discouragement and desire. At last he decided to do something definite, and wrote a number of letters. These, however, he destroyed, endlessly postponing the moment of action to some future date. Often he started out from the house with the full intention of putting everything to the test, but his heart failed him as soon as he was in Emma's presence, and when Charles, coming into the room, suggested that he accompany him on his rounds in the phaeton, he at once accepted, took his leave of Madame, and departed. After all, was not her husband, to some extent, a part of her?
As to Emma, she made no attempt to ask herself whether she were in love with him. Love, she believed, should come with the suddenness of thunder and lightning, should burst like a storm upon her life, sweeping her away, scattering her resolutions like leaves before a wind, driving her whole heart to the abyss. She did not know that when the gutters are stopped up, the rain forms in puddles in front of the house. She would have remained secure in her ignorance had she not suddenly discovered a crack in the wall.
It was on a Sunday in February, an afternoon of snow. They had all of them, Monsieur and Madame Bovary, Homais and Monsieur Léon, gone to see a flax mill* which was being built about half a league from Yonville, in the valley. The apothecary had taken Napoleon and Athalie with him for the sake of the exercise, and Justin accompanied them, carrying a load of umbrellas.
Nothing could well have been less curious than this curiosity. In the middle of a large patch of waste land, amid a litter of rusty cogwheels, piles of sand and a wealth of pebbles, stood a long, rectangular building, the walls of which were pierced by several small windows. It was not yet finished, and they could see the sky through the joists of the roof. Attached to a beam in the gable-end was a bundle of straw and wheat-ears tied together with tricolour ribbons* flapping in the breeze.
Homais held forth. He explained to the 'company' the future importance of the establishment, calculated the strength of the floors and the thickness of the walls with many expressions of regret that he did not, like Monsieur Binet, possess a rod marked off in metres.*