Stage 3 (Journeyman): Madame Bovary, chapter 9


It had been six weeks since Rodolphe had seen Emma, an action completely of his doing. When he did visit her, he knew he had been right to wait. She was alone.

“I have thought of you constantly.” This was a lie, but Emma’s pride led her to believe it.

She was about to speak, but footsteps were heard and both stood up. “Good morning, Doctor,” Rodolphe blarneyed(1). “Madame was just speaking to me about her health. Perhaps riding would do her some good.”

“Oh, yes, of course!”

And so it would be. The next day at noon, Rodolphe arrived with two saddle-horses, dressed in such a flamboyant(2) outfit that it made Emma blush. As they reached a point far from the town, Emma thought that it had never looked so paltry(3).

As the spaces grew more crowded, the two dismounted. They finally reached a clearing where they sat on a trunk of a fallen tree. Calmly and seriously, he spoke of his love. “Are our destinies not one now? I need you to live!” He swooped his arm across her waist and she could not resist. At the bank of a small pool, in tears, she gave herself up to him.

Yet soon Rodolphe found her increasingly tiresome, and perhaps the same could be said of Emma, who had begun to show affection to little Berthe once more.

In his weekly perusals(4) of the newspaper, Charles had come across a new, untested method for curing club-foot. There was no risk he could think of for testing it, and fame awaited him if he did. Poor Hippolyte had been limping around for years, and perhaps, his suffering could be over!

As soon as Charles’ tentome(5) cut the skin, the tendon was freed. Hippolyte immediately burst into tears, thanking his benefactor(6). When Charles returned home, Emma embraced him and even prepared a cup of coffee. That evening, they spoke of their dreams for the future and their love for each other.

Five days later, Mere LeFrancois ran out of the inn, screaming that Hippolyte was dying. As the gangrene spread, Charles finally acquiesced(7) to call for a real Doctor.

As the amputation took place, Charles did not leave his house. Watching him, Emma also felt humiliation. When Rodolphe came to the garden that night, his and Emma’s love blossomed once more.

“Why not-we could go live somewhere, elsewhere, together!”

“You’re mad!” He only laughed. He did not understand that this was no simple affair. She was in love. “I can’t have a child and a mistress to take care of,” he thought. “No, no.”

Once at home, Rodolphe lit a candle, and sat down to compose his last letter to her. “Emma, I do not wish to bring more dolor(8) into your life…this is fate. A dieu! Your friend. ” He called for his servant to place this letter at the bottom of a basket of apricots, and to give it to Madame.

When Girard had reached her house, Madame Bovary was with Felicite. “It’s from the master,” he said, and Emma went white with trepidation(9). Emma fled, tearing it open.

When she was called later that morning to eat, she could not.

“We are not likely to see Monsieur Rodolphe for sometime-Girard just notified me.”

Suddenly, she fell off her chair, writhing on the floor.

“It is your Charles, who loves you! It is your little girl, who loves you!”

Berthe stretched her arms out to embrace her mother, but Emma pushed them away, crying out that there was no one left. She fainted once more and was carried to her bed.

For 43 days, Charles abandoned all his other patients to care for his wife. When at last her strength returned in the middle of October, he wept with jouissance(10).

Monsieur Homais recommended that Charles take Madame to Rouen for a night, for there was a theatre show coming to town. For their debts were not too gargantuan(11) (at least that he was aware of), Charles readily took up the offer.

Emma she sat with the air of a duchess in their box. The opera began in the country. It was Lucy whose Emma’s heart throbbed with – a young girl in desire of love. Then, Edgar-Lagardy entered. From his first scene with Lucy, there was passion. Emma leaned forward, caught in the tumultuous(12) action of what had not too long before been her life. But no one had ever loved her with that much zeal(13). On the scene of their wedding-day, the curtain fell.

Emma, feeling suffocated, expressed her desire to go out. Charles, remembering her recent sickness, ran to fetch her water.

He returned shortly, out of breath. “You would never have guessed who I saw! Monsieur Leon!” He cried this out, just as the play resumed and the ex-clerk entered.

The three walked to the harbour, sitting outside a cafe. Leon spoke of the play. “I have seen much better.”
“Lagardy was quite talented! He’s giving another performance tomorrow,” Charles noted. “We’re returning – unless you would like to stay alone, darling?”
Leon immediately changed his tune and spoke radiantly of Lagardy. The three parted at midnight.

During his studies of law, Monsieur Leon had spent most nights in the dancing-rooms. He was no longer a timorous(14) boy. Thus, the next day, at five AM, he entered Emma’s inn. The day grew even brighter when upon his entrance, she welcomed his approach.

There was a building up to it, then, finally: “I loved you.”

He watched her carefully but only received a casual shrug. “I always suspected it.”

When the clock struck eight, she stood up. “I am too old,” she murmured.

He understood and stood. “I must see you again, of course.”

Abruptly, she decided. “The cathedral, tomorrow at eleven.”

“I will be there!” He suddenly seized her with a kiss.

She laughed, and bid him farewell at the door. When he left, she began to write a letter.

The next morning, Leon went to the hairdresser’s. Then, he smoked a cigarette and bought violets before approaching Notre Dame. Alas, there she was! Pale and walking quickly, she was in all silk. She pushed a letter into his hands and brushed past him to pray.

As though seized with a sudden passion, he grasped her arm and led her out of the holy chapel, summoning a cab.

“To anywhere,” Leon urged the coachman.

The machine went down streets and across squares, stopping momentarily and then lurching forward. It traveled up and down a hill thrice and finally came to a stop in front of Notre Dame three hours later.

Adjusting her clothes and donning her veil, Emma walked away.

Upon reaching the inn, Madame Bovary rushed to return back to her home. Monsieur Bovary had passed away the previous day at 11am.

She found Charles waiting for her in tears. “My dear!” As he embraced her, she shuddered.

The next day, there was much tears when the recently widowed Madame Bovary senior arrived.
When Emma saw Monsieur Lheureux, the linen draper, come through the gate, Emma hastily ushered(15) him into the house.

“Now that you are better, perhaps you should take over the money affairs of your house.”

She did not understand and remained silent.

“I’ll bring you a black gown tomorrow!”

“I don’t need a gown–” But he had already left.

One day, Emma brought home a paper of Monsieur Lheureux. “I don’t trust him,” she remarked.

“Leon,” replied Charles, almost immediately. “Perhaps he could help?”

“I could go.” She held her breath in anticipation.

“Are you sure? It’s quite a journey and you’d be going alone this time.” She nodded. “Thank you,” he smiled for the first time in days.

The next morning, she set off to Rouen where she stayed for three days at the Hotel-de-Boulogne, where they lived behind closed doors.

Emma returned to the piano with great fervor(16) and demanded lessons. After days inquiring(17) around town, Charles found a piano teacher for Emma. So once a week, she went to town to see Leon. By the end of winter, her piano playing skills had grown miraculously.

Early on Thursday, she would get out of bed and join a group carriage to town.

Once the door had closed behind her and Leon, they embraced, their loving words flooding into each other’s hearts so that they were full once more. She seemed to live only on Thursdays yet even then, Emma often spoke of better things for them.

“Are we not happy here?” He asked gently.

“But how much happier we would be in Paris!”

The lies flourished(18) when the linen draper came to visit her home with Charles with a bill. Breaking down in sobs before him, she declared that she had no money to give him.

He knelt down to meet her eyes: “You have an estate.”

When the bill returned the following week, Charles called his mother. “You must give up your power of attorney,” she demanded.

Emma handed over the thick bundle of paper.

“Thank you,” the old woman said as she threw the paper into the fire.

Emma broke down in hysterics, and Charles cried out in fear. His mother left the next day, but Emma no longer hid her resentment(19).

That Thursday, Leon was surprised at her temper. That night, she did not return to Yonville. Charles lost his head with worry and little Berthe did not sleep, crying enough to break one’s heart. At midnight, Charles took his horse to town. As he was turning into a side street, Emma suddenly appeared. He rushed forward and threw himself upon her, crying: “What happened?”

She sighed and coughed. “I am unwell.”

“What? Where? How?”

She kept a hand over her forehead. “I don’t feel free if you worry like this.”

From then on and forward, she set out to town on any pretext(20).

1/blarney(v)-influence or persuade (someone) using charm and pleasant flattery
2/flamboyant(adj)-(of a person or their behaviour) tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness
3/paltry(adj)-(of an amount) very small or meagre
4/perusal(n)-the action of reading or examining something
5/tentome(n)-a surgical instrument used to cut
6/benefactor(n)-a person who gives money or other help to a person or cause
7/acquiesce(v)-accept something reluctantly but without protest
8/dolor(n)-a state of great sorrow or distress
9/trepidation(n)-a feeling of fear or anxiety about something that may happen
10/jouissance(n)-physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy
11/gargantuan(adj)-tremendous in size, volume, or degree
12/tumultuous(adj)-making an uproar or loud, confused noise
13/zeal(n)-dedication or enthusiasm for something
14/timorous(adj)-showing or suffering from nervousness or a lack of confidence
15/usher(v)-show or guide (someone) somewhere
16/fervor(n)-intense and passionate feeling
17/inquire(v)-to seek information by questioning
18/flourish(v)-(of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment.
19/resentment(n)-bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly
20/pretext(n)-a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason

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