Stage 3 (Journeyman): Madame Bovary, chapter 2

CHAPTER 2 
One morning, old Rouault visited Charles, bringing with him the money needed for mending his leg.
He had heard of Charles’ loss, and consoled(1) him the best that he could.
“I know what it is,” said he, clapping him on the shoulder. “When I lost my dear, I cried for days, wishing to die. Yet, as the seasons fell away, this wore away. You must pull yourself together, Monsieur Bovary. It will pass. Come to see us; my daughter thinks of you now and again, and she says you are forgetting her.”
Charles followed his advice and went back to the Bertaux.
Thinking it was his duty to heap(2) the greatest attention upon the doctor because of his sad position, Farmer Rouault told stories.
Charles found himself laughing, but any remembrance(3) of his wife suddenly depressed him. But when coffee was brought in, he thought no more about her. He thought less of her as he grew accustomed to living alone, delighted with his newfound independence. He could go to the Bertaux just as he liked.
One day, he got there at about three o’clock. Everybody was in the fields during that hour. He went into the kitchen where Emma was sewing.
After offering him a glass of liquor, she sat down and took up her work, a white cotton stocking. She did not speak, nor did Charles.
Then, she began talking of her convent(4), Charles of his school; words came easily to them. She spoke to him, too, of her mother, and even showed him the bed in the garden, where on the first Friday of every month, she gathered flowers to put on her mother’s tomb.
Going home at night, Charles went over her words so that he might piece out the life she had lived before he knew her. But he never saw her differently in his thoughts than he had seen her the first time.
Then he long pondered(5) over what would become of her- she would soon be married! Alas! To whom? Old Rouault was rich and she was so beautiful!
Thinking about that subject, Charles promised himself to ask for her hand in marriage as soon as an occasion offered. Old Rouault would not have been sorry to be rid of his daughter, who was of no use to him at the farm. Far from having made a fortune by farming, the good man was losing every year as, liking to eat well, he did not spare expense in all that concerned himself.
Old Rouault perceived Charles as not quite the ideal son-in-law, but acknowledged that he was well brought-up, economical(6), well educated, and – no doubt – would not make too many difficulties about the dowry.
“If he asks for her,” he said to himself, “I’ll give her to him.”
At Michaelmas, Charles went to spend three days at the Bertaux. They had passed, like the others, in procrastinating; thus, when Old Rouault went to see him off, he decided that it was the time.
“Monsieur Rouault,” he murmured. “I would like to say something to you.”
Silence fell over them. “Well, didn’t I see this coming?” old Rouault said, laughing softly.
“Monsieur Rouault–Monsieur Rouault,” Charles stammered.
“I would ask of nothing more,” the farmer went on. “Although, no doubt, we’ll need to ask her opinion. I’ll go back home. If it is ‘no’, you needn’t return. But if it is ‘yes’, I’ll open the outer shutter of the window; you can see it from here.” And he went off.
Charles waited. Half an hour passed. Then, suddenly, a noise was heard; the shutter had been thrown back.
The next day, he was at the farm by nine o’clock. Emma blushed as he entered, and Old Rouault embraced his future son-in-law.
They put off the discussion about money, for there was plenty of time before them. After all, the marriage could not properly take place until Charles was out of mourning. The winter passed waiting for this.
The guests arrived in carriages, one-horse chaises(7), and two-wheeled cars, some from as far as thirty miles away. All of their relatives had been invited, acquaintances long lost, and friend-enemies too.
From time to time, the gates would open, a carriage entering through them. Galloping up to the door, it stopped short and emptied its load. They got down from all sides, rubbing their knees and stretching their arms. The ladies wore bonnets and town dresses. The lads, dressed like their papas, seemed uncomfortable in their new clothes. Everyone had just had his hair cut; they were freshly shaved too.
As there were not enough stable-boys to unharness(8) all the carriages, the gentlemen rolled up their sleeves and set about the task themselves.
The mairie(9) was a mile and a half from the farm, so they went there on foot, and returned in the same way. The procession, first united, inevitably(10) separated into different groups.
The fiddler walked ahead, engrossed(11) by his violin. Then came the married pair, the relatives, and the friends.
Emma’s dress trailed a little on the ground. From time to time, she stopped to pull it up while Charles paused, waiting for her. Old Rouault, with a new silk hat, gave his arm to Madame Bovary senior. Monsieur Bovary senior, who, heartily despised all these folk, passed compliments of the bar to a fair young peasant. She bowed and blushed, not knowing what to say.
On the table were four sirloins, six chicken fricassees(12), stewed veal, three legs of mutton, and in the middle, a fine roast pig. At the corners were overflowing decanters of brandy, ready to be imbibed. The confectionery(13) dish evoked(14) loud cries of wonderment; savoy cake, candied angelica(15), almonds, raisins, oranges, lakes of jam, nutshell boats, and a small Cupid balancing himself in a chocolate swing.
They ate late into the night. Some went to sleep, but once the coffee came, everybody woke up. Then they began their songs, made broad jokes, and kissed the women.
At night when they left, the horses, stuffed up to the nostrils with oats, kicked and reared(16). The harness’ broke; their masters laughed or swore.
Those who stayed spent the night drinking in the kitchen.
A group of cousins stayed in the corner, making rude comments about their host.
Madame Bovary senior, had not been consulted about either her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress or the arrangement of the feast. She went to bed early. Instead of following her, her husband drank kirsch-punch, a mixture unknown to the company. This added greatly to the consideration in which he was held.
Charles did not shine at the wedding. He answered feebly(17) to the puns, doubles entendres(18), and compliments.
The next day, on the other hand, he seemed another man, as though, not his bride, had been the virgin of the evening before. He called her “my wife” and often dragged her into the yards.
Two days after the wedding, the married pair left. Charles, on account of his patients, could not be away longer. Old Rouault had them driven back in his cart, and accompanied them as far as Vassonville. 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 gave a deep sigh. He remembered his wedding, the old times, the first pregnancy of his wife. How long ago it all was!
He felt as dreary(19) as an empty house and went home right away.
Monsieur and Madame Charles arrived at Tostes about six o’clock. The neighbors came to the windows to see their doctor’s new wife. The old servant apologised for not having dinner ready, and suggested that Madame, in the meantime, look over her new house.
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+GLOSSARY

 

1/console(v)-to comfort an individual who is grieving through words or other gestures; to encourage; to reassure
2/heap(v)-to direct a great deal of attention towards an individual; to pile heavily
3/remembrance(n)-a memory or something that reminds you of another thing or person
4/convent(n)-a school, typically, for girls, run by members of a nunnery or monastery
5/ponder(v)-to spend time thinking about something; to think over something for a long period of time; to brood
6/economical(adj)-describing a person who is not wasteful with his resources and possessions; prudent; sensible
7/chaise(n)-a horse-drawn carriage with an open roof and two wheels
8/unharness(v)-to remove a harness-a set of straps attached to an animal through which the driver can control the animal’s movement-from a horse or other animal
9/mairie(n)-a town hall; in France, it is often a place where marriages are held
10/inevitably(adv)-describing something that is bound to eventually happen, as though by a preordained order or fate; undoubtedly; unavoidably
11/engrossed(v)-to be deeply absorbed with something, as though obsessed with it; to absorb the attention of someone; to engage; to involve
12/fricassee(n)-a dish of fried/braised pieces of meat served in a stew with a thick white sauce
13/confectionery(adj)-describing a traditional dish of desserts and sweets
14/evoke(v)-to bring about a certain reaction or result; to cause; to invoke; to induce
15/angelica(n)-a sweet white wine or liquor; the candied stalk of a herbal plant
16/reared(v)-to throw back; to rise on one’s hind legs, lifting one’s front legs off the ground (where one is an animal, such as a horse), often due to anger or surprise
17/feebly(adv)-weakly, as though with little energy and life force; having little intensity and strength to undertake a certain action
18/entendre(n)-a figure of speech with multiple meanings or connotations, often with sexual implications
19/dreary(adj)-describing something bleak and lifeless; dull; depressing and tedious

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