Madame Bovary HTML version

Chapter Eleven
He had recently read a eulogy on a new method for curing club-foot, and as he
was a partisan of progress, he conceived the patriotic idea that Yonville, in order
to keep to the fore, ought to have some operations for strephopody or club-foot.
"For," said he to Emma, "what risk is there? See—" (and he enumerated on his
fingers the advantages of the attempt), "success, almost certain relief and
beautifying of the patient, celebrity acquired by the operator. Why, for example,
should not your husband relieve poor Hippolyte of the 'Lion d'Or'? Note that he
would not fail to tell about his cure to all the travellers, and then" (Homais
lowered his voice and looked round him) "who is to prevent me from sending a
short paragraph on the subject to the paper? Eh! goodness me! an article gets
about; it is talked of; it ends by making a snowball! And who knows? who
In fact, Bovary might succeed. Nothing proved to Emma that he was not clever;
and what a satisfaction for her to have urged him to a step by which his
reputation and fortune would be increased! She only wished to lean on
something more solid than love.
Charles, urged by the druggist and by her, allowed himself to be persuaded. He
sent to Rouen for Dr. Duval's volume, and every evening, holding his head
between both hands, plunged into the reading of it.
While he was studying equinus, varus, and valgus, that is to say,
katastrephopody, endostrephopody, and exostrephopody (or better, the various
turnings of the foot downwards, inwards, and outwards, with the
hypostrephopody and anastrephopody), otherwise torsion downwards and
upwards, Monsier Homais, with all sorts of arguments, was exhorting the lad at
the inn to submit to the operation.
"You will scarcely feel, probably, a slight pain; it is a simple prick, like a little
blood-letting, less than the extraction of certain corns."
Hippolyte, reflecting, rolled his stupid eyes.
"However," continued the chemist, "it doesn't concern me. It's for your sake, for
pure humanity! I should like to see you, my friend, rid of your hideous
caudication, together with that waddling of the lumbar regions which, whatever
you say, must considerably interfere with you in the exercise of your calling."
Then Homais represented to him how much jollier and brisker he would feel
afterwards, and even gave him to understand that he would be more likely to
please the women; and the stable-boy began to smile heavily. Then he attacked
him through his vanity:
"Aren't you a man? Hang it! what would you have done if you had had to go into
the army, to go and fight beneath the standard? Ah! Hippolyte!"
And Homais retired, declaring that he could not understand this obstinacy, this
blindness in refusing the benefactions of science.
The poor fellow gave way, for it was like a conspiracy. Binet, who never
interfered with other people's business, Madame Lefrancois, Artemise, the