Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town

By Gustave Flaubert; Gerard Hopkins | Go to book overview

hair, and he limped with his left leg. He took the curé's umbrella in his free hand, and they started off.

The town was fast asleep. The pillars of the market hall threw deep shadows. The ground looked silvered as on a summer's night.

But since the doctor's house was only about fifty yards from the inn, the moment soon came to say good night, and the company separated.

As soon as she entered the hall, Emma felt the chill of damp plaster like a wet cloth upon her shoulders. The walls had been freshly whitewashed, and the wooden treads of the staircase creaked. In the rooms on the first floor a pallid light came through the uncurtained windows. She could see the tops of trees, and, beyond them, the meadows half drowned in mist which wreathed like smoke in the moonlight along the course of the river. In the middle of the room stood a disorderly pile of assorted objects, drawers, bottles, curtain-rods, gilt bedposts. Mattresses lay sprawled over chairs, basins littered the floor. The two men who had moved the furniture had left things just anyhow.

This was the fourth occasion on which she had gone to bed in a strange place. The first had been as a new girl at the convent, the second, when she moved to Tostes, the third at La Vaubyessard. This was the fourth. Each had, as it were, marked the beginning of a new phase in her life. She could never believe that things were going to be the same in one place as they had been in another: and, since her experiences had, so far, been unfortunate, she felt convinced that the future would be an improvement on the past.


CHAPTER III

WHEN she got up next morning, she saw the lawyer's clerk standing in the square. She was wearing a dressing-gown. He looked up and bowed. She gave him a quick nod and closed the window.

Léon spent the whole day waiting for six o'clock to come, but when he entered the inn he found only Monsieur Binet in the dining-room.

The previous evening's meal had been a considerable event for him. It was the first time in his life that he had passed two whole hours in conversation with a lady. How came it that he had been able

-75-

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