The next day Charles had the child brought back. She asked for her mamma. They told her she was away; that she would bring her back some playthings. Berthe spoke of her again several times, then at last thought no more of her. The childs gaiety broke Bovarys heart, and he had to bear besides the intolerable consolations of the chemist.
Money troubles soon began again, Monsieur Lheureux urging on anew his friend Vincart, and Charles pledged himself for exorbitant sums; for he would never consent to let the smallest of the things that had belonged to HER be sold. His mother was exasperated with him; he grew even more angry than she did. He had altogether changed. She left the house.
Then everyone began taking advantage of him. Mademoiselle Lempereur presented a bill for six months teaching, although Emma had never taken a lesson (despite the receipted bill she had shown Bovary); it was an arrangement between the two women. The man at the circulating library demanded three years subscriptions; Mère Rollet claimed the postage due for some twenty letters, and when Charles asked for an explanation, she had the delicacy to reply
Oh, I dont know. It was for her business affairs.
With every debt he paid Charles thought he had come to the end of them. But others followed ceaselessly. He sent in accounts for professional attendance. He was shown the letters his wife had written. Then he had to apologise.
Félicité now wore Madame Bovarys gowns; not all, for he had kept some of them, and he went to look at them in her dressing-room, locking himself up there; she was about her height, and often Charles, seeing her from behind, was seized with an illusion, and cried out
Oh, stay, stay!
But at Whitsuntide she ran away from Yonville, carried off by Théodore, stealing all that was left of the wardrobe.
It was about this time that the widow Dupuis had the honour to inform him of the marriage of Monsieur Léon Dupuis her son, notary at Yvetot, to Mademoiselle Léocadie Leboeuf of Bondeville. Charles, among the other congratulations he sent him, wrote this sentence
How glad my poor wife would have been!
One day when, wandering aimlessly about the house, he had gone up to the attic, he felt a pellet of fine paper under his slipper. He opened it and read: Courage, Emma, courage. I would not bring misery into your life. It was Rodolphes letter, fallen to the ground between the boxes, where it had remained, and that the wind from the dormer window had just blown towards the door. And Charles stood, motionless and staring, in the very same place where, long ago, Emma, in despair, and paler even than he, had thought of dying. At last he discovered a small R at the bottom of the second page. What did this mean? He remembered Rodolphes attentions, his sudden, disappearance, his constrained air when they had met two or three times since. But the respectful tone of the letter deceived him.
Perhaps they loved one another platonically, he said to himself.
Besides, Charles was not of those who go to the bottom of things; he shrank from the proofs, and his vague jealousy was lost in the immensity of his woe.
Everyone, he thought, must have adored her; all men assuredly must have coveted her. She seemed but the more beautiful to him for this; he was seized with a lasting, furious desire for her, that inflamed his despair, and that was boundless, because it was now unrealisable.
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