“Oh, dear me, no, not much.”
Then he proposed that they should leave the theatre and go and take an ice somewhere.
“Oh, not yet; let us stay,” said Bovary. “Her hair’s undone; this is going to be tragic.”
But the mad scene did not at all interest Emma, and the acting of the singer seemed to her exaggerated.
“She screams too loud,” said she, turning to Charles, who was listening.
“Yes—a little,” he replied, undecided between the frankness of his pleasure and his respect for his wife’s opinion.
Then with a sigh Leon said—
“The heat is—”
“Do you feel unwell?” asked Bovary.
“Yes, I am stifling; let us go.”
Monsieur Leon put her long lace shawl carefully about her shoulders, and all three went off to sit down in the harbour, in the open air, outside the windows of a cafe.
First they spoke of her illness, although Emma interrupted Charles from time to time, for fear, she said, of boring Monsieur Leon; and the latter told them that he had come to spend two years at Rouen in a large office, in order to get practice in his profession, which was different in Normandy and Paris. Then he inquired after Berthe, the Homais, Mere Lefrancois, and as they had, in the husband’s presence, nothing more to say to one another, the conversation soon came to an end.
People coming out of the theatre passed along the pavement, humming or shouting at the top of their voices, “O bel ange, ma Lucie!*” Then Leon, playing the dilettante, began to talk music. He had seen Tambourini, Rubini, Persiani, Grisi, and, compared with them, Lagardy, despite his grand outbursts, was nowhere.
Oh beautiful angel, my Lucie.
“Yet,” interrupted Charles, who was slowly sipping his rum-sherbet, “they say that he is quite admirable in the last act. I regret leaving before the end, because it was beginning to amuse me.”
“Why,” said the clerk, “he will soon give another performance.”
But Charles replied that they were going back next day. “Unless,” he added, turning to his wife, “you would like to stay alone, kitten?”
And changing his tactics at this unexpected opportunity that presented itself to his hopes, the young man sang the praises of Lagardy in the last number. It was really superb, sublime. Then Charles insisted—
“You would get back on Sunday. Come, make up your mind. You are wrong if you feel that this is doing you the least good.”
The tables round them, however, were emptying; a waiter came and stood discreetly near them. Charles, who understood, took out his purse; the clerk held back his arm, and did not forget to leave two more pieces of silver that he made chink on the marble.
“I am really sorry,” said Bovary, “about the money which you are—”
The other made a careless gesture full of cordiality, and taking his hat said—