and grew more numerous the farther they were from his neckcloth, in which the massive folds of his red chin rested; this was dotted with yellow spots, that disappeared beneath the coarse hair of his greyish beard. He had just dined and was breathing noisily.
How are you? he added.
Not well, replied Emma; I am ill.
Well, and so am I, answered the priest. These first warm days weaken one most remarkably, dont they? But, after all, we are born to suffer, as St. Paul says. But what does Monsieur Bovary think of it?
He! she said with a gesture of contempt.
What! replied the good fellow, quite astonished, doesnt he prescribe something for you?
Ah! said Emma, it is no earthly remedy I need.
But the curé from time to time looked into the church, where the kneeling boys were shouldering one another, and tumbling over like packs of cards.
I should like to know she went on.
You look out, Riboudet, cried the priest in an angry voice; Ill warm your ears, you imp! Then turning to Emma, Hes Boudet the carpenters son; his parents are well off, and let him do just as he pleases. Yet he could learn quickly if he would, for he is very sharp. And so sometimes for a joke I call him Riboudet (like the road one takes to go to Maromme) and I even say Mon Riboudet. Ha! Ha! Mont Riboudet. The other day I repeated that just to Monsignor, and he laughed at it; he condescended to laugh at it. And how is Monsieur Bovary?
She seemed not to hear him. And he went on
Always very busy, no doubt; for he and I are certainly the busiest people in the parish. But he is doctor of the body, he added with a thick laugh, and I of the soul.
She fixed her pleading eyes upon the priest. Yes, she said, you solace all sorrows.
Ah! dont talk to me of it, Madame Bovary. This morning I had to go to Bas-Diauville for a cow that was ill; they thought it was under a spell. All their cows, I dont know how it isBut pardon me! Longuemarre and Boudet! Bless me! Will you leave off?
And with a bound he ran into the church.
The boys were just then clustering round the large desk, climbing over the precentors footstool, opening the missal; and others on tiptoe were just about to venture into the confessional. But the priest suddenly distributed a shower of cuffs among them. Seizing them by the collars of their coats, he lifted them from the ground, and deposited them on their knees on the stones of the choir, firmly, as if he meant planting them there.
Yes, said he, when he returned to Emma, unfolding his large cotton handkerchief, one corner of which he put between his teeth, farmers are much to be pitied.
Others, too, she replied.
Assuredly. Town-labourers, for example.
It is not they
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