Madame Bovary HTML version

Chapter Fourteen
To begin with, he did not know how he could pay Monsieur Homais for all the
physic supplied by him, and though, as a medical man, he was not obliged to pay
for it, he nevertheless blushed a little at such an obligation. Then the expenses of
the household, now that the servant was mistress, became terrible. Bills rained in
upon the house; the tradesmen grumbled; Monsieur Lheureux especially
harassed him. In fact, at the height of Emma's illness, the latter, taking advantage
of the circumstances to make his bill larger, had hurriedly brought the cloak, the
travelling-bag, two trunks instead of one, and a number of other things. It was
very well for Charles to say he did not want them. The tradesman answered
arrogantly that these articles had been ordered, and that he would not take them
back; besides, it would vex madame in her convalescence; the doctor had better
think it over; in short, he was resolved to sue him rather than give up his rights
and take back his goods. Charles subsequently ordered them to be sent back to
the shop. Felicite forgot; he had other things to attend to; then thought no more
about them. Monsieur Lheureux returned to the charge, and, by turns threatening
and whining, so managed that Bovary ended by signing a bill at six months. But
hardly had he signed this bill than a bold idea occurred to him: it was to borrow a
thousand francs from Lheureux. So, with an embarrassed air, he asked if it were
possible to get them, adding that it would be for a year, at any interest he wished.
Lheureux ran off to his shop, brought back the money, and dictated another bill,
by which Bovary undertook to pay to his order on the 1st of September next the
sum of one thousand and seventy francs, which, with the hundred and eighty
already agreed to, made just twelve hundred and fifty, thus lending at six per cent
in addition to one-fourth for commission: and the things bringing him in a good
third at the least, this ought in twelve months to give him a profit of a hundred
and thirty francs. He hoped that the business would not stop there; that the bills
would not be paid; that they would be renewed; and that his poor little money,
having thriven at the doctor's as at a hospital, would come back to him one day
considerably more plump, and fat enough to burst his bag.
Everything, moreover, succeeded with him. He was adjudicator for a supply of
cider to the hospital at Neufchatel; Monsieur Guillaumin promised him some
shares in the turf-pits of Gaumesnil, and he dreamt of establishing a new
diligence service between Arcueil and Rouen, which no doubt would not be long
in ruining the ramshackle van of the "Lion d'Or," and that, travelling faster, at a
cheaper rate, and carrying more luggage, would thus put into his hands the
whole commerce of Yonville.
Charles several times asked himself by what means he should next year be able
to pay back so much money. He reflected, imagined expedients, such as
applying to his father or selling something. But his father would be deaf, and he—
he had nothing to sell. Then he foresaw such worries that he quickly dismissed
so disagreeable a subject of meditation from his mind. He reproached himself