heart, sweet and indistinct like the echo of a symphony dying away.
"Bring me the child," she said, raising herself on her elbow.
"You are not worse, are you?" asked Charles.
The child, serious, and still half-asleep, was carried in on the
servant's arm in her long white nightgown, from which her bare
feet peeped out. She looked wonderingly at the disordered room, and
half-closed her eyes, dazzled by the candles burning on the table. They
reminded her, no doubt, of the morning of New Year's day and Mid-Lent,
when thus awakened early by candle-light she came to her mother's bed to
fetch her presents, for she began saying--
"But where is it, mamma?" And as everybody was silent, "But I can't see
my little stocking."
Felicite held her over the bed while she still kept looking towards the
"Has nurse taken it?" she asked.
And at this name, that carried her back to the memory of her adulteries
and her calamities, Madame Bovary turned away her head, as at the
loathing of another bitterer poison that rose to her mouth. But Berthe
remained perched on the bed.
"Oh, how big your eyes are, mamma! How pale you are! how hot you are!"
Her mother looked at her. "I am frightened!" cried the child, recoiling.
Emma took her hand to kiss it; the child struggled.
"That will do. Take her away," cried Charles, who was sobbing in the
Then the symptoms ceased for a moment; she seemed less agitated; and at
every insignificant word, at every respiration a little more easy, he
regained hope. At last, when Canivet came in, he threw himself into his
"Ah! it is you. Thanks! You are good! But she is better. See! look at
His colleague was by no means of this opinion, and, as he said of
himself, "never beating about the bush," he prescribed, an emetic in
order to empty the stomach completely.
She soon began vomiting blood. Her lips became drawn. Her limbs were
convulsed, her whole body covered with brown spots, and her pulse
slipped beneath the fingers like a stretched thread, like a harp-string
After this she began to scream horribly. She cursed the poison, railed
at it, and implored it to be quick, and thrust away with her stiffened
her drink. He stood up, his handkerchief to his lips, with a rattling
sound in his throat, weeping, and choked by sobs that shook his whole
body. Felicite was running hither and thither in the room. Homais,
motionless, uttered great sighs; and Monsieur Canivet, always retaining
his self-command, nevertheless began to feel uneasy.
"The devil! yet she has been purged, and from the moment that the cause
"The effect must cease," said Homais, "that is evident."
"Oh, save her!" cried Bovary.
And, without listening to the chemist, who was still venturing the
hypothesis, "It is perhaps a salutary paroxysm," Canivet was about to
administer some theriac, when they heard the cracking of a whip; all the
windows rattled, and a post-chaise drawn by three horses abreast, up to
their ears in mud, drove at a gallop round the corner of the market. It
was Doctor Lariviere.
The apparition of a god would not have caused more commotion. Bovary
raised his hands; Canivet stopped short; and Homais pulled off his
skull-cap long before the doctor had come in.
He belonged to that great school of surgery begotten of Bichat, to that
generation, now extinct, of philosophical practitioners, who, loving
their art with a fanatical love, exercised it with enthusiasm and
wisdom. Everyone in his hospital trembled when he was angry; and his
students so revered him that they tried, as soon as they were themselves
in practice, to imitate him as much as possible. So that in all the
towns about they were found wearing his long wadded merino overcoat
and black frock-coat, whose buttoned cuffs slightly covered his brawny
hands--very beautiful hands, and that never knew gloves, as though to be
more ready to plunge into suffering. Disdainful of honours, of titles,
and of academies, like one of the old Knight-Hospitallers, generous,
fatherly to the poor, and practising virtue without believing in it, he
would almost have passed for a saint if the keenness of his intellect
had not caused him to be feared as a demon. His glance, more penetrating
than his bistouries, looked straight into your soul, and dissected every
lie athwart all assertions and all reticences. And thus he went along,
full of that debonair majesty that is given by the consciousness
of great talent, of fortune, and of forty years of a labourious and
He frowned as soon as he had passed the door when he saw the cadaverous
face of Emma stretched out on her back with her mouth open. Then, while
apparently listening to Canivet, he rubbed his fingers up and down
beneath his nostrils, and repeated--
But he made a slow gesture with his shoulders. Bovary watched him; they
looked at one another; and this man, accustomed as he was to the sight
of pain, could not keep back a tear that fell on his shirt-frill.
He tried to take Canivet into the next room. Charles followed him.
"She is very ill, isn't she? If we put on sinapisms? Anything! Oh, think
of something, you who have saved so many!"
Charles caught him in both his arms, and gazed at him wildly,
imploringly, half-fainting against his breast.
"Come, my poor fellow, courage! There is nothing more to be done."
And Doctor Lariviere turned away.
"You are going?"
"I will come back."
He went out only to give an order to the coachman, with Monsieur
Canivet, who did not care either to have Emma die under his hands.
The chemist rejoined them on the Place. He could not by temperament keep
away from celebrities, so he begged Monsieur Lariviere to do him the
signal honour of accepting some breakfast.
He sent quickly to the "Lion d'Or" for some pigeons; to the butcher's
for all the cutlets that were to be had; to Tuvache for cream; and
to Lestiboudois for eggs; and the druggist himself aided in the
preparations, while Madame Homais was saying as she pulled together the
strings of her jacket--
"You must excuse us, sir, for in this poor place, when one hasn't been
told the night before--"
"Wine glasses!" whispered Homais.
"If only we were in town, we could fall back upon stuffed trotters."
"Be quiet! Sit down, doctor!"
He thought fit, after the first few mouthfuls, to give some details as
to the catastrophe.
"We first had a feeling of siccity in the pharynx, then intolerable
death, she had received the communion. Perhaps there was no need to
despair, he thought.
In fact, she looked around her slowly, as one awakening from a dream;
then in a distinct voice she asked for her looking-glass, and remained
some time bending over it, until the big tears fell from her eyes. Then
she turned away her head with a sigh and fell back upon the pillows.
Her chest soon began panting rapidly; the whole of her tongue protruded
from her mouth; her eyes, as they rolled, grew paler, like the two
globes of a lamp that is going out, so that one might have thought
her already dead but for the fearful labouring of her ribs, shaken
by violent breathing, as if the soul were struggling to free itself.
Felicite knelt down before the crucifix, and the druggist himself
slightly bent his knees, while Monsieur Canivet looked out vaguely at
the Place. Bournisien had again begun to pray, his face bowed against
the edge of the bed, his long black cassock trailing behind him in the
room. Charles was on the other side, on his knees, his arms outstretched
towards Emma. He had taken her hands and pressed them, shuddering at
every beat of her heart, as at the shaking of a falling ruin. As the
death-rattle became stronger the priest prayed faster; his prayers
mingled with the stifled sobs of Bovary, and sometimes all seemed lost
in the muffled murmur of the Latin syllables that tolled like a passing
Suddenly on the pavement was heard a loud noise of clogs and the
clattering of a stick; and a voice rose--a raucous voice--that sang--
"Maids in the warmth of a summer day Dream of love and of love always"
Emma raised herself like a galvanised corpse, her hair undone, her eyes
"Where the sickle blades have been, Nannette, gathering ears of corn,
Passes bending down, my queen, To the earth where they were born."
"The blind man!" she cried. And Emma began to laugh, an atrocious,
frantic, despairing laugh, thinking she saw the hideous face of the poor
wretch that stood out against the eternal night like a menace.
"The wind is strong this summer day, Her petticoat has flown away."
She fell back upon the mattress in a convulsion. They all drew near. She
There is always after the death of anyone a kind of stupefaction;
so difficult is it to grasp this advent of nothingness and to resign
ourselves to believe in it. But still, when he saw that she did not
move, Charles threw himself upon her, crying--
Homais and Canivet dragged him from the room.
"Yes." said he, struggling, "I'll be quiet. I'll not do anything. But
leave me alone. I want to see her. She is my wife!"
And he wept.
"Cry," said the chemist; "let nature take her course; that will solace
Weaker than a child, Charles let himself be led downstairs into the
sitting-room, and Monsieur Homais soon went home. On the Place he
was accosted by the blind man, who, having dragged himself as far as
Yonville, in the hope of getting the antiphlogistic pomade, was asking
every passer-by where the druggist lived.
"There now! as if I hadn't got other fish to fry. Well, so much the
worse; you must come later on."
And he entered the shop hurriedly.
He had to write two letters, to prepare a soothing potion for Bovary, to
invent some lie that would conceal the poisoning, and work it up into an
article for the "Fanal," without counting the people who were waiting to
get the news from him; and when the Yonvillers had all heard his story
of the arsenic that she had mistaken for sugar in making a vanilla
cream. Homais once more returned to Bovary's.
He found him alone (Monsieur Canivet had left), sitting in an arm-chair
near the window, staring with an idiotic look at the flags of the floor.
"Now," said the chemist, "you ought yourself to fix the hour for the
"Why? What ceremony?" Then, in a stammering, frightened voice, "Oh, no!
not that. No! I want to see her here."
Homais, to keep himself in countenance, took up a water-bottle on the
whatnot to water the geraniums.
"Ah! thanks," said Charles; "you are good."
But he did not finish, choking beneath the crowd of memories that this
action of the druggist recalled to him.
Then to distract him, Homais thought fit to talk a little horticulture:
plants wanted humidity. Charles bowed his head in sign of approbation.
"Besides, the fine days will soon be here again."
"Ah!" said Bovary.
The druggist, at his wit's end, began softly to draw aside the small
"Hallo! there's Monsieur Tuvache passing."
Charles repeated like a machine---
"Monsieur Tuvache passing!"
Homais did not dare to speak to him again about the funeral
arrangements; it was the priest who succeeded in reconciling him to