turned to his mistress, a Rouen actress whom he was keeping. The idea of her, the memory of her, brought with it a sense of satiety, and--
Madame Bovary, he reflected, is a great deal prettier, and quite unspoiled. Virginie is beginning to put on fat, and she's so fussy about her pleasures. Besides, she's got a perfect mania for shrimps!
There was no one about in the meadows, and Rodolphe could hear nothing but the swish of his feet in the grass and the scraping of the distant crickets in the oats. He conjured up a picture of Emma dressed as he had seen her in the parlour, and he began mentally to undress her.
'I'll have her yet!' he exclaimed, and crushed a clod of earth with a blow of his stick.
At once, he started to consider the tactical possibilities of the situation.
Where can I manage to meet her--and how? She's always got that kid hanging to her apron-strings, to say nothing of the servant, the husband and the neighbours--all sorts of tiresome obstacles. Bah! It's too much like work!
But he could not get his mind off the subject: she's got eyes that go through you like a drill: and that wonderful pallor of hers--I adore pale women!
By the time he had reached the top of the hill at Argueil, he had made up his mind.
It's only a question of finding an opportunity. I'll call on them once or twice, send them some game and a few chickens. If need be, I'll have myself bled. We'll strike up a friendship: I'll invite them to my place. By Jove--the agricultural show'll be coming off shortly, she'll be there and I shall see her. That's where I'll make a beginning, and I'll go straight to the point--it's always the best way!
THE day of the famous show* arrived. From early in the morning of the great occasion the inhabitants stood about on their doorsteps discussing the preparations. The front of the town hall had been festooned with ivy. A tent had been set up in one of the meadows for the banquet, and in the middle of the square, opposite the church, a