“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 turned back.
“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 isles.
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.