of the dry reeds. Masses of shadow here and there loomed out in the
darkness, and sometimes, vibrating with one movement, they rose up and
swayed like immense black waves pressing forward to engulf them. The
cold of the nights made them clasp closer; the sighs of their lips
seemed to them deeper; their eyes that they could hardly see, larger;
and in the midst of the silence low words were spoken that fell on
their souls sonorous, crystalline, and that reverberated in multiplied
When the night was rainy, they took refuge in the consulting-room
between the cart-shed and the stable. She lighted one of the kitchen
candles that she had hidden behind the books. Rodolphe settled down
there as if at home. The sight of the library, of the bureau, of the
whole apartment, in fine, excited his merriment, and he could not
refrain from making jokes about Charles, which rather embarrassed Emma.
She would have liked to see him more serious, and even on occasions
more dramatic; as, for example, when she thought she heard a noise of
approaching steps in the alley.
"Someone is coming!" she said.
He blew out the light.
"Have you your pistols?"
"Why, to defend yourself," replied Emma.
"From your husband? Oh, poor devil!" And Rodolphe finished his sentence
with a gesture that said, "I could crush him with a flip of my finger."
She was wonder-stricken at his bravery, although she felt in it a sort
of indecency and a naive coarseness that scandalised her.
Rodolphe reflected a good deal on the affair of the pistols. If she had
spoken seriously, it was very ridiculous, he thought, even odious; for
he had no reason to hate the good Charles, not being what is called
devoured by jealousy; and on this subject Emma had taken a great vow
that he did not think in the best of taste.
Besides, she was growing very sentimental. She had insisted on
exchanging miniatures; they had cut off handfuls of hair, and now she