"Whose fault is that?" said Lheureux, bowing ironically. "While I'm
slaving like a nigger, you go gallivanting about."
"Ah! no lecturing."
"It never does any harm," he replied.
She turned coward; she implored him; she even pressed her pretty white
and slender hand against the shopkeeper's knee.
"There, that'll do! Anyone'd think you wanted to seduce me!"
"You are a wretch!" she cried.
"Oh, oh! go it! go it!"
"I will show you up. I shall tell my husband."
"All right! I too. I'll show your husband something."
And Lheureux drew from his strong box the receipt for eighteen hundred
francs that she had given him when Vincart had discounted the bills.
"Do you think," he added, "that he'll not understand your little theft,
the poor dear man?"
She collapsed, more overcome than if felled by the blow of a pole-axe.
He was walking up and down from the window to the bureau, repeating all
"Ah! I'll show him! I'll show him!" Then he approached her, and in a
soft voice said--
"It isn't pleasant, I know; but, after all, no bones are broken, and,
since that is the only way that is left for you paying back my money--"
"But where am I to get any?" said Emma, wringing her hands.
"Bah! when one has friends like you!"
And he looked at her in so keen, so terrible a fashion, that she
shuddered to her very heart.
"I promise you," she said, "to sign--"
"I've enough of your signatures."
"I will sell something."
"Get along!" he said, shrugging his shoulders; "you've not got
And he called through the peep-hole that looked down into the shop--
"Annette, don't forget the three coupons of No. 14."
The servant appeared. Emma understood, and asked how much money would be
wanted to put a stop to the proceedings.
"It is too late."
"But if I brought you several thousand francs--a quarter of the sum--a
third--perhaps the whole?"
"No; it's no use!"
And he pushed her gently towards the staircase.
"I implore you, Monsieur Lheureux, just a few days more!" She was
"There! tears now!"
"You are driving me to despair!"
"What do I care?" said he, shutting the door.
She was stoical the next day when Maitre Hareng, the bailiff, with two
assistants, presented himself at her house to draw up the inventory for
They began with Bovary's consulting-room, and did not write down
the phrenological head, which was considered an "instrument of his
the chairs, the candlesticks, and in the bedroom all the nick-nacks on
the whatnot. They examined her dresses, the linen, the dressing-room;
and her whole existence to its most intimate details, was, like a corpse
on whom a post-mortem is made, outspread before the eyes of these three
Maitre Hareng, buttoned up in his thin black coat, wearing a white
choker and very tight foot-straps, repeated from time to time--"Allow
me, madame. You allow me?" Often he uttered exclamations. "Charming!
very pretty." Then he began writing again, dipping his pen into the horn
inkstand in his left hand.
When they had done with the rooms they went up to the attic. She kept a
desk there in which Rodolphe's letters were locked. It had to be opened.
"Ah! a correspondence," said Maitre Hareng, with a discreet smile. "But
allow me, for I must make sure the box contains nothing else." And he
tipped up the papers lightly, as if to shake out napoleons. Then she
grew angered to see this coarse hand, with fingers red and pulpy like
slugs, touching these pages against which her heart had beaten.
They went at last. Felicite came back. Emma had sent her out to watch
for Bovary in order to keep him off, and they hurriedly installed the
man in possession under the roof, where he swore he would remain.
During the evening Charles seemed to her careworn. Emma watched him with
a look of anguish, fancying she saw an accusation in every line of his
face. Then, when her eyes wandered over the chimney-piece ornamented
with Chinese screens, over the large curtains, the armchairs, all
those things, in a word, that had, softened the bitterness of her life,
remorse seized her or rather an immense regret, that, far from crushing,
irritated her passion. Charles placidly poked the fire, both his feet on
Once the man, no doubt bored in his hiding-place, made a slight noise.
"Is anyone walking upstairs?" said Charles.
"No," she replied; "it is a window that has been left open, and is
rattling in the wind."
The next day, Sunday, she went to Rouen to call on all the brokers whose
names she knew. They were at their country-places or on journeys. She
was not discouraged; and those whom she did manage to see she asked for
money, declaring she must have some, and that she would pay it back.
Some laughed in her face; all refused.
At two o'clock she hurried to Leon, and knocked at the door. No one
answered. At length he appeared.
"What brings you here?"
"Do I disturb you?"
"No; but--" And he admitted that his landlord didn't like his having
"I must speak to you," she went on.
Then he took down the key, but she stopped him.
"No, no! Down there, in our home!"
And they went to their room at the Hotel de Boulogne.
On arriving she drank off a large glass of water. She was very pale. She
said to him--
"Leon, you will do me a service?"
And, shaking him by both hands that she grasped tightly, she added--
"Listen, I want eight thousand francs."
"But you are mad!"
And thereupon, telling him the story of the distraint, she explained
her distress to him; for Charles knew nothing of it; her mother-in-law
detested her; old Rouault could do nothing; but he, Leon, he would set
about finding this indispensable sum.
"How on earth can I?"
"What a coward you are!" she cried.
Then he said stupidly, "You are exaggerating the difficulty. Perhaps,
with a thousand crowns or so the fellow could be stopped."
All the greater reason to try and do something; it was impossible that
they could not find three thousand francs. Besides, Leon, could be
security instead of her.
"Go, try, try! I will love you so!"
He went out, and came back at the end of an hour, saying, with solemn
"I have been to three people with no success."
Then they remained sitting face to face at the two chimney corners,
motionless, in silence. Emma shrugged her shoulders as she stamped her
feet. He heard her murmuring--
"If I were in your place _I_ should soon get some."
"At your office." And she looked at him.
An infernal boldness looked out from her burning eyes, and their lids
drew close together with a lascivious and encouraging look, so that the
young man felt himself growing weak beneath the mute will of this woman
who was urging him to a crime. Then he was afraid, and to avoid any
explanation he smote his forehead, crying--
"Morel is to come back to-night; he will not refuse me, I hope" (this
was one of his friends, the son of a very rich merchant); "and I will
bring it you to-morrow," he added.
Emma did not seem to welcome this hope with all the joy he had expected.
Did she suspect the lie? He went on, blushing--
"However, if you don't see me by three o'clock do not wait for me, my
darling. I must be off now; forgive me! Goodbye!"
He pressed her hand, but it felt quite lifeless. Emma had no strength
left for any sentiment.
Four o'clock struck, and she rose to return to Yonville, mechanically
obeying the force of old habits.
The weather was fine. It was one of those March days, clear and sharp,
when the sun shines in a perfectly white sky. The Rouen folk, in
Sunday-clothes, were walking about with happy looks. She reached the
Place du Parvis. People were coming out after vespers; the crowd flowed
out through the three doors like a stream through the three arches of
a bridge, and in the middle one, more motionless than a rock, stood the
Then she remembered the day when, all anxious and full of hope, she had
entered beneath this large nave, that had opened out before her, less
profound than her love; and she walked on weeping beneath her veil,
giddy, staggering, almost fainting.
"Take care!" cried a voice issuing from the gate of a courtyard that was
She stopped to let pass a black horse, pawing the ground between the
shafts of a tilbury, driven by a gentleman in sable furs. Who was it?
She knew him. The carriage darted by and disappeared.
Why, it was he--the Viscount. She turned away; the street was empty. She
was so overwhelmed, so sad, that she had to lean against a wall to keep
herself from falling.
Then she thought she had been mistaken. Anyhow, she did not know. All
within her and around her was abandoning her. She felt lost, sinking
at random into indefinable abysses, and it was almost with joy that, on
reaching the "Croix-Rouge," she saw the good Homais, who was watching
a large box full of pharmaceutical stores being hoisted on to the
"Hirondelle." In his hand he held tied in a silk handkerchief six
cheminots for his wife.
Madame Homais was very fond of these small, heavy turban-shaped loaves,
familiarly, as to an acquaintance, and showed her into the dining-room.
A large porcelain stove crackled beneath a cactus that filled up the
niche in the wall, and in black wood frames against the oak-stained
paper hung Steuben's "Esmeralda" and Schopin's "Potiphar." The
ready-laid table, the two silver chafing-dishes, the crystal door-knobs,
the parquet and the furniture, all shone with a scrupulous, English
cleanliness; the windows were ornamented at each corner with stained
"Now this," thought Emma, "is the dining-room I ought to have."
The notary came in pressing his palm-leaf dressing-gown to his breast
with his left arm, while with the other hand he raised and quickly put
on again his brown velvet cap, pretentiously cocked on the right side,
whence looked out the ends of three fair curls drawn from the back of
the head, following the line of his bald skull.
After he had offered her a seat he sat down to breakfast, apologising
profusely for his rudeness.
"I have come," she said, "to beg you, sir--"
"What, madame? I am listening."
And she began explaining her position to him. Monsieur Guillaumin knew
it, being secretly associated with the linendraper, from whom he always
got capital for the loans on mortgages that he was asked to make.
So he knew (and better than she herself) the long story of the bills,
small at first, bearing different names as endorsers, made out at long
dates, and constantly renewed up to the day, when, gathering together
all the protested bills, the shopkeeper had bidden his friend Vincart
take in his own name all the necessary proceedings, not wishing to pass
for a tiger with his fellow-citizens.
She mingled her story with recriminations against Lheureux, to which the
notary replied from time to time with some insignificant word. Eating
his cutlet and drinking his tea, he buried his chin in his sky-blue
cravat, into which were thrust two diamond pins, held together by a
small gold chain; and he smiled a singular smile, in a sugary, ambiguous
fashion. But noticing that her feet were damp, he said--
"Do get closer to the stove; put your feet up against the porcelain."
She was afraid of dirtying it. The notary replied in a gallant tone--
"Beautiful things spoil nothing."
Then she tried to move him, and, growing moved herself, she began
telling him about the poorness of her home, her worries, her wants.
He could understand that; an elegant woman! and, without leaving off
eating, he had turned completely round towards her, so that his knee
brushed against her boot, whose sole curled round as it smoked against
But when she asked for a thousand sous, he closed his lips, and declared
he was very sorry he had not had the management of her fortune before,
for there were hundreds of ways very convenient, even for a lady, of
turning her money to account. They might, either in the turf-peats
of Grumesnil or building-ground at Havre, almost without risk, have
ventured on some excellent speculations; and he let her consume herself
with rage at the thought of the fabulous sums that she would certainly
"How was it," he went on, "that you didn't come to me?"
"I hardly know," she said.
"Why, hey? Did I frighten you so much? It is I, on the contrary, who
ought to complain. We hardly know one another; yet I am very devoted to
you. You do not doubt that, I hope?"
He held out his hand, took hers, covered it with a greedy kiss, then
held it on his knee; and he played delicately with her fingers whilst
he murmured a thousand blandishments. His insipid voice murmured like a
running brook; a light shone in his eyes through the glimmering of his
spectacles, and his hand was advancing up Emma's sleeve to press her
arm. She felt against her cheek his panting breath. This man oppressed
She sprang up and said to him--
"Sir, I am waiting."
"For what?" said the notary, who suddenly became very pale.
"But--" Then, yielding to the outburst of too powerful a desire, "Well,
He dragged himself towards her on his knees, regardless of his
"For pity's sake, stay. I love you!"
He seized her by her waist. Madame Bovary's face flushed purple. She
recoiled with a terrible look, crying--
"You are taking a shameless advantage of my distress, sir! I am to be
pitied--not to be sold."
And she went out.
The notary remained quite stupefied, his eyes fixed on his fine
embroidered slippers. They were a love gift, and the sight of them at
last consoled him. Besides, he reflected that such an adventure might
have carried him too far.
"What a wretch! what a scoundrel! what an infamy!" she said to herself,
as she fled with nervous steps beneath the aspens of the path. The
disappointment of her failure increased the indignation of her outraged
modesty; it seemed to her that Providence pursued her implacably, and,
strengthening herself in her pride, she had never felt so much esteem
for herself nor so much contempt for others. A spirit of warfare
transformed her. She would have liked to strike all men, to spit in
their faces, to crush them, and she walked rapidly straight on, pale,
quivering, maddened, searching the empty horizon with tear-dimmed eyes,
and as it were rejoicing in the hate that was choking her.
When she saw her house a numbness came over her. She could not go on;
and yet she must. Besides, whither could she flee?
Felicite was waiting for her at the door. "Well?"
"No!" said Emma.
And for a quarter of an hour the two of them went over the various
persons in Yonville who might perhaps be inclined to help her. But each
time that Felicite named someone Emma replied--
"Impossible! they will not!"
"And the master'll soon be in."
"I know that well enough. Leave me alone."
She had tried everything; there was nothing more to be done now; and
when Charles came in she would have to say to him--
"Go away! This carpet on which you are walking is no longer ours. In
your own house you do not possess a chair, a pin, a straw, and it is I,
poor man, who have ruined you."
Then there would be a great sob; next he would weep abundantly, and at
last, the surprise past, he would forgive her.
"Yes," she murmured, grinding her teeth, "he will forgive me, he who
would give a million if I would forgive him for having known me! Never!
This thought of Bovary's superiority to her exasperated her. Then,
whether she confessed or did not confess, presently, immediately,