Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Part 5 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

"Till to-morrow then!" said Emma in a last caress; and she
watched him go.

He did not turn round. She ran after him, and, leaning over the
water's edge between the bulrushes--

"To-morrow!" she cried.

He was already on the other side of the river and walking fast
across the meadow.

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 leant against
a tree lest he should fall.

"What an imbecile I am!" he said with a fearful oath. "No matter!
She was a pretty mistress!"

And immediately Emma's beauty, with all the pleasures 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 was saying these things to give himself firmness.

"And besides, the worry, the expense! Ah! no, no, no, no! a
thousand times no! That would be too stupid."

Chapter Thirteen

No sooner was Rodolphe at home than he sat down quickly at his
bureau under the stag's head that hung as a trophy on the wall.
But when he had the pen between his fingers, he could think of
nothing, so that, resting on his elbows, he began to reflect.
Emma seemed to him to have receded into a far-off past, as if the
resolution he had taken had suddenly placed a distance between

To get back something of her, he fetched 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. First he saw a handkerchief with pale little
spots. It was a handkerchief of hers. 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 pretentious, and her languishing look in the worst
possible taste. Then, from looking at this image and recalling
the memory of its original, Emma's features little by little grew
confused in his remembrance, as if the living and the painted
face, rubbing one against the other, had effaced each other.
Finally, he read some of her letters; they were full of
explanations relating to their journey, short, technical, and
urgent, like business notes. He wanted to see the long ones
again, those of old times. In order to find them at the bottom of
the box, Rodolphe disturbed all the others, and mechanically
began rummaging amidst this mass of papers and things, finding
pell-mell bouquets, garters, a black mask, pins, and hair--hair!
dark and fair, some even, catching in the hinges of the box,
broke when it 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 jovial, facetious, melancholy; there were some that
asked for love, others that asked for money. A word recalled
faces to him, certain gestures, the sound of a voice; sometimes,
however, he remembered nothing at all.

In fact, these women, rushing at once into his thoughts, cramped
each other and lessened, as reduced to a uniform level of love
that equalised them all. So taking handfuls of the mixed-up
letters, he amused himself for some moments with letting them
fall in cascades from his right into his left hand. At last,
bored and weary, Rodolphe took back the box to the cupboard,
saying to himself, "What a lot of rubbish!" Which summed up his
opinion; for pleasures, like schoolboys in a school courtyard,
had so trampled upon his heart that no green thing grew there,
and that which passed through it, more heedless than children,
did not even, like them, leave a name carved upon the wall.

"Come," said he, "let's begin."

He wrote--

"Courage, Emma! courage! I would not bring misery into your

"After all, that's true," thought Rodolphe. "I am acting in her
interest; I am honest."

"Have you carefully weighed your resolution? Do you know to what
an abyss I was dragging you, poor angel? No, you do not, do you?
You were coming confident and fearless, believing in happiness in
the future. Ah! unhappy that we are--insensate!"

Rodolphe stopped here to think of some good excuse.

"If I told her all my fortune is lost? No! Besides, that would
stop nothing. It would all have to be begun over again later on.
As if one could make women like that listen to reason!" He
reflected, then went on--

"I shall not forget you, oh believe it; and I shall ever have a
profound devotion for you; but some day, sooner or later, this
ardour (such is the fate of human things) would have grown less,
no doubt. Lassitude would have come to us, and who knows if I
should not even have had the atrocious pain of witnessing your
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 I 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 to himself.

"Ah, if you had been one of those frivolous women that one sees,
certainly I might, through egotism, have tried 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 had I reflected upon this at first, and 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 up from avarice. 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 put up with 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
memory as a talisman! For I am going to punish myself by exile
for all the ill 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 wicks of the candles flickered. Rodolphe got up to, shut the
window, and when he had sat down again--

"I think it's all right. Ah! and 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 temptation of
seeing you again. No weakness! I shall return, and perhaps later
on we shall talk together very coldly of our old love. Adieu!"

And there was a last "adieu" divided into two words! "A Dieu!"
which he thought in very excellent taste.

"Now how am I to sign?" he said to himself. "'Yours devotedly?'
No! 'Your friend?' Yes, that's it."

"Your friend."

He re-read his letter. He considered it very good.

"Poor little woman!" he thought with emotion. "She'll think me
harder than a rock. There ought to have been some tears on this;
but I can't cry; it isn't my fault." Then, having emptied some
water into a glass, Rodolphe dipped his finger into it, and let a
big drop fall on the paper, that made a pale stain on the ink.
Then looking for a seal, he came upon the one "Amor nel cor."

"That doesn't at all fit in with the circumstances. Pshaw! never

After which he smoked three pipes and went to bed.

The next day when he was up (at about two o'clock--he had slept
late), Rodolphe had a basket of apricots picked. He put his
letter at the bottom under some vine leaves, and at once ordered
Girard, his ploughman, to take it with care to Madame Bovary. He
made use of this means for corresponding with her, sending
according to the season fruits or game.

"If she asks after 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. Get along and take care!"

Girard put on his new blouse, knotted his handkerchief round the
apricots, and walking with great heavy steps in his thick
iron-bound galoshes, made his way to Yonville.

Madame Bovary, when he got to her house, was arranging a bundle
of linen on the kitchen-table with Felicite.

"Here," said the ploughboy, "is something for you--from the

She was seized with apprehension, and as she sought in her pocket
for some coppers, she looked at the peasant with haggard eyes,
while he himself looked at her with amazement, not understanding
how such a present could so move anyone. At last he went out.
Felicite remained. She 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, Emma flew to her room

Charles was there; she saw him; he spoke to her; she heard
nothing, and she went on quickly up the stairs, breathless,
distraught, dumb, and ever holding this horrible piece of paper,
that crackled between her fingers like a plate of sheet-iron. On
the second floor she stopped before the attic door, which was

Then she tried to calm herself; she recalled the letter; she must
finish it; she did not dare to. And where? How? She would be
seen! "Ah, no! here," she thought, "I shall be all right."

Emma pushed open the door and went in.

The slates threw straight down a heavy heat that gripped her
temples, stifled her; she dragged herself to the closed
garret-window. She drew back the bolt, and the dazzling light
burst in with a leap.

Opposite, beyond the roofs, stretched the open country till it
was lost to sight. Down below, underneath her, the village square
was empty; the stones of the pavement glittered, the weathercocks
on the houses were motionless. At the corner of the street, from
a lower storey, rose a kind of humming with strident modulations.
It was Binet turning.

She leant against the embrasure of the window, and reread the
letter with angry sneers. But the more she fixed her attention
upon it, the more confused were her ideas. She saw him again,
heard him, encircled him with her arms, and throbs of her heart,
that beat against her breast like blows of a sledge-hammer, grew
faster and faster, with uneven intervals. She looked about her
with the wish that the earth might crumble into pieces. Why not
end it all? What restrained her? She was free. She advanced,
looking at the paving-stones, saying to herself, "Come! come!"

The luminous ray that came straight up from below drew the weight
of her body towards the abyss. It seemed to her that the ground
of the oscillating square went up the walls and that the floor
dipped on end like a tossing boat. She was right at the edge,
almost hanging, surrounded by vast space. The blue of the heavens
suffused her, the air was whirling in her hollow head; she had
but to yield, to let herself be taken; and the humming of the
lathe never ceased, like an angry voice calling her.

"Emma! Emma!" cried Charles.

She stopped.

"Wherever 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 table.

She tried to eat. The food choked her. Then she unfolded her
napkin as if to examine the darns, and she really thought of
applying herself to this work, counting the threads in the linen.
Suddenly the remembrance of the letter returned to her. How had
she lost it? Where could she find it? But she felt such weariness
of spirit that she could not even invent a pretext for leaving
the table. 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 Monsieur Rodolphe soon again, it

"Who told you?" she said, shuddering.

"Who told me!" he replied, rather astonished at her abrupt tone.
"Why, Girard, whom I met just now at the door of the Cafe
Francais. He has gone on a journey, or is to go."

She 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's right, when
one has a fortune and is a bachelor. 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 came in. 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 put away from her gently.

"Do just smell! What an odour!" he remarked, passing it under her
nose several times.

"I am choking," she cried, leaping up. But by an effort of will
the spasm passed; then--

"It is nothing," she said, "it is nothing! It is nervousness. Sit
down and go on eating." For she dreaded lest he should begin
questioning her, attending to her, that she should not be left

Charles, to obey her, sat down again, and he spat the stones of
the apricots into his hands, afterwards putting them on his

Suddenly a blue tilbury passed across the square at a rapid trot.
Emma uttered a cry and fell back rigid to the ground.

In fact, Rodolphe, after many reflections, had decided to set out
for Rouen. Now, as from La Huchette to Buchy there is no other
way than by Yonville, he had to go through the village, and Emma
had recognised him by the rays of the lanterns, which like
lightning flashed through the twilight.

The chemist, at the tumult which broke out in the 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; Berthe, scared, was crying; and
Felicite, whose hands trembled, was unlacing her mistress, whose
whole body shivered convulsively.

"I'll run to my laboratory for some aromatic vinegar," said the

Then as she opened her eyes on smelling the bottle--

"I was sure of it," he remarked; "that would wake any dead person
for you!"

"Speak to us," said Charles; "collect yourself; it is 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!"

She fainted again. They carried her to her bed. She lay there
stretched at full length, her lips apart, her eyelids 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, standing up, was at the back of the alcove, and the
chemist, near him, maintained that meditative silence that is
becoming on the serious occasions of life.

"Do not be uneasy," he said, touching his elbow; "I think the
paroxysm is past."

"Yes, she is resting a little now," answered Charles, watching
her sleep. "Poor girl! poor girl! She had gone off now!"

Then Homais asked how the accident had come about. Charles
answered that she had been taken ill suddenly while she was
eating some apricots.

"Extraordinary!" continued the chemist. "But it might be that the
apricots had brought on the syncope. Some natures are so
sensitive to certain smells; and it would even be a very fine
question to study both in its pathological and physiological
relation. The priests know the importance of it, they who have
introduced aromatics into all their ceremonies. It is to stupefy
the senses and to bring on ecstasies--a thing, moreover, very
easy in persons of the weaker sex, who are more delicate than the
other. Some are cited who faint at the smell of burnt hartshorn,
of new bread--"

"Take care; you'll wake her!" said Bovary in a low voice.

"And not only," the druggist went on, "are human beings subject
to such anomalies, but animals also. Thus you are not ignorant of
the singularly aphrodisiac effect produced by the Nepeta cataria,
vulgarly called catmint, on the feline race; and, on the other
hand, to quote an example whose authenticity I can answer for.
Bridaux (one of my old comrades, at present established in the
Rue Malpalu) possesses a dog that falls into convulsions as soon
as you hold out a snuff-box to him. He often even makes the
experiment before his friends at his summer-house at Guillaume
Wood. Would anyone believe that a simple sternutation could
produce such ravages on a quadrupedal organism? It is extremely
curious, is it not?"

"Yes," said Charles, who was not listening to him.

"This shows us," went on the other, smiling with benign
self-sufficiency, "the innumerable irregularities of the nervous
system. With regard 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
constitution. No; no useless physicking! Diet, that is all;
sedatives, emollients, dulcification. Then, don't you think that
perhaps 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 Emma, awaking, cried out--

"The letter! the letter!"

They thought she was delirious; and she was 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
consultation; he sent for Dr. Lariviere, his old master, from
Rouen; he was in despair. What alarmed him most was Emma's
prostration, for she did not speak, did not listen, did not even
seem to suffer, as if her body and soul were both resting
together after all their troubles.

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 to her; she got up for a
few hours of an afternoon, and one day, when she felt better, he
tried to take her, leaning on his arm, for a walk round the
garden. The sand of the paths was disappearing beneath the dead
leaves; she walked slowly, dragging along her slippers, 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 arbour, "Sit down on this
seat; you'll be comfortable."

"Oh! no; not there!" she said in a faltering voice.

She was seized with giddiness, and from that evening her illness
recommenced, with a more uncertain character, 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.

And besides this, the poor fellow was worried about money

Chapter Fourteen

To begin with, he did not know how he could pay Monsieur Homais
for all the physic supplied by him, and though, as a medical man,
he was not obliged to pay for it, he nevertheless blushed a
little at such an obligation. Then the expenses of the household,
now that the servant was mistress, became terrible. Bills rained
in upon the house; the tradesmen grumbled; Monsieur Lheureux
especially harassed him. In fact, at the height of Emma's
illness, the latter, taking advantage of the circumstances to
make his bill larger, had hurriedly brought the cloak, the
travelling-bag, two trunks instead of one, and a number of other
things. It was very well for Charles to say he did not want them.
The tradesman answered arrogantly that these articles had been
ordered, and that he would not take them back; besides, it would
vex madame in her convalescence; the doctor had better think it
over; in short, he was resolved to sue him rather than give up
his rights and take back his goods. Charles subsequently ordered
them to be sent back to the shop. Felicite forgot; he had other
things to attend to; then thought no more about them. Monsieur
Lheureux returned to the charge, and, by turns threatening 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 if it were
possible to get them, adding that it would be for a year, at any
interest he wished. Lheureux ran off to his shop, brought back
the money, and dictated another bill, by which Bovary undertook
to pay to his order on the 1st of September next the sum of one
thousand and seventy francs, which, with the hundred and eighty
already agreed to, made just twelve hundred and fifty, thus
lending at six per cent in addition to one-fourth for commission:
and the things bringing him in a good third at the least, this
ought in twelve months to 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, having thriven at the doctor's as at
a hospital, would come back to him one day considerably more
plump, and fat enough to burst his bag.

Everything, moreover, succeeded with him. He was adjudicator for
a supply of cider to the hospital at Neufchatel; Monsieur
Guillaumin promised him some shares in the turf-pits of
Gaumesnil, and he dreamt of establishing a new diligence service
between Arcueil and Rouen, which no doubt would not be long in
ruining the ramshackle van of the "Lion d'Or," and that,
travelling faster, at a cheaper rate, and carrying more luggage,
would thus put into his hands the whole commerce of Yonville.

Charles several times asked himself by what means he should next
year be able to pay back so much money. He reflected, imagined
expedients, such as applying to his father or selling something.
But his father would be deaf, and he--he had nothing to sell.
Then he foresaw such worries that he quickly dismissed so
disagreeable a subject of meditation 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
constantly thinking of her.

The winter was severe, Madame Bovary's convalescence slow. When
it was fine they wheeled her arm-chair 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 formerly liked now displeased her.
All her ideas seemed to be limited to the care of herself. She
stayed in bed taking little meals, rang for the servant to
inquire about her gruel or to chat with her. The snow on the
market-roof threw a white, still light into the room; then the
rain began to fall; and Emma waited daily with a mind full of
eagerness for the inevitable return of some trifling events which
nevertheless had no relation to her. The most important was the
arrival of the "Hirondelle" in the evening. Then the landlady
shouted out, and other voices answered, while Hippolyte's
lantern, as he fetched the boxes from the boot, was like a star
in the darkness. At mid-day Charles came in; then he went out
again; next she took some beef-tea, and towards five o'clock, as
the day drew in, the children coming back from school, dragging
their wooden shoes along the pavement, knocked the clapper of the
shutters with their rulers one after the other.

It was at this hour that Monsieur Bournisien came to see her. He
inquired after her health, gave her news, exhorted her to
religion, in a coaxing little prattle that was not without its
charm. The mere thought of his cassock comforted her.

One day, when at the height of her illness, she had thought
herself dying, and had asked for the communion; and, while they
were making the preparations in her room for the sacrament, while
they were turning the night table covered with syrups 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, mounting toward God, would be
annihilated in that love like 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 it was
fainting with a celestial joy that 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 back, fancying she
heard in space the music of seraphic harps, and perceived 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 wings of fire to carry 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. That still lasted, however, 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 inroads of heavenly grace. There existed, then, in the place
of happiness, still greater joys--another love beyond 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
wanted to become a saint. She bought chaplets and wore amulets;
she wished to have in her room, by the side of 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,
extravagance. But not being much versed in these matters, as soon
as they went beyond a certain limit he wrote to Monsieur Boulard,
bookseller to Monsignor, to send him "something good for a lady
who was very clever." The bookseller, with as much indifference
as if he had been sending off hardware to niggers, packed up,
pellmell, everything that was then the fashion in the pious book
trade. There were little manuals in questions and answers,
pamphlets of aggressive tone after the manner of Monsieur de
Maistre, and certain novels in rose-coloured bindings and with a
honied style, manufactured by troubadour seminarists or penitent
blue-stockings. There were the "Think of it; the Man of the World
at Mary's Feet, by Monsieur de ***, decorated with many Orders";
"The Errors of Voltaire, for the Use of the Young," etc.

Madame Bovary's mind was not yet sufficiently clear to apply
herself seriously to anything; moreover, she began this reading
in too much hurry. She grew provoked at the doctrines of
religion; the arrogance of the polemic writings displeased her by
their inveteracy in attacking people she did not know; and the
secular stories, relieved with religion, seemed to her written in
such ignorance of the world, that they insensibly estranged 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 more solemn and more
motionless than a king's mummy in a catacomb. An exhalation
escaped from this embalmed love, that, penetrating through
everything, perfumed with tenderness the immaculate atmosphere in
which she longed to live. When she knelt on her Gothic prie-Dieu,
she addressed to the Lord the same suave words that she had
murmured formerly to her lover in the outpourings of adultery. It
was to make faith come; but no delights descended from the
heavens, and she arose with tired limbs and with a vague feeling
of a gigantic dupery.

This searching after faith, she thought, was only one merit the
more, and in the pride of her devoutness Emma compared herself to
those grand ladies of long ago whose glory she, had dreamed of
over a portrait of La Valliere, and who, trailing with so much
majesty the lace-trimmed trains of their long gowns, retired into
solitudes 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 clothes
for the poor, she sent wood to women in childbed; and Charles one
day, on coming home, found three good-for-nothings 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 wanted 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 except perhaps this
mania of knitting 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 companionship of her mother-in-law, who strengthened
her a little by the rectitude of her judgment and her grave ways,
Emma almost every day had other visitors. These were Madame
Langlois, Madame Caron, Madame Dubreuil, Madame Tuvache, and
regularly from two to five o'clock the excellent Madame Homais,
who, for her part, had never believed any of the tittle-tattle
about her neighbour. The little Homais also came to see her;
Justin accompanied them. He went up with them to her bedroom, and
remained standing near the door, motionless and mute. Often even
Madame Bovary; taking no heed of him, began her toilette. She
began by taking out her comb, shaking her head with a quick
movement, and when he for the first time saw all this mass of
hair that fell to her knees unrolling in black ringlets, it was
to him, poor child! like a sudden entrance into something new and
strange, whose splendour terrified 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, palpitating by her side, beneath that coarse
holland shirt, in that youthful heart open to the emanations of
her beauty. Besides, she now enveloped all things with such
indifference, she had words so affectionate with looks so
haughty, such contradictory ways, that one could no longer
distinguish 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.
Then suddenly--

"So you love him?" she said.

And without waiting for any answer from Felicite, who was
blushing, she added, "There! run along; enjoy 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 her convalescence had
contracted the habit of coming too often to the kitchen with her
two nurslings and her boarder, better off for teeth than a
cannibal. Then she got rid of the Homais family, successively
dismissed all the other visitors, and even frequented church less
assiduously, to the great approval of the druggist, who said to
her in a friendly way--

"You were going in a bit for the cassock!"

As formerly, Monsieur Bournisien dropped in every day when he
came out after catechism class. He preferred 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 hot; some sweet
cider was brought out, and they drank together to madame's
complete restoration.

Binet was there; that is to say, a little lower down against the
terrace wall, fishing for crayfish. Bovary invited him to have a
drink, and he thoroughly understood the uncorking of the stone

"You must," he said, throwing a satisfied glance all round him,
even to the very extremity of the landscape, "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 seltzer-water at restaurants."

But during his demonstration the cider often spurted right into
their faces, and then the ecclesiastic, with a thick laugh, never
missed this joke--

"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, wanted to know his opinion, and the priest declared that
he considered music less dangerous for morals 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.

"'Castigat ridendo mores,'* Monsieur Bournisien! Thus consider
the greater part of Voltaire's tragedies; they are cleverly
strewn with philosophical reflections, that made them a vast
school of morals and diplomacy for the people."

*It corrects customs through laughter.

"I," said Binet, "once saw a piece called the 'Gamin de Paris,'
in which there was the character of an old general that is really
hit off to a T. He sets down a young swell who had seduced a
working girl, who at the ending--"

"Certainly," continued Homais, "there is bad literature as there
is bad pharmacy, but to condemn in a lump the most important of
the fine arts seems to me a stupidity, a Gothic idea, worthy of
the abominable times that imprisoned Galileo."

"I know very well," objected the cure, "that there are good
works, good authors. However, if it were only those persons of
different sexes united in a bewitching apartment, decorated
rouge, those lights, those effeminate voices, all this must, in
the long-run, engender a certain mental libertinage, give rise to
immodest thoughts and impure temptations. Such, at any rate, is
the opinion of all the Fathers. Finally," he added, suddenly
assuming 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 must submit to her decrees."

"Why," asked the druggist, "should she excommunicate actors? For
formerly they openly took part in religious ceremonies. Yes, in
the middle of the chancel they acted; they performed a kind of
farce called 'Mysteries,' which often offended against the laws
of decency."

The ecclesiastic contented himself with uttering a groan, and the
chemist went on--

"It's like it is in the Bible; there there are, you know, more
than one piquant detail, matters really libidinous!"

And on a gesture of irritation from Monsieur Bournisien--

"Ah! you'll admit that it is not a book to place in the hands of
a young girl, and I should be sorry 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, anyone should still persist in
proscribing an intellectual relaxation that is inoffensive,
moralising, and sometimes even hygienic; is it not, doctor?"

"No doubt," replied the doctor carelessly, either because,
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 chemist thought fit to
shoot a Parthian arrow.

"I've known priests who put on ordinary clothes to go and see
dancers kicking about."

"Come, come!" said the cure.

"Ah! I've known some!" And separating the words of his sentence,
Homais repeated, "I--have--known--some!"

"Well, they were wrong," said Bournisien, resigned to anything.

"By Jove! they go in for more than that," exclaimed the druggist.

"Sir!" replied the ecclesiastic, with such angry eyes that the
druggist was intimidated by them.

"I only mean to say," he replied in less brutal a tone, "that
toleration is the surest way to draw people to religion."

"That is true! that is true!" agreed the good fellow, sitting
down again on his chair. But he stayed only a few moments.

Then, as soon as he had gone, Monsieur Homais said to the doctor--

"That's what I call a cock-fight. I beat him, did you see, in a
way!--Now take my advice. Take madame to the theatre, if it were
only for once in your life, to enrage one of these ravens, hang
it! If anyone could take my place, I would accompany you myself.
Be quick about it. Lagardy is only going to give 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
mistresses and a cook along with him. All these great artists
burn the candle at both ends; they require a dissolute life, that
suits the imagination to some extent. But they die at the
hospital, because they haven't the sense when young to lay by.
Well, a pleasant dinner! Goodbye till to-morrow."

The idea of the theatre quickly germinated in Bovary's head, for
he at once communicated it to his wife, who at first refused,
alleging the fatigue, the worry, the expense; but, for a wonder,
Charles did not give in, 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 off that there was no
need to think about them. Besides, imagining that she was
refusing from delicacy, he insisted the more; so that by dint of
worrying her she at last made up her mind, and the next day at
eight o'clock they set out in the "Hirondelle."

The druggist, whom nothing whatever kept at Yonville, but who
thought himself bound not to budge from it, sighed as he saw them

"Well, a pleasant journey!" he said to them; "happy mortals that
you are!"

Then addressing himself to Emma, who was wearing a blue silk gown
with four flounces--

"You are as lovely as a Venus. 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 provincial faubourg,
with large stables and small bedrooms, where one sees in the
middle of the court chickens pilfering the oats under the muddy
gigs of the commercial travellers--a good old house, with
worm-eaten balconies that creak in the wind on winter nights,
always full of people, noise, and feeding, whose black tables are
sticky with coffee and brandy, the thick windows made yellow by
the flies, the damp napkins stained with cheap wine, and that
always smells of the village, like ploughboys dressed in
Sundayclothes, has a cafe on the street, and towards the
countryside a kitchen-garden. Charles at once set out. He muddled
up the stage-boxes with the gallery, the pit with the boxes;
asked for explanations, did not understand them; was sent from
the box-office to the acting-manager; 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 bouquet. The doctor
was much afraid of missing the beginning, and, without having had
time to swallow a plate of soup, they presented themselves at the
doors of the theatre, which were still closed.

Chapter Fifteen

The crowd was waiting against the wall, symmetrically enclosed
between the balustrades. At the corner of the neighbouring
streets huge bills repeated in quaint letters "Lucie de
Lammermoor-Lagardy-Opera-etc." The weather was fine, the people
were hot, perspiration trickled amid the curls, and handkerchiefs
taken from pockets were mopping red foreheads; and now and then a
warm wind that blew from the river gently stirred the border of
the tick awnings hanging from the doors of the public-houses. A
little lower down, however, one was refreshed by a current of icy
air that smelt of tallow, leather, and oil. This was an
exhalation from the Rue des Charrettes, full of large black
warehouses where they made casks.

For fear of seeming ridiculous, Emma before going in wished to
have a little stroll in the harbour, and Bovary prudently kept
his tickets in his hand, in the pocket of his trousers, which he
pressed against his stomach.

Her heart began to beat 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 with
her finger the large tapestried door. She breathed in with all
her might the dusty smell of the lobbies, and when she was seated
in her box she bent forward 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 business; but "business" was not forgotten; they
still talked cottons, spirits of wine, or indigo. The heads of
old men were to be seen, inexpressive and peaceful, with their
hair and complexions looking like silver medals tarnished by
steam of lead. The young beaux were strutting about in the pit,
showing in the opening of their waistcoats their pink or
applegreen cravats, and Madame Bovary from above admired them
leaning on their canes with golden knobs in the open palm of
their yellow gloves.

Now the lights of the orchestra were lit, 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 the other; and first there was the protracted hubbub of the
basses grumbling, violins squeaking, cornets trumpeting, flutes
and flageolets fifing. But 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 the cross-roads of 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 started afresh. She felt herself transported to the
reading of her youth, into the midst of Walter Scott. She seemed
to hear through the mist the sound of the Scotch bagpipes
re-echoing over the heather. Then her remembrance of the novel
helping her to understand the libretto, 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
herself up to the lullaby 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 anyone 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, throwing a purse to a squire in
green. She was left alone, and the flute was heard like the
murmur of a fountain or the warbling of birds. Lucie attacked her
cavatina in G major bravely. She plained of love; she longed for
wings. Emma, too, fleeing from life, would have liked to fly away
in an embrace. Suddenly Edgar-Lagardy appeared.

He had that splendid pallor that gives something of the majesty
of marble to the ardent races of the South. His vigorous form was
tightly clad in a brown-coloured doublet; a small chiselled
poniard hung against his left thigh, and he cast round 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. She had ruined
herself for him. He had deserted her for other women, and this
sentimental celebrity did not fail to enhance his artistic
reputation. The diplomatic mummer took care always to slip into
his advertisements some poetic phrase on the fascination of his
person and the susceptibility of his soul. A fine organ,
imperturbable coolness, more temperament than intelligence, more
power of emphasis than of real singing, made up the charm of this
admirable charlatan nature, in which there was something of the
hairdresser and the toreador.

From the first scene he evoked enthusiasm. He pressed Lucy in his
arms, he left her, he came back, he seemed desperate; he had
outbursts of rage, then elegiac gurglings of infinite sweetness,
and the notes escaped from his bare neck full of sobs and kisses.
Emma leant 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 a prima donna seemed to her
to be but echoes of her conscience, and this illusion that
charmed her as some very thing of her own life. But no one on
earth had loved her with such love. He had not wept like Edgar
that last moonlit night when they said, "To-morrow! to-morrow!"
The theatre rang with cheers; they recommenced 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

"But 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 Lucie and she loves me!' Besides, he
went off with her father arm in arm. For he certainly is her
father, isn't he--the ugly little man with a cock's feather in
his hat?"

Despite Emma's explanations, as soon as the recitative duet began
in which Gilbert lays bare his abominable machinations to his
master Ashton, Charles, seeing the false troth-ring that is to
deceive Lucie, thought it was a love-gift sent by Edgar. He
confessed, moreover, 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.

Lucie 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 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, implored? She, on
the contrary, had been joyous, without seeing the abyss into
which she was throwing herself. Ah! if in the freshness of her
beauty, before the soiling of marriage and the disillusions of
adultery, she could have anchored her life upon some great,
strong heart, then virtue, tenderness, voluptuousness, and duty
blending, she would never have fallen from so high a happiness.
But that happiness, no doubt, was a lie invented for the despair
of all desire. She now knew the smallness of the passions that
art exaggerated. So, striving to divert her thoughts, Emma
determined now to see in this reproduction of her sorrows only a
plastic fantasy, well enough to please the eye, and she even
smiled internally with disdainful pity when at the back of the
stage under the velvet hangings a man appeared in a black cloak.

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; Lucie
uttered her shrill plaint, Arthur at one side, his modulated
tones in the middle register, and the bass of the minister pealed
forth like an organ, while the voices of the women repeating his
words took them up in chorus delightfully. They were all 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 with jerks to the movements of his chest, and
he walked from right to left with long strides, clanking against
the boards the silver-gilt spurs of his soft boots, widening out
at the ankles. He, she thought 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 part that absorbed
her; and, drawn towards this man by the illusion of the
character, she tried to imagine to herself his life--that life
resonant, extraordinary, splendid, and that 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,
herself embroidering his costumes. Then each evening, at the back
of a box, behind 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. But the mad idea seized her that he was 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 smell of the gas mingled with that of the breaths, the waving
of the fans, made the air more suffocating. Emma wanted to go
out; the crowd filled the corridors, and she fell back in her
arm-chair 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 spilt 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 millowner, railed at
the clumsy fellow, and while she was with her handkerchief wiping
up the stains from her handsome cherry-coloured taffeta gown, he
angrily muttered about indemnity, costs, reimbursement. At last
Charles reached his wife, saying to her, quite out of breath--

"Ma foi! I thought I should have had to stay there. There is such
a crowd--SUCH a crowd!"

He added--

"Just guess whom I met up there! Monsieur Leon!"


"Himself! He's coming along to pay his respects." And as he
finished these words the ex-clerk of Yonville entered the box.

He held out his hand with the ease of a gentleman; and Madame
Bovary 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 window. But soon recalling herself to the
necessities of the situation, with an effort she shook off the
torpor of her memories, and began stammering a few hurried words.

"Ah, good-day! What! you here?"

"Silence!" cried a voice from the pit, for the third act was

"So you are at Rouen?"


"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 off as if the instruments had
grown less sonorous and the characters more remote. She
remembered the games at cards at the druggist's, and the walk to
the nurse's, the reading in the arbour, the tete-a-tete by the
fireside--all that poor love, so calm and so protracted, so
discreet, so tender, and that she had nevertheless forgotten. And
why had he come back? What 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 shuddering beneath the hot breath from his
nostrils falling upon her hair.

"Does this amuse you?" said he, bending over her so closely that
the end of his moustache brushed her cheek. She replied

"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 at all interest Emma, and the acting of
the singer seemed to her exaggerated.

"She screams too loud," said she, turning to Charles, who was

"Yes--a little," he replied, undecided between 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 her long lace shawl carefully about her
shoulders, and all three went off to sit down in the harbour, in
the open air, outside the windows of a cafe.

First they spoke of her illness, although Emma interrupted
Charles from time to time, for fear, she said, of boring Monsieur
Leon; and the latter told them that he had come to spend two
years at Rouen in a large office, in order to get practice in his
profession, which was different in Normandy and Paris. Then he
inquired after Berthe, the Homais, Mere Lefrancois, and as they
had, in the husband's presence, nothing more to say to one
another, the conversation soon came to an end.

People coming out of the theatre passed along the pavement,
humming or shouting at the top of their voices, "O bel ange, ma
Lucie!*" Then Leon, playing the dilettante, began to talk music.
He had seen Tambourini, Rubini, Persiani, Grisi, and, compared
with them, Lagardy, despite his grand outbursts, was nowhere.

*Oh beautiful angel, my Lucie.

"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, because it was beginning to
amuse me."

"Why," said the clerk, "he will soon give another performance."

But Charles replied that they were going back next day. "Unless,"
he added, turning to his wife, "you would like to stay alone,

And changing his tactics at this unexpected opportunity that
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 back on Sunday. Come, make up your mind. You are
wrong if you feel that this is doing you the least good."

The tables round them, however, were emptying; 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.

"I am really sorry," said Bovary, "about the money which you

The other made a careless gesture full of cordiality, and taking
his hat said--

"It is settled, isn't it? To-morrow at six o'clock?"

Charles explained once more that he could not absent himself
longer, but that nothing prevented Emma--

"But," she stammered, with a strange smile, "I am not sure--"

"Well, you must think it over. We'll see. Night brings counsel."
Then to Leon, who was walking along with them, "Now that you are
in our part of the world, I hope you'll come and ask us for some
dinner now and then."

The clerk declared he would not fail to do so, being obliged,
moreover, to go to Yonville on some business for his office. And
they parted before the Saint-Herbland Passage just as the clock
in the cathedral struck half-past eleven.

Part III

Chapter One

Monsieur Leon, while studying law, had gone pretty often to the
dancing-rooms, where he was even a great success amongst the
grisettes, who thought he had a distinguished air. He was the
best-mannered of the students; he wore his hair neither too long
nor too short, didn't spend all his quarter's money on the first
day of the month, and kept on good terms with his professors. As
for excesses, he had always abstained from them, as much from
cowardice as from refinement.

Often when he stayed in his room to read, or else when sitting of
an evening under the lime-trees of the Luxembourg, he let his
Code fall to the ground, and the memory of Emma came back 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
suspended 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
possess her. Moreover, his timidity had worn off by contact with
his gay companions, and he returned to the provinces despising
everyone who had not with varnished shoes trodden the asphalt of
the boulevards. By the side of a Parisienne in her laces, in the
drawing-room of some illustrious physician, a person driving his
carriage and wearing many orders, the poor clerk would no doubt
have trembled like a child; but here, at Rouen, on the harbour,
with the wife of this small doctor he felt at his ease, sure
beforehand he would shine. Self-possession depends 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 banknotes, like a cuirass in the lining of her

On leaving the Bovarys the night before, Leon had followed them
through the streets at a distance; then having seen them stop at
the "Croix-Rouge," he turned on his heel, 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 to him a good omen. He went upstairs.

She was not disturbed at his approach; on the contrary, she
apologised for having neglected to tell him where they were

"Oh, I divined it!" said Leon.

He pretended he had been guided towards 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 the other.

"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 one."

"Oh, I can imagine!"

"Ah! no; for you, you are a man!"

But men too had had their trials, and the conversation went off
into certain philosophical reflections. Emma expatiated much on
the misery of earthly affections, and the eternal isolation in
which the heart remains entombed.

To show off, or from a naive imitation of this melancholy which
called forth his, the young man declared that he had been awfully
bored during the whole course of his studies. The law irritated
him, other vocations attracted him, and his mother never ceased
worrying 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 progressive confidence. But they
sometimes stopped short of the complete exposition of their
thought, and then sought to invent a phrase that might express it
all the same. 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 recollect 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, leant 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 bare
head was mirrored in the glass with the white parting in the
middle, and the tip of her ears peeping out from the folds of her

"But pardon me!" she said. "It is wrong of me. I weary you with
my eternal complaints."

"No, never, never!"

"If you knew," she went on, raising to the ceiling her beautiful
eyes, in which a tear was trembling, "all that I had dreamed!"

"And I! Oh, I too have suffered! Often I went out; I 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, "She resembled
you a little."

Madame Bovary turned away her head that he might not see the
irrepressible smile she felt 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, a veil
like yours."

She seemed resolved to let him go on speaking without
interruption. Crossing her arms and bending down her face, she
looked at the rosettes on her slippers, and at intervals made
little movements inside the satin of them with her toes.

At last she sighed.

"But the most wretched thing, is it not--is to drag out, as I do,
a useless existence. If our pains were only of some use to
someone, we should find consolation in the thought of the

He started off in praise of virtue, duty, and silent immolation,
having himself an incredible longing for self-sacrifice that he
could not satisfy.

"I should much like," she said, "to be a nurse at a hospital."

"Alas! men have none of these holy missions, and I see nowhere
any calling--unless perhaps that of a doctor."

With a slight shrug of her shoulders, Emma interrupted him to
speak of her illness, which had almost killed her. What a pity!
She should not be suffering now! Leon at once envied the calm of
the tomb, and one evening he had even made his will, asking to be
buried in that beautiful rug with velvet stripes he had received
from her. For this was how they would have wished to be, each
setting up an ideal to which they were now adapting their past
life. Besides, speech is a rolling-mill that always thins out the

But at this invention of the rug she asked, "But why?"

"Why?" He hesitated. "Because I loved you so!" And congratulating
himself at having surmounted the difficulty, Leon watched her
face out of the corner of his eyes.

It was like the sky when a gust of wind drives the clouds across.
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

"I always suspected it."

Then they went over all the trifling events of that far-off
existence, whose joys and sorrows they had just summed up in one
word. They recalled the arbour with clematis, the dresses she had
worn, the furniture of her room, the whole of her house.

"And our poor cactuses, where are they?"

"The cold killed them this winter."

"Ah! how I have thought of them, do you know? I often saw them
again as of yore, when on the summer mornings the sun beat down
upon your blinds, and I saw your two bare arms passing out
amongst the flowers."

"Poor friend!" she said, holding out her hand to him.

Leon swiftly pressed his lips to it. Then, when he had taken a
deep breath--

"At that time you were to me I know not what incomprehensible
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 stair; you were wearing a bonnet 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, and unwilling to leave you. When you
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 before her seemed to widen out
her life; it was like some sentimental immensity to which she
returned; and from time to time she said in a low voice, her eyes
half closed--

"Yes, it is true--true--true!"

They heard eight strike on the different clocks of the
Beauvoisine quarter, which is full of schools, churches, and
large empty hotels. They no longer spoke, but they felt as they
looked upon each other a buzzing in their heads, as if something
sonorous had escaped from the fixed eyes of each of them. They
were hand in hand now, and the past, the future, reminiscences
and dreams, all were confounded in the sweetness of this ecstasy.
Night was darkening over the walls, on which still shone, half
hidden in the shade, the coarse colours of four bills
representing four scenes from the "Tour de Nesle," with a motto
in Spanish and French at the bottom. Through the sash-window a
patch of dark sky was seen between the pointed roofs.

She rose to light two wax-candles on the drawers, then she sat
down again.

"Well!" said Leon.

"Well!" she replied.

He was thinking how to resume the interrupted conversation, when
she said to him--

"How is it that no one until now has ever expressed such
sentiments to me?"

The clerk said that ideal natures were difficult to understand.
He from the first moment had loved her, and he despaired when he
thought of the happiness that would have been theirs, if thanks
to fortune, meeting her earlier, they had been indissolubly bound
to one another.

"I have sometimes thought of it," she went on.

"What a dream!" murmured Leon. And fingering gently the blue
binding of her long white sash, he added, "And who 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 you!" he cried.

"What a child you are! Come, let us be sensible. I wish it."

She showed him the impossibility of their love, and that they
must remain, as formerly, on the simple terms of a fraternal

Was she speaking thus seriously? No doubt Emma did not herself
know, quite absorbed as she was by the charm of the seduction,
and the necessity of defending herself from it; and contemplating
the young man with a moved look, she gently repulsed 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 had ever seemed to her so beautiful. An
exquisite candour emanated from his being. He lowered his long
fine eyelashes, that curled upwards. His cheek, with the soft
skin reddened, she thought, with desire of her person, and Emma
felt an invincible longing to press her lips to it. Then, leaning
towards the clock as if to see the time--

"Ah! how late it is!" she said; "how we do chatter!"

He understood the hint and took up his hat.

"It has even made me forget the theatre. And poor Bovary has left
me here especially for that. Monsieur Lormeaux, of the Rue
Grand-Pont, was to take me and his wife."

And the opportunity was lost, as she was to leave the next day.

"Really!" said Leon.


"But I must see you again," he went on. "I wanted to tell you--"


"Something--important--serious. Oh, no! Besides, 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!"

"Well--" She stopped; then, as if thinking better of it, "Oh, not

"Where you will."

"Will you--" She seemed to reflect; then abruptly, "To-morrow at
eleven o'clock in the cathedral."

"I shall be there," he cried, seizing her hands, which she

And as they were both standing up, he behind her, and Emma with
her head bent, he stooped over her and pressed long kisses on her

"You are mad! Ah! you are mad!" she said, with sounding little
laughs, while the kisses multiplied.

Then bending his head over her shoulder, he seemed to beg the
consent of her eyes. They fell upon him full of an icy dignity.

Leon stepped back to go out. He stopped on the threshold; then he
whispered with a trembling voice, "Tomorrow!"

She answered with a nod, and disappeared like a bird into the
next room.

In the evening Emma wrote the clerk an interminable letter, in
which she cancelled the rendezvous; all was over; they must not,
for the sake of their happiness, meet again. But when the letter
was finished, as she did not know Leon's address, she was

"I'll give it to him myself," she said; "he will come."

The next morning, at the open window, and humming on his balcony,
Leon himself varnished his pumps with several coatings. He put on
white trousers, fine socks, a green coat, emptied all the scent
he had into his handkerchief, then having had his hair curled, he
uncurled it again, in order to give it a more natural elegance.

"It is still too early," he thought, looking at the hairdresser's
cuckoo-clock, that pointed to the hour of nine. He read an old
fashion journal, went out, smoked a cigar, walked up three
streets, thought it was time, and went slowly towards the porch
of Notre Dame.

It was a beautiful summer morning. Silver plate sparkled in the
jeweller's windows, and the light falling obliquely on the
cathedral made mirrors of the corners 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 pavement, roses, jasmines,
pinks, narcissi, and tube-roses, unevenly spaced out between
moist grasses, catmint, and chickweed for the birds; the
fountains gurgled in the centre, and under large umbrellas,
amidst melons, piled up in heaps, flower-women, bare-headed, were
twisting paper round bunches of violets.

The young man took one. It was the first time that he had bought
flowers for a woman, and his breast, as he smelt 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 entered the
church. The beadle, who was just then standing on the threshold
in the middle of the left doorway, under the "Dancing Marianne,"
with feather cap, and rapier dangling against his calves, came
in, more majestic than a cardinal, and as shining as a saint on a
holy pyx.

He came towards 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 went round the lower aisles. Then he went out to
look at the Place. Emma was not coming yet. He went up again to
the choir.

The nave was reflected in the full fonts with the beginning of
the arches and some portions of the glass windows. But the
reflections of the paintings, broken by the marble rim, were
continued farther on upon the flag-stones, like a many-coloured
carpet. The broad daylight from without streamed into the church
in three enormous rays from the three opened portals. From time
to time at the upper end a sacristan passed, making the oblique
genuflexion of devout persons in a hurry. The crystal lustres
hung motionless. In the choir a silver lamp was burning, and from
the side chapels and dark places of the church sometimes rose
sounds like sighs, with the clang of a closing grating, its echo
reverberating under the lofty vault.

Leon with solemn steps walked along by the walls. Life had never
seemed so good to him. She would come directly, charming,
agitated, looking back at the glances that followed her, and with
her flounced dress, her gold eyeglass, her thin shoes, with all
sorts of elegant trifles that he had never enjoyed, and with the
ineffable seduction of yielding virtue. The church like a huge
boudoir spread around her; the arches bent down to gather in the
shade the confession of her love; the windows shone resplendent
to illumine her face, and the censers would burn that she might
appear like an angel amid the fumes of the sweet-smelling 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.
He looked at it long, attentively, and he counted the scales of
the fishes and the button-holes of the doublets, while his
thoughts wandered off towards Emma.

The beadle, standing aloof, was inwardly angry at this individual
who took the liberty of admiring the cathedral by himself. He
seemed to him to be conducting himself in a monstrous fashion, to
be robbing him in a sort, and almost committing sacrilege.

But a rustle of silk on the flags, the tip of a bonnet, a lined
cloak--it was she! Leon rose and ran to meet her.

Emma was pale. She walked fast.

"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 fancy; then he
nevertheless experienced a certain charm in seeing her, in the
middle of a rendezvous, thus lost in her devotions, like an
Andalusian marchioness; then he grew bored, for she seemed never
coming to an end.

Emma prayed, or rather strove to pray, hoping that some sudden
resolution might descend to her from heaven; and to draw down
divine aid she filled full her eyes with the splendours of the
tabernacle. She breathed in the perfumes of the full-blown
flowers in the large vases, and listened to the stillness of the
church, that only heightened the tumult of her heart.

She rose, and they were about to leave, 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!" cried the clerk.

"Why not?" said she. For she clung with her expiring virtue to
the Virgin, the sculptures, the tombs--anything.

Then, in order to proceed "by rule," the beadle conducted them
right to the entrance near the square, where, pointing out with
his cane a large circle of block-stones without inscription or

"This," he said majestically, "is the circumference of the
beautiful bell of Ambroise. It weighed forty thousand pounds.
There was not its equal in all Europe. The workman who cast it
died of the joy--"

"Let us go on," said Leon.

The old fellow started off again; then, having got back to the
chapel of the Virgin, he stretched forth his arm with an
all-embracing gesture of demonstration, and, prouder than a
country squire showing you his espaliers, went on--

"This simple stone covers Pierre de Breze, lord of Varenne and of
Brissac, grand marshal of Poitou, and governor of Normandy, who
died at the battle of Montlhery on the 16th of July, 1465."

Leon bit his lips, fuming.

"And on the right, this gentleman all encased in iron, on the
prancing horse, is his grandson, Louis de Breze, lord of Breval
and of Montchauvet, Count de Maulevrier, Baron de Mauny,
chamberlain to the king, Knight of the Order, and also governor
of Normandy; died on the 23rd of July, 1531--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, motionless, 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 indifference.

The everlasting guide went on--

"Near him, this kneeling woman who weeps is his spouse, Diane de
Poitiers, Countess de Breze, Duchess de Valentinois, born in
1499, died in 1566, and to the left, the one with the child is
the Holy Virgin. Now turn to this side; here are the tombs of the
Ambroise. They were both cardinals and archbishops of Rouen. That
one was minister under Louis XII. 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, some put 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 had
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 quickly to see the gargoyle windows."

But Leon hastily took some silver from his pocket and seized
Emma's arm. The beadle stood dumfounded, not able to understand
this untimely munificence 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, that for
nearly two hours now had become petrified in the church like the
stones, would vanish like a vapour through that sort of truncated
funnel, of oblong cage, of open chimney that rises so grotesquely
from the cathedral like the extravagant attempt of some fantastic

"But where are we going?" she said.

Making no answer, he walked on with a rapid step; and Madame
Bovary was already, dipping her finger in the holy water when
behind them they heard a panting breath interrupted by the
regular sound of a cane. Leon turned back.


"What is it?"

And he recognised the beadle, holding under his arms and
balancing against his stomach some 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 by the Rue Quatre-Vents; then
they were alone a few minutes, face to face, and a little

"Ah! Leon! Really--I don't know--if I ought," she whispered. Then
with a more serious air, "Do you know, it is very improper--"

"How so?" replied the clerk. "It is done at Paris."

And that, as an irresistible argument, decided her.

Still the cab did not come. Leon was afraid she might go back
into the church. At last the cab appeared.

"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 the Condemned in

"Where to, sir?" asked the coachman.

"Where you like," said Leon, forcing 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 short before the statue of Pierre

"Go on," cried a voice that came from within.

The cab went on again, and as soon as it reached the Carrefour
Lafayette, set off down-hill, and entered the station at a

"No, straight on!" cried the same voice.

The cab came out by the gate, and soon having reached the Cours,
trotted quietly beneath the elm-trees. The coachman wiped his
brow, put his leather hat between his knees, and drove his
carriage beyond the side alley by the meadow to the margin of the

It went along by the river, along the towing-path paved with
sharp pebbles, and for a long while in the direction of Oyssel,
beyond the isles.

But suddenly it turned with a dash across Quatremares,
Sotteville, La Grande-Chaussee, the Rue d'Elbeuf, and made its
third halt in front of the Jardin des Plantes.

"Get on, will you?" cried the voice more furiously.

And at once resuming its course, it passed by Saint-Sever, by the
Quai'des Curandiers, the Quai aux Meules, once more over the
bridge, by the Place du Champ de Mars, and behind the hospital
gardens, where old men in black coats were walking in the sun
along the terrace all green with ivy. It went up the Boulevard
Bouvreuil, along the Boulevard Cauchoise, then the whole of
Mont-Riboudet to the Deville hills.

It came back; and then, without any fixed plan or direction,
wandered about at hazard. The cab was seen at Saint-Pol, at
Lescure, at Mont Gargan, at La Rougue-Marc and 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. From time to time the coachman, on his box
cast despairing eyes at the public-houses. He could not
understand what furious desire for locomotion urged these
individuals never to wish to stop. He tried to now and then, and
at once exclamations of anger burst forth behind him. Then he
lashed his perspiring jades afresh, but indifferent to their
jolting, running up against things here and there, not caring if
he did, demoralised, and almost weeping with thirst, fatigue, and

And on the harbour, in the midst of the drays and casks, and in
the streets, at the corners, the good folk opened large
wonder-stricken eyes at this sight, so extraordinary in the
provinces, a cab with blinds drawn, and which appeared thus
constantly shut more closely than a tomb, and tossing about 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 bared
hand passed beneath the small blinds of yellow canvas, and threw
out some scraps of paper that scattered in the wind, and farther
off lighted like white butterflies on a field of red clover all
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 with her
veil down, and without turning her head.

Chapter Two

On reaching the inn, Madame Bovary was surprised not to see the
diligence. Hivert, who had waited for her fifty-three minutes,
had at last started.

Yet nothing forced her to go; but she had given her word that she
would return that same evening. Moreover, Charles expected her,
and in her heart she felt already that cowardly docility that is
for some women at once the chastisement and atonement of

She packed her box quickly, paid her bill, took a cab in the
yard, hurrying on the driver, urging him on, every moment
inquiring about the time and the miles traversed. He succeeded in
catching up the "Hirondelle" as it neared the first houses of

Hardly was she seated in her corner than she closed her eyes, and
opened them at the foot of the hill, when from afar she
recognised Felicite, who was on the lookout in front of the
farrier's shop. Hivert pulled in his horses and, the servant,
climbing up to the window, said mysteriously--

"Madame, you must go at once to Monsieur Homais. It's for
something important."

The village was silent as usual. At the corner of the streets
were small pink heaps that smoked in the air, for this was the
time for jam-making, and everyone at Yonville prepared his supply
on the same day. But in front of the chemist's shop one might
admire a far larger heap, and that surpassed the others with the
superiority that a laboratory must have over ordinary stores, a
general need over individual fancy.

She went in. The large arm-chair was upset, and even the "Fanal
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 picked currants, of powdered sugar and
lump sugar, of the scales on the table, and of the pans on the
fire, she saw all the Homais, small and large, with aprons
reaching to their chins, and with forks in their hands. Justin
was standing up with bowed head, and the chemist was screaming--

"Who told you to go and fetch it in the Capharnaum."

"What is it? What is the matter?"

"What is it?" replied the druggist. "We are making preserves;
they are simmering; but they were about to boil over, because
there is too much juice, and I ordered another pan. Then he, from
indolence, from laziness, went and took, hanging on its nail in
my laboratory, the key of the Capharnaum."

It was thus the druggist called a small room under the leads,
full of the utensils and the goods of his trade. He often spent
long hours there alone, labelling, decanting, and doing up again;
and he looked upon it not as a simple store, but as a veritable
sanctuary, whence there afterwards issued, elaborated by his
hands, all sorts of pills, boluses, infusions, lotions, and
potions, that would bear far and wide his celebrity. No one in
the world set foot there, and he respected it so, that he swept
it himself. Finally, if the pharmacy, open to all comers, was the
spot where he displayed his pride, the Capharnaum was the refuge
where, egoistically concentrating himself, Homais delighted in
the exercise of his predilections, so that Justin's
thoughtlessness seemed to him a monstrous piece of irreverence,
and, redder than the currants, he repeated--

"Yes, from the Capharnaum! The key that locks up the acids and
caustic alkalies! To go and get a spare pan! a pan with a lid!
and that I shall perhaps never use! Everything is of importance
in the delicate operations of our art! But, devil take it! one
must make distinctions, and not employ for almost domestic
purposes that which is meant for pharmaceutical! It is as if one
were to carve a fowl with a scalpel; as if a magistrate--"

"Now be calm," said Madame Homais.

And Athalie, pulling at his coat, cried "Papa! papa!"

"No, let me alone," went on the druggist "let me alone, hang it!
My word! 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

"I thought you had--" said Emma.

"Presently! Do you know to what you exposed yourself? Didn't you
see anything in the corner, on the left, on the third shelf?
Speak, answer, articulate something."

"I--don't--know," stammered the young fellow.

"Ah! you don't know! Well, then, I do know! You saw a bottle of
blue glass, sealed with yellow wax, that contains a white powder,
on which I have even written 'Dangerous!' And do you know what is
in it? Arsenic! And you go and touch it! You take a pan that was
next to it!"

"Next to it!" cried Madame Homais, clasping her hands. "Arsenic!
You might have poisoned us all."

And the children began howling as if they already had frightful

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest