Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town

By Gustave Flaubert; Gerard Hopkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII

THE morrow was for Emma funereal. A black mist seemed to lie over everything, drifting aimlessly across the surface of objects, while misery swept through her heart, moaning softly like the winter wind in a deserted castle. She was in the mood which afflicts one when one dreams of things that have gone, never to return. She felt in her bones the sort of lassitude which deadens the heart when something has come to an end. She felt the pain that strikes at one when an accustomed rhythm has been broken or when some prolonged vibration ceases.

She fell a prey to the same sort of dull melancholy and numb despair as she had known on returning from La Vaubyessard with the music of the dance still echoing in her ears. The Léon whom she saw now in imagination was taller, handsomer, more charming, less clearly defined. Though they were separated, he had not left her. He was still there, and his ghost seemed to haunt the house. She could not take her eyes from the carpet which he had trod, from the empty chairs in which he had sat. Still the river flowed, rippling slowly beneath the muddy bank. How often they had walked beside it, hearing the murmur of its waters, watching the mossy stones. How brightly the sun had shone! What lovely afternoons they had spent alone together in the shade of the trees at the bottom of the garden, he, reading aloud, bareheaded, reclining against a bundle of dried faggots, while the cool wind from the meadows fluttered the pages of his book and the nasturtiums growing on the arbour. . . . And now he was gone, the one delight of her life, her only possible hope of happiness! Why had she not snatched at the chance while she had had it within her reach? Why had she not clung to him with both hands, knelt to him, so that he should not flee? She cursed herself for not having loved Léon. She hungered for his lips. She was seized with a desire to run after him, to throw herself into his arms, to say to him: 'Here I am! I am yours!' But she foresaw the difficulties of such an enterprise, and her desires, increased by regret, became the more imperative.

Henceforth the memory of Léon lay at the centre of her feeling of boredom. It sparkled more brightly than a traveller's fire lit and left on the snows of the Russian steppe. She ran towards it, huddled over

-110-

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Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Select Bibliography xxi
  • A Chronology of Gustave Flaubert xxiii
  • Part One - Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 10
  • Chapter II 17
  • Chapter II 22
  • Chapter II 27
  • Chapter VI 31
  • Chapter VII 35
  • Chapter VII 41
  • Chapter VII 50
  • Part Two - Chapter I 61
  • Chapter II 69
  • Chapter II 75
  • Chapter II 85
  • Chapter II 89
  • Chapter VI 98
  • Chapter VII 110
  • Chapter VIII 117
  • Chapter VIII 138
  • Chapter VIII 148
  • Chapter VIII 156
  • Chapter XII 169
  • Chapter XIII 182
  • Chapter XIV 191
  • Chapter XIV 201
  • Part Three - Chapter I 211
  • Chapter I 211
  • Chapter II 225
  • Chapter II 234
  • Chapter II 236
  • Chapter II 239
  • Chapter II 255
  • Chapter II 271
  • Chapter II 284
  • Chapter II 301
  • Chapter X 309
  • Chapter XI 314
  • Explanatory Notes 325
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