Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town

By Gustave Flaubert; Gerard Hopkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII

THEIR love-making began all over again. Emma would frequently sit down in the middle of the day, write him a letter and beckon through the window to Justin. Then the boy would take off his apron before setting off at full speed for La Huchette. A little later Rodolphe would appear. She only wanted to tell him how bored she was, how wholeheartedly she loathed her husband and the life she was called upon to endure.

'But what can I do about it?' he exclaimed one day in an access of irritation.

'You could do a great deal, if you only would. . . .'

She was sitting on the ground between his knees, her hair loose, a far-away look in her eyes.

'What could I do?' he asked.

She sighed.

'We could go away and live together . . . somewhere. . . .'

'You must be mad!' he answered with a laugh: 'how could we possibly do that?'

She returned to the subject. He pretended not to understand and edged the conversation into other channels. He could not see why she should make such a fuss about anything so simple as love. But there was a motive, a reason in what she did. She needed something over and above her attachment, something that should give it strength and purpose.

The tenderness of her feeling for him grew stronger as the days passed. It increased in proportion as the thought of her husband became more and more repellent. Surrender to the one bred hatred of the other. Never had Charles been so distasteful to her; never before had she found his fingers so spatulate, his mind so stodgy, his manners so common, as when she sat with him after one of her meetings with Rodolphe. All the time that she was playing the part of virtuous wife her mind was on fire with memories of the familiar head with its black hair falling in curls over a sun-tanned brow, of the figure at once so strong and so elegant, of the man who combined intellectual experience with such fervent desire. It was for him that she filed her nails with an artist's care. She could never put enough cold cream on her skin or patchouli on her handkerchief. She loaded

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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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