Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town

By Gustave Flaubert; Gerard Hopkins | Go to book overview
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back for home. When he had gone a hundred paces or so, he stopped and sighed deeply at the sight of the trap vanishing into the distance, its wheels spinning in a cloud of dust. He was remembering his own wedding, the days of his youth, his wife's first pregnancy. He, too, had been very happy that day when he had taken her home from her father's house. She had ridden behind him on his horse along the snowy roads--for the time had been near Christmas, and the landscape was all white. She had clung to him with one arm, the other being occupied with her basket. The wind was busy with the long lace streamers of her Normandy head-dress, and now and again they blew across her mouth. When he turned his head he could see, there on his shoulder, close to his cheek, her little pink face smiling silently from beneath the golden ornament which she wore in her bonnet. From time to time she would slip her fingers under his coat to warm them against his chest. How long ago it all was! Their son would have been a man of thirty. He looked back along the road but could see nothing. He felt desolate and empty like a house from which the furniture has been taken. In his brain, fuddled with the fumes of last night's junketing, black thoughts jostled with sentimental memories. He felt tempted at one moment to take a turn in the churchyard. Fearing, however, lest that should make him still more melancholy, he went straight home.

Monsieur and Madame Charles arrived at Tostes about six o'clock. The neighbours crowded to their windows to catch a glimpse of the doctor's new wife.

The old servant appeared, curtsied, and apologized for not having dinner ready. She suggested that, while they were waiting, Madame should take a look over the house.


The brick front stood flush with the street, or, with what might, more accurately, be called the high-road. A greatcoat, made to button high in the neck, was hanging behind the front-door, a horse's bridle, and a black leather cap. Standing on the floor in a corner were a pair of gaiters still covered with dried mud. To the right was the main room of the house, used both for eating and for sitting. Wallpaper of a canary-yellow, relieved along its upper edge by faded


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Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town


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