Madame Bovary eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 342 pages of information about Madame Bovary.

How was it that she—­she, who was so intelligent—­could have allowed herself to be deceived again? and through what deplorable madness had she thus ruined her life by continual sacrifices?  She recalled all her instincts of luxury, all the privations of her soul, the sordidness of marriage, of the household, her dream sinking into the mire like wounded swallows; all that she had longed for, all that she had denied herself, all that she might have had!  And for what? for what?

In the midst of the silence that hung over the village a heart-rending cry rose on the air.  Bovary turned white to fainting.  She knit her brows with a nervous gesture, then went on.  And it was for him, for this creature, for this man, who understood nothing, who felt nothing!  For he was there quite quiet, not even suspecting that the ridicule of his name would henceforth sully hers as well as his.  She had made efforts to love him, and she had repented with tears for having yielded to another!

“But it was perhaps a valgus!” suddenly exclaimed Bovary, who was meditating.

At the unexpected shock of this phrase falling on her thought like a leaden bullet on a silver plate, Emma, shuddering, raised her head in order to find out what he meant to say; and they looked at the other in silence, almost amazed to see each other, so far sundered were they by their inner thoughts.  Charles gazed at her with the dull look of a drunken man, while he listened motionless to the last cries of the sufferer, that followed each other in long-drawn modulations, broken by sharp spasms like the far-off howling of some beast being slaughtered.  Emma bit her wan lips, and rolling between her fingers a piece of coral that she had broken, fixed on Charles the burning glance of her eyes like two arrows of fire about to dart forth.  Everything in him irritated her now; his face, his dress, what he did not say, his whole person, his existence, in fine.  She repented of her past virtue as of a crime, and what still remained of it rumbled away beneath the furious blows of her pride.  She revelled in all the evil ironies of triumphant adultery.  The memory of her lover came back to her with dazzling attractions; she threw her whole soul into it, borne away towards this image with a fresh enthusiasm; and Charles seemed to her as much removed from her life, as absent forever, as impossible and annihilated, as if he had been about to die and were passing under her eyes.

There was a sound of steps on the pavement.  Charles looked up, and through the lowered blinds he saw at the corner of the market in the broad sunshine Dr. Canivet, who was wiping his brow with his handkerchief.  Homais, behind him, was carrying a large red box in his hand, and both were going towards the chemist’s.

Then with a feeling of sudden tenderness and discouragement Charles turned to his wife saying to her—­

“Oh, kiss me, my own!”

“Leave me!” she said, red with anger.

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Project Gutenberg
Madame Bovary from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.