She went on Thursdays. She got up and dressed silently, in order not to awaken
Charles, who would have made remarks about her getting ready too early. Next
she walked up and down, went to the windows, and looked out at the Place. The
early dawn was broadening between the pillars of the market, and the chemist's
shop, with the shutters still up, showed in the pale light of the dawn the large
letters of his signboard.
When the clock pointed to a quarter past seven, she went off to the "Lion d'Or,"
whose door Artemise opened yawning. The girl then made up the coals covered
by the cinders, and Emma remained alone in the kitchen. Now and again she
went out. Hivert was leisurely harnessing his horses, listening, moreover, to Mere
Lefrancois, who, passing her head and nightcap through a grating, was charging
him with commissions and giving him explanations that would have confused
anyone else. Emma kept beating the soles of her boots against the pavement of
At last, when he had eaten his soup, put on his cloak, lighted his pipe, and
grasped his whip, he calmly installed himself on his seat.
The "Hirondelle" started at a slow trot, and for about a mile stopped here and
there to pick up passengers who waited for it, standing at the border of the road,
in front of their yard gates.
Those who had secured seats the evening before kept it waiting; some even
were still in bed in their houses. Hivert called, shouted, swore; then he got down
from his seat and went and knocked loudly at the doors. The wind blew through
the cracked windows.
The four seats, however, filled up. The carriage rolled off; rows of apple-trees
followed one upon another, and the road between its two long ditches, full of
yellow water, rose, constantly narrowing towards the horizon.
Emma knew it from end to end; she knew that after a meadow there was a sign-
post, next an elm, a barn, or the hut of a lime-kiln tender. Sometimes even, in the
hope of getting some surprise, she shut her eyes, but she never lost the clear
perception of the distance to be traversed.
At last the brick houses began to follow one another more closely, the earth
resounded beneath the wheels, the "Hirondelle" glided between the gardens,
where through an opening one saw statues, a periwinkle plant, clipped yews, and
a swing. Then on a sudden the town appeared. Sloping down like an
amphitheatre, and drowned in the fog, it widened out beyond the bridges
confusedly. Then the open country spread away with a monotonous movement
till it touched in the distance the vague line of the pale sky. Seen thus from
above, the whole landscape looked immovable as a picture; the anchored ships
were massed in one corner, the river curved round the foot of the green hills, and
the isles, oblique in shape, lay on the water, like large, motionless, black fishes.