureux. the linen- 
draper, enter through the gateway. 

He came to ofTer his services *' in these sad circum- 
stances." Emma answered that she thought she could 
do without. The shopkeeper was not to be ignored. 

" I beg your pardon," he said, " but I should like 



264 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

to have a private talk with you." Then in a low 
voice, " It's about that affair — you know." 

Charles crimsoned to his ears. " Oh, yes ! certainly.'' 
And in his confusion, turning to his wife, " Couldn't 
you speak to him, my darling?" 

She seemed to understand him, for she rose ; and 
Charles said to his mother, " It is nothing particular. 
No doubt, some household trifle." He did not wish 
her to know the story of the bill, fearing her re- 
proaches. 

As soon as they were alone. Monsieur Lheureux in 
sufficiently clear terms began to congratulate Emma 
on the inheritance, then to talk of indifferent matters, 
of the espaliers, the harvest, and of his own health, 
which was always uncertain, having ups and downs. 
In fact, he had to work devilish hard, although he 
didn't make enough, in spite of all people said, to 
find butter for his bread. 

Emma let him talk on. She had been so prodig- 
iously bored the last two days. 

"And so you're quite well again?" he went on. 
" Well, well ! I saw your poor husband in a sad state. 
He's a good fellow, though we did have a little mis- 
understanding." 

She asked what misunderstanding, for Charles had 
said nothing of the dispute about the goods supplied 
to her. 

" Why, you know well enough," cried Lheureux. 
" It was about your little fancies — the travelling 
trunks." 

He had drawn his hat over his eyes, and, with his 
hands behind his back, smiling and whistling, he 
looked straight at her in an unbearable manner. Did 
he suspect anything? She was lost in all kinds of 
apprehensions. At last, however, he resumed: 



MADAME BOVARY 'iO.^ 

"We made it up, all tlu' saiiu', and I've come aj^^aiii 
to i)ropose another arranj^enuiit." 

This was to rein-w the hill liov.iry had sij^Mied. 'J"he 
doctor, of course, would do as hv pleased; he was 
not to trduhk' himself, especially just unw. when he 
would have a _i;reat deal of worry. " And he wf)uld 
do hetter to hand over the husiness to some one else 
— to you, for example. With a power of attorney it 
could he easily manatj^ed, and then we (you and I) 
would have our little husiness transactions toj^ether." 

She did not understand, and was silent. Then, 
passing- to histrade, Lheureux declared that Madame 
must recpiire somcthini:^. He would send her a hlack 
haret;e, twelve yards, just cnou'rh to make a p^own. 

" 'i'he one you have on is j^ood enouj^^h for the 
house, hut \()U want anotiier for calls. I saw that the 
moment I came. 1 have the eye of an American ! " 

lie did not send the stuff; he hrought it. Tlien he 
came a^^ain to measure it ; he came aci^ain on other 
])retexts, always trying- to make himself agrecahle, 
useful, " enfeoffing himself," as Ilomais would have 
said, and always dropping some hint to Emma ahout 
the power of attorney. He never mentioned the hill ; 
she did not think of it. Charles, at the beginning of 
her convalescence, had certainly said something about 
it to her, but so many emotions had passed through 
her head that she no longer remembered it. Besides, 
she took care not to talk of any money matters. Ma- 
dame P)Ovary seemed surprised at this, and attributed 
the change in her ways to the religious sentiments 
she had professed during her illness. 

But as soon as she was gone, Emma greatly as- 
tounded Bovary by her practical good sense. It would 
be necessary to make inquiries, to look into mortgages, 
and see whether there were anv occasion for a sale 



266 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

by auction or a liquidation. She quoted technical 
terms casually, pronounced the grand words of " or- 
der," " the future," " foresight," and constantly ex- 
aggerated the difficulties of settling his father's affairs 
so much that at last one day she showed him the 
rough draft of a power of attorney to manage and 
administer his business, arrange all loans, sign and 
endorse all bills, pay all sums, and. so on. She had 
profited by Lheureux's lessons. 

Charles naively asked her whence this paper came. 

" Monsieur Guillaumin ; " and with the utmost cool- 
ness she added, " I don't trust him overmuch. No- 
taries have such a bad reputation. Perhaps we ought 
to consult only we know — no one." 

" Unless Leon " replied Charles, who was re- 
flecting. 

But it was difficult to explain matters by letter. 
Then she offered to make the journey to Rouen, but 
he thanked her and said no. She insisted. It was 
quite a contest of mutual consideration. At last she 
cried, with affected waywardness — 

" No, I ivill go ! " 

" How good you are ! " he said, kissing her fore- 
head. 

The next morning she set out in the " Hirondelle " 
to go to Rouen to consult Monsieur Leon, and she 
stayed there three days. 



MADAME BOVARY 26" 



CHAPTER III 

* 

AXOTIIKK IIONKV.MOON 

TIII'.RI-", they spent tlircc full, exquisite days — a 
true lioneyuioou. 

Tliey stayed at the Ilotcl-de-I'oulop^nc. on 
the harhour; and they lived there, with drawn curtains 
and closed doors, with flowers on the floor, and iced 
drinks that Were hrouii^ht them early in the morninfj^. 

Toward evcninj:^ they took a covered hoat and went 
to dine on one of the islands. 

They rowed down in the midst of moored boats, 
whose long oblique cables grazed lightly against the 
Imttom of their boat. The din of the town gradually 
grew distant ; the rolling of carriages, the tumult of 
voices, the yelping of dogs on the decks of vessels. 
She took off her bonnet, and they landed on their 
island. 

Tiiey sat down in the low-ceilinged room of an inn. 
at the door of which hung black nets. They ate fried 
smelts, cream, and cherries. They lay down upon 
the grass : they kissed behind the poplars ; and they 
would fain, like two Robinson Crusoes. have lived 
forever in this little place, which seemed to them in 
their beatitude the most magnificent on earth. 

At night they returned. The boat glided along the 
shores of the islands. They sat at the bottom, both 
hidden by the shade, in silence. The square oars rang 
in the iron rowlocks, and seemed to mark time in the 
stillness like the beating of a metronome, while at the 
stern the trailing rudder never ceased its gentle splash 
aeainst the water. 



268 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Once the moon rose ; then they did not fail to make 
fine phrases, finding the orb melancholy and full of 
poetry. Emma even began to sing: 

" One night, do jou remember, we were sailing," 

Her musical l)ut weak voice died away along the 
waves, and the winds carried off the trills that Leon 
heard pass like the quiver of wings about him. 

Emma was opposite him, leaning against the par- 
tition of the shallop, through one of the raised blinds 
of which the moon streamed in. Her black dress, 
with drapery spread out like a fan, made her seem 
more slender, taller. Her head was raised, her hands 
were clasped, her eyes lifted toward heaven. At times 
the shadow of the willows hid her completely ; then 
she reappeared suddenly, like a vision in the moon- 
light. 

Yet they had to part. The adieux were sad. He 
was to send his letters to Mere Rollet, and she gave 
him such precise instructions about using a double 
envelope that he admired her amorous astuteness. 

"So you can assure me it is all right?" she said 
with her last kiss. 

" Yes, certainly." 

" But why." he thought afterward, as he went 
through the streets alone, " is she so very anxious to 
get this power of attorney?" 



MADAME BOVARY 269 



CHAPTER IV 

A VISIT AT HOME 

LEON soon put on superior airs amorif^ his com- 
rades, avoided their society, and nep^lected his 
work. 

He waited for Emma's letters ; he re-read them ; 
he wrote to her. He called her to mind with all the 
strength of his desires and his memories. Instead of 
lessening with absence, this longing to see her again 
increased, so that at last on Saturday morning he 
escaped from his office. 

When, from the top of the hill, he saw in the val- 
ley the church-spire with its weather-vane swinging 
in the wind, he felt that delight mingled with tri- 
umphant vanity and egoistic tenderness that million- 
aires must experience when they revisit their native 
village. 

He went rambling round Emma's house. A light 
was burning in the kitchen. He watched for her 
shadow behind the curtains, but nothing appeared. 

IMere LefranQois, when she saw him, uttered many 
exclamations. She thought he had grown and was 
thinner, while Artemise, on the contrary, thought him 
stouter and darker. 

He dined in the little room as of old, but alone, 
without the tax-gatherer; for Binet, tired of waiting 
for the " Hirondelle," had definitely put forward his 
meal one hour, and now he dined punctually at five, 
yet he declared that " the rickettv old concern " was 
late. 



270 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Leon, however, made up his mind, and at last 
knocked at the doctor's door. Madame was in her 
room, but did not come down for a quarter of an 
hour. The doctor seemed deHi^hted to see him, but 
he never stirred out that cveninjT, nor all the next day. 

Leon saw her alone in the evening, very late, behind 
the g-arden in the lane — in the lane, as she had met 
the other man ! It was a stormy night, and they talked 
under an umbrella by lightning flashes. 

Their separation was becoming intolerable. " I 
would rather die ! " said Emma. She was writhing 
in his arms, weeping. " Adieu ! adieu ! When shall 
I see you again ? " 

They ran back again to embrace once more, and 
then she promised him to find soon, by no matter what 
means, a regular opportunity for seeing each other 
in freedom at least once a week. Emma never doubted 
she should be able to do this. Besides, she was full 
of hope. Some money was coming to her. 

On the strength of this, she bought a pair of yellow 
curtains, with large stripes, for her room, the cheap- 
ness of which Monsieur Lheureux had commended ; 
she dreamed of getting a carpet, and Lheureux, de- 
claring that it wasn't " drinking the sea," politely 
undertook to supply her with one. She could no 
longer do without his services. Twenty times a day 
she sent for him, and he at once laid aside his business 
without a murmur. The neighbours could not under- 
stand either why Mere Rollet breakfasted with her 
every day, and even paid her private visits. 

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning 
of the winter, that she seemed seized with great musi- 
cal fervour. 

One evening when Charles was listening to her, she 
began the same piece four times over, each time with 



MADAME BOVARY 271 

much vexation, wliilc lie, not noticing any di (Terence, 
cried : 

" Ijravo! very p^ood ! Y(ni are wronj^'' to stop. Go 
on ! 

"Oh, no; it is execrahle! My fint^ers arc quite 
rusty." 

The next day he l)ep:};ed her (o play him something 
a.^ain. 

" Very well ; to please yfni ! " 

And Charles confessed she had t^one off in her exc- 
cuti(in a little. She played wronj;- notes and hlun- 
dered ; then, stopping short, said: 

" Ah ! it is of no nse. I ought to take some lessons; 

hut " She hit her lips and added. " Twenty francs 

a lesson, that's too dear! " 

" Yes. so it is — rather." said Charles, giggling stu- 
pidly. " But it seems to me that one might he ahle 
to do it for less ; for there are artists of no reputation, 
who are often hetter than the celebrities." 

" Find them ! " said Emma. 

The next day when he came home he looked at her 
shyly, and at last could no longer keep back the words. 

" How obstinate you are sometimes ! I went to 
Rarfeucheres to-day. Well, Madame Liegeard as- 
sured me that her three young ladies, who are at La 
Misericorde, have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that 
from an excellent mistress ! " , ■ 

She shrugged her shoulders and did not open her 
piano again. But when she passed by it (if Bovary 
were there), she sighed — 

" Ah ! my poor piano ! " 

And when anyone came to see her. she did not fail 
to inform them that she had given up music, and 
could not begin again now for important reasons. 
Then people commiserated her — 



272 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" What a pity ! she had so much talent ! " 

They even spoke to Bovary about it. They put 
him to shame, and especially the chemist, 

" You are wronp^. One should never let any of the 
faculties of nature lie fallow. Besides, just think, 
my good friend, that by inducing Madame to study, 
you are economizing on the subsequent musical edu- 
cation of your child. For my own part, I think that 
mothers ought themselves to instruct their children. 
That is an idea of Rousseau's, still rather new per- 
haps, but which will end by triumphing, I am certain 
of it, just like that of mothers nursing their own chil- 
dren and the value of vaccination." 

So Charles returned once more to this question of 
the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be 
better to sell it. This poor piano, which had given 
her vanity so much satisfaction — to see it go was to 
Bovary like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself. 

" If you like," he said, " to take a lesson from time 
to time, that wouldn't, after all, be very ruinous." 

" But lessons," she replied, " are of use only when 
followed up." 

Thus it was she set about obtaining her husband's 
permission to go to town once a week to see her 
lover. At the end of a month she was even considered 
to have made considerable progress in her music. 



MADAME BOVARY 273 



ciiai'ti<:r V 

TIIK KDC.I-: Ol" A I'l<l".( iriCK 

EMMA went (() IxDiuii nii Tluirsdays. She rose 
;in(l (Ircssi'd siK'iitly, in (ndcr not to awaken 
Charles, who would have made remarks about 
luM- ,q;ettin,<;- up too early. She walked to and fro, 
went to the vnndows, and looked out at the square. 

When it was a quarter past seven, she went off to 
the Lion d'Or, the door of which Artemise opened, 
\awnin_cf. The q;irl then raked out the coals covered 
by the cinders, and Emma remained alone in the 
kitchen. From time to time she went out. Ilivert 
was leisurely harnessin,c^ his horses, listenini:^, mean- 
while, to Mere Lefrant^ois, who, passing; her head and 
nic^htcap through a £:;ratin_c^, was charc^iufj^ him with 
commissions and giving him explanations that would 
have confused anyone else. 

At last, when Hivert had eaten his soup, put on 
his cloak, lighted his pipe, and grasped his whip, he 
calmly installed himself on his seat. 

The " Tlirondelle " set out on a slow trot, and for 
about a mile stopped here and there to take up pas- 
sengers who waited for it, standing at the border of 
the road, in front of their gates. 

Those who had engaged seats the evening before 
kept it waiting ; some even were still in bed in their 
houses. Hivert called, shouted, swore ; then he de- 
scended from his seat and knocked loudly at the doors. 
The wind blew through the cracked windows. 

The four seats, however, filled up. The coach rolled 
on ; rows of apple trees followed one upon another, 



274 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

and the road between its two long ditches, full of yel- 
low water, rose, narrowing toward the horizon. 

Emma knew it from end to end ; she knew that after 
a meadow there was a sign-post, next an elm, a barn, 
or the hut of a lime-kiln tender. 

At last the brick houses began to follow one another 
more closely, the earth resounded beneath the wheels, 
the " Hirondelle " rolled between gardens, where 
through an opening one saw statues, periwinkle plants, 
clipped yews, and swings. Then suddenh' the town 
appeared. 

A dizziness seemed to Emma to detach itself from 
this mass of existence, and her heart swelled as if the 
hundred and twenty thousand souls that palpitated 
there had suddenly sent into it the vapour of the pas- 
sions she fancied theirs. Her love increased in the 
presence of this vastness, and expanded with tumult 
to the vague murmurings that rose toward her. She 
poured it out upon the square, on the walks, on the 
streets, and on the old Norman city outspread before 
her eyes as an enormous capital, as a Babylon into 
which she was entering. 

They stopped at the barrier ; Emma took off her 
overshoes, put on other gloves, rearranged her wrap, 
and twenty paces farther along she descended from 
the " Hirondelle." 

The town was awakening. Shop-boys in caps were 
cleaning up the shop-fronts, and women, with baskets 
against their hips, at intervals uttered sonorous cries 
at the corners of streets. Emma walked with down- 
cast eyes, close to the walls, and smiling with pleasure 
under her lowered black veil. 

Fearing observation, she did not usually take the 
most direct road. She plunged into dark alleys, and, 
perspiring, reached the foot of the Rue Nationale, near 



MADAME BOVARY 275 

tlic fountain tlirit stands there. Jt is the r|narter for 
theatres, inns, and eourlesans. 

I'jnnia turned down a street; she recognised Leon 
h\- his eurhn^- li.-iir that eseaped from heneath his 
hat. 

l.eoii walked (juiekly alont,'' the pavement, and 
I'.mma followed him to the hotel. lie went up the 
ste]is, opeiu'(l the door, i-ntered — What an embrace! 

After the kisses, words gushed forth. 'J'hev told 
each other the trials of the week, their presentiments, 
their an.xiety for letters; but now all was forgotten; 
they gazed into each other's eyes with voluptuous 
laughs and tender names. 

The bed was large, of mahogany, in the shape of a 
boat. The curtains were of red levantine ; they hung 
from the ceiling and bulged out too much toward the 
roimded bedside ; and nothing in the world was so 
lovel\' as Emma's brown head and white skin against 
this deep colour, when, with a movement of modesty, 
she crossed her bare arms, hiding her face in her 
hands. 

The warm room, with its discreet carpet, its gay 
ornaments, and its soft light, seemed made for the 
intimacies of passion. The curtain-rods, ending in 
arrows, their brass pegs, and the great balls of the 
andirons gleamed suddenly when the sunlight entered. 
On the chimney between the candelabra gleamed two 
of those pink shells in which one hears the murmur 
of the sea if one holds them to the ear. 

How they loved that dear room, so full of gayety. 
despite its rather faded splendour ! They always found 
the furniture in the same place, and sometimes hair- 
pins, which she had forgotten the Thursday before, 
under the pedestal of the clock. They lunched by the 
fireside on a little round table, inlaid with rosewood. 



276 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Emma carved, put bits on Leon's plate with all sorts 
of coquettish ways, and she laus^hed with a ringing 
and libertine laugh when the froth of the champagne 
ran over from the glass to the rings on her fingers. 
They were so completely lost in the possession of each 
other that they thought themselves in their own house, 
and that they would live there till death, like two 
spouses eternally young. They said " our room," " our 
carpet," she even said " our slippers," alluding to a 
gift of Leon's to gratify one of her whims. They were 
of pink satin, bordered with swansdown. When she 
sat on his knee, her shortened leg swung in the air, 
and the dainty shoe, which had no back to it, was held 
to her bare foot only by the toes. 

For the first time Leon enjoyed the inexpressible 
delicacy of feminine refinements. He never had met 
this grace of language, this reserve of clothing, these 
poses like a weary dove. He admired the exaltation 
of her soul and the lace on her petticoat. Besides, 
was she not " a lady " and a married woman — a real 
mistress, in short? 

By the diversity of her moods, in turn mystical or 
mirthful, talkative, taciturn, passionate, careless, she 
awakened in him a thousand desires, called up instincts 
or memories. She was the sweetheart of all the novels, 
the heroine of all the dramas, the vague " she " of all 
the volumes of verse. He found again on her shoulder 
the amber colouring of the " odalisque bathing " ; she 
had the long waist of feudal chatelaines, and she re- 
sembled the " pale woman of Barcelona." But above 
all she was the Angel ! 

Often, when looking at her, it seemed to him that 
his soul, escaping toward her, spread like a wave about 
the outline of her head, and descended into the white- 
ness of her bosom. He knelt on the floor before her. 



MADAME BOVARY 277 

and with both clhows on Iut kiiccs looked at lu-r witli 
a sniik', his face ii])tunH'(l. 

She leaned over him, and nuirinnred, as if suffocated 
with intoxication : 

" ()h, do not move! do not speak! look at me! 
Somethinjx so sweet comes from your eyes that helps 
me so nnich ! " 

She called him " child." " ("liild, do yon love me? " 

She did not listen for his answer in the haste of 
her lips that met his own. 

On the clock there was a bronze cnpid, who smirked 
as he bent his arm beneath a c^olden wreath. They 
lan<;he(l at it many a time, but when they had to part 
everythinq' seemed serious to them. 

Motionless before each other, they kept repeating, 
« Y\\\ Thursday, till Thursday ! " 

Suddenly she would seize his head between her 
hands, kiss him hurriedly on clie forehead, crying, 
" Adieu ! " and rush down the stairs. 

She went to a hairdresser's in the Rue de la Comedie 
to have her hair arranged. Night fell : the gas was 
lighted in the shop. She heard the bell at the theatre 
calling the nnunmers to the performance, and she saw. 
passing opposite, men with pale faces and women in 
faded gowns entering the stage-door. 

It was hot in the hairdresser's, which was a room, 
small, and too low ; the stove was hissing in the midst 
of wigs and pomades. The smell of the tongs, to- 
gether with the greasy hands that handled her head, 
slightly overcame her, and she dozed a little in her 
wrapjier. Often, as he dressed her hair, the man of- 
fered her tickets for a masked ball. 

Then she departed. She went up the streets ; 
reached the Croix-Rouge, put on her overshoes, which 
she had hidden in the morning under the seat, and 



278 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

sank into her place among the impatient passengers. 
Some got out at the foot of the hill. She remained 
alone in the coach. At every turning all the lights 
of the town were seen more and more completely, mak- 
ing a great luminous vapour about the dim houses. 
Emma knelt on the cushions, and her eyes wandered 
over the dazzling light. She sobbed ; called on Leon, 
sent him tender words and kisses lost in the wind. 

On the hillside a poor wretch wandered about with 
his stick among the diligences. A mass of rags cov- 
ered his shoulders, and an old battered tall hat, bent 
out like a basin, hid his face ; but when he took it ofi 
he showed in the place of eyelids only empty and 
bloody orbits. The flesh hung in red shreds, and 
from it flowed liquids that congealed into greenish 
scales down to the nose, whose black nostrils sniffed 
convulsively. To speak to a person he threw back his 
head with an idiotic laugh ; then his bluish eyeballs, 
always rolling, beat at the temples against the edge 
of the open wound. He sang a little song as he fol- 
lowed the carriages — 

" Maids in tlie warmth of a summer day 
Dream of lo\e, and of love alway." 

The rest of the song was about birds and sunshine 
and green leaves. 

Sometimes he appeared suddenly behind Emma, 
bareheaded, and she recoiled with a cry. Hivert made 
fun of him. He would advise him to take a booth at 
the Saint Romain fair, or ask him, laughing, how his 
young woman was. 

Often they had started when, with a sudden move- 
ment, the beggar's hat entered the diligence through 
the small window, while he clung with his other arm 
to the footboard, between the wheels splashing mud. 



MADAME BOVARY 279 

Tlis voice, fc'c'l)k' at first and quavcrinc;'. pfrcw sharj) ; 
it rcsoundetl in the nij^'^lit like the indistinct moan of 
sonu' vaj^ue distress; and above the rinpinp^ of bells, 
the innnimr of trees, and the ninil)linfi;' of tbc empty 
xcliiile, it had a far-off sound that disturbed I'.mma. 
It went to the bottom of her soid, like a whirlwind in 
an abyss, and carried her away into the vap^ue distance 
of a Ixtnndlcss nulancholy. lUit llivert, noticin.c;' a 
weight behind, <:;ave the blind man sharp cuts with his 
whip. The thonq- lashed his wounds, and he fell back 
into the mud with a yell. 

Charles was waiting; for her at home; the " Iliron- 
(lelle " was always late on Thursdays. Madame ar- 
rived at last, but barely kissed the child. The dinner 
was not ready. Xo matter! She excused the servant. 
This maid now seemed allowed to do just as she liked. 

Once her husband, notin_G^ her pallor, asked whether 
she were ill. 

" No," said Emma. 

" But," he replied, " you seem so strange to-night." 

" Oh, it's nothing! nothing! " 

There were even days when she had no sooner come 
in than she went up to her room ; and Justin, happening 
to be there, moved about noiselessly, quicker at help- 
ing her than the best of maids. He laid the matches 
ready, the candlestick, a book, arranged her night- 
gown, turned back the bedclothes. 

" Come! " said she, " that will do. You may go." 

For he stood there, his hands hanging and his eyes 
wide open, as if entangled in the innumerable threads 
of a sudden reverie. 

The day following the rendezvous was always fright- 
ful, and those that came after still more unbearable, 
because of Emma's impatience to seize her happiness 
once again ; an ardent lust, inflamed by the images of 



280 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

past experience, which hurst fortli freely on the seventh 
day beneath Leon's caresses. His ardours were hidden 
beneath outbursts of wonder and gratitude. Emma 
tasted his love in a discreet, absorbed fashion, main- 
tained it by all the artifices of her tenderness, and 
trembled a little lest later it should be lost. 

She often said to him, with her sweet, melancholy 
voice : 

" Ah, you too, you will leave me ! You will marry ! 
You will be like all the others." 

"What others?" he asked. 

" Why, like all men," she replied. Then added, re- 
pelling' him with a languid movement: 

" You are all evil ! " 

One day, as they were talking philosophically of 
earthly disillusions, in order to experiment on his jeal- 
ousy, or yielding, perhaps, to an over-strong need to 
pour out her heart, she told him that formerly .she 
had loved some one before him. " Not as I love you," 
she added quickly, protesting by the head of her child 
that nothing serious had passed between them. 

The young man believed her, but none the less ques- 
tioned her to find out what he w'as. 

" He was a ship's captain, my dear," said she. 

Was this not preventing any inquiry, and, at the 
same time, assuming a higher ground by implying this 
pretended fascination exercised over a man who must 
have been of warlike nature and accustomed to receive 
homage ? 

The clerk felt the lowliness of his own station ; he 
longed for epaulettes, crosses, titles. That sort of 
thing would please her — he gathered that from her 
spendthrift habits. 

Emma nevertheless concealed many of these extra- 
vagant fancies, such as her wish to have a blue tilbury 



MADAME BOVARY 2.S1 

to drive into Rouen, drawn by an Mnplisli horse and 
driven hv a j^rooni in top-hoots. It was Justin vvlio 
had inspired her with this whim, by l)ej,^j^inp lier to 
take him into her serviee as 7'alcl-dc-cha)nhrc, and if 
the lack of il did not kssen the pleasure of her arrival 
at each rendezvous, it certainly antj^nientcd the ])itter- 
ness of her return. 

( )ften, wluii lluy talked top^ether of Paris, she ended 
by nuninuriniv. " Ah, how happy we should be there! " 

"Are we not happy?" p^ently answered the young 
man, passing; his hands over her hair. 

" Yes, that is true," she said. " I am mad. Kiss 
me ! " 

To her husband she was more charmincc than ever. 
She made him pistachio-creams and played him 
waltzes after dinner. So he thoufj^ht himself the most 
fortunate of men, and Emma was without uneasiness, 
when, one eveninq-. suddenly he said : 

" It is AFademoiselle Lcmpereur, isn't it. who gives 
vou lessons ? " 

"Yes." 

" Well, I saw her just now," Charles went on, " at 
Madame Liegeard's. I spoke to her about you, and she 
doesn't know you." 

This came like a thunderclap. But she replied quite 
naturally : 

" Ah ! no doubt she forgot my name." 

" But perhaps." said the doctor, " there are several 
Demoiselles Lempereur at Rouen who are music- 
mistresses.' 

" Possibly ! " Then quickly — " But I have my re- 
ceipts here. See ! " 

And she went to the writing-desk, ransacked all the 
drawers, rummaged the pajiers. and at last lost her 
head so completely that Charles earnestly begged her 



282 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

not to take so much trouble about those wretched 
receipts. 

" Oh, I will find them," she said. 

On the following- Friday, as Charles was putting 
on one of his boots in the dark closet where his clothes 
were kept, he felt a piece of paper between the leather 
and his stocking. He took it out and read — 

" Received, for three months' lessons and several 
pieces of music, the sum of sixty-three francs. — 
Felicie Lempereur, professor of music." 

" How the devil did it get into my boots? " 

" It must." she replied, " have fallen from the old 
box of bills that is on the edge of the shelf." 

From that moment her existence was one long tissue 
of lies, in which she enveloped her love as in veils to 
hide it. It was a necessity, a mania, a pleasure carried 
to such an extent that if she said she had the day be- 
fore walked on the right side of the road, one might 
know she had taken the left. 

One morning, when she had gone, as usual, rather 
lightly clothed, it suddenly began to snow, and as 
Charles was watching the weather from the window, 
he caught sight of Monsieur Bournisien in the chaise 
of Monsieur Tuvache, who was driving him to Rouen. 
He went down to give the priest a heavy wrap which 
he was to hand to Emma as soon as he reached the 
Croix-Rouge. When he got to the inn, Monsieur 
Bournisien asked for the wife of the Yonville doctor. 
The landlady replied that she very rarely came to her 
establishment. So that evening, when he recognised 
Madame Bovary in the " Hirondelle," the priest told 
her his dilemma, but without appearing to attach much 
importance to it, for he began praising a preacher who 
was doing wonders at the Cathedral, and whom all 
the ladies were rushing to hear. 



MADAME BOVARY 2S3 

Still, if lie (lid not ask for any explanation, others 
mijT^lit prove less discreet. So she thought it wise to 
stop every time at the Croix- Roujrc, so that the p[Ood 
folk of her villaj^e who saw her on the stairs should 
suspect nothing'. 

One day, however, Monsieur IJieureux met her 
coniinj^ out of the Hotel de r>oulof^ne on Leon's arm; 
and she was frio-htencd, thinkinpf he would p^ossip. 
Tie was not such a fool. Rut three days later he came 
to her room, closed the door, and said, " I must have 
some money." 

She declared she could not g^ive him any. Lheureux 
burst into lamentations, and reminded her of all the 
favours he had shown her. 

In fact, of the two bills sig-ned by Charles up to 
that time Emma had jiaid only one. As to the second, 
the shopkeeper, at her request, had consented to re- 
place it by another, which ag'ain had been renewed 
for a loni^ date. Then he drew from his pocket a list 
of goods not paid for ; to wit, the curtains, the carpet, 
material for the armchairs, several gowns, and various 
articles of dress, the bills for which amounted to about 
two thousand francs. 

She bowed her head. He continued : 

" Well, if you haven't any ready money, you have 
an estate." And he reminded her of a miserable little 
hovel situated at Rarneville, near Aumale. which 
brought in almost nothing. It had formerly been part 
of a small farm sold by Monsieur Rovarv senior ; for 
Lheureux knew everything, even to the number of 
acres and the names of the neighbours. 

" If I were in your place," he said, " I should clear 
myself of my debts, and have some money left 
over." 

She pointed out the difficulty of finding a purchaser. 



284 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

He held out the hope of finding one ; but she asked 
him how she should manage to sell it. 

" Haven't you your power of attorney? " he replied. 

The phrase came to her like a breath of fresh air. 
" Leave me the bill." said Emma. 

" Oh, it isn't worth while," answered Lheureux. 

He came back the following week and boasted of 
having, after much trouble, at last discovered a cer- 
tain Langlois, who, for a long time, had had an eye 
on the property, but without mentioning his price. 

" Never mind the price ! " she cried. 

But they would have to wait, to sound the fellow. 
The thing was worth a journey, and, as she could not 
undertake it, he offered to go to the place to have an 
interview with Langlois. On his return he announced 
that the purchaser would give four thousand francs. 

Emma was radiant at this news. 

" Eranklw" Lheureux added, " that's a good price." 

She drew half the sum at once, and when she was 
about to pay her account the shopkeeper said : 

" It really grieves me, I declare, to see you depriv- 
ing yourself all at once of such a large sum as that." 

Then she looked at the bank-notes, and dreaming 
of the unlimited number of rendezvous represented by 
those two thousand francs, she stammered : 

" What ! what do you hay ? " 

" Oh ! " he went on, laughing good-naturedly, " one 
puts anything he likes on receipts. Don't you think I 
know what household affairs are?" He looked at her 
fixedly, while in his hand he held two long papers 
that he slid between his nails. At last, opening his 
pocket-book, he spread out on the table four bills to 
order, each for a thousand francs. 

" Sign these," he said, " and keep it all ! " 

She cried out, scandalised. 



MADAME BOVARY 2Sr> 

" But if T j^ivc you llu' surplus," replied Monsieur 
IJieureux iuii)U(lently, "is not that helijiuj^' you?" 

And takinj^ a pen he wrote al the bottom of the ac- 
eount, " Reeeived of Madame I'.ovary four thousand 
francs." 

" X'ow who can trouble you, since in six nioiuhs 
you'll draw the arrears for your cottaj^^e, and I don't 
make the last bill due till after you've been paid?" 

ICmma tjrew rather confused in her calculations, and 
her ears tini^Ied as if p^old ])ieces. burstinj^ from their 
bags, rang all round her on the floor. At last Lbeu- 
reux explained that he had a very good friend, Vin- 
(;art, a broker at Rouen, who would discount these four 
bills. Then he himself would hand over to Madame 
the remainder after the actual debt was paid. 

But instead of two thousand francs he brought only 
eighteen hundred, for the friend X^iiK^art (which was 
only fair) had deducted two hundred francs f(~»r com- 
mission and discount. Then he carelessly asked for 
a receipt. 

" Vou understand — in business — sometimes. And 
with the date, if you please, with the date." 

A vista of realisable whims opened before Emm.a. 
She was prudent enough to lay by a thousand crowns, 
with which the first three bills were paid when they 
fell due ; but the fourth, by chance, came to the house 
on a Thursday and Charles, quite upset by it. patiently 
awaited his wife's return for an explanation. 

If she had not told him about this bill, she said, it 
was only to spare him such domestic worries : she sat 
on his knees, caressed him. cooed to him. gave a long 
enumeration of all the indispensable things that had 
been got on credit. 

" Really, you must confess, considering the quan- 
titv. it isn't too dear." 



286 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

Charles, at his wit's end. soon had recourse to the 
eternal Lheureux, who swore he would arrange mat- 
ters if the doctor would sign him two bills, one of 
which was for seven hundred francs, payable in three 
months. In order to arrange for this he wrote his 
mother a pathetic letter. Instead of sending a reply 
she came herself; and when Emma asked whether he 
had got anything out of her, " Yes," he replied ; " but 
she wants to see the account." The next morning at 
daybreak Emma ran to Lheureux to beg him to make 
out another account for not more than a thousand 
francs, for to show the one for four thousand it would 
be necessary to say that she had paid two thirds, and 
confess, consequently, the sale of the estate — a nego- 
tiation admirably carried out by the shopkeeper, and 
which, in fact, was only actually known some time 
later. 

Despite the low price of each article, Madame Bo- 
vary senior of course thought the expenditure ex- 
travagant. 

"Couldn't you do without a carpet? Why have 
re-covered the armchairs? In my time there was a 
single armchair in a house, for elderly persons — at 
any rate, it was so at my mother's, who was a good 
woman, I can tell you. Not everybody can be rich! 
Xo fortune can hold out against waste ! I should be 
ashamed to coddle myself as you do ! And yet I am 
old. I need looking after. And there ! there ! fitting 
of gowns! fallals! What! silk for lining at two francs, 
when you can get jaconet for ten sous, or even for 
eight, that would do well enough ! " 

Emma, lying on a lounge, replied as quietly as pos- 
sible : " Ah, Madame, enough ! enough ! " 

The other went on lecturing her, predicting they 
would end in the workhouse. But it was Bovarv's 



MADAME BOVARY 2S7 

fault. Luckily he had promised to destroy that power 
of attonu'V. 

"Whal?" 

" Ah, he swore he would," said the jii^ood woman. 

I'jiima opened the window, called Charles, and the 
poor fellow was ohlii^i-d to confess the promise torn 
from him l)y his mother. 

Emma disappeared, then came hack quickly, and 
majestically handed her a thick piece of paper. 

" Thank you," said the old woman. And she threw 
the power of attorney into the fire. 

Emma hei^an to lau.c^h, a strident, ])iercinj:]f, contin- 
uous laup^h ; she had an attack of hysterics. 

" Oh, my Ciod ! " cried Charles. " Ah. you really 
are wroni;! Von come and make scenes with her! " 

His mother, shruj;_q'int^ her shoulders, declared it 
was " all ]nit on." 

But Charles, rehellins: for the first time, took his 
wife's part, so that Madame Bovary senior said she 
would leave. She went the very next day, and on the 
threshold, as he was trying to detain her, she replied : 

" No. no ! You love her better than me, and you 
are riq;ht. It is natural. For the rest, so much the 
worse ! You will see. Good-by — for I am not likely 
to come soon ag^ain, as you say, to make scenes." 

Charles nevertheless was very crestfallen before 
Emma, who did not hide the resentment she still felt 
at his want of confidence, and it needed many prayers 
before she would consent to have another power of 
attorney. He even accompanied her to Monsieur 
Guillaumin to have a second one drawn up just like 
the other. 

" I understand." said the notary ; " a man of science 
cannot be worried with the practical details of life." 

Charles felt relieved bv this comfortable reflection. 



288 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

which gave his weakness the Hattering appearance of 
higher preoccupation. 

What an outburst there was the next Thursday with 
Leon at the hotel in their room ! She laughed, cried, 
sang, sent for sherbets, wanted to smoke cigarettes, 
seemed wild and extravagant, but adorable, superb. 

He did not know what reaction of her whole being 
drove her more and more to plunge into the pleasures 
of life. She was becoming irritable, greedy, volup- 
tuous ; and she walked about the streets with him 
carrying her head high, without fear, so she said, of 
compromising herself. At times, however, Emma 
trembled at the sudden thought of meeting Rodolphe, 
for it seemed to her that, although they were separated 
forever, she was not completely free from her subju- 
gation to him. 

One night she did not return to Yonville at all. 
Charles lost his head with anxiety, and little Berthe 
would not go to bed without her mamma, and sobbed 
enough to break her heart. Justin went out searching 
the road at random. Monsieur Homais even left his 
pharmacy. 

At last, at eleven o'clock, not able to bear it longer, 
Charles harnessed his chaise, jumped in, whipped up 
his horse, and reached the Croix-Rouge about two 
o'clock in the morning. No one there. He thought 
that perhaps Leon had seen her ; but where did he 
Hve? Happily, Charles remembered his employer's 
address, and rushed off there. 

Day was breaking, and he could distinguish the 
escutcheons over the door, and knocked. Some one, 
without opening the door, shouted out the required 
information, adding a few insults to those who dis- 
turb people in the middle of the night. 

The house inhabited bv Leon had neither bell, 



MADAME BOVARY 2S9 

knocker, nor janilor. Charles knocked loudly at the 
shutters with his hands. A policeman liai)i)ened to 
pass 1)\. 'riun he was frijj^htened. and went away. 

" 1 am mad," he said : " no doubt they kept her to 
dinner at Motisieur I.ormeau.x.' " l'>ul the Lormeaux 
no lontjer lived at Rouen. 

"She probably stayed to visit Madame Dubreuil. 
Why, no — Madame Dubreuil has })vvu diad these ten 
months! Where can she be?" 

An idea occurred to him. .\t a cafe he asked for a 
directory, and hurriedly looked for the name of Made- 
moiselle Lem])ereur, who lived at No. 74 Rue de la 
Renelle-des-Maroquinicrs. 

As he was turning- into the street, Emma herself 
appeared at the other end of it. He threw himself 
upon her rather than embraced her, crying: 

" What kept you yesterday ? " 

" I was not well." 

" What was it ? Where ? How ? " 

She passed her hand over her forehead and an- 
swered, " At Mademoiselle Lempereur's." 

" I was sure of it ! I was going there." 

" Oh, it isn't worth while," said Emma. " She went 
out just now; but for the future don't worry. I do 
not feel free, you see, if I know that the least delay 
upsets you like this." 

This was a sort of permission that she gave herself, 
so as to have perfect freedom of her escapades. She 
profited by it freely, fully. When she was seized with 
the desire to see Leon, she set out upon any pretext ; 
and if he did not expect her on that day, she went to 
fetch him from his ofTice. 

This was a great delight at first, but soon he no 
longer concealed the truth, which was, that his chief 
complained very much about these interruptions. 



290 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Never mind, come along," she said. 

And he shi)ped out. 

She wished him to dress all in black, and grow a 
pointed beard, to look like the portraits of Louis XIII. 
She asked to see his lodgings, and thought them poor. 
He blushed at them, but she did not notice this ; then 
she advised him to buy some curtains like hers, and 
as he objected to the expense — 

" Ah! you care for your money," she said, laughing. 

Every time Leon had to tell her everything that he 
had done since their last meeting. She asked him for 
some verses — some verses for herself, a " love poem " 
in honour of her. But he never succeeded in getting 
a rhyme for the second verse ; and at last ended by 
copying for her a sonnet in a '' Keepsake." This was 
less from vanity than from the one desire of pleasing 
her. He did not question her ideas ; he accepted all 
her tastes ; he was rather becoming her mistress than 
she his. She had tender words and kisses that thrilled 
his soul. Where could she have learned this corrup- 
tion almost incorporeal in the strength of its profund- 
itv and dissimulation? 



CHAPTER VI 

DELIRIUM AND DANGER 

WHEN he made journeys to see Emma, Leon 
often dined at the chemist's, and he felt 
obliged from politeness to invite him to visit 
him in turn. 

" With pleasure ! " Monsieur Homais replied ; " be- 
sides, I must invigorate my mind, for I am growing 



MADAME BOVARY 291 

nistv here. We'll j^o to tlu- llunln-, to the n-stauratit ; 
we'll make a nij^lit of it! " 

" ( )h, in\ (li'.ii ! " triidirly miiniuired Madame Ho- 
inais, alarnu'd at the thmi^ht of the vaj^iie perils he 
was preparing- to hrave. 

"Well, what'-' Do you think I'm not sufficiently 
ruininjj^ my health livinj^ here amid the continual em- 
anations of the pharmac) ? l>ut there! that is the way 
with women ! They are jealous of science, and then 
are opposed to our takiufi^ even the most legitimate 
anuisements. No matter! Count ui)on me. One of 
these <lays I shall turn up at Rouen, and we shall go 
the pace together." 

The chemist would once have taken good care not 
to use such an expression, hut he was cultivating a gay 
Parisian style, which he thought in the hest taste; and, 
like his neighhour, Madame Bovary, he questioned the 
clerk curiously about the customs of the capital ; he 
talked slang to dazzle the hoiiri^eois. saying clutinfy, 
joint, szi'cll, a bum, cut my stick, and I'll beat it, for " I 
am going." 

So one Thursday Emma was surprised to meet Mon- 
sieur Homais in the kitchen of the Lion d'Or, wear- 
ing a traveller's costume, that is to say. wrapped in an 
old cloak which no one knew he had, while he carried 
a valise in one hand and the foot-warmer of his es- 
tablishment in the other. He had confided his inten- 
tions to no one, for fear of causing the public anxiety 
by his absence. 

The idea of seeing again the place where his youth 
had been spent no doubt excited him, for during the 
whole journey he never ceased talking, and as soon as 
he had arrived, he jumped quickly out of the diligence 
to go in search of Leon. In vain Leon tried to get rid 
of him. Monsieur Homais dragged him off to the 



202 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

large Cafe de la Xormandie, whicli he entered majesti- 
cally, not lifting his hat, thinking it very provincial to 
uncover in any public place. 

Emma waited for Leon three quarters of an hour. 
At last she ran to his office, and lost in all sorts of con- 
jectures, accusing him of indifference, and reproaching 
herself for her weakness, she spent the afternoon alone, 
her face pressed against the window-panes. 

At two o'clock the two men were still at table oppo- 
site each other. The large room was clearing ; the 
stove-pipe, in the shape of a palm-tree, spread its gilt 
leaves over the white ceiling, and near them, outside 
the window, in the bright sunshine, a little fountain 
gurgled in a white basin. 

Homais was enjoying himself. Although he was 
even more intoxicated with the luxury than the rich 
fare, the Poniard wine all the same rather excited his 
faculties ; and when the rum omelette appeared, he be- 
gan expressing immoral theories about women. What 
seduced him above all else was chic, he said. He ad- 
mired an elegant toilette in a well-furnished apart- 
ment, and as to bodily qualities, he didn't dislike a 
young girl. 

Leon watched the clock in despair. The chemist 
went on drinking, eating, and talking. 

" You must be very lonely," he said suddenly, " here 
at Rouen. To be sure, your lady-love doesn't live far 
away." 

And as the other blushed : 

" Come now,, be frank. Can you deny that at Yon- 
ville " 

The young man stammered something. 

" At Madame Bovary's, you're not making love 
to " 

" To whom ? " 



MADAME BOVARY 293 

" The servant ! " 

He was not jokinp;; but, vanity j^ettinp the better of 
all i)ru(lence, Leon, in spite of himself, protested. Be- 
sides, he only liked dark women. 

" I approve of that," said the chemist ; " they have 
more passion." 

,'\nd whispering' into his friend's ear, he pointed out 
the symptoms by which one could find out whether a 
woman had passion, lie even launched into an etlino- 
j^raphic dii^ression : the (Jerman was vapourish, the 
l^'rench woman licentious, the Italian passionate. 

" And nej.jresses? " asked the clerk. 

" They are a cultivated taste ! " said Honiais. 
" Waiter ! two cujis of coffee ! " 

" Are we i:::oing ? " at last asked Leon impatiently. 

"Ja!" 

But before leavinj:^ he desired to sec the proprietor of 
the establishment and made him a few compliments. 
Then the younii^ man, to be alone, alleged that he had 
some business engagement. 

" Ah, I will escort you," said Homais. 

And while he was walking through the streets with 
Leon he talked of his wife, his children, of their future, 
and of his business ; told him in what a decayed condi- 
tion it had formerly been, and to what a degree of suc- 
cess he had raised it. 

Arrived in front of the Hotel de Boulogne, Leon 
left him abruptly, ran up the stairs, and found his 
sweetheart in great excitement. At mention of the 
chemist she flew into a passion. But Leon gave good 
reasons ; it wasn't his fault ; didn't she know Homais — 
did she believe that he would prefer his company? But 
she turned away ; he drew her back, and, sinking on 
his knees, clasped her waist with his arms in a languor- 
ous pose, full of longing and supplication. 



294 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

She was standincj, her lar^^e, flashing eyes looked at 
him seriously, almost terribly. Then tears obscured 
them, her red eyelids were lowered, she gave him her 
hands, and Leon was pressing them to his lips when a 
servant appeared to tell the gentleman that he was 
wanted. 

" You will come back ? " she said. 

" Yes." 

" But when ? " 

" Immediately." 

" This is a trick," said the chemist, when he saw 
Leon. " I wanted to interrupt this visit, which seemed 
to me to annoy you. Let's go and have a glass of 
gams at Bridoux'." 

Leon vowed that he must get back to his office. 
Then the chemist rallied him about quill-drivers and 
the law. 

" Leave Cujas and Barthole alone a bit. Who the 
devil prevents you ? Be a man ! Let's go to Bridoux'. 
You'll see his dog. It's very interesting." 

And as Leon still insisted 

" I'll go with you. I'll read a paper while I wait for 
you, or turn over the leaves of a ' Code.' " 

Leon, bewildered by Emma's anger, ^Monsieur Ho- 
mais' chatter, and, perhaps, by the heaviness of the 
luncheon, was undecided, and, as it were, hypnotised 
by the chemist, who kept repeating 

" Let's go to Bridoux'. It is quite near here, in the 
Rue Malpalu." 

So, through cowardice, or stupidity, through that in- 
definable feeling that drags us into the most distasteful 
acts, he allowed himself to be led off to see Bridoux, 
w^hom they found in his small yard, superintending 
three workmen, who panted as they turned the large 
wheel of a machine for making seltzer-water. Homais, 



MADAME BOVARY 295 

gave them some good advice. He embraced Bridoux ; 
they took some i^anis. 'rwcnty times Leon tried to 
escape, hut the other seized him by the arm saying: 

" Presently! I'm coming! We'll go to the Panal lic 
Rouen to sec the fellows there. I'll introduce you to 
Thomassin." 

At last Leon managed to get rid of him, and ruslu'd 
straight to the hotel. ICmma was no longer there. She 
had just gone in a fit of anger. She detested him now. 
This failing to keep their rendezvous seemed to her an 
insult, and she tried to find other reasons to separate 
herself from him. She called him incapable of hero- 
ism, weak, banal, more spiritless than a. woman, avari- 
cious too, and cowardly. 

Then, growing calmer, she at length discovered that 
she had, no doubt, calumniated him. Piut the dispar- 
aging of those we love always alienates us from them 
to some extent. We must not touch our idols ; the gilt 
sticks to our fingers. 

They gradually came to talking more frequently of 
matters outside their love, but in the letters that Emma 
wrote him she spoke of flowers, verses, the moon and 
the stars, naive resources of a waning passion striving 
to keep itself alive by all external aids. "She was con- 
stantly promising herself profound felicity on her next 
journey. Then she confessed to herself that she felt 
nothing extraordinary. This disappointment quickly 
gave way to a new hope, and Emma returned to him 
more inflamed, more eager than ever. 

Yet there was upon that brow covered with cold 
drops, on those quivering lips, in those wild eves, in 
the strain of those arms, something vague and dreary 
that seemed to Leon to glide between them subtly as 
if to separate them. 

He did not dare to question her ; but, seeing her so 



296 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

skilled, she must have passed, he thought, through 
every experience of suffering and of pleasure. What 
had once charmed now alarmed him a little. Besides, 
he rebelled against his absorption, by her personality 
daily more marked. He begrudged Emma this con- 
stant victory. He even tried not to love her ; then, 
when he heard the sound of her shoes, he turned cow- 
ard, like drunkards at the sight of strong drink. 

She did not fail, in truth, to lavish all sorts of atten- 
tions upon him, from the delicacies of food to the co- 
quetries of dress and languishing looks. She brought 
roses in her breast from Yonville, which she threw into 
his face ; was anxious about his health, gave him advice 
as to his conduct ; and, in order the more surely to keep 
her hold on him, hoping perhaps that heaven would 
take her part, she tied a medal of the V^irgin round his 
neck. She inquired like a virtuous mother about his 
companions. She said to him : 

" Don't see them ; don't go there ; think only of our- 
selves ; love me ! " 

One day, when they had parted early and she was re- 
turning alone along the boulevard, she saw the walls 
of her convent ; then she sat down on a bench in the 
shade of the elm-trees. How calm that time had been ! 
How she longed for the ineffable sentiments of love 
which she had tried to figure to herself out of books! 
The first month of her marriage, her rides in the wood, 
the Viscount who waltzed with her, and Lagardy sing- 
ing, all passed again before her eyes. And Leon sud- 
denly appeared to her as far distant as the others. 

" Yet I love him," she said to herself. 

No matter ! She was not happy — she never had 
been. Whence came this insufficiency in life — this in- 
stantaneous turning to decay of everything on which 
she leaned? But if there were somewhere a being 



MADAME BOVARY 297 

strong and beautiful, a valiant nature, full at once of 
exaltation and relhienient, a poet's heart in an angel's 
body, a lyre with sounding chords ringing out elegiac 
epilhalaniia to heaven, why, perchance, should she not 
find him? Ah, how inijiossible ! I'csides, nothing was 
worth the trouble of seeking it; everything was a lie. 
Every smile hid a yawn of ennui, every joy a curse, all 
pleasure, satiety, and tlu' sweetest kisses left upon the 
lips only an unattainable desire for a greater delight. 

A metallic clang droned through the air, and four 
strokes were heard from the convent-clock. I'our 
o'clock ! Tt seemed to her that she had been there on 
that bench an eternity. I'.ut an infinity of ])assions may 
be contained in a minute, like a crowd in a small space. 

Emma lived absorbed in hers, and troubled herself 
no more about money matters than an archduchess. 

Once, however, a miserable-looking man, florid and 
bald, came to her house, saying he had been sent by 
Monsieur \'ini:art of Rouen. He took out the pins that 
held together the side-pockets of his long green top- 
coat, stuck them into bis sleeve, and politely handed her 
a paper. 

It was a bill for seven bimdred francs, signed by her, 
which Lheureux, in spite of all his professions, had 
paid away to \'in(,\'irt. She sent her servant for Lheu- 
reux. He could not come. Then the stranger, who 
had remained standing, casting right and left curious 
glances, which his thick red eyebrows hid, asked with a 
naive air : 

" What answer am I to take Monsieur \*in(;art?" 

" Oh," said Emma, " tell him that I haven't the 
money. I will send ne.xt week ; he must wait ; yes, till 
next week." 

The man went without another word. 

But the next dav at twelve o'clock she received a 



298 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

summons, and the sight of the stamped paper, on which 
appeared several times in large letters, " Maitre Ha- 
reng, bailiff at F»uchy," so frightened her that she 
rushed in hot haste to the linendraper's. She found 
him in his shop, tying up a parcel. 

" Your ohedient servant ! " he said ; " I am at your 
disposal." 

But he went on with his work, helped by a young 
girl of about thirteen, somewhat hunchbacked, who was 
at once his clerk and his servant. 

Then, his clogs clattering on the boards of the floor, 
he went up ahead of Madame Bovary to the first floor, 
and introduced her into a narrow closet, where, in a 
large desk in sapon-wood, lay some ledgers, protected 
by a horizontal padlocked iron bar. Against the wall, 
under some remnants of calico, was seen a safe, but of 
such dimensions that it must contain something besides 
bills and money. Monsieur Lheureux, in fact, was also 
a pawnbroker, and it was there that he had put Ma- 
dame Bovary's gold chain, together with the earrings 
of poor old Tellier, who, at last forced to sell out, had 
bought a meagre store of groceries at Quincampoix, 
where he was dying of catarrh among his candles, 
which were less yellow than his face. 

Lheureux sat down in a large cane armchair, saying, 
" What news ? " 

" See ! " 

She showed him the paper. 

"Well, how can I help it?" 

Then she grew angry, reminding him of the promise 
he had made not to pay away her bills. He acknowl- 
edged it. 

" But I was pressed myself ; the knife was at my own 
throat," said he. 

" And what will happen now ? " she inquired. 



MADAME BOVARY 299 

"Oh, it's viTv siiiipk'; a jiul^^Miicnt and then a dis- 
traint — something- Hkc that." 

Emma kept down a desire to strike him, and asked 
f^ently whether there was no way of cpiietinj^ \'in(,-art. 

" I think not! Quiet Vingart ! You don't know 
liim ; he's more ferocious than an Arab! " 

" Still Monsieur Lheureux must interfere." she said. 

" Well, listen. It seems to me that so far I've been 
very p^ood to you." And opening one of his led.t^ers, 
" See," he said. Then runninf^ up the paj^e with his 
fin<;er, "Let's see! let's see! .Auij^ust third, two hun- 
dred francs; June seventeenth, a hundred and fifty; 
March twenty-third, forty-six. In .\])ril " 

He stopped, as if afraid of makinj^ some mistake. 

" Not to sjieak of the bills sic^ned by Monsieur Bo- 
vary, one for seven hundred francs, and another for 
three hundred. As to your little instalments, with the 
interest, why, there's no end to them; I get quite con- 
fused over them. I'll have nothing more to do with it." 

She wept ; she even called him " my good Monsieur 
Lheureux." But he always fell back upon " that rascal 
X'iuQart." Besides, he said, he hadn't a brass farthing; 
no one was j)a\ing him now-a-days ; they were eating 
his coat off his back ; a poor shopkeeper like him 
couldn't advance money. 

Enuna was silent, and Monsieur Lheureux, who was 
biting the featliers of a quill, no doubt became un- 
easy at her silence, for he continued : 

" I'nless one of these days I have something coming 
in. T might " 

" Besides," Emma interposed, " as soon as the bal- 
ance of Barneville " 

"What!" 

And on hearing that Langlois had not yet paid he 
seemeil surprised. Then, in a honeyed voice, he said : 



300 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" And we agree, you say ? " 

" Oh ! to anythinjj you like." 

On this he closed his eyes to reflect, made a few 
fig^ures, and declaring it would be very difficult for him, 
that the affair was shady, and that he was being bled, 
he wrote out four bills for two hundred and fifty francs 
each, to fall due month by month. 

" Provided that \'in(;art will listen to me ! How- 
ever, it's settled. I don't j)lay the fool ; I'm straight 
enough." 

Next he carelessly showed her several pieces of new 
goods, not one of which, however, was in his opinion 
worthy of Madame. 

" When I think that there's a gown at threepence- 
half-penny a yard, and warranted fast colours ! And 
yet they actually swallow it ! Of course, you under- 
stand one doesn't tell them what it really is ! " He 
hoped by this confession of dishonesty to others to con- 
vince her of his good faith to herself. 

Then he called her back to show her three yards of 
guipure that he had lately picked up " at a sale." 

" Isn't it lovely? " said Lheureux. " It is very much 
used now for the backs of armchairs. It's quite the 
rage." 

And, as quick as a juggler, he wrapped up the gui- 
pure in some blue paper and put it in Emma's hands. 

" But at least let me know " 

" Yes, another time," he replied, turning on his heel. 

That same evening she urged Bovary to write to his 
mother, to ask her to send as soon as possible the whole 
of the balance due from the father's estate. The 
mother-in-law replied that she had nothing more for 
him ; the winding up was over, and there was due to 
them, besides Barneville, an income of six hundred 
francs, which she would pay them punctually. 



MADAME BOVARY 301 

Then Emma sent accounts to two or three i)atients, 
and she made large use of this method, which was very 
successful. She was always careful to add a ])ost- 
script : "Do not mention this t(j my husband; you 
know how proud he is. Excuse me. Yours obedient- 
ly." Comjilaints followed this action ; she intercepted 
them. 

To obtain money she began selling her old gloves 
and hats, odds and ends, and she bargained raj:)acionsly, 
her peasant blood standing her in good stead. Then 
on her journey to town she picked up knick-knacks 
second-hand, which, in default of anyone else, Mon- 
sieur Lheureux would certainly take ofT her hands. 
She bought ostrich feathers, Chinese porcelain, and 
trunks ; she borrowed from Felicite, from Madame Le- 
fraiiQais, from the landlady at the Croix-Rouge, from 
everybody, no matter where. With the money she at 
last received from Barneville she paid two bills ; the 
other fifteen hundred francs fell due. She renewed the 
bills, and thus things ran on. 

The house was very dreary now. Tradesmen were 
seen leaving it with angry faces. Handkerchiefs were 
lying about on the stoves, and little Berthe, to the great 
scandal of Madame Homais, wore stockings with holes 
in them. If Charles timidly ventured a remark, Emma 
answered roughly that it wasn't her fault. 

What was the meaning of all these fits of temper? 
Charles explained everything through her old nervous 
illness, and reproaching himself with having taken her 
infirmities for faults, accused himself of egotism, and 
longed to go and take her in his arms. 

" Ah, no! " he said ; " I should annoy her." 

And he did not attempt it. 

After dinner he walked about alone in the garden ; 
he took little Berthe on his knees, and, unfolding his 



302 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

medical journal, tried to teach her to read. But the 
child, who never had had any lessons, soon looked up 
with large, sad eyes and began to cry. Then he com- 
forted her ; went to bring water in her can to make 
rivers on the sand path, or broke off branches from the 
privet hedges to plant trees in the beds. This did not 
spoil the garden much, all choked now with long weeds. 
They owed Lestiboudois for many days' work. Then 
the child grew cold and asked for her mother. 

" Call the maid," said Charles. " You know, dearie, 
that mamma does not like to be disturbed." 

jMadame was in her room, which no one entered. 
She stayed there all day long, torpid, half dressed, and 
from time to time burning Turkish pastilles which she 
had bought at Rouen in an Algerian's shop. In order 
not to have at night this sleeping man stretched at her 
side, by dint of maneuvring, she at last succeeded in 
banishing him to the second floor, while she read till 
morning extravagant books, full of pictures of orgies 
and thrilling situations. Often, seized with fear, she 
cried out, and Charles hurried to her. 

" Oh, go away ! " she would say. 

Or at other times, consumed more ardently than ever 
by that inner flame to' which her sin added fuel, pant- 
ing, tremulous, all desire, she threw open her window, 
breathed in the cold air, shook loose in the wind her 
too heavy mass of hair, and, gazing upon the stars, 
longed for some princely love. She thought of him, 
of Leon. She would then have given anything for a 
single one of those meetings that had surfeited her. 

Those were her gala days. She wanted them to be 
sumptuous, and when he alone could not pay the 
expenses, she made up the deficit liberally, which hap- 
pened almost every time. He tried to make her under- 
stand that they would be quite as comfortable else- 



MADAME BOVARY 'MY.i 

where in a smaller hotel, hut she always fouiid some 
ohjeetioti. 

( )ne (lay she drew six small silver-^nlt spoons from 
her haj^ (they were old Rouaull's wedding present), 
hcpginjT him tn pawn tluin at onee for her, and Leon 
oheyed, thouj^h the recpiest amio\ed him. lie was 
afraid of compromising; himself. 

On reflection, he hei^an to think his sweetheart's 
ways were ,q;rowin^- odd, and that perha])s they were 
not wroni; in wishinp^ to separate him from her. 

In fact, some one had sent his motlier a loni^^ anony- 
mous letter to warn her that Leon was " ruininjj^ him- 
self with a married woman," and the i^ood lady at once 
conjurinp^ up the eternal bug^bcar of families, the vapfue, 
pernicious creature, the siren, the monster, who dwells 
fantastically in depths of love, wrote to Lawyer Duho- 
cai:;e, his employer, who behaved perfectly in the afTair. 
He talked to him for three quarters of an hour, tryint:: 
to open his eyes, to warn him of the abyss into which 
he was falling-. Such an intrig^ue would damaj^^e him 
later, when he set up for himself. He implored him 
to break with the woman, and, if he would not make 
this sacrifice in his own interest, to do it at least for 
his, Dubocai^^e's sake. 

At last Leon swore that he would not see Emma 
again, and he reproached himself with not having kept 
his word, considering all the worry and lectures this 
woman might still draw down upon him, without 
counting the jests made by his companions as they sat 
round the stove in the morning. Besides, he w^as soon 
to be head-clerk ; it was time to settle down. So he 
gave uj) his flute, exalted sentiments, and poetry ; for 
every bourgeois in the flush of his youth, were it but for 
a day, a moment, has believed himself capable of im- 
mense passions, of lofty enterprises. The most medi- 



304 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ocre libertine has dreamed of possessing sultanas ; 
every notary bears within his soul the debris of a poet. 

He was bored now when Emma suddenly began to 
sob on his breast, and his heart, like the people who 
can endure only a certain amount of music, was deaf 
to the words of a love the delicacies of which he no 
longer noted. 

They knew each other too well for any of those sur- 
prises of possession that increase its joys a hundred- 
fold. She was as tired of him as he was weary of her. 
Emma found again in adultery all the platitudes of 
marriage. 

But how to get rid of him ? Then, though she might 
feel humiliated at the baseness of such enjoyment, she 
clung to it from habit or from corruption, and each day 
she hungered after it the more, exhausting all felicity 
in wishing for too much of it. She accused Leon of 
her baffled hopes, as if he had betrayed her ; and she 
even longed for some catastrophe that would bring 
about their separation, since she had not the courage 
to make u]:> her mind to do it herself. 

None the less she went on writing him love-letters, 
having a notion that a woman must write to her lover. 

But while she wrote it was another man she saw, a 
phantom fashioned out of her most ardent memories, 
of her finest reading, her strongest desires, and at last 
he became so real, so tangible, that she palpitated won- 
dering, but without the power to image him clearly, 
so lost was he, like a god, amid the abundance of his 
attributes. He dwelt in that azure land where silk lad- 
ders hang from balconies under the breath of flowers, 
in the light of the moon. She felt him near her ; he was 
coming, and would carry her far away in a kiss. 

Then she fell back exhausted, for these transports of 
vague love wearied her more than great debauchery. 



MADAME BOVARY ;i()o 

She now fell a coiislaiU ache all over her. ( )ften 
she even receive<I summons, stam])e(l paper, at which 
she hardly glanced. She would have liked not to he 
alive, or to he always asleej). 

At niid-Li'iit she di<I imt reliun lo ^'onviIle, hnl in 
the eveninjf went to a mas(|uerade hall. She wore vel- 
vet hreeches, red stock in jj;s, a cluh wij^, and a three-cor- 
nered hat cocked (mi one side. She danced all nij^dit to 
the wild tones of the tronihoncs ; people gathered round 
her, and in llie morning- she found herself on the steps 
of the theatre together with five or six masks, dcbar- 
dcuscs and sailors, Leon's conn-ades, who were talking 
al)ont having su])per. 

The neighhouring cafes were full. They caught 
sight of one on the harbour, a very indifferent restau- 
rant, whose proprietor showed them to a little room on 
the fourth floor. 

The men were whispering in a corner, no doubt con- 
sulting about expenses. There were a clerk, two medi- 
cal students, and a shopman — what company for her ! 
As to the women, Emma soon perceived from their 
voices that they must all belong to the lowest class. 
Then she was frightened, pushed back her chair, and 
cast down her eyes. 

The others began to eat ; she ate nothing. Her head 
was burning, her eyes smarted, and her skin was ice 
cold. In her head she seemed to feel the floor of the 
ball-room rebounding again beneath the rhythmical 
])ulsation of the thousands of dancing feet. And now 
the smell of the punch, the smoke of the cigars, made 
her dizzy. She swooned, and they carried her to the 
window. 

She revived, and began thinking of Berthe asleep 
yonder in the maid's room. Then a cart filled with 
long strips of iron passed by, and made a deafening 



306 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

nu'tallic vibration against the walls of the surroundings 
houses. 

She sHpped away suddenly, threw off her costume, 
told Leon she must get back, and at last was alone at 
the Hotel de Boulogne. Everything, even herself, was 
now unbearable to her. She wished that, taking wing 
like a bird, she could fly somewhere, far away to 
regions of purity, and there grow young again. 

She went out. crossed the Boulevard, the Place Cau- 
choise, and the Faubourg, as far as an open street that 
overlooked some gardens. She walked rapidly, the 
fresh air calming her ; and, little by little, the faces of 
the crowd, the masks, the quadrilles, the lights, the sup- 
per, those women, all. disappeared like mists fading 
away. Then, reaching the Croix Rouge, she threw 
herself on the bed in her little room on the second floor, 
where there were pictures of the Tour dc Ncslc. At 
four o'clock Hivert awoke her. 

When she got home, Felicite showed her a grey 
paper behind the clock. She read : 

" In virtue of the seizure in execution of a judg- 
ment." 

What judgment? As a matter of fact, the evening 
before another paper had been brought which she had 
not yet seen, and she was stunned by these words : 

" By order of the king, law, and justice, to Madame 
Bovary." Then, skipping several lines, she read, 

" Within twenty-four hours, without fail " But 

w^hat? "To pay the sum of eight thousand francs." 
And there was even at the bottom, " She will be con- 
strained thereto by every form of law, and notably by 
a writ of distraint on her furniture and effects." 

What was to be done? In twenty-four hours — to- 
morrow. Lheureux, she thought, wanted to frighten 
her again ; for she saw, through all his devices, the ob- 



MADAME BOVARY 3(J7 

jccl (jf his kiiidiK'Sscs. What reassured her was the 
very magiiiUule of the sum. 

llowcver. hy (hnt of huyiuj^;' and not payinj^, of bor- 
rowinjT, sij^ninj^ bills, and renewinjj^ these bills, vvliich 
increased at each new fallin^-in. she had ended by jire- 
paring^ a capital for Monsieur Lheureux for which 
he was impatiently awaitinjj;' to use in his sjx'cula- 
tions. 

She presented herself at his place with an uncon- 
cerned air. 

" Vou know what has hap])ened to nie ? Xo doubt 
this is a joke ! "' 

" No." 

" How so ? " 

He turned away slowly, and, foldinc;' his arms, said 
to her : 

'■ My good lady, did you think I should go on to all 
eternity being your purveyor and banker, for the love 
of God? Now be just. I must get back what I have 
laid out. Now be just." 

She cried out against the debt. 

" Ah ! so much the worse. The court has admitted 
it. There is a judgment. You have been notified. Be- 
sides, it isn't my fault. It's \'ingart's.'' 

" Could you not " 

" Oh, I can do nothing whatever." 

" But still, let us talk it over." 

And she began beating about the bush ; she had 
known nothing about it ; it was a surprise. 

" Whose fault is that ? " said Lheureux, bowing iron- 
ically. " While I'm toiling like a slave, you go galli- 
vanting about." 

" Ah! no lecturing." 

" It never does any harm." he replied. 

She turned coward ; she implored him ; she even 



308 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

pressed her i)retty. white, and slender hand aganist the 
shoi)keeper"s knee. 

"There, that will do! Anyone would think you 
wanted to seduce me ! " 

" You are a wretch ! " she cried. 

" Oh, oh ! go on ! go on ! " 

" I will expose you. I shall tell my hushand." 

" Verv well! I, too, I'll show your hushand some- 
thing.'' 

And Lheureux drew from his strong hox the receipt 
for eighteen hundred francs which she had given him 
when MuQart had discounted the hills. 

" Do you think," he added, " that he will not under- 
stand your little theft, the poor, dear man ? " 

Emma collapsed, as overcome as if struck by the 
blow of a pole-axe. He was walking to and fro from 
the window to the desk, repeating all the while : 

"Ah! I'll show him! I'll show him!" Then he 
approached her, and said gently : 

" It isn't pleasant, I know ; but, after all, no harm is 
done, and, since that is the only way that is left you 
for paying back my money " 

" But where am I to get any ? " said Emma, wring- 
ing her hands. 

" Bah ! easy enough, wdien one has friends like 
you ! " 

And he looked at her with a gaze so keen and ter- 
rible, that she shuddered to her very heart. 

" I promise you," she said, '' to sign " 

" I've had enough of your signatures." 

" I will sell something." 

" Nonsense ! " he said, shrugging his shoulders ; 
" you haven't anything." 

And he called through the little hole that looked 
down into the shop : 



MADAME BOVARY 300 

" Annette, don't forget the three eoiipons of Xumher 
Fourteen." 

The servant appeared. ICnima understood, and 
asked how much money vvoidd he wanted to put a .st(Ji) 
to the proceedings. 

" It is too late," he said. 

" But if I should hrint;- you several thousand francs 
— a cpiarler of the sum — a third — perha])s the whole? " 

" No ; it's no use ! " 

And he pushed her gently toward llu- staircase. 

" I im-plore }ou. Monsieur Lheuroux, only a few 
days more ! " 

She was sobbinc^. 

" There ! tears now ! " 

" You are driving me to despair! " 

" What do 1 care? " said he, shutting the door. 



CHAPTER Vn 

DKSPKRATIOX 

EMMA showed a stoical calm the next day when 
Maitre 1 l-areng-. the hailiflf, with two assistants, 
appeared at her house to draw up an inventory 
for the distraint. 

They began with Bovary's consulting-room, hut did 
not include the jihrenological liead, which was con- 
sidered an '■ instrument of his profession " ; but in the 
kitchen they counted the plates, saucepans, chairs, and 
candlesticks, and in the bedroom all the knickknacks 
on the bureau. They exaiuincd Emma's gowns, the 
linen, the dressing-room : and her whole existence, 
to its most intimate details, like a corpse on whom a 



310 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

post-mortem is made, was outspread before the eyes 
of these three men. 

Maitre Hareng-, buttoned up in his thin black coat, 
wearing a tall white collar and very tight foot-straps, 
repeated from time to time : " Allow me, Madame. 
You allow me?" Often he uttered exclamations: 
" Charming ! very pretty ! " Then he began writing 
again, dipping his pen into the horn inkstand in his 
left hand. 

When they had gone through the rooms they went 
up to the attic. She kept a desk there in which Ro- 
dolphe's letters were locked. It had to be opened. 

" Ah, a correspondence," said Maitre Hareng, with 
a discreet smile. " Rut. allow me, for I must make 
sure the box contains nothing else." And he lifted 
the papers lightly, as if to shake out napoleons. Emma 
felt angry to see that coarse hand, with fingers red 
and pulpy like slugs, touching those pages against 
which her heart had throbbed. 

They departed at last. Felicite came back. Emma 
had sent her out to watch for Bovary in order to keep 
him away, and they hurriedly installed the man in 
possession in the attic, where he swore he would 
remain. 

During the evening Charles seemed careworn. 
Emma watched him with a look of anguish, fancying- 
she saw an accusation in every line of his face. Then, 
when her eyes wandered over the mantel-piece orna- 
mented with Chinese screens, over the large curtains, 
the armchairs, and all those things that had softened 
the bitterness of her life, remorse seized her, or rather 
an immense regret, which, far from crushing her pas- 
sion, only irritated it. Charles placidly poked the fire 
with both his feet on the andirons. 

Once the man upstairs, no doubt bored in his hiding- 
place, made a slight noise. 



MADAME BOVARY 311 

" Ts any one vvalkinij upstairs?" riiarlcs iiu|uirc(l. 

" No," Kiiinia n-plicd ; " il is a window that lias 
been left open, and is ratliinj^ in the wind." 

The next clay, Siniday. slie went to Rouen to call 
on all the hrokiTS whose nanu'S she knew. They were 
at their country-places or out of town. She was not 
discouratji'ed ; and those whom she did manaj^^e to see 
she asked for money, declaring' she must have some, 
and that she woidd pay it back. Some laut^^hed in her 
face ; all refused. 

At two o'clock she hurried to Leon, and knocked at 
the door. No one answered. At last he appeared. 

" What bring-s } ou here ? " 

" Do I disturb you ? " 

" No ; but " And he admitted that his landlord 

didn't like his having " women " there. 

" 1 must speak to you." she said. 

He took down the key, but she stopped him. 

" No, no ! Down there, in our home ! " 

And they went to their room at the Hotel de Bou- 
logne. 

On arriving- she drank a large glass of water. She 
was very pale. Presently she said : 

" Leon, you will do me a service? " 

And, shaking him by both hands which she grasped 
tightly, she added : 

" Listen, I want eight thousand francs." 

" But you are mad ! " 

" Not yet." 

Then, telling him the story of the distraint, she ex- 
plained her distress to him ; for Charles knew nothing 
of it ; her mother-in-law detested her ; old Rouault 
could do nothing ; but he, Leon, he must set about 
finding this indispensable sum. 

" How on earth can I? " 



312 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" What a coward you are ! " she cried. 

Then he said stupidly : " Vou are exaggerating the 
difficuhy. Perhaps wilh a thousand crowns or so the 
fellow could be stopped." 

All the greater reason to try to do something ; it 
was impossible that they could not raise three thou- 
sand francs. Besides, Leon could be security instead 
of herself. 

" Go, try, try ! I will love you so ! " 

He went out, and returned at the end of an hour, 
saying, with solemn face : 

" I have called on three people with no success." 

They remained sitting face to face beside the fire- 
place, motionless, in silence. Emma shrugged her 
shoulders as she stamped her feet. He heard her mur- 
muring : 

" If I were in your place / should soon find some." 

" But where ? " 

" At your office." And she gazed fixedly at him. 

An infernal boldness looked out from her burning 
eyes, and their lids drew close together with a lascivi- 
ous and encouraging look, so that the young men felt 
himself growing weak beneath the mute will of this 
woman who was urging him to commit a crime. Then 
he grew alarmed, and to avoid any explanation he 
struck his forehead, saying: 

" Morel is to come back to-night ; he will not refuse 
me, I hope " (this was one of his friends, the son of 
a very rich merchant) ; " and I will bring it you to- 
morrow," he added. 

Emma did not appear to welcome this hope with the 
joy he had expected. Did she suspect the lie? He 
continued blushingly : 

" But if you don't see me by three o'clock, do not 
wait for me. my darling. I must be ofif now ; forgive 
me ! Good-by ! " 



MADAME BOVARY 313 

He i)rcssc(l Iicr hand, but it ft-It (|uitc lifeless. 
Emtiia had no strenj^th left to pretend any sentiment. 

[•"our o'clock struck, and she rose to return to Yon- 
ville, niochauicaliy obc}ing the force of habit. 

'J'he wealhcr was fine. It was one of those .March 
days, cold and sharp, when the sun shines in a per- 
fectly clear sky. Tlie people of Rouen, in .Sunday- 
clothes, were walkinj^ about with happy looks. She 
reached the Place du Parvis. I'eople were coming 
out after vespers; the crowd llowcd through the three 
doors like a stream throuq;h the three arches of a 
bridge, and in the middle (.loor. as motionless as a rock, 
stood the beadle. 

She remembered the day when, all anxious and full 
of hope, she had entered beneath this large nave, 
which had ojKMied out before her, less profound than 
her love ; and she walked on weeping beneath her veil, 
dizzy, staggering, almost swooning. 

On reaching the Croix-Rouge, she saw good Ho- 
mais, who was watching a large box full of pharma- 
ceutical stores being hoisted on the " Hirondellc." In 
his hand he held tied in a silk handkerchief six cJicmi- 
UQts for his wife. 

" Delighted to see you," he said, offering Emma a 
hand to helj) her into the " Hirondelle." Then he 
hung his chcininofs to the cords of the netting, and 
remained bareheaded in an attitude pensive and Napo- 
leonic. 

r>ut when the blind man appeared as usual at the 
foot of the hill he exclaimed : 

" I can't understand why the authorities tolerate 
such culpable occupations. Such unfortunates should 
be locked up and compelled to work. Progress creeps 
at a snail's pace. We are still floundering about in 
mere barbarism." 



314 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

The blind man held out his hat, which flapped about 
at the door, as if it were a bag in the lining that had 
come unfastened. 

" This man," said the chemist, " has a scrofulous 
aflFection." 

And though he knew the poor devil, he pretended 
to see him for the first time, murmured something 
about cornea," " opaque cornea," " sclerotic," " fa- 
cies " ; then he asked him in a paternal tone : 

" My friend, have you long had this terrible in- 
firmity? Instead of getting drunk at the pul)lic house, 
you would do better to diet yourself." 

He advised him to take only good wine, good beer, 
and good joints. The blind man went on with his 
song ; he appeared almost idiotic. At last Monsieur 
Homais opened his purse : 

" Now there's a sou ; give me back two Hards, and 
don't forget my advice; you'll be the better for it." 

Hivert openly cast some doubt on the efficacy of it. 
But the chemist said that he would cure him himself 
with an antiphlogistic pomade of his own composition, 
and he gave his address : " Monsieur Homais. near 
the market, rather well known." 

" Now," said Hivert, " for all this trouble you'll 
give us your performance." 

The blind man sank down on his haunches, with his 
head thrown back, while he rolled his greenish eyes, 
lolled out his tongue, and rubbed his stomach wnth 
both hands, uttering a kind of hollow yell like a fam- 
ished dog. Emma, filled with disgust, threw him over 
her shoulder a five-franc piece. It was all her for- 
tune. It seemed to her very fine thus to throw it away. 

The coach had set out again when suddenly Mon- 
sieur Homais leaned out through the window, crying: 

" No farinaceous or milk food, wear wool next the 



MADAME BOVARY 315 

skin, and expose the diseased [larts to the smoke of 
juniper hcrries." 

The sip^ht of well-known ohjects defdinp;' before her 
eyes c^rachially diverted JCmnia from her present 
trouble. An intolerable fatip^ue overwhelmed her, and 
she reached her home stupefied, discourap[ed, almost 
asleep. 

" Come what may ! " she said to herself. " And 
then, who knows? Why could not some extraordinary 
event occur at any moment? Lheureux mijiij^ht die!" 

At nine o'clock in the morning she was awakened 
by the sound of voices in the scpiare. There was a 
crowd round the market readinpc a lars^e bill fixed to 
one of the jxists. and she saw Justin, who was climbintr 
on a stone and tearins^ down the bill. Rut at this mo- 
ment the rural .c^uard seized him by the collar. Mon- 
sieur Homais came out of his shop, and Mere Lefran- 
«;ois, in the crowd, seemed to be perorating. 

"Madame! Madame!" cried Felicite. runnine^ in, 
" this is abominable ! " 

And the poor tjirl, deeply moved, handed her a yel- 
low paper which she had just torn off the door. Emma 
read at a ,e^lance that all her furniture was for sale. 

They looked at each other silently. Servant and 
mistress had no secrets one from the other. At last 
Felicite sig^hed : 

" If I were you, Madame. I should go to Monsieur 
Guillaumin." 

" Do you think " 

And this question meant: "You who know the 
house through the servant, tell me. has the master 
spoken sometimes of me?" 

" Yes. you would do well to go there." 

She dressed, put on her black gown, and her hood 
with jet beads, and that she might not be seen (there 



316 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

was still a crowd on the square), she took the path by 
the river, outside the village. 

She arrived at the notary's gate out of breath. The 
sky was sombre, and a little snow was falling. At the 
sound of the bell, Theodore in a red waistcoat ap- 
peared on the steps ; he came to open the door almost 
familiarly, as to an acquaintance, and showed her into 
the dining-room. 

A large porcelain stove crackled beneath a cactus 
that filled a niche in the wall, and in black wood frames 
against the oak-stained paper hung Steuben's " Es- 
meralda " and Schopin's " Potiphar's Wife." The table 
carefully set, the two silver chafing-dishes, the crystal 
door-knobs, the polished floor and the furniture, all 
shone with a scrupulous, English cleanliness ; the win- 
dows were ornamented at each corner with stained 
glass. 

" Now this." thought Emma, " is the dining-room 
I should have." 

The notary entered, pressing his palm-leaf dressing- 
gown to his breast with his left arm, while with the 
other hand he raised and quickly resumed his brown 
velvet cap, pretentiously cocked on the right side, 
whence peeped out the ends of three light curls drawn 
from the back of the head, following the line of his 
bald skull. 

After he had offered her a seat he sat down to break- 
fast, apologising profusely for his rudeness. 

" I have come," she said, " to beg you, Mon- 
sieur " 

" What, Madame ? I am listening." 

She began to explain her situation to him. Mon- 
sieur Guillaumin knew it, being secretly associated 
with the linen-draper, from whom he always got capi- 
tal for the loans on mortgages that he was asked to 
make. 



MADAME BOVARY 817 

So ho know (and hitti-r than shr hcrst-lf ) the lon^ 
story of the hills, small at first, hi-arinj,'^ (lilTcrent names 
as endorsers, made out at lonj^ intervals, and continu- 
ally renewed up to the day, when, j^atherin^ together 
all the protested hills, the shopkeeper had hidden his 
friend X'ingart het^in in his own name all the necessary 
proceedini^s, as he himself did not wish to pass for 
a tij^er with his fellow-citizens. 

She minc^led her story with recriminations apainst 
l.heiireux, to which the notary re])lied from time to 
time with some insi,y;nificant word, h'atin.e^ his cutlet 
and drinkinj:^ his tea, he huried his chin in his sky-hlue 
cravat, into which were thrust two diamond pins, held 
toj^ether hy a small t^old chain ; and he smiled a sin- 
g^ular smile, in an amiahlc hut amhij^uous fashion. 
Presently, noticing that her feet were damp, he said : 

" Do draw closer to the stove ; put your feet up 
ag^ainst the porcelain." 

She said she was afraid of soilinc^ it. The notary 
replied with a g^allant air : 

" Beautiful things 'spoil nothing." 

Then she tried to move him, and, growing moved 
herself she hegan to tell him about the poorness of 
her home, her worries, her wants. He could under- 
stand that — such an elegant woman as she ! Without 
leaving off eating, ho had turned completely round 
toward her, so that his knee brushed against her boot, 
the solo of which curled as it smoked against the stove. 

But when she asked for a thousand crowns, he closed 
his lips ; then declared he was very sorry he had not 
had the management of her fortune before, for there 
were hundreds of convenient ways, even for a lady, 
of turning her money to account. Either in the peat- 
fields of Grumesnil or the}" might at Havre have ven- 
tured on some excellent speculations almost without 



318 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

risk ; and he let her consume herself with rage at the 
tiiought of the fabulous sums that she would certainly 
have made. 

" How was it," he went on, " that you didn't come 
to me? " 

" I hardly know," she said. 

" How was that? Did I frighten you so much? It 
is 1, on the contrary, who ought to complain. We 
hardly know each other ; yet I am very devoted to you. 
You do not doubt that, I hope? " 

He reached out his hand, took hers, covered it with 
a greedy kiss, then held it on his knee ; and he toyed 
delicately with her fingers while he murmured a thou- 
sand blandishments. His insipid voice murmured like 
a running brook ; a light shone in his eyes through 
the gleam of his spectacles, and his hand stole up 
Emma's sleeve to press her arm. She felt his panting 
breath against her cheek. This man oppressed her 
horribly. 

She sprang up saying: 

'' Sir, I am waiting." 

" For what ? " said the notary, who suddenly became 
Very pale. 

" This money." 

" But " Then, yielding to the urging of too 

strong a desire, " Well, yes ! " 

He dragged himself toward her on his knees, re- 
gardless of his dressing-gown. 

" For pity's sake, stay ! I love you ! " 

He clasped her round her waist. Madame Bovary's 
face flushed. She recoiled with a terrible look, crying: 

" You are taking a shameless advantage of my dis- 
tress, sir! I am to be pitied — not sold." 

And she left him. 

The notary remained quite stupefied, his eyes fixed 



MADAME BOVARY ' .SI!) 

on his fine cmbroidrrcd slippers. 'I1u-v \wrv a love 
gift, and the sijj^ht of thcni finally consoled him. Be- 
sides, he reflected that such an advi'nture might have 
carried him too far. 

"What a wretch! what a scoundrel! what an in- 
famy!" said Emma to herself, as sjie tied along with 
nervous steps under the aspens that bordered the path. 
A spirit of warfare transformed lur. She would have 
hked to strike all men, to spit in their faces, to crush 
them ; and she walked rai)i(lly straight on. pale, trem- 
bling, maddened, searching the empty horizon with 
tear-dinnned eyes, and rejoicing, so to speak, in the 
hatred that was sutifocating her. 

When she saw her house a numbness came over her. 
She could not go on ; and yet she must. Besides, 
whither could she flee? 

l-'elicite was waiting for her at the door. " Well ! " 

" No ! " said Emma^ 

For a quarter of an hour both reviewed the various 
persons in Yonville who might perhaps l)e inclinerl to 
help her. But every time that Felicite named some 
one Emma replied : 

" Impossible ! they will not ! " 

" And the master will soon come home." 

" I know that well enough. Let me alone." 

She had tried everything ; nothing more could be 
done now ; and when Charles came in she would have 
to say to him : 

" You must go away ! This carpet on which you 
are walking is no longer ours. In your own house 
you do not possess a chair, a pin. a straw, and it is 
I, poor man, who have ruined you! " He would utter 
a great sob ; then he would weep abundantly, and at 
last, the surprise over, he would forgive her. 

" Yes," she murmured, grinding her teeth, " he will 



320 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

forgive me — he who would give me a million if I 
would forgive him for having married me ! Never ! " 

This thought of Bovary's superiority to herself ex- 
asperated her. Besides, whether she confessed or did 
not confess, presently, immediately, to-morrow, he 
would know the catastrophe ; so she must wait for this 
horrible scene, and bear the oppression of his mag- 
nanimity. A desire to return to Lheureux seized her 
— but what would be the use? Should she write to her 
father — it was too late ; and perhaps she had begun 
to repent that she had not yielded to Guillaumin, when 
she heard the trot of a horse in the alley. It was 
Charles ; he was opening the gate ; he was whiter than 
the plaster wall. Rushing to the stairs, she ran out 
quickly to the square ; and the wife of the mayor, who 
was talking to Lestiboudois in front of the church, 
saw her enter the tax-collector's. 

She hurried off to tell Madame Caron, and the two 
ladies went up to the attic, and. hidden by some linen 
spread across props, stationed themselves comfortably 
for overlooking the whole of Binet's room. 

He was alone in his garret, busy imitating in wood 
one of those indescribable bits of ivory, composed of 
crescents, of spheres hollowed out one within the 
other, the whole as straight as an obelisk, and of no 
use whatever ; and he was beginning on the last piece 
— he was nearing his goal. 

" Ah. there she is ! " exclaimed Madame Tuvache. 

But it was impossible to hear what she was Skying 
because of the lathe. 

At last these ladies thought they made out the word 
" francs," and Madame Tuvache whispered in a low 
voice : 

" She is begging him to give her time for paying her 
taxes." 



MADAME BOVARY .3'2I 

"Apparently!" replied the other. 

Hicy saw her vvalkiiij^ to and fro, examining the 
napkin-rings, the candlesticks, the hanister rails against 
the walls, while I'.inet stroked his heard with satis- 
faction. 

" Do you think she wants to order something of 
him?" said Madame Tiivache. 

" Why, he doesn't sell anything," objected her neigh- 
bour. 

Now the tax-collector seemed to he listening with 
wide-open eyes, as if he did not understand. She as- 
sumed in a tender, suppliant manner. She came nearer 
to him. her breast heaving : they no longer spoke. 

"Is she making him advances?" said Madame 
Tuvache. 

Binet was scarlet to his very ears. She took hold 
of his hands. 

" Oh, that is too much ! " ' 

And no doubt she was suggesting something abom- 
inable to him : for the tax-collector — yet he was brave, 
had fought at Bautzen and at Lutzen, had been 
through the French campaign, and had even been re- 
commended for the cross — as at the sight of a serpent, 
suddenly recoiled as far as he could from her, crying : 

" Madame ! what do you mean ? " 

" Women like that ought to be whipped," said Ma- 
dame Tuvache. 

"But where is she?" continued Madame Caron, 
for she had disappeared while they spoke ; then catch- 
ing sight of her going up the Grande Rue. and turn- 
ing to the right as if making for the cemetery, they 
were lost in conjectures. 

" Nurse Rollet." she said on reaching the nurse's 
house, " I am choking ; unlace me ! " She fell on the 



322 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

bed, sobbing. Nurse Rollet covered her with a petti- 
coat and remained standing by her side. Then, as 
she did not answer, the good woman withdrew, took 
her wheel and began spinning flax. 

" Oh, stop ! stop ! " murmured Emma, fancying she 
heard Binet's lathe. 

" What's troubling her?" said the nurse to herself. 
" Why has she come here? " 

She had rushed thither because she was impelled 
by a kind of horror that drove her from her home. 

Lying on her back, motionless, and with staring 
eyes, she saw things but vaguely, although she tried 
to do so with a sort of idiotic persistence. She looked 
at the scales hanging on the wall, two brands smoking 
end to end, and a long spider crawling over her head 
in a rent in the beam. At last she began to collect 

her thoughts. She remembered one day Leon 

Oh ! how long ago that was — —the sun was shin- 
ing on the river, and the clematis perfumed the air. 

" What time is it? " she asked. 

Mere Rollet went out, raised the fingers of her right 
hand to the side of the sky that was brightest, and 
came back slowly, saying: 

" Nearly three." 

" Oh, thank you, thank you ! " 

For Leon would come ; he would have found some 
money. But perhaps he would go down yonder, not 
guessing she was here, and she told the nurse to run 
to her house to fetch him. 

" Be quick ! " 

" Yes, my dear lady, I'm going, I'm going! " 

She wondered now that she had not thought of him 
from the first. Yesterday he had given his word ; he 
would not break it. Already she saw herself at Lheu- 
reux's, spreading out her three bank-notes on his desk. 



MADAME BOVARY 323 

Then slic would ]i;i\c li> iiuciil sniuc story to explain 
matters to l'.(i\'ar\. What slionlil it he? 

Tlu' nurse, Imucvi'r, was ^'oiu- a lont^ time. IWit, 
as there was no eloek in the cottap^e. iCniina feared she 
was perliaps I'xai^j^i'ratinq- the lent^th f)f time. The 
g^ate creaked; she sprani^ up. lUfore she lia^i spoken 
Mere Rollet said to licr — 

"There is no one at vour house! " 

" \\1iat ? " 

"No, no one! And the doctor is cryinj:^. He is 
calling for you ; they arc all looking for you." 

Emma made no answer. She gasped as she turned 
her eyes about her. while the peasant woman, fright- 
ened at lur face, drew back instinctively, thinking 
her mad. Sufldenly Emma struck her brow and ut- 
tered a cry ; for the thought of Rodolphe. like a flash 
of lightning in a dark night, had passed into her soul. 
He was so good, so delicate, so generous ! Besides, 
should he hesitate to do her this service, she would 
know well enough how to constrain him to it by re- 
kindling, in a single moment, their lost love. So sbe 
set out toward La Huchette. not realizing that she was 
hastening to offer herself to that which but a short 
time ago had so angered her, not in the least conscious 
of her prostitution. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE BLUE TAR 



E 



MMA said to herself as she walked along, " What 
shall I say ? How shall I begin ? " And she 
recognised the thickets, the trees, the sea-rushes 
on the hill, the chateau vonder. All the sensations of 



324 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

her first tenderness came back to her, and her poor ach- 
ing heart opened out amorously. 

She entered, as formerly, through the small gate. 

She ascended the large straight staircase with a 
wooden railing that led to the corridor paved with 
dusty flags, into which several doors in a row opened, 
as in a monastery or an inn. Rodolphe's was at the top, 
at the end, on the left. When she laid her hand on the 
knob her strength suddenly deserted her. She was 
afraid, almost wished he would not be there, though 
he was her only hope, her last chance of salvation. She 
collected her thoughts for one moment, and, strength- 
ening herself by the feeling of pressing necessity, she 
entered. 

Rodolphe sat before the fire, with his feet on the 
mantelpiece, and was smoking a pipe. 

*' What ! it is you ! " said he, rising hurriedly. 

" Yes, it is I, Rodolphe. I should like to ask your 
advice." But, despite all her efforts, it was impossible 
for her to say more. 

" You have not changed ; you are as charming as 
ever ! " 

" Oh," she replied bitterly, " they are poor charms, 
since you disdained them." 

Then he began a long explanation of his conduct, 
excusing himself in vague terms, not being able to in- 
vent better. 

She yielded to his words, still more to his voice and 
the sight of him, so that she pretended to believe, or 
perhaps believed, in the pretext he gave for their rup- 
ture ; this was a secret on which depended the honour, 
the very life, of a third person. 

" No matter ! " she said, looking at him sadly. " I 
have suflfered much." 

" Such is life! " he replied philosophically. 



MADAME BOVAKY 325 

" Has lifr," I'.miiia went on, '" been f^ood to you at 
least, since our separation.'' " 

" ( )li, luilluT l;()()(1 ncir had." 

" I'erliaps it would have hecn better never to have 
parted." 

" Yes, perhaps." 

" You think so?" she said, drawiu}^ nearer, and she 
sij^hed. " ( )h, l\()(l(il|ihe ! if you but knew! I loved 
you so ! " 

She took his hand, and they remained some time, 
their finq;ers intertwined, as on that first day at the ag- 
ricultiu-al fair. With a gesture of pride he struj^j^ied 
ai^ainst this emotion. Hut, sinking upon his breast, 
she said to him : 

" I low did you think I could live without you? ( )ne 
cannot lose the lial)il of happiness. I was desperate. I 
thoui^ht 1 should die. I will tell you about all that an.d 
you will see. And you — you fled from me ! " 

I-'or. all the three years, he had carefully avoided her 
in consequence of that natural cowardice which char- 
acterises the stronger sex. Emma went on with dainty 
little nods, more coaxing than an amorous kitten : 

"You love others — confess it! Oh, I understand 
them, dear! I excuse them. You probably seduced 
them as you seduced me. You are indeed a man ; you 
have everything to make one love you. But we'll be- 
gin again, shall we not? We will love one another. 
See ! 1 am laughing ; I am happy ! Oh, speak ! " 

She was charming to see, with her eyes, in which 
trembled a tear, like the rain-drops in a blue corolla.. 

He had drawn her upon his knees, and with the back 
of his hand was caressing her smooth hair, where in the 
twilight was mirrored like a golden arrow one last ray 
of the sun. She bent down her brow ; at last he kissed 
her on the eyelids quite gently with the tips of his lips. 



326 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Why, you have been crying ! What for ? " 

She burst into tears. Rodolplie thought this was an 
outburst of her love. As she did not speak, he took 
this silence for a last renniant of resistance, and then 
he cried out : 

" Uh, forgive me ! You are the only one that pleases 
me. i was imbecile and cruel. I love you. I will love 
you always. What is it? Tell me! " He was kneel- 
ing by her. 

" Well, I am ruined, Rodolphe ! You must lend me 
three thousand francs." 

" But — but " said he, getting up slowly, while 

his face assumed a grave expression. 

" You know," she went on quickly, " that my hus- 
band had placed his whole fortune at a notary's. He 
ran away. So we borrowed ; the patients don't pay us. 
Moreover, the settling of the estate is not yet finished ; 
we shall have the money later. But to-day, for want 
of three thousand francs, we are to be sold up. It is to 
be at once, this very moment, and, counting upon your 
friendship, I have come to you." 

" Ah! " thought Rodolphe, turning very pale, " that' 
was what she came for." At last he said calmly : 

" Dear Madame, I have not got them." 

He did not lie. H he had had them, he would, no 
doubt, have given them, although it is usually disagree- 
able to do such fine things : a demand for money being, 
of all the winds that blow upon love, the coldest and 
most destructive. 

She looked at him for some moments. 

" You have not got them ! " she repeated several 
times. " You have not got them ! I ought to have 
spared myself this last shame. You never loved me. 
You are no better than the others." 

She was betraying, ruining herself. 



MADAME BOVARY ;i27 

Ro(lol])lic iiUcrrupk'd Ikt. (Icclariiij^^ he was embar- 
rassed for nioiiov liiuiself. 

" Ah ! I pity you," said l*'ninia. " Yes — very much." 

And, fixinjj;- her eyes upon an embossed carabine tliat 
shone against its i:)anoply, she added : " But when one 
is so poor one doesn't have silver on the butt of one's 
j^un. One doesn't l)uy a clock inlaid with tortoise- 
shell." she went on, pointing to a buhl timepiece, " nor 
silver-gilt whistles for one's whips," and she touched 
them, " nor charms for one's watch. Oh, he wants for 
nothing ! even to a liqueur-stand in his room ! I*"or you 
love }ourself; you live well. You have a chateau, 
farms, woods; you go hunting; you travel to Paris. 
Why, if it were l)ut that," she cried, taking up two 
studs from the mantelpiece, " but the least of these 
tritles, one could get money for them. Oh, I do not 
want them ; keep them ! " 

And she threw tlie two links away from her, their 
gold chain breaking as it struck against the wall. 

" But I ! I would have given you everything. I 
would have sold all. worked for 3'ou with my hands, I 
would have begged on the highroads for a smile, for a 
look, to hear you say ' Thanks ! ' And you sit there 
quietly in your armchair, as if you had not made me 
suffer enough already! But for you, and you know 
it, 1 might have lived happily. What made you do it ? 
Was it a bet ? Yet you loved me — you said so. And 
but a moment since Ah ! it would have been bet- 
ter to drive me away. ]\Iy hands are hot with your 
kisses, and there is the spot on the carpet where at my 
knees you swore an eternity of love ! You made me be- 
lieve you ; for two years you wrapped me in the most 
magnificent, the sweetest dream ! Eh ! Our plans for 
the journey, do you remember? Oh. your letter! your 
letter! it tore mv heart! And then when I come 



328 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

back to him — to him, rich, happy, free — to implore the 
help the first stranger would give, a suppliant, and 
bringing back to him all my tenderness, he repulses me 
because it would cost him three thousand francs ! " 

" I haven't got them," replied Rodolphe, with that 
perfect calm with which resigned rage covers itself as 
with a shield. 

She left him. Tlic walls seemed to tremble, the ceil- 
ing was crushing her, and she passed back through the 
long alley, stumbling against the heaps of dead leaves 
scattered by the wind. At last she reached the hedge 
in front of the gate ; she broke her nails against the 
lock in her haste to open it. A hundred steps farther 
on, breathless, almost falling, she stopped. 

She remained lost in stupour, and having no more 
consciousness of herself than through the beating of 
her arteries, which seemed to her to burst forth like a 
deafening music filling all the fields. The earth be- 
neath her feet was more yielding than the sea, and the 
furrows seemed to her immense brown waves breaking 
into foam. Everything in her head — memories, ideas 
— seemed to explode at once like a thousand pieces of 
fireworks. She saw her father, Lheureux's closet, their 
room at home, another landscape. i\Iadness was com- 
ing upon her ; she grew afraid, and managed to recover 
herself, in a confused way, it is true, for she did not in 
the least remember the cause of the terrible condition 
she w-as in, that is to say, the question of money. She 
suflfered only in her love, and felt her soul passing from 
her in this memory, as wounded men, dying, feel life 
ebbing from their bleeding wounds. 

Now her situation, like an abyss, opened before her. 
vShe was panting as if her heart would burst. Then in 
an ecstasy of heroism, which made her almost joyous, 
she ran down the hill, crossed the cow-plank, the foot- 



MADAME BOVARY ;i29 

path, the alley, the market, and reached the chemist's 
shop. She was ahoul to enter, bnt at the sonnd of the 
bell some one might come, and slipping; in by the Jijate, 
holdinp^ her breath, feeling her way along the walls, 
she went as far as the door of the kitchen, where a 
candle stuck on the stove was burning. Justin in his 
shirt-sleeves was carrying out a dish. 

" Ah, they are dining; I will wait." 

He returned ; she ta])ped at the window. He went 
out. 

" The kev ! the one for upstairs where he keeps 
the " 

"What?" 

And he looked at her, astonished at the pallor of Ivjr 
face, which stood out white against the black back- 
ground of the night. She seemed to him extraordinarily 
beautiful and majestic as a phantom. Without un- 
derstanding what she wanted, he had the presentiment 
of something terrible. 

She went on quickly in a low voice, in a sweet, melt- 
ing voice, " I want it ; give it to me." 

As the partition wall was thin, they could hear the 
clatter of the forks on the plates in the dining-room. 

She pretended that she wanted to kill the rats that 
kept her from sleeping. 

" I must tell master." 

" No, stay ! " Then with an indifterent air, " Oh, it 
isn't worth while; I'll tell him presently. Come, light 
me upstairs." 

She entered the corridor into which the laboratory 
door opened. Against the wall was a key labelled 
CaffJiarnainii. 

" Justin! " called the chemist impatiently. 

" Let us go up." 

And Justin followed her. The key turned in the 



330 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

lock, and she went straight to the third shelf, so well 
did her memory guide her, seized the blue jar, tore out 
the cork, plunged in her hand, and withdrew it full of 
a white powder, which she began to eat. 

" Stop! " cried Justin, rushing at her. 

" Hush! some one will come." 

He was in despair, and began to call out. 

" Say nothing, or all the blame will fall on your 
master." 

Then she went home, suddenly calmed, and with 
something of the serenity of one that has performed a 
duty. 

When Charles, distracted by the news of the dis- 
traint, returned home, Emma had just gone out. He 
cried aloud, wept, fainted, but she did not return. 
Where could she be ? He sent Felicite to Homais, to 
Monsieur Tuvache, to Lheureux, to the Lion d'Or, 
everywhere, and in the intervals of his agony he saw 
his reputation destroyed, their fortune lost, Berthe's 
future ruined. By what ? — Xot a word ! He waited 
till six in the evening. At last, unable to bear the sus- 
pense any longer, and fancying Emma had gone to 
Rouen, he set out along the highroad, walked a mile, 
met no one, again waited, and went home. She had 
returned. 

"What was the matter? Why? Explain to me." 

She sat down at her writing-table and wrote a let- 
ter, which she sealed slowly, adding the date and the 
hour. Then she said in a solemn tone : 

" You are to read it to-morrow ; till then, I pray you, 
do not ask me a single question. No, not one ! " 

" But " 

" Oh, leave me ! " 

She lay down at full length on her bed. A bitter 



MADAME BOVARY :y.\] 

taste that slic frit in Iter tiKiulli a\\al<cnc(l Iut. She 
saw Charles, and aj^ain closed her eyes. 

She was stndyiiij^ herself curiously, to sec whether 
she were not suffering-. l>ut no! nothinfr as yet. She 
heard the tickini^" of the clock, the cracklinp^ of tiic fire, 
and Charles hreathinq- as he stood ui)rij^ht by her bed. 

"Ah. it is hut a littk' tliiun:. death!" she thouf^ht. 
" I shall fall aslee]) and all will be over." 

She drank a mouthful of water and turned to the 
wall. The frii^htful taste like ink continued. 

" I am thirsty ; oh, so thirsty! " she sij^hed. 

" What is it ? " said Charles, who was handinp^ her 
a glass. 

" It is nothinc;! ()]ien the window; I am choking." 

She was seized with a sickness so sudden that she 
had hardly time to draw her handkerchief from under 
the pillow. 

" Take it away," she said quickly ; " throw it away." 

He spoke to her ; she did not answer. She lay mo- 
tionless, afraid that the slightest movement might make 
her vomit. But she felt an icy chill creeping from her 
feet to her heart. 

" Ah ! it is beginning," she murmured. 

" What did you sa}'> " 

She turned her head from side to side with a gentle 
movement full of agony, while continually opening her 
mouth as if something very heavy were weighing upon 
her tongue. At eight o'clock the vomiting began 
again. 

Charles noticed that at the bottom of the basin a 
sort of white sediment was sticking to the sides of the 
porcelain. 

" This is extraordinary — very singular," he repeated. 

But she said in a firm voice, " No, you are mistaken." 

Then gently, and almost as if caressing her, he 



.332 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

passed his hand over her stomach. She uttered a sharp 
cry. He fell back terror-stricken. 

Then she began to groan, faintly at first. Her shoul- 
ders were shaken by a strong shuddering, and she was 
growing paler than the sheets in which her clenched 
fingers buried themselves. Her unequal pulse was now 
almost imperceptible. 

Drops of sweat oozed from her bluish face, which 
seemed as if rigid in the exhalations of a metallic- 
smelling vapour. Her teeth chattered, her dilated eyes 
looked vaguely about her, and to all questions she re- 
plied only with a shake of the head ; she even smiled 
once or twice. Gradually, her moaning grew louder ; a 
hollow shriek burst from her ; then she pretended she 
was better and that she would get up presently. But 
she was seized with convulsions- and cried out: 

" Ah ! my God ! It is horrible ! " 

Charles threw himself on his knees by her bed. 

" Tell me ! what have you eaten ? Answer, for 
heaven's sake ! " 

And he looked at her with a tenderness in his eyes 
such as she never had seen. 

" Well, there — there ! " she said in a faint voice, 
pointing. He flew to the writing-table, tore open the 
seal, and read aloud : " Accuse no one," He stopped, 
passed his hands across his eyes, and read it over 
again. 

" What ? help— help ! " 

He could only keep repeating the word : " Poisoned ! 
poisoned ! " Felicite ran to Homais, who proclaimed 
it in the market-place ; Madame Lefrangois heard it at 
the Lion d'Or ; " some rushed out to go and tell their 
neighbours, and all night the village was on the alert. 

Distraught, faltering, reeling, Charles wandered 
about the room. He knocked against the furniture. 



MADAME BOVARY IVM] 

loro his hair, and ihi- chemist ikvit had hehcvcd there 
could he so terrihie a si,L,dit. 

He went home to writi- to Monsit'nr Canivet and to 
Dr. Lariviere. lie lost his head, and made more than 
fifteen rouij^h copies, llippolyte went to Xeiifchatel, 
and Justin so spurred I '.ovary's horse that he left it 
foundered and three parts dead by the hill at Bois-Guil- 
launie. 

Charles tried to find his medical dictionary, hut could 
iu)t read it ; the lines were danciii}.^. 

" Be calm," sai<l the chemist; " wc liave only to ad- 
minister a powerful antidote. What is the poison ? " 

Charles showed him the letter. It was arsenic. 

" Very well," said Homais, " we must make an 
analysis." 

For he knew that in cases of poisoning an analysis 
must be made ; and Charles, who did not understand, 
answered : 

" Oh, do anything! save her! " 

Then going back to her. he sank upon the carpet, 
and lay there with liis head leaning against the edge 
of her bed. sobbing. 

Don't cry," she said to him. " Soon I shall not 
trouble you any more." 

" Why was it ? Wlio drove you to it ? " 

She replied. " It had to be. my dear! " 

"Weren't you happy? Is it my fault? I did all T 
could ! " 

" Yes, that is true — }ou are good — vou." 

And she passed her hand slowly over his hair. The 
sweetness of this sensation deepened his sadness ; he 
felt his whole being dissolving in despair at the thought 
that he must lose her. just when she was confessing 
more love for him than she ever had acknowledged be- 
fore. And he could think of nothing ; he did not know, 



334 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

he did not dare : llu- urgent need for sonic immediate 
resolution gave the fmishing stroke to the turmoil of 
his mind. 

So she had done, she thought, with all the treachery, 
and meanness, and numberless desires that had tortured 
her. She hated no one now ; a twilight dimness was 
settling upon her thoughts, and, of all earthly sounds, 
Emma heard none but the intermittent lamentations of 
this poor heart, sweet and indistinct like the echo of a 
S}-mphony dying away. 

" Bring me the child," she said, raising herself on 
her elbow. 

"You are not worse, are you?" asked Charles. 

" No, no! " 

The child, serious, and still half-asleep, was brought 
in on the servant's arm in her long white nightgown, 
from which her bare feet peeped out. She looked won- 
deringly at the disordered room, and half-closed her 
eyes, dazzled by the candles burning on the table. 
They reminded her, no doubt, of the morning of New 
Year's Day and mid-Lent, when thus awakened early 
by candlelight she came to her mother's bed to find her 
presents, for she began saying: 

" But where is it, mamma? " And as everybody was 
silent. " But I can't see my little stocking." 

Felicite held her over the bed while she kept looking 
toward the mantelpiece. 

" Has nurse taken it? " she asked. 

And at this name, which carried her back to the 
memory of her adulteries and her calamities, Aladame 
Bovary turned away her head, as at the loathing of 
another bitterer poison that rose to her mouth. But 
Berthe remained perched on the bed. 

" Oh, how big your eyes are, mamma ! How pale 
vou are ! how hot vou are ! " 



MADAME BOVARY IV.i^ 

Her niotluT Inokccl at Ikt. 

" [ am fri.^Iik'iK'd ! " crii-d the child. rc•C()iIiI1}^^ 

I'jiinia took hvv hand to kiss it : the child strujcjj^lcd. 

" That will do. 'lake her away," cried Charles, who 
was sohhint^" in the alcove. 

Then the symptoms ceased for a moment ; she seemed 
less atj^itated ; and at every insicjnificant word, at every 
respiration a little more easy, he regained hope. At 
last, when C"ani\et came in, he threw him.sclf into his 
arms. 

" Ah ! it is you. Thanks ! You arc good ! But she 
is better. See! look at her." 

His colleague was by no means of this ojiinion, and, 
as he said of himself, he " never beat about the bush," 
he prescribed an emetic in order to empty the stomach. 

She soon began vomiting blood. Her lips became 
drawn. Her limbs were convulsed, her whole body 
was covered with brown si)ots, and her pulse beat be- 
neath the fingers like a stretched thread, like a harp- 
string nearly breaking. 

After this she began to scream horribly. She cursed 
th.e poison, railed at it. and implored it to be quick, and 
thrust away with her stiffened arms everything that 
Charles, in more agony than herself, tried to make her 
drink. He stood up, his handkerchief to his lips, with 
a rattling sound in his throat, weeping, and choked by 
sobs that shook his whole body. Felicite was running 
hither and thither in the room. Homais, motionless, 
uttered great sighs ; and Monsieur Canivet, always re- 
taining his self-command, nevertheless began to feel 
uneasy. 

" The devil ! yet she has been purged, and from the 
moment that the cause ceases " 

" The effect must cease," said Homais, ** that is evi- 
dent," 



336 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

" Oh, save her! '" cried Bovary. 

And, widiout Hstening to the chemist, who was still 
venturing the hypothesis, " It is perhaps a salutary par- 
oxysm," Canivet was about to administer some theriac, 
when they heard the cracking of a whip ; all the win- 
dows rattled, and a post-chaise drawn by three horses 
abreast, up to their ears in mud, drove at a gallop 
round the corner of the market. It was the great Dr. 
Lariviere. 

The apparition of a god would not have caused more 
commotion. Bovary raised his hands ; Canivet stopped 
short ; and Homais pulled off his skull-cap long before 
the doctor entered. 

He belonged to that great school of surgery begot- 
ten of Bichat, to that generation, now extinct, of phi- 
losophical practitioners, who, loving their art with a 
fanatical love, exercised it with enthusiasm and wis- 
dom. Everyone in his hospital trembled when he was 
angry ; and his students so revered him that they tried, 
as soon as they were themselves in practice, to imitate 
him as much as possible, so that in all the towns about 
they were found wearing a long wadded merino over- 
coat and black frock-coat, whose buttoned cufifs slightly 
covered his brawny hands — very beautiful hands, which 
never knew gloves, as if to be more ready to plunge 
into sufifering. Disdainful of honours, of titles, and 
of academies, like one of the old Knights-Hospitaller, 
generous, fatherly to the poor, and practising virtue 
without believing in it, he would almost have passed 
for a saint had not the keenness of his intellect caused 
him to be feared as a demon. His glance, more pene- 
trating than his bistouries, looked straight into the soul, 
and dissected every lie despite all assertions and all reti- 
cences. Thus he went along, full of that debonair 
majesty which is given by the consciousness of great 



MADAME BOVARY ;i37 

talent, of fortuiK', and oi forty years of a lal)orious and 
irri'proacliahli' life. 

lie frowned as soon as lie had passed the door when 
he saw the eadaverous face of hjnnia stretched out on 
hrr hack with her mouth open. Then, while apparently 
listening to ("anivct, he ruhhed his tinj^ers up and down 
hencath his nostrils, and repeated 

" Good ! ^ood ! " 

But he made a slow gesture with his shoulders. Bo- 
vary watched him ; they looked at one another ; and this 
man, accustomed as he was to the sight of pain, could 
not keep hack a tear that fell on his shirt front. 

H6 tried to take Canivet into the next room. Charles 
followed him. 

" She is very ill, isn't she? If we jnit on sinapisms? 
Anything! Oh, think of something — you who have 
saved so many ! " 

Charles caught him in both his arms, and gazed at 
him wildly, imploringly, half-fainting against his 
breast. 

" Come, my poor fellow, courage ! There is nothing 
more to be done." 

And Dr. Lariviere turned away. 

" You are going? " 

" I will come back." 

He went out only to give an order to the coachman, 
with Monsieur Canivet, who did not care either to have 
Emma die under his hands. 

The chemist rejoined them in the square. He could 
not by temperament keep away from celebrities, so he 
begged Monsieur Lariviere to do him the signal honour 
of accepting some breakfast. 

He sent quickly to the Lion d'Or for some pigeons ; 
to the butcher's for all the cutlets that were to be had ; 
to Tuvache for cream ; and to Lestiboudois for eggs ; 



338 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

and the chemist himself aided in the preparations, 
while Madame Homais was saying as she pulled to- 
gether the strings of her jacket: 

" You must excuse us, sir, for in this poor place, 
when one hasn't been told the night before " 

" Wine-glasses! " whispered Homais. 

"If only we were in town, we could fall back upon 
stuffed trotters." 

" Be quiet! Sit down, doctor! " 

He thought fit, after the first few mouthfuls, to give 
some details as to the catastrophe. 

" We first had a feeling of siccity in the pharynx, 
then intolerable pains at the epigastrium, super, purga- 
tion, coma." 

" But how did she poison herself? " 

" I don't know, doctor, and I don't even know where 
she can have procured the arsenious acid." 

Justin, who was just bringing in a pile of plates, 
began to tremble. 

" What's the matter ? " said the chemist. 

At this question the young man dropped the whole 
pile on the ground with a crash. 

" Imbecile ! " cried Homais, " awkward lout ! block- 
head ! confounded ass ! " 

But suddenly controlling himself 

" I wished, doctor, to make an analysis, and pr'uno 
I delicately introduced a tube " 

" You would have done better," said the physician, 
" to introduce your fingers into her throat." 

His colleague was silent, having just before privately 
received a severe lecture about his emetic ; so that this 
good Canivet, so arrogant and so verbose at the time of 
the operation on the club-foot, was to-day very modest. 
He smiled without ceasing in an approving manner. 

Homais dilated in Amphytrionic pride, and the af- 



MADAME BOVARY 339 

fcctiiijj^ thoup;lit of l>ovary vaj:;ucly contributed to his 
pleasure by a kind of ej^otistic rellex upon himself. 
Then the ])resence of the doctor transported liim. He 
thsplayed his eru(htion, cited, ])ell-mell, canlliarides, 
upas, the manchineel, vipers. 

" I have even read that various persons have found 
themselves under toxicoloj^dcal sym])toms, and. as it 
were, thunderstricken by black-pudding that had been 
subjected to a too vehement fumiii^ation. At least, this 
was stated in a very fine report drawn up by one of our 
pharmaceutical chiefs, one of our masters, the illus- 
trious Cadet de Gassicourt ! " 

Madame Homais reappeared, carryintj one of those 
shaky machines that are heated with alcohol ; for Ho- 
mais liked to make his cofifec at table, havinp^, more- 
over, torrefied it. pulverised it, and mixed it himself. 

" Saccharuiii, doctor?" said he, oflfering the sugar. 

Then he had all his children brought down, anxious 
to have the physician's opinion on their constitutions. 

At last Dr. Lariviere was about to leave, when Ma- 
dame Homais asked for a consultation about her hus- 
band. He was making his blood too thick by going to 
sleep every evening after dinner. 

" Oh, it isn't his blood that's too thick," said the 
physician. 

And. smiling a little at his unnoticed joke, the doctor 
opened the door. Rut the chemist's shop was full of 
people : he had the greatest diflficulty in getting rid of 
Monsieur Tuvache, who feared his spouse would get 
inflammation of the lungs, because she was in the habit 
of spitting on the ashes ; then of Monsieur Rinet, who 
sometimes experienced sudden attacks of great hunger ; 
and of Madame Caron. who suffered from tinglings ; 
of Lheureux, who had vertigo ; of Lestiboudois, who 
had rheumatism ; and of Madame Lefranc^ois. who had 



340 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

heartburn. At last the three horses started ; and it 
was the general opinion that the great doctor had not 
shown himself at all obliging. 

Public attention was distracted by the appearance of 
Monsieur Bournisien, who was crossing the market 
with the holy oil. 

Homais, as was due to his ])rinciples, compared 
priests to ravens attracted by the odour of death. The 
sight of an ecclesiastic was personally disagreeable to 
him, for the cassock made him think of the shroud, and 
he detested the one from some fear of the other. 

Nevertheless, not shrinking from what he called his 
mission, he returned to Bovary's in company with Cani- 
vet, whom Dr. Lariviere, before leaving, had strongly 
urged to make this visit ; and he would, but for his 
wife's objections, have taken his two sons with him, in 
order to accustom them to great occasions ; that this 
might be a lesson, an example, a solemn picture, that 
should remain in their heads later. 

When they went in the room was full of a mournful 
solemnity. On the work-table, covered over with a 
white cloth, were five or six small balls of cotton in a 
silver dish, near a large crucifix between two lighted 
candles. 

Emma, her chin sunk upon her breast, had her eyes 
inordinately wide open, and her poor hands wandered 
over the sheets with that hideous, soft movement of the 
dying, which seems as if they wanted already to cover 
themselves with the shroud. Pale as a statue and with 
eyes red as fire, Charles, not weeping, stood opposite 
her at the foot of the bed, while the priest, bending one 
knee, was muttering words in a low voice. 

She turned her face slowly, and seemed filled with 
joy on seeing suddenly the violet stole, no doubt find- 
ing again, in the midst of a temporary lull in her pain. 



MADAME BOVARY Mil 

the lost voluptuousness of her early mystical trans])orts, 
with the visions of eternal heatilude that were hegin- 
ninj^. 

The priest rose to take the crucifix ; then she 
stretched forward her neck as one who is athirst, and 
pressing- her lips to the hody of the Man-God, she Iai<l 
upon it with all lier expiring- strength the fullest kiss of 
lo\-e that she had ever given. Then he recited the 
Miscrcatiir and the Indiih^cnliam, dip])e(l his right 
thunih in the oil. and hegan to give extreme unction, 
h'irst, uiK)n the eyes, that had so coveted all worldly 
pomp; then upon the nostrils, that had hcen greedy of 
the warm hreeze and aniorcuis odours; then u])on the 
nioutli, that had uttered lies, that had curled with pride 
and cried out in lewdness ; then upon the hands, that 
had delighted in sensual touches ; and finally upon the 
soles of the feet, so swift of yore, when she was run- 
ning to satisfy her desires, and which would now walk 
no more. 

The cure wiped his fingers, threw the bit of cotton 
dipped in oil into the fire, and came and sat down by 
the dying woman, to tell her that she must now blend 
her sutTerings with those of Jesus Christ and abandon 
herself to the divine mercy. 

Finishing his exhortations, he tried to place in her 
hand a blessed candle, symbol of the celestial glory with 
which she was soon to be surrounded. Ennna was too 
weak to close her fingers round it, and the taper, but 
for Monsieur Bournisien would have fallen. 

How'ever, she was not quite so pale, and her face had 
a look of serenity as if the sacrament had cured her. 

The priest did not fail to point this out ; he even 
explained to Rovary that the Lord sometimes pro- 
longed the life of persons when he thought it meet for 
their salvation : and Charles remembered the dav when. 



342 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

so near death, she had received the communion. Per- 
haps there was no need to despair, he thought. 

In fact, she looked around her slowly, as one awak- 
ening from a dream ; then in a distinct voice she asked 
for her hand-mirror, and remained some time gazing 
into it, until great tears fell from her eyes. Then she 
turned away her head with a sigh and fell back upon 
the pillows. 

Her chest soon began panting rapidly ; the whole of 
her tongue protruded from her mouth ; her eyes, as 
they rolled, grew paler, like the two globes of a lamp 
that is going out, so that one might have thought her 
already dead but for the fearful labouring of her chest, 
shaken by violent breathing, as if the soul were strug- 
gling to free itself. Felicite knelt before the crucifix, 
and the chemist slightly bent his knees, while Mon- 
sieur Canivet looked out vaguely into the square. 
Bournisien had begun to pray again, his face bowed 
against the edge of the bed, his long black cassock 
trailing behind him on the floor. Charles was on the 
other side, on his knees, his arms outstretched toward 
Emma. He had taken her hands and pressed them, 
shuddering at every throb of her heart, as at the shak- 
ing of a falling ruin. As the death-rattle became 
stronger the priest prayed faster ; his prayers mingled 
with the stifled sobs of Bovary, and sometimes all was 
lost in the mufiled murmur of the Latin syllables that 
seemed to toll like a passing-bell. 

Suddenly on the pavement was heard a loud noise of 

clogs and the clattering of a stick ; and a voice rose — 

a raucous voice — that sang : 

. " Maids in the warmth of a summer day 
Dream of love and of love alway." 

Emma raised herself like a galvanised corpse, her 
hair streaming, her eyes fixed, staring. 



MADAME BOVARY 343 

" Wliorc iIk' sickle liladcs do Rlcan, 
Naiiiicttc, KiitluTiiiji cars of corn, 
Passes, l)cn(liiiK down, my qnccn. 
To Ihc earth wliere tliey were Ijorn." 

" The l)lin(l man ! " cried lamina. And she bepan to 
lauja^h, an atrocious, frantic, dcspairini,^ lauj^h, thinkinj^ 
she saw the hideous face of the ])oor wretcli standing 
out ajL^ainsl the eternal nij^ht like a menace. 

" The wind was strong that snmmer day, 
And her petticoat tkw away." 

iMuma fell hack upon the mattress in a convulsion. 
They all drew near. She was dead. 



CHAPTER IX 

PRIEST AND PHILOSOPHER 

ALWAYS after a death a kind of stupefaction 
conies upon us ; so difficult is it to grasp this 
advent of nothingness and to resign ourselves 
to believe in it. But when he saw that his wife did not 
move, Charles threw himself upon her, crying: 

" Farewell ! farewell ! " 

Honiais and Canivet dragged him from the room. 

"Restrain yourself!" they said. 

" Yes," said he, struggling. " I'll be quiet. I'll not 
do anything rash. But let me alone. I want to see 
her. She is my wife! " 

And he wept. 

" Weep," said the chemist : " let nature take her 
course; that will relieve you." 

Weaker than a child. Charles allowed himself to be 



344 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

led downstairs into tlic sitting--rooni, and Monsieur 
Homais soon wont home. In the square he was ac- 
costed by the bhnd man. who. having dragged himself 
as far as Yonville in the hope of getting the antiphlo- 
gistic pomade, was asking every passer-by where the 
chemist lived. 

"There now! as if I hadn't things, to do. Well, 
so much the worse ; you must come later." 

And he entered his shop hastily. 

He had to write two letters, to prepare a sedative 
for Bovary, to invent some false story that would con- 
ceal the truth about the poisoning, and write it up as 
an article for the Fanal, to say nothing of the people 
who were waiting to get the news from him ; and when 
the Yonvillers had all heard his story of the arsenic 
that she had mistaken for sugar in making a vanilla 
cream, Homais once more returned to Bovary 's. 

He found him alone (Monsieur Canivet had gone), 
sitting in an armchair near the window, staring with 
an idiotic look at the floor. 

" Now," said the chemist, " you ought yourself to 
fix the hour for the ceremonv." 

" Why ? What ceremony ? " Then, in a stammering, 
frightened voice. "Oh, no! not that. No! I want to 
see her here." 

Homais, to keep himself in countenance, took a 
water-bottle from the table to water the geraniums. 

"Ah, thanks," said Charles; "you are good." 

But he did not finish, choked by the crowd of memo- 
ries that this action of the chemist recalled to him. 

To distract him, Homais thought fit to talk a little 
horticulture : plants wanted humidity. Charles bowed 
in sign of assent. 

" Besides, the fine days will soon be here again." 

" Ah ! " said Bovarv. 



MADAME BOVARY 346 

The chemist, at his wits' end, hcj^an softly io firaw 
aside the small window-curtain. 

"Ah! there's Monsieur Tuvache passing." 

" Monsieur Tuvaehe passinj^! " Charles re|)eated like 
a machine. 

llomais did not dare to speak to him again about 
the funeral arranp^ements ; it was the priest who suc- 
ceeded in reconciling' him to them. 

He shut himself up in his consultiuf^-room, took a 
pen, and after sohhiui^ for some time, wrote: 

" I wish her to be buried in her wedding-dress, with 
white shoes, and a wreath. Her hair is to be spread 
out over her shoulders. Three coffins, one of oak, 
one of mahogany, one of lead. Let no one speak to me. 
I shall have strength. Over all is to be placed a large 
piece of green velvet. This is mv wish ; see that it is 
done." 

The two men were much surprised at Bovary's ro- 
mantic ideas. The chemist went to him and said : 

" This velvet seems to me a stupefaction. Besides, 
the expense '" 

" What's that to you? " cried Charles. " Leave me! 
You did not love her. Go ! " 

The priest took him by the arm for a turn in the gar- 
den. He discoursed on the vanity of earthly things. 
God was very great, was very good : one must submit 
to His decrees without a murmur ; nay, must even 
thank Him. 

Charles burst into blasphemies : " I hate your God ! " 

" The sjMrit of rebellion is still upon you," sighed 
the ecclesiastic. 

Bovary was far away. He was walking with great 
strides beside the wall, near the espalier, and he ground 
his teeth ; he raised to heaven looks of malediction, but 
not so much as a leaf stirred. 



346 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

A fine rain was falling : Charles, whose chest was 
bare, at last began to shiver ; he went in and sat down 
in the kitchen. 

At six o'clock a noise like a clatter of old iron was 
heard in the square ; it was the " Hirondelle " coming 
in, and he remained with his forehead against the win- 
dow-pane, watching all the passengers alight, one after 
the other. Felicite put down a mattress for him in the 
drawing-room. He threw himself upon it and fell 
asleep. 

Although a philosopher, Monsieur Homais respected 
the dead. So, bearing no grudge to poor Charles, he 
came back again in the evening to sit up with the body, 
bringing with him three volumes and a pocket-book 
for taking notes. 

Monsieur Bournisien was there, and two large can- 
dles were burning at the head of the bed, which had 
been taken out of the alcove. The chemist, on whom 
the silence weighed, soon began to formulate some re- 
grets about this " unfortunate young woman," and the 
priest replied that there was nothing to do now but 
pray for her. 

" Yet," Homais went on, " one of two things : either 
she died in a state of grace (as the Church has it), and 
then she has no need of our prayers ; or else she de- 
parted impenitent (that is, I believe, the ecclesiastical 
expression), and then " 

Bournisien interrupted him, replying testily that it 
was none the less necessary to pray. 

" But," objected the chemist, " since God knows all 
our needs, what can be the good of prayer? " 

"What!" cried the ecclesiastic, "prayer! Why, 
aren't you a Christian ? " 

" Excuse me," said Homais ; " I admire Christianity. 



MADAME BOVARY 347 

To bc\c^in with, it ciifianchiscd the slaves, introduced 

into the world a niorahty " 

" That isn't the question. All the texts " 



" Oh ! oh ! As to texts, look at history ; it is known 
that all tlie texts have been falsified by the Jesuits." 

Charles entered, and advancing toward the bed, 
slowly drew aside the curtains. 

Emma's head was turned toward her right shoulder, 
the corner of her moiuh, which was open, looked like 
a black hole at the lower part of her face ; her thumbs 
were bent into the palms of her hands ; a kind of white 
dust besprinkled her lashes, and her eyes were begin- 
ning to disappear in that viscous pallor that looks like 
a thin web, as if spiders had spun over it. The sheet 
was depressed from her breast to her knees, and then 
rose at the tips of her toes, and it seemed to Charles 
that infinite masses were weighing her down. 

The church clock struck two. They could hear the 
loud murmur of the river flowing in the darkness at the 
foot of the terrace. From time to time Monsieur Bour- 
nisien blew his nose noisily, and Homais' pen was 
scratching over the paper. 

" Come, my good friend," he said, " withdraw; this 
spectacle is tearing you to pieces." 

Charles once gone, the chemist and the priest re- 
newed their discussions. 

" Read \'oltaire." said the one, " read DTIolbach, 
read the Encyclopaedia ! " 

" Read the ' Letters of some Portuguese Jews,' " 
said the other; " read ' The Meaning of Christianity,' 
by Nicolas, formerly a magistrate." 

They grew warm, they grew red ; both talked at once 
without listening to each other. Bournisien was scan- 
dalised at such audacity ; Homais marvelled at such stu- 
pidity ; and they were on the point of insulting each 



348 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

other when Charles suddenly reappeared. A fascina- 
tion drew him. He was continually stealing upstairs. 

He stood opposite her, the better to see her, and lost 
himself in a contemplation so deep that it was no longer 
painful. 

He recalled stories of catalepsy, and of the marvels 
of magnetism, and said to himself that by willing it 
with all his force he might perhaps succeed in reviving 
her. Once he even bent over her, and said in a low 
voice, " Emma! Emma! " His strong breathing made 
the flames of the candles tremble against the wall. 

At daybreak ]\Iadame Bovary senior arrived. As he 
embraced her Charles burst into another flood of tears. 
She tried, as the chemist had, to make some remarks 
to him on the expenses of the funeral. He became so 
angry that she was silent, and he even commissioned 
her to go to town at once and buy what was neces- 
sary. 

Charles remained alone all the afternoon ; they had 
taken Berthe to Madame Homais' ; Felicite was in the 
room upstairs with Madame Lefrangois. 

In the evening some visitors came. He rose, pressed 
their hands, unable to speak. Then they sat down near 
one another, and formed a large semicircle in front of 
the fire. With lowered heads, and swinging one leg 
crossed over the other knee, each uttered deep sighs at 
intervals; each was inordinately bored, and yet none 
would be the first to go. 

When Homais returned at nine o'clock ( for the last 
two days Homais seemed to have lived on the square), 
he was laden with a stock of camphor, benzine, and 
aromatic herbs. He carried also a large jar full of 
chlorine water, to keep off all miasmata. Just then 
the servant, iSIadame Lefrangois, and Madame Bovary 
senior were busy about Emma, finishing dressing her, 



MADAME BOVARY .'{10 

and lliov were drawinj^ down llic l<jnj^ white veil lli.'it 
covered lier to her satin shoes. 

Felicitc was sohhinj^: "Ah! my poor mistress! my 
poor mistress ! " 

"Look at her," said the landlady, sip^hinp ; "how 
pretty she is still! Now, couldn't you swear she was 
going to get up in a minute? " 

They bent over her to put on her wreath. They had 
to raise the head a little, and a rush of black lifpiid is- 
sued from her mouth, as if she were vomiting. 

" Oh, goodness ! The dress ; take care," cried Ma- 
dame LefrauQois. " Now, just come and help," she 
said to the chemist. " Perhaps you're afraid? " 

" I afraid ? " replied he, shrugging his shoulders. " I 
think not! I've seen all sorts of things at the hospital 
when I was studying pharmacy. We used to make 
punch in the dissecting room ! Nothingness does not 
terrify a philoso]:)her ; and, as I often say, I even in- 
tend to leave my body to the hospitals, in order to serve 
science." 

The priest on his arrival iufpiired how Monsieur 
Rovary was, and, at the reply of the chemist, replied, 
" The blow, you sec, is still too recent." 

Then Homais congratulated him on not being ex- 
posed, like other people, to the loss of a beloved com- 
panion ; whence followed a discussion on the celibacy 
of priests. 

" W'ell," said the chemist, " it is unnatural that a 
man should do without women ! There have been 
crimes " 

" But, good heaven ! " cried the ecclesiastic, " how 
do you expect a man who is married to keep the secrets 
of the confessional, for example? " 

Homais next attacked the confessional. Bournisien 
defended it; he enlarged on the acts of restitution that 



350 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

it brought about. He cited various anecdotes about 
thieves who had suddenly become honest. Mihtary 
men on approaching the tril^unal of penitence had felt 
the scales fall from their eyes. At Fribourg there was 
a minister 

His companion was asleep. Then he felt somewhat 
stifled by the over-heavy atmosphere of the room ; he 
opened the window ; this awoke the chemist. 

" Come, take a pinch of snuff," he said to him. 
" Take it ; it will relieve you." 

A continual barking was heard in the distance. " Do 
you hear that dog howling? " said the chemist. 

" Dogs smell the dead," replied the priest. " So do 
bees; they always leave their hives on the decease of 
any one." 

Homais made no remark upon these prejudices, for 
he had again dropped asleep. Monsieur Bournisien, 
stronger than he, went on moving his lips gently for 
some time, then insensibly his chin sank down, he let 
fall his big black book, and began to snore. 

They sat opposite one another, with protruding stom- 
achs, puffed-up faces, and frowning looks, after so 
much disagreement uniting at last in the same human 
weakness, and they moved no more than the corpse by 
their side, which seemed to be sleeping. 

Charles coming in did not wake them. It was the 
last time ; he came to bid her farewell. 

The aromatic herbs were still smoking, and spirals 
of bluish vapour blended at the window-sash with the 
fog that was coming in. There were few stars, and 
the night was warm. The wax of the candles fell in 
great drops upon the sheets of the bed. Charles 
watched them burn, tiring his eyes against the glare of 
their yellow flame. 

The moire of the satin gown shimmered white as 



MADAME BOVARY 3r)l 

moonlif^lit. iMiinia was lost beneath it ; and it seemed 
to him that, sprcachnj^^ beyond her own self, she blended 
confusedly with everythinj^^ around her — the silence, 
the ni^ht. the passing wind, the damp odours rising 
from the ground. 

Then suddenly he saw her in the garden at Testes, 
on a bench against the thorn hedge, or else at Rouen 
in the streets, on the threshold of their house, in the 
yard at Bertaux. lie heard again the laughter of the 
hap]:)y boys beneath the apple-trees ; the room was filled 
with the perfume of her hair; and her dress rustled in 
his arms with a crackle like electricity. The gown was 
still the same. 

A terril)le curiosity seized him. Slowly, with the tips 
of his fingers, palpitating, he lifted her veil. But he 
uttered a cry of horror that awoke the other two. 

They dragged him down into the sitting-room. 
Then Felicite came up to say that he wanted some of 
her hair. 

" Cut some off," replied the chemist. 

And as she did not dare, he himself stepped forward, 
scissors in hand. He trembled so that he pierced the 
skin of the temple in several places. At last, stiffen- 
ing himself against emotion, Homais gave two or three 
great cuts at random that left white patches among 
that beautiful black hair. 

The chemist and the priest plunged anew into their 
occupations, not without sleeping from time to time, 
of which they accused each other at each awakening. 
Then r^lonsieur Bournisien sprinkled the room with 
holy water and Homais threw a little chlorine water on 
the floor. 

Felicite had taken care to put on the chest of 
drawers, for each of them, a bottle of brandv, some 
cheese, and a large roll ; and the chemist, who could 



352 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

not hold out any longer, about four in the morning 
sighed : 

" I should like to take some sustenance." 
The priest did not need any persuading ; he went out 
to go and say mass, came back, and then they ate and 
chatted, laughing a little without knowing why, stimu- 
lated by that vague gaiety that comes upon us after 
times of sadness, and at the last glass the priest said to 
the chemist, as he slapped him on the shoulder : 
" We shall end by understanding each other." 
In the passage downstairs they met the undertaker's 
men, who were coming in. Then for two hours 
Charles had to suffer the torture of hearing the ham- 
mer resound against the wood. Next they lowered her 
into her oak coffin, which was fitted into the other two ; 
but as the bier was too large, they had to fill up the 
gaps with the wool of a mattress. At last, when the 
three lids had been planed down, nailed, and soldered, 
it was placed outside the room in front of the door ; 
the house was thrown open, and the people of Yonville 
began to crowd in. 

Old Rouault arrived, and fainted in the square when 
he saw the black crape. 



CHAPTER X 

THE LAST FAREWELL 

ROUAULT had only received the chemist's let- 
ter thirty-six hours after the death ; and, from 
consideration for his feelings, Homais had so 
phrased it that it was impossible to understand what 
it meant. 



MADAME BOVARY 353 

First, the old fellow had fallen as if struck by apo- 
plexy. Next, he understood that she was not dead, 
but that she nii^ht be. At last he had put on his 
blouse, taken his hat, fastened spurs to his boots, and 
set out at full speed; and the whole of the way old 
Rouault, panting-, was torn by antjuish. (Jncc even he 
was obliged to dismount. lie was dizzy; he heard 
voices round him; he felt himself p^oinji^ mad. 

He said to himself that no doubt they would save 
her ; the doctors would surely discover some remedy, 
lie remembered all the miraculous cures he had been 
told abt)ut. Then she ajipeared to him dead. She was 
there, before his eyes, lying on her back in the middle 
of the road. He pulled up his horse, and the hallu- 
cination disappeared. 

At Quincampoix, to give himself heart, he drank 
three cups of coffee one after the other. lie fancied 
they had made a mistake in the name in writing. He 
looked for the letter in his pocket, felt it there, but 
did not dare to open it. 

At last he began to think it was all a joke ; some 
one's spite, the jest of some wag; and besides, if she 
were dead, one would have known it. But no ! There 
was nothing extraordinary about the country ; the sky 
was blue, the trees swayed ; a tlock of sheep passed. 
He saw the village ; he was seen coming bending for- 
ward upon his horse, belabouring it with great blows, 
the girths dripping with blood. 

When he had recovered consciousness, he fell weep- 
ing, into Bovary's arms : " My girl ! Emma ! my 
child ! tell me " 

The other replied, sobbing. " I don't know ! I don't 
know ! It's a curse ! " 

The chemist separated them. " These horrible de- 
tails are useless. I will tell this srentleman all about 



354 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

it. Here are the people coming. Dignity ! Come 
now ! Philosophy ! " 

The poor fellow tried to show himself brave, and 
repeated several times, " Yes, courage ! " 

" Oh," cried the old man, " so I will have, by God ! 
I'll go along with her to the end ! " 

The bell began tolling. All w^as ready ; they had 
to set out. And seated in a stall of the choir, side by 
side, they saw pass and repass in front of them con- 
tinually the three chanting choristers. 

The serpent-player was blowing with all his might. 
Monsieur Bournisien, in full vestments, was singing 
in a shrill voice. He bowed before the tabernacle, 
raised his hands, stretched out his arms. Lestiboudois 
went about the church with his whalebone staff. The 
coffin stood near the lectern, between four rows of 
candles. Charles felt inclined to get up and extinguish 
them. 

Yet he tried to stir himself to a feeling of devotion, 
to throw himself into the hope of a future life in which 
he should see her again. He imagined to himself she 
had gone on a long journey, far away, for a long time. 
But when he thought of her lying there, and that all 
was over, that they would lay her in the earth, he was 
seized with a fierce, gloomy, despairing rage. At times 
he thought he felt nothing more, and he enjoyed this 
lull in his pain, while at the same time he reproached 
himself for being a wretch. 

The sharp noise of an iron-ferruled stick was heard 
on the stones, striking them at irregular intervals. It 
came from the end of the church, and stopped short 
in the lower aisles. A man in a coarse brown jacket 
knelt down painfully. It was Hippolyte, the stable- 
bov at the Lion d'Or. He had put on his new leg. 

One of the choristers went round the nave making 



MADAME BO VARY .'^55 

a collection, and the coppers chinked one after the 
other on the silver plate. 

" Oh, make haste ! 1 am in agfony ! " cried I'ovary, 
anj^rily throwing- him a five-franc piece. The chnrch- 
man thanked him with a low bow. 

They san.cf, they knelt, they stood up ; it was endless ! 
He remembered that once, in the early times, he and 
Emma had attended mass together, and they had sat 
down on the other side, on the right, by the wall. The 
bell began again. There was a great moving of chairs ; 
the bearers slipped their three staves under the coffin, 
and everyone left the church. 

Then Justin appeared at the door of the shop. lie 
suddenly went in again, pale, staggering. 

People were at the windows to sec the procession 
pass. Charles walked erect at the head. He aflfected 
a brave air, and saluted with a nod some who, coming 
out from the lanes or from their doors, stood among 
the crowd. 

The six men. three on either side, walked slowly, 
panting a little. The priests, the choristers, and the 
two choir-boys recited the Dc profundis, and their 
voices echoed over the fields, rising and falling with 
their undulations. Sometimes they disappeared in the 
windings of the path ; but the great silver cross rose 
always between the trees. 

The women followed in black cloaks with turned- 
down hoods ; each carried in her hands a large lighted 
candle, and Charles felt himself growing weaker 
at this continual repetition of prayers and torches, 
beneath this oppressive odour of wax and of cas- 
socks. 

They reached the cemetery. The men went to a 
place in the grass where a grave was dug. They 
ranged themselves all round ; and while the priest 



356 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

spoke, the red soil thrown up at the sides kept noise- 
.lessl\- shpping- down at the corners. 

When the four ropes were arranged the coffin was 
placed upon them. He watched it descend ; it was 
descending forever. At last a thud was heard ; the 
lopcs creaked as they were drawn up. Then Bour- 
nisien took the spade handed to him by Lestiboudois ; 
with his left hand all the time sprinkling water, with 
the right he vigorously threw in a large spadeful ; and 
the wood of the coffin, struck by the pebbles, gave 
forth that dread sound that seems to us the reverbera- 
tion of eternity. 

The ecclesiastic passed the holy-water sprinkler to 
his neighbour. This was Homais. He swung it 
gravely, then handed it to Charles, who sank to his 
knees in the earth and threw in handfuls of it, crying, 
" Adieu ! " He sent her kisses ; he dragged himself 
toward the grave, to engulf himself with her. They 
led him away, and he soon grew calmer, feeling per- 
haps, like the others, a vague relief that it was all 
over. 

Old Rouault on his way back began quietly smok- 
ing a pipe, which Homais in his innermost conscious- 
ness thought not quite the thing. He noticed also that 
IMonsieur Binet had not been present, and that Tu- 
vache had disappeared after mass, and that Theodore, 
the notary's servant, wore a blue coat, " as if he could 
not have got a black coat, since that is the custom, by 
Jove ! " To share his observations with others, he 
went from group to group. They were deploring 
Emma's death, especially Lheureux, who had not 
failed to come to the funeral. 

" Poor little woman ! What a sorrow for her hus- 
band ! " 

The chemist continued. " Do vou know that but for 



MADAME BOVARY 357 

me he would have committed some fatal attack upon 
himself? " 

"Such a f^ood woman! To think that I saw her 
only last Saturday in my shop." 

" I haven't had leisure," said 1 lomais. " to jjreparc 
a few words that I would have cast upon her tomb." 

On reachinjT;' home Charles undressed, and old Ren- 
ault put on his blue l)louse. Jt was a new one, and 
as he had often durintj the journey wiped his eyes on 
the sleeves, the dye iiad stained his face, and the traces 
of tears made lines in the layer of dust that covered it. 

Madame Bovary was with them. All three were 
silent. At last the old fellow sii^hed : 

" Do you remember, my friend, that I went to Testes 
once when you had just lost your first deceased? I 
consoled you at that time. I thought of something- to 

say then, but now " Then, with a loud groan. 

that shook his whole chest, " Ah ! this is the end for 
me, do you sec! I saw my wife go. then my son, and 
now to-day my daughter." 

He wanted to go back at once to Bertaux. saying 
that he could not sleep in this house. He even refused 
to see his grand-daughter. 

" No, no ! It would grieve me too much. Only you'll 
kiss her many times for me. Good-by ! you're a good 
fellow! And I shall never forget that," he said, slap- 
ping his thigh. " Never fear, you shall always have 
your turkey." 

When he reached the top of the hill he turned back, 
as he had turned once before on the road of Saint- 
Mctor when he had parted from her. The windows 
of the village were all on fire beneath the slanting rays 
of the sun sinking behind the field. He put his hand 
over his eyes, and saw in the horizon an enclosure of 
walls, where trees here and there formed black clus- 



358 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ters between white stones ; then he went on his way 
at a gentle trot, for his nag had gone lame. 

Despite their fatigue, Charles and his mother stayed 
very long that evening talking together. They spoke 
of the days of the past and of the future. She would 
come to live at Yonville ; she would keep house for 
him ; they never would part again. She was ingenious 
and caressing, rejoicing in her heart at gaining once 
more an affection that had wandered from her for so 
many years. Midnight struck. The village as usual 
was silent, and Charles, awake, thought always of 
Emma. 

Rodolphe, who, to distract himself, had been ram- 
bling about the wood all day, was sleeping quietly in 
his chateau, and Leon, down yonder, also slept. 

There was another who at thathour was not asleep. 

On the grave between the pine-trees a boy was on 
his knees weeping, and his heart, rent by sobs, was 
beating in the shadow beneath the load of an immense 
regret, sweeter than the moon and fathomless as the 
night. The gate suddenly grated. It was Lestiboudois ; 
he came to get his spade, which he had forgotten. 
He recognised Justin climbing over the wall, and at 
last knew who was the culprit that stole his potatoes. 



CHAPTER XI 

" THE PWULT OF FATALITY " 

CHARLES had the child brought home the next 
day. She asked for her mamma. They told 
her she had gone away ; that she would bring 
her back some playthings. Berthe spoke of her again 



MADAME BOVARY 350 

several times, then at last lliouj^lit no more of Iter. 
The child's ja^aiety broke I'ovar) 's heart, and he had 
to endure besides the intolerable consolations of the 
chemist. 

Pecuniary troubles soon bcij^an af^ain, Monsieur 
Lheureux urj^^inj.:^ on anew his friend \'in<;art : and 
Charles pledged himself for exorbitant sums; for he 
never would consent to let the smallest of the thinj^^s 
that had beloiif^ed to Iter be sold. His mother was 
exasperated with him ; he p;rew even more anj^ry 
than she. lie had altof:;;ether changed. She left the 
house. 

Then everyone began taking advantage of him. 
Mademoiselle Lcmpcreur presented a bill for six 
months' teaching, although Emma never had taken a 
lesson (despite the receipted bill she had shown Bo- 
vary) ; it was an arrangement between the two women. 
The man at the circulating library demanded three 
years' subscriptions ; Mere Rollct claimed postage due 
for about twenty letters, and when Charles asked lor 
an explanation, she had the delicacy to reply : 

" Oh, I don't know. It was for her business affairs." 

With every debt he paid Charles thought he had 
come to the end of them. But others followed cease- 
lessly. He sent in accounts for professional attend- 
ance. The patients showed him the letters his wife 
had written. Then he had to apologise. 

Felicite now wore Madame Bovary's gowns ; not 
all, for he had kept some of them, and he went to look 
at them in her dressing-room, locking himself up 
there ; the girl was about her height, and often Charles, 
seeing her from behind, was seized with an illusion, 
and cried out : 

" Oh. stay, stay ! " 

But at \Miitsuntide she ran awav from Yonville, 



360 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

carried off by Theodore, and stealing all that was left 
of Emma's wardrobe. 

About this time the Widow Dupuis had the honour 
to inform him of the " marriage of Monsieur Leon 
Dupuis her son, notary at Yvetot, to Mademoiselle 
Leocadie Leboeuf of Bondeville." Charles, among the 
other congratulations he sent him, wrote this sentence : 

" How pleased my poor wife would have been ! " 

One day, when wandering aimlessly about the house, 
he went up to the attic, and he felt a pellet of fine paper 
under his slipper. He opened it and read: " Courage, 
Emma, courage. I would not bring misery into your 
life." It was Rodolphe's letter, fallen to the ground 
between the boxes, where it had remained, and the 
wind from the dormer-window had just blown it to- 
ward the door. Charles stood, motionless and staring, 
in the very same place where, long ago, Emma, in 
despair, and paler even than he. had thought of dying. 
At last he discovered a small R at the bottom of the 
second page. What did this mean ? He remembered 
Rodolphe's attentions, his sudden disappearance, his 
constrained air when they had met two or three times 
since. But the respectful tone of the letter deceived 
him. 

" Perhaps they loved one another platonically," he 
said to himself. 

Besides, Charles was not of those who go to the 
bottom of things ; he shrank from the proofs, and his 
vague jealousy was lost in the immensity of his woe. 

Everyone, he thought, must have adored her ; all 
men assuredly must have coveted her. She seemed but 
the more beautiful to him for this; he was seized with 
a lasting, furious desire for her, which inflamed his 
despair and was boundless because it was now un- 
realisable. 



MADAME BOVARY 361 

To please her, as if she were still liviIlJ^^ he aHoplcd 
her predileetioiis, her ideas; he houj^hl patent-leather 
boots and took to weariii^^ white cravats. I le put cos- 
metics on his moustache, and. like her, sij^ned notes 
of hand. She corrupted him from beyond the p^rave. 

He was comjiclled to sell his silver piece by piece; 
next he sold the drawinj^i'-room furniture. All the 
rooms were stripped ; hut the bedroom, her own room, 
remained as before. After his dinner Charles went up 
there. He ])ushed the round table in front of the fire, 
and drew upj;('r armchair, i le sat down opposite it. 
A candle burned in one of the t^ilt candlesticks. IJerthe 
by his side was paintings prints. 

He sufTered. poor man, at seeiiii^ her .so badly dressed, 
with laceless boots, and the armholes of her jjinafore 
torn down to the hips ; for the charwoman took no 
care of her. lUit she was so sweet, so pretty, and her 
little head bent forward so gracefully, lettino^ the dear 
fair hair fall over her rosy cheeks, that an infinite joy 
came upon him, a happiness mingled with bitterness, 
like those ill-made wines that taste of resin. He 
mended her toys, made her puppets from cardboard, 
or sewed up half-torn dolls. Then, if his eyes fell 
upon the workbo.x, a ribbon lying about, or even a pin 
left in a crack of the table, he began to dream, and 
looked so sad that she became as sad as he. 

No one now came to see them, for Justin had run 
away to Rouen, where he was a grocer's clerk, and 
the chemist's children saw less and less of the child. 
Monsieur Homais not caring, seeing the difference of 
their social position, to continue the intimacy. 

The blind man, whom he had not been able to cure 
with his pomade, had gone back to the hill of Bois- 
Guillaume, where he told travellers of the vain attempt 
of the chemist to such an extent that Homais when 



362 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

he went to town hid himself behind the curtains of the 
" Hirondelle " to avoid meeting; him. He detested him, 
and wishing, in the interests of his own reputation, to 
get rid of him at all costs, he directed against him a 
secret battery, which betrayed the depth of his intel- 
lect and the baseness of his vanity. Thus, for six con- 
secutive months, one could read in the Fanal dc Rouen 
editorials such as these : 

" All who approach the fertile plains of Picardy 
have no doubt remarked, by the Bois-Guillaume hill, 
a wretch suffering from a horrible facial .wound. He 
importunes, persecutes one, and levies a regular tax 
on all travellers. Are we still living in the monstrous 
times of the Middle Ages, when vagabonds were per- 
mitted to display in our public places leprosy and 
scrofulas they brought back from the Crusades ? " 

Or: 

" In spite of the laws against vagabondage, the ap- 
proaches to our great towns continue to be infested 
by bands of beggars. Some are seen going about 
alone, and these are not, perhaps, the least dangerous. 
What are our ediles about? " 

Then Homais invented anecdotes : 

" Yesterday, by the Bois-Guillaume hill, a skittish 
horse " And then followed the story of an acci- 
dent caused by the presence of the blind man. 

He managed all this so well that at last the fellow 
was locked up. But he was released. He began again, 
and Homais began again. It was a struggle. Homais 
won, for his foe was condemned to lifelong confine- 
ment in an asylum. 

He by no means gave up his shop. On the contrary, 
he kept well abreast of new discoveries. He followed 
the great movement of chocolates ; he was the first to 
introduce " cocoa " and *' revalenta " into the Seine- 



MADAME BOVARY 303 

Infcriciire. He was I'litluisiastic about the hydro- 
electric I'ulvennachcr chains; he wore one himself, 
and when at nij^dit he took off his flannel vest, Madame 
1 lomais stood (|iiite dazzled before the gfolden spiral 
beneath which he was hidden, and felt her ardour re- 
double for this man more bandaj^ed than a Scythian, 
and splendid as one of tlu' Mai^i. 

Me had lino ideas alxml I'jnina's tonil). First he pro- 
posed a broken column with some draper)-, next a 
pyramid, then a Temple of \'esta, a sort of rotunda, 
or else a " mass of ruins." And in all his plans he 
always stuck to the weeping' willow, which he looked 
upon as the indispensable symbol of sorrow. 

He and Charles made a journey to Rouen toj^ether 
to look at some tombstones at a funeral furnisher's, 
accompanied by an artist, one Vaufrylard, a friend of 
I'ridoux's, who made puns all the time. At last, after 
examining- several hundred designs, having ordered 
an estimate and made another journey to Rouen, 
Charles decided in favour of a mausoleum, which on 
the two principal sides was to have " a spirit bearing 
an extinguished torch." 

As to the inscription, TTomais could think of noth- 
ing so fine as Sfa viator, and he got no further ; he 
racked his brain, he constantly repeated Sta z'iafor. 
At last he hit upon Ainabilcni con ju gem calcas, which 
was adopted. 

A strange thing was that Rovary. while continually 
thinking of Emma, was forgetting her. He grew des- 
perate as he felt this image fading from his memory 
in spite of all efforts to retain it. But every night he 
dreamed of her ; it was always the same dream. He 
drew near her, but when he was about to clasp her 
she fell into decay in his arms. 

For a week he was seen going to church everv even- 



364 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

ing. Monsieur Bournisicn even paid liini two or three 
visits, then gave him up. 

In spite of the economy with which Bovary Hved, 
he was far from being able to pay off his old debts. 
Lheureux refused to renew any more bills. A dis- 
traint became imminent. Then he appealed to his 
mother, who consented to let him take a mortgage on 
her property, but with a great many recriminations 
against Emma ; and in return for her sacrifice she 
asked for a shawl that had escaped the depredations 
of Felicite. Charles refused ; they quarrelled. 

She made the first overtures of reconciliation by of- 
fering to have the little girl, who could help her in the 
house, to live with her. Charles consented to this, but 
when the time for parting came his courage failed 
him. Then there was a final, complete rupture. 

As his affections vanished, he clung more closely 
to the love of his child. She made him anxious, how- 
ever, for she coughed sometimes, and had red spots 
on her cheeks. 

Opposite his house, flourishing and merry, w'as the 
family of the chemist, with whom everything was pros- 
pering. Napoleon helped him in the laboratory, Atha- 
lie embroidered him a skull-cap, Irma cut out rounds 
of paper to cover the preserves, and 'Franklin recited 
Pythagoras' table in a breath, lie seemed the happiest 
of fathers, the most fortunate of men. 

Cut not so ! A secret ambition devoured him. Ho- 
mais hankered after the cross of the Legion of 
Honour. He set forth plenty of claims to it : 

" First, having at the time of the cholera distin- 
guished myself by a boundless devotion ; second, by 
having published, at my expense, various works of 
public utility, such as " (and he recalled his pamphlet 
entitled. Cider, its mamifacttirc and effects, besides 



MADAME BOVARY 366 

observations on the lanii^'^froiis ])lant-Iousc. sent to the 
Academy; liis volume of statistics, and his pharmaceu- 
tical thesis) ; " without countinp^ that I am a member 
of several learned societies " (he was a member oi a 
sinjrle one). 

" In short ! " he cried, making' a pirouette, " if it 
\\ere only for distin_i^uishin_ij^ myself at fires!" 

Then he inclined toward the (lovernment. He se- 
cretly did the prefect s^reat service durinj^ the elec- 
tions. He sold himself — in a word, prostituted him- 
self. He even addressed a j)etition to the Sovereign 
in which he im])lored his Majesty to do him justice; 
he called him " our good King," and compared him 
to Henri I\'. 

Every morning he rushed for the newspaper to see 
whether his nomination were in it. It never was there. 
At last, unable to bear it any longer, he had a grass- 
plot in his garden designed to represent the star of 
the cross of honour, with two little strips of grass 
ruiming from the top to imitate the ribbon. He walked 
round it with folded arms, meditating on the folly of 
the Government and the ingratitude of men. 

From respect, or from a sort of sensuous lingering 
over sorrow, which made him carry on his investiga- 
tions slowly, Charles had not yet opened the secret 
drawer of a rosewood desk which Emma had generally 
used. One day, however, he sat down before it, turned 
the key, and pressed the spring. All Leon's letters 
were there. There could be no doubt this time. He 
devoured them to the very last, ransacked every cor- 
ner, all the furniture, all the drawers, behind the walls, 
sobbing, crying aloud, distraught, mad. He found a 
box and broke it open with a kick. Rodolphe's por- 
trait flew full in his face in the midst of the overturned 
love-letters. 



366 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

People wondered at his despondency. He never 
went out, saw no one, refused even to visit his patients. 
Then they said " he shut himself up to drink." 

Sometimes, however, some curious person climbed 
tip on the garden hedge, and saw with amazement this 
long-bearded, shabbily clothed, wild man. who wept 
aloud as he walked to and fro. 

In the evening in summer he took his little girl with 
him and led her to the cemetery. They came back at 
nightfall, when the only light left in the square was 
that in Binet's window. 

The voluptuousness of his grief was incomplete, 
however, for he had no one near him to share it, and 
he paid visits to Madame Lefrangois to be able to speak 
of her. But the landlady listened with only half an 
ear, having troubles of her own. For Lheureux had 
at last established the Favorites du Commerce, and 
Hivert, who enjoyed the great reputation for doing 
errands, insisted on an increase of wages, and was 
threatening to go over to the opposition shop. 

One day when he had gone to the market at Argueil 
to sell his horse — his last resource — he met Rodolphe. 

Both men turned pale when they saw each other. 
Rodolphe, who had only sent his card, first stammered 
some apologies, then grew bolder, and even pushed his 
assurance (it was in the month of August and very 
hot) to the length of inviting Charles to have a bottle 
of beer at the public-house. 

Leaning on the table opposite him. he chewed his 
cigar as he talked, and Charles was lost in reverie at 
this face that she had loved. He seemed to see again 
something of her in it. It was a marvel to him. He 
would have liked to be this man. 

The other went on talking agriculture, cattle, pas- 
turage, filling out with commonplace phrases all the 



MADAME BOVARY ;;(,? 

paps wlicrc an allusion mij:;;lit slip in. Cliark-s was not 
listening to Iiini ; Rodolplie noticed it, and he ff)llo\ved 
the succession of memories that crossed his face. This 
f2^radually f^^rew redder; the nostrils throbbed fast, the 
lips quivered. Tliere was at last a moment when 
Charles, full of sombre fury, fixed his eyes on Ro- 
dolplie, who, sHjj;htly alarmed, stopped talkinp^. P.ut 
soon the same look of lassitude returned to his face. 

" I don't blame you," he said. 

Rodol]:)he was dumb. And Charles, his head in his 
hands, went on in a broken voice, and with the resigned 
accent of infinite sorrow : 

" No, I don't blame you now." 

He even added a fine phrase, the only one he ever 
made : 

" It is the fault of fatality ! " 

Rodolphe, who had managed the fatality, thought 
the remark very impertinent from a man in his posi- 
tion, coiuic even, and a little mean. 

The next day Charles went to sit in the arbour. 
Rays of light were straying through the trellis, the 
vine leaves threw their shadows on the sand, the jas- 
mines perfumed the air. the heavens were blue, Span- 
ish flies buzzed round the lilies in bloom, and Charles 
was suffocating like a youth beneath the vague yearn- 
ing for love that filled his aching heart. 

At seven o'clock little Berthe. who had not seen him 
all the afternoon, went to bring him to dinner. 

His head \yas thrown back against the wall, his eyes 
were closed, his mouth was open, and in his hand \yas 
a long tress of black hair. 

" Come now. papa," said Berthe. 

And thinking he wanted to play, she pushed him 
gently. He fell to the ground, dead. 

Thirty-six hours later, at the chemist's request, Mon- 



368 GUSTAVE FLAUBERT 

sieur Canivet arrived. He made a post-mortem exam- 
ination and found nothing-. 

When everything had been sold, twelve francs 
seventy-five centimes remained, that served to pay for 
Mademoiselle llovary's going to her grandmother. 
The good woman died that same year ; old Rouault 
was paralysed, and an aunt took charge of her. She 
is poor, and sends her to a cotton-factory to earn a 
living. 

Since Bovary's death three doctors have followed 
one another at Yonville without any success, so se- 
verely did Homais attack them. He has an enormous 
practice ; the authorities treat him with consideration, 
and public opinion protects him. 

He has just received the cross of the Legion of 
Honour. 



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