'Nobody at all. Your husband is crying and asking for you. They're hunting for you everywhere.'
Emma said nothing. Her eyes were rolling, her breath was coming in pants. The country-woman, frightened by the look on her face, instinctively drew back, thinking she must be mad. Suddenly, Emma struck her forehead and uttered a cry, for the thought of Rodolphe had flashed into her mind like lightning on a dark night. He was so kind, so sensitive, so generous! Besides, should he hesitate to render her this service, there were ways in which she could bring pressure to bear. One glance from her eyes would wake in him the memory of their former love. So off she hurried to La Huchette, quite oblivious of the fact that she was about to acquiesce in what, only a few hours before, had roused her indignation. It never occurred to her that what she proposed to do really amounted to prostitution.
SHE kept on asking herself while she walked, 'What am I going to say? How am I going to begin?' As she drew near to La Huchette she found herself recognizing the bushes, the trees, the gorse covering the hill, and, down below, she saw the château. The feelings of an earlier tenderness came flooding back, and her poor oppressed heart dilated in the atmosphere of love. A warm wind was blowing in her face. The snow was melting, falling in slow drops from the young shoots on to the grass.
She entered, as of old, by the small gate in the park wall, and reached the Court of Honour which was bordered by a double row of tufted limes. Their long branches swayed in the wind with a swishing sound. The kennel dogs all started barking, but the noise brought no one from the house.
She went up the wide, straight staircase with its wooden balusters, which led to a corridor paved with dusty tiles. On to this a succession of rooms opened as in monasteries or inns. His was at the far end, on the left. Just as she was about to take the latch in her hand, her strength suddenly failed her. She was afraid he might not be there, almost hoped he would not. Yet, this was her last hope, her last chance of salvation. She stood for a moment collecting herself.