still shone, half hidden in the shade, the coarse colours of four bills
representing four scenes from the "Tour de Nesle," with a motto in
Spanish and French at the bottom. Through the sash-window a patch of
dark sky was seen between the pointed roofs.
She rose to light two wax-candles on the drawers, then she sat down
"Well!" said Leon.
"Well!" she replied.
He was thinking how to resume the interrupted conversation, when she
said to him--
"How is it that no one until now has ever expressed such sentiments to
The clerk said that ideal natures were difficult to understand. He from
the first moment had loved her, and he despaired when he thought of the
happiness that would have been theirs, if thanks to fortune, meeting her
earlier, they had been indissolubly bound to one another.
"I have sometimes thought of it," she went on.
"What a dream!" murmured Leon. And fingering gently the blue binding of
her long white sash, he added, "And who prevents us from beginning now?"
"No, my friend," she replied; "I am too old; you are too young. Forget
me! Others will love you; you will love them."
"Not as you!" he cried.
"What a child you are! Come, let us be sensible. I wish it."
She showed him the impossibility of their love, and that they must
remain, as formerly, on the simple terms of a fraternal friendship.
Was she speaking thus seriously? No doubt Emma did not herself know,
quite absorbed as she was by the charm of the seduction, and the
necessity of defending herself from it; and contemplating the young
man with a moved look, she gently repulsed the timid caresses that his
trembling hands attempted.
"Ah! forgive me!" he cried, drawing back.
Emma was seized with a vague fear at this shyness, more dangerous to her
than the boldness of Rodolphe when he advanced to her open-armed. No man
had ever seemed to her so beautiful. An exquisite candour emanated from
his being. He lowered his long fine eyelashes, that curled upwards.
His cheek, with the soft skin reddened, she thought, with desire of her
person, and Emma felt an invincible longing to press her lips to it.
Then, leaning towards the clock as if to see the time--
"Ah! how late it is!" she said; "how we do chatter!"
He understood the hint and took up his hat.
"It has even made me forget the theatre. And poor Bovary has left me
here especially for that. Monsieur Lormeaux, of the Rue Grand-Pont, was
to take me and his wife."
And the opportunity was lost, as she was to leave the next day.
"Really!" said Leon.
"But I must see you again," he went on. "I wanted to tell you--"
"Something--important--serious. Oh, no! Besides, you will not go; it is
impossible. If you should--listen to me. Then you have not understood
me; you have not guessed--"
"Yet you speak plainly," said Emma.
"Ah! you can jest. Enough! enough! Oh, for pity's sake, let me see you
"Well--" She stopped; then, as if thinking better of it, "Oh, not here!"
"Where you will."
"Will you--" She seemed to reflect; then abruptly, "To-morrow at eleven
o'clock in the cathedral."
"I shall be there," he cried, seizing her hands, which she disengaged.
And as they were both standing up, he behind her, and Emma with her head
bent, he stooped over her and pressed long kisses on her neck.
"You are mad! Ah! you are mad!" she said, with sounding little laughs,
while the kisses multiplied.
Then bending his head over her shoulder, he seemed to beg the consent of
her eyes. They fell upon him full of an icy dignity.
Leon stepped back to go out. He stopped on the threshold; then he
whispered with a trembling voice, "Tomorrow!"
She answered with a nod, and disappeared like a bird into the next room.
In the evening Emma wrote the clerk an interminable letter, in which she
cancelled the rendezvous; all was over; they must not, for the sake of
their happiness, meet again. But when the letter was finished, as she
did not know Leon's address, she was puzzled.
"I'll give it to him myself," she said; "he will come."
The next morning, at the open window, and humming on his balcony, Leon
himself varnished his pumps with several coatings. He put on white
trousers, fine socks, a green coat, emptied all the scent he had into
his handkerchief, then having had his hair curled, he uncurled it again,
in order to give it a more natural elegance.
"It is still too early," he thought, looking at the hairdresser's
cuckoo-clock, that pointed to the hour of nine. He read an old fashion
journal, went out, smoked a cigar, walked up three streets, thought it
was time, and went slowly towards the porch of Notre Dame.
It was a beautiful summer morning. Silver plate sparkled in the
jeweller's windows, and the light falling obliquely on the cathedral
made mirrors of the corners of the grey stones; a flock of birds
fluttered in the grey sky round the trefoil bell-turrets; the square,
resounding with cries, was fragrant with the flowers that bordered its
pavement, roses, jasmines, pinks, narcissi, and tube-roses, unevenly
spaced out between moist grasses, catmint, and chickweed for the birds;
the fountains gurgled in the centre, and under large umbrellas, amidst
melons, piled up in heaps, flower-women, bare-headed, were twisting
paper round bunches of violets.
The young man took one. It was the first time that he had bought flowers
for a woman, and his breast, as he smelt them, swelled with pride, as if
this homage that he meant for another had recoiled upon himself.
But he was afraid of being seen; he resolutely entered the church. The
beadle, who was just then standing on the threshold in the middle of the
left doorway, under the "Dancing Marianne," with feather cap, and rapier
dangling against his calves, came in, more majestic than a cardinal, and
as shining as a saint on a holy pyx.
He came towards Leon, and, with that smile of wheedling benignity
assumed by ecclesiastics when they question children--
"The gentleman, no doubt, does not belong to these parts? The gentleman
would like to see the curiosities of the church?"
"No!" said the other.
And he first went round the lower aisles. Then he went out to look at
the Place. Emma was not coming yet. He went up again to the choir.
The nave was reflected in the full fonts with the beginning of the
arches and some portions of the glass windows. But the reflections of
the paintings, broken by the marble rim, were continued farther on upon
the flag-stones, like a many-coloured carpet. The broad daylight from
It is not possible, is it, to see a more perfect representation of
Madame Bovary put up her eyeglasses. Leon, motionless, looked at her,
no longer even attempting to speak a single word, to make a gesture,
so discouraged was he at this two-fold obstinacy of gossip and
The everlasting guide went on--
"Near him, this kneeling woman who weeps is his spouse, Diane de
Poitiers, Countess de Breze, Duchess de Valentinois, born in 1499, died
in 1566, and to the left, the one with the child is the Holy Virgin. Now
turn to this side; here are the tombs of the Ambroise. They were both
cardinals and archbishops of Rouen. That one was minister under Louis
XII. He did a great deal for the cathedral. In his will he left thirty
thousand gold crowns for the poor."
And without stopping, still talking, he pushed them into a chapel
full of balustrades, some put away, and disclosed a kind of block that
certainly might once have been an ill-made statue.
"Truly," he said with a groan, "it adorned the tomb of Richard Coeur de
Lion, King of England and Duke of Normandy. It was the Calvinists, sir,
who reduced it to this condition. They had buried it for spite in the
earth, under the episcopal seat of Monsignor. See! this is the door by
which Monsignor passes to his house. Let us pass on quickly to see the
But Leon hastily took some silver from his pocket and seized Emma's
arm. The beadle stood dumfounded, not able to understand this untimely
munificence when there were still so many things for the stranger to
see. So calling him back, he cried--
"Sir! sir! The steeple! the steeple!"
"No, thank you!" said Leon.
"You are wrong, sir! It is four hundred and forty feet high, nine less
than the great pyramid of Egypt. It is all cast; it--"
Leon was fleeing, for it seemed to him that his love, that for nearly
two hours now had become petrified in the church like the stones, would
vanish like a vapour through that sort of truncated funnel, of oblong
cage, of open chimney that rises so grotesquely from the cathedral like
the extravagant attempt of some fantastic brazier.
"But where are we going?" she said.
Making no answer, he walked on with a rapid step; and Madame Bovary
was already, dipping her finger in the holy water when behind them they
heard a panting breath interrupted by the regular sound of a cane. Leon
"What is it?"
And he recognised the beadle, holding under his arms and balancing
against his stomach some twenty large sewn volumes. They were works
"which treated of the cathedral."
"Idiot!" growled Leon, rushing out of the church.
A lad was playing about the close.
"Go and get me a cab!"
The child bounded off like a ball by the Rue Quatre-Vents; then they
were alone a few minutes, face to face, and a little embarrassed.
"Ah! Leon! Really--I don't know--if I ought," she whispered. Then with a
more serious air, "Do you know, it is very improper--"
"How so?" replied the clerk. "It is done at Paris."
And that, as an irresistible argument, decided her.
Still the cab did not come. Leon was afraid she might go back into the
church. At last the cab appeared.
"At all events, go out by the north porch," cried the beadle, who was
left alone on the threshold, "so as to see the Resurrection, the Last
Judgment, Paradise, King David, and the Condemned in Hell-flames."
"Where to, sir?" asked the coachman.
"Where you like," said Leon, forcing Emma into the cab.
And the lumbering machine set out. It went down the Rue Grand-Pont,
crossed the Place des Arts, the Quai Napoleon, the Pont Neuf, and
stopped short before the statue of Pierre Corneille.
"Go on," cried a voice that came from within.
The cab went on again, and as soon as it reached the Carrefour
Lafayette, set off down-hill, and entered the station at a gallop.
"No, straight on!" cried the same voice.
The cab came out by the gate, and soon having reached the Cours, trotted
quietly beneath the elm-trees. The coachman wiped his brow, put his
leather hat between his knees, and drove his carriage beyond the side
alley by the meadow to the margin of the waters.
It went along by the river, along the towing-path paved with sharp
pebbles, and for a long while in the direction of Oyssel, beyond the
But suddenly it turned with a dash across Quatremares, Sotteville, La
Grande-Chaussee, the Rue d'Elbeuf, and made its third halt in front of
the Jardin des Plantes.
"Get on, will you?" cried the voice more furiously.
And at once resuming its course, it passed by Saint-Sever, by the
Quai'des Curandiers, the Quai aux Meules, once more over the bridge, by
the Place du Champ de Mars, and behind the hospital gardens, where old
men in black coats were walking in the sun along the terrace all green
with ivy. It went up the Boulevard Bouvreuil, along the Boulevard
Cauchoise, then the whole of Mont-Riboudet to the Deville hills.
It came back; and then, without any fixed plan or direction, wandered
about at hazard. The cab was seen at Saint-Pol, at Lescure, at Mont
Gargan, at La Rougue-Marc and Place du Gaillardbois; in the Rue
Maladrerie, Rue Dinanderie, before Saint-Romain, Saint-Vivien,
Saint-Maclou, Saint-Nicaise--in front of the Customs, at the "Vieille
Tour," the "Trois Pipes," and the Monumental Cemetery. From time to time
the coachman, on his box cast despairing eyes at the public-houses.
He could not understand what furious desire for locomotion urged these
individuals never to wish to stop. He tried to now and then, and at
once exclamations of anger burst forth behind him. Then he lashed his
perspiring jades afresh, but indifferent to their jolting, running up
against things here and there, not caring if he did, demoralised, and
almost weeping with thirst, fatigue, and depression.
And on the harbour, in the midst of the drays and casks, and in the
streets, at the corners, the good folk opened large wonder-stricken
eyes at this sight, so extraordinary in the provinces, a cab with blinds
drawn, and which appeared thus constantly shut more closely than a tomb,