Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town

By Gustave Flaubert; Gerard Hopkins | Go to book overview

would come and settle down in Yonville. She would look after his house and never leave him again. She was tactful and kind, and secretly rejoiced at the prospect of winning back an affection which, for so many years, had been withdrawn from her. Midnight struck. The village, as usual, was plunged in silence, and Charles, lying wakeful in his bed, thought all the time of her.

Rodolphe, who had been tramping the woods all day in an attempt to distract his mind, was sleeping peacefully in his château. Léon, too, in Rouen, was fast asleep.

But someone else there was who could not sleep.

Between the pines a lad was kneeling on her grave and weeping. There, in the shadows, he sobbed brokenly under the weight of an immense sorrow, a sorrow softer than the moonlight, deeper than the darkness. Suddenly the gate creaked. It was Lestiboudois who had come to look for the spade which he had left behind that afternoon. He saw that the figure climbing the wall was Justin.

At last he knew who the young rascal was who had been making off with his potatoes!


CHAPTER XI

CHARLES had the child brought back next day. She asked for her mummy, but was told that she was away and would bring some toys with her when she returned. Berthe spoke of her several times again after this, but a day came eventually when she passed entirely out of her mind. Charles found the little girl's gaiety quite heartbreaking. He had, as well, to endure the chemist's intolerable consolations.

His money troubles soon began again. Lheureux once more egged on his friend Vinçart, and Charles entered into a number of exorbitant commitments, since he was determined never to sell a single stick of the furniture that had belonged to her. His mother lost all patience, but his anger was more formidable than hers. He was a completely changed man. She left his house.

Then everybody began to exact their pound of flesh. Mademoiselle Lempereur sent in an account for six months' lessons, not one of which Emma had had (in spite of the receipts that she had shown her husband!). The whole arrangement had been the result of a plot between the two of them.

-314-

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