Madame Bovary HTML version

Chapter Two
On reaching the inn, Madame Bovary was surprised not to see the diligence.
Hivert, who had waited for her fifty-three minutes, had at last started.
Yet nothing forced her to go; but she had given her word that she would return
that same evening. Moreover, Charles expected her, and in her heart she felt
already that cowardly docility that is for some women at once the chastisement
and atonement of adultery.
She packed her box quickly, paid her bill, took a cab in the yard, hurrying on the
driver, urging him on, every moment inquiring about the time and the miles
traversed. He succeeded in catching up the "Hirondelle" as it neared the first
houses of Quincampoix.
Hardly was she seated in her corner than she closed her eyes, and opened them
at the foot of the hill, when from afar she recognised Felicite, who was on the
lookout in front of the farrier's shop. Hivert pulled in his horses and, the servant,
climbing up to the window, said mysteriously—
"Madame, you must go at once to Monsieur Homais. It's for something
The village was silent as usual. At the corner of the streets were small pink
heaps that smoked in the air, for this was the time for jam-making, and everyone
at Yonville prepared his supply on the same day. But in front of the chemist's
shop one might admire a far larger heap, and that surpassed the others with the
superiority that a laboratory must have over ordinary stores, a general need over
individual fancy.
She went in. The large arm-chair was upset, and even the "Fanal de Rouen" lay
on the ground, outspread between two pestles. She pushed open the lobby door,
and in the middle of the kitchen, amid brown jars full of picked currants, of
powdered sugar and lump sugar, of the scales on the table, and of the pans on
the fire, she saw all the Homais, small and large, with aprons reaching to their
chins, and with forks in their hands. Justin was standing up with bowed head,
and the chemist was screaming—
"Who told you to go and fetch it in the Capharnaum."
"What is it? What is the matter?"
"What is it?" replied the druggist. "We are making preserves; they are simmering;
but they were about to boil over, because there is too much juice, and I ordered
another pan. Then he, from indolence, from laziness, went and took, hanging on
its nail in my laboratory, the key of the Capharnaum."
It was thus the druggist called a small room under the leads, full of the utensils
and the goods of his trade. He often spent long hours there alone, labelling,
decanting, and doing up again; and he looked upon it not as a simple store, but
as a veritable sanctuary, whence there afterwards issued, elaborated by his
hands, all sorts of pills, boluses, infusions, lotions, and potions, that would bear