in less to buy drugs than for consultations. So great was Homais'
reputation in the neighbouring villages. His robust aplomb had
fascinated the rustics. They considered him a greater doctor than all
Emma was leaning out at the window; she was often there. The window in
the provinces replaces the theatre and the promenade, she was amusing
herself with watching the crowd of boors when she saw a gentleman in
a green velvet coat. He had on yellow gloves, although he wore heavy
gaiters; he was coming towards the doctor's house, followed by a peasant
walking with a bent head and quite a thoughtful air.
"Can I see the doctor?" he asked Justin, who was talking on the
doorsteps with Felicite, and, taking him for a servant of the
house--"Tell him that Monsieur Rodolphe Boulanger of La Huchette is
It was not from territorial vanity that the new arrival added "of La
Huchette" to his name, but to make himself the better known.
La Huchette, in fact, was an estate near Yonville, where he had just
bought the chateau and two farms that he cultivated himself, without,
however, troubling very much about them. He lived as a bachelor, and was
supposed to have "at least fifteen thousand francs a year."
Charles came into the room. Monsieur Boulanger introduced his man, who
wanted to be bled because he felt "a tingling all over."
"That'll purge me," he urged as an objection to all reasoning.
So Bovary ordered a bandage and a basin, and asked Justin to hold it.
Then addressing the peasant, who was already pale--
"Don't be afraid, my lad."
"No, no, sir," said the other; "get on."
And with an air of bravado he held out his great arm. At the prick of
the lancet the blood spurted out, splashing against the looking-glass.
"Hold the basin nearer," exclaimed Charles.
"Lor!" said the peasant, "one would swear it was a little fountain
flowing. How red my blood is! That's a good sign, isn't it?"
"Sometimes," answered the doctor, "one feels nothing at first, and then
syncope sets in, and more especially with people of strong constitution
like this man."
At these words the rustic let go the lancet-case he was twisting between
his fingers. A shudder of his shoulders made the chair-back creak. His
hat fell off.
"I thought as much," said Bovary, pressing his finger on the vein.
The basin was beginning to tremble in Justin's hands; his knees shook,
he turned pale.
"Emma! Emma!" called Charles.
With one bound she came down the staircase.
"Some vinegar," he cried. "O dear! two at once!"
And in his emotion he could hardly put on the compress.
"It is nothing," said Monsieur Boulanger quietly, taking Justin in his
arms. He seated him on the table with his back resting against the wall.
Madame Bovary began taking off his cravat. The strings of his shirt had
got into a knot, and she was for some minutes moving her light fingers
about the young fellow's neck. Then she poured some vinegar on her
cambric handkerchief; she moistened his temples with little dabs, and
then blew upon them softly. The ploughman revived, but Justin's syncope
still lasted, and his eyeballs disappeared in the pale sclerotics like
blue flowers in milk.
"We must hide this from him," said Charles.
Madame Bovary took the basin to put it under the table. With the
movement she made in bending down, her dress (it was a summer dress with
four flounces, yellow, long in the waist and wide in the skirt) spread
out around her on the flags of the room; and as Emma stooping, staggered
a little as she stretched out her arms.
The stuff here and there gave with the inflections of her bust.
Then she went to fetch a bottle of water, and she was melting some
pieces of sugar when the chemist arrived. The servant had been to
fetch him in the tumult. Seeing his pupil's eyes staring he drew a long
breath; then going around him he looked at him from head to foot.
"Fool!" he said, "really a little fool! A fool in four letters! A
phlebotomy's a big affair, isn't it! And a fellow who isn't afraid of
anything; a kind of squirrel, just as he is who climbs to vertiginous
heights to shake down nuts. Oh, yes! you just talk to me, boast about
yourself! Here's a fine fitness for practising pharmacy later on; for
under serious circumstances you may be called before the tribunals in
order to enlighten the minds of the magistrates, and you would have to
keep your head then, to reason, show yourself a man, or else pass for an
Justin did not answer. The chemist went on--
"Who asked you to come? You are always pestering the doctor and madame.
On Wednesday, moreover, your presence is indispensable to me. There are
now twenty people in the shop. I left everything because of the interest
I take in you. Come, get along! Sharp! Wait for me, and keep an eye on
to right and left, and taking up much room with the large tails of his
frock-coat that fluttered behind him in the wind.
Rodolphe, having caught sight of him from afar, hurried on, but Madame
Bovary lost her breath; so he walked more slowly, and, smiling at her,
said in a rough tone--
"It's only to get away from that fat fellow, you know, the druggist."
She pressed his elbow.
"What's the meaning of that?" he asked himself. And he looked at her out
of the corner of his eyes.
Her profile was so calm that one could guess nothing from it. It stood
out in the light from the oval of her bonnet, with pale ribbons on it
like the leaves of weeds. Her eyes with their long curved lashes looked
straight before her, and though wide open, they seemed slightly puckered
by the cheek-bones, because of the blood pulsing gently under the
delicate skin. A pink line ran along the partition between her nostrils.
Her head was bent upon her shoulder, and the pearl tips of her white
teeth were seen between her lips.
"Is she making fun of me?" thought Rodolphe.
Emma's gesture, however, had only been meant for a warning; for Monsieur
Lheureux was accompanying them, and spoke now and again as if to enter
into the conversation.
"What a superb day! Everybody is out! The wind is east!"
And neither Madame Bovary nor Rodolphe answered him, whilst at the
slightest movement made by them he drew near, saying, "I beg your
pardon!" and raised his hat.
When they reached the farrier's house, instead of following the road
up to the fence, Rodolphe suddenly turned down a path, drawing with him
Madame Bovary. He called out--
"Good evening, Monsieur Lheureux! See you again presently."
"How you got rid of him!" she said, laughing.
"Why," he went on, "allow oneself to be intruded upon by others? And as
to-day I have the happiness of being with you--"
Emma blushed. He did not finish his sentence. Then he talked of the fine
weather and of the pleasure of walking on the grass. A few daisies had
sprung up again.
"Here are some pretty Easter daisies," he said, "and enough of them to
furnish oracles to all the amorous maids in the place."
He added, "Shall I pick some? What do you think?"
"Are you in love?" she asked, coughing a little.
"H'm, h'm! who knows?" answered Rodolphe.
The meadow began to fill, and the housewives hustled you with their
great umbrellas, their baskets, and their babies. One had often to get
out of the way of a long file of country folk, servant-maids with blue
stockings, flat shoes, silver rings, and who smelt of milk, when one
passed close to them. They walked along holding one another by the hand,
and thus they spread over the whole field from the row of open trees to
the banquet tent.
But this was the examination time, and the farmers one after the other
entered a kind of enclosure formed by a long cord supported on sticks.
The beasts were there, their noses towards the cord, and making a
confused line with their unequal rumps. Drowsy pigs were burrowing in
the earth with their snouts, calves were bleating, lambs baaing; the
cows, on knees folded in, were stretching their bellies on the grass,
slowly chewing the cud, and blinking their heavy eyelids at the gnats
that buzzed round them. Plough-men with bare arms were holding by the
halter prancing stallions that neighed with dilated nostrils looking
towards the mares. These stood quietly, stretching out their heads and
flowing manes, while their foals rested in their shadow, or now and then
came and sucked them. And above the long undulation of these crowded
animals one saw some white mane rising in the wind like a wave, or some
sharp horns sticking out, and the heads of men running about. Apart,
outside the enclosure, a hundred paces off, was a large black bull,
muzzled, with an iron ring in its nostrils, and who moved no more than
if he had been in bronze. A child in rags was holding him by a rope.
Between the two lines the committee-men were walking with heavy steps,
examining each animal, then consulting one another in a low voice. One
who seemed of more importance now and then took notes in a book as he
walked along. This was the president of the jury, Monsieur Derozerays de
la Panville. As soon as he recognised Rodolphe he came forward quickly,
and smiling amiably, said--
"What! Monsieur Boulanger, you are deserting us?"
Rodolphe protested that he was just coming. But when the president had
"Ma foi!*" said he, "I shall not go. Your company is better than his."
*Upon my word!
And while poking fun at the show, Rodolphe, to move about more easily,
showed the gendarme his blue card, and even stopped now and then in
front of some fine beast, which Madame Bovary did not at all admire.
He noticed this, and began jeering at the Yonville ladies and their
dresses; then he apologised for the negligence of his own. He had that
incongruity of common and elegant in which the habitually vulgar think
they see the revelation of an eccentric existence, of the perturbations
of sentiment, the tyrannies of art, and always a certain contempt for
social conventions, that seduces or exasperates them. Thus his cambric
shirt with plaited cuffs was blown out by the wind in the opening of his
waistcoat of grey ticking, and his broad-striped trousers disclosed at
the ankle nankeen boots with patent leather gaiters.
These were so polished that they reflected the grass. He trampled on
horses's dung with them, one hand in the pocket of his jacket and his
straw hat on one side.
"Besides," added he, "when one lives in the country--"
"It's waste of time," said Emma.
"That is true," replied Rodolphe. "To think that not one of these people
is capable of understanding even the cut of a coat!"
Then they talked about provincial mediocrity, of the lives it crushed,
the illusions lost there.
"And I too," said Rodolphe, "am drifting into depression."
"You!" she said in astonishment; "I thought you very light-hearted."
"Ah! yes. I seem so, because in the midst of the world I know how to
wear the mask of a scoffer upon my face; and yet, how many a time at the