Gustave Flaubert.

Sentimental Education; Or, The History of a Young Man. Volume 2 online

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Some inconsistencies of spelling and grammar have been corrected,
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The Complete Works of Gustave Flaubert

Romances, Travels, Comedies,
Sketches and

With a
Critical Introduction
Ferdinand Brunetiere
of the French Academy
and a
Biographical Preface by
Robert Arnot, M.A.

Only for Subscribers by
M. Walter Dunne,
New York and London


[Illustration: Ah! thanks! You are going to save me!]



The History of a Young Man




M. Walter Dunne
New York and London

Copyright, 1904, by
M. Walter Dunne
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London
















(See page 107) _Frontispiece_







Frederick passed the whole of the next day in brooding over his anger
and humiliation. He reproached himself for not having given a slap in
the face to Cisy. As for the Maréchale, he swore not to see her again.
Others as good-looking could be easily found; and, as money would be
required in order to possess these women, he would speculate on the
Bourse with the purchase-money of his farm. He would get rich; he would
crush the Maréchale and everyone else with his luxury. When the evening
had come, he was surprised at not having thought of Madame Arnoux.

"So much the better. What's the good of it?"

Two days after, at eight o'clock, Pellerin came to pay him a visit. He
began by expressing his admiration of the furniture and talking in a
wheedling tone. Then, abruptly:

"You were at the races on Sunday?"

"Yes, alas!"

Thereupon the painter decried the anatomy of English horses, and praised
the horses of Gericourt and the horses of the Parthenon.

"Rosanette was with you?"

And he artfully proceeded to speak in flattering terms about her.

Frederick's freezing manner put him a little out of countenance.

He did not know how to bring about the question of her portrait. His
first idea had been to do a portrait in the style of Titian. But
gradually the varied colouring of his model had bewitched him; he had
gone on boldly with the work, heaping up paste on paste and light on
light. Rosanette, in the beginning, was enchanted. Her appointments with
Delmar had interrupted the sittings, and left Pellerin all the time to
get bedazzled. Then, as his admiration began to subside, he asked
himself whether the picture might not be on a larger scale. He had gone
to have another look at the Titians, realised how the great artist had
filled in his portraits with such finish, and saw wherein his own
shortcomings lay; and then he began to go over the outlines again in the
most simple fashion. After that, he sought, by scraping them off, to
lose there, to mingle there, all the tones of the head and those of the
background; and the face had assumed consistency and the shades
vigour - the whole work had a look of greater firmness. At length the
Maréchale came back again. She even indulged in some hostile criticisms.
The painter naturally persevered in his own course. After getting into a
violent passion at her silliness, he said to himself that, after all,
perhaps she was right. Then began the era of doubts, twinges of
reflection which brought about cramps in the stomach, insomnia,
feverishness and disgust with himself. He had the courage to make some
retouchings, but without much heart, and with a feeling that his work
was bad.

He complained merely of having been refused a place in the Salon; then
he reproached Frederick for not having come to see the Maréchale's

"What do I care about the Maréchale?"

Such an expression of unconcern emboldened the artist.

"Would you believe that this brute has no interest in the thing any

What he did not mention was that he had asked her for a thousand crowns.
Now the Maréchale did not give herself much bother about ascertaining
who was going to pay, and, preferring to screw money out of Arnoux for
things of a more urgent character, had not even spoken to him on the

"Well, and Arnoux?"

She had thrown it over on him. The ex-picture-dealer wished to have
nothing to do with the portrait.

"He maintains that it belongs to Rosanette."

"In fact, it is hers."

"How is that? 'Tis she that sent me to you," was Pellerin's answer.

If he had been thinking of the excellence of his work, he would not have
dreamed perhaps of making capital out of it. But a sum - and a big
sum - would be an effective reply to the critics, and would strengthen
his own position. Finally, to get rid of his importunities, Frederick
courteously enquired his terms.

The extravagant figure named by Pellerin quite took away his breath, and
he replied:

"Oh! no - no!"

"You, however, are her lover - 'tis you gave me the order!"

"Excuse me, I was only an intermediate agent."

"But I can't remain with this on my hands!"

The artist lost his temper.

"Ha! I didn't imagine you were so covetous!"

"Nor I that you were so stingy! I wish you good morning!"

He had just gone out when Sénécal made his appearance.

Frederick was moving about restlessly, in a state of great agitation.

"What's the matter?"

Sénécal told his story.

"On Saturday, at nine o'clock, Madame Arnoux got a letter which summoned
her back to Paris. As there happened to be nobody in the place at the
time to go to Creil for a vehicle, she asked me to go there myself. I
refused, for this was no part of my duties. She left, and came back on
Sunday evening. Yesterday morning, Arnoux came down to the works. The
girl from Bordeaux made a complaint to him. I don't know what passed
between them; but he took off before everyone the fine I had imposed on
her. Some sharp words passed between us. In short, he closed accounts
with me, and here I am!"

Then, with a pause between every word:

"Furthermore, I am not sorry. I have done my duty. No matter - you were
the cause of it."

"How?" exclaimed Frederick, alarmed lest Sénécal might have guessed his

Sénécal had not, however, guessed anything about it, for he replied:

"That is to say, but for you I might have done better."

Frederick was seized with a kind of remorse.

"In what way can I be of service to you now?"

Sénécal wanted some employment, a situation.

"That is an easy thing for you to manage. You know many people of good
position, Monsieur Dambreuse amongst others; at least, so Deslauriers
told me."

This allusion to Deslauriers was by no means agreeable to his friend. He
scarcely cared to call on the Dambreuses again after his undesirable
meeting with them in the Champ de Mars.

"I am not on sufficiently intimate terms with them to recommend anyone."

The democrat endured this refusal stoically, and after a minute's

"All this, I am sure, is due to the girl from Bordeaux, and to your
Madame Arnoux."

This "your" had the effect of wiping out of Frederick's heart the slight
modicum of regard he entertained for Sénécal. Nevertheless, he stretched
out his hand towards the key of his escritoire through delicacy.

Sénécal anticipated him:


Then, forgetting his own troubles, he talked about the affairs of the
nation, the crosses of the Legion of Honour wasted at the Royal Fête,
the question of a change of ministry, the Drouillard case and the Bénier
case - scandals of the day - declaimed against the middle class, and
predicted a revolution.

His eyes were attracted by a Japanese dagger hanging on the wall. He
took hold of it; then he flung it on the sofa with an air of disgust.

"Come, then! good-bye! I must go to Nôtre Dame de Lorette."

"Hold on! Why?"

"The anniversary service for Godefroy Cavaignac is taking place there
to-day. He died at work - that man! But all is not over. Who knows?"

And Sénécal, with a show of fortitude, put out his hand:

"Perhaps we shall never see each other again! good-bye!"

This "good-bye," repeated several times, his knitted brows as he gazed
at the dagger, his resignation, and the solemnity of his manner, above
all, plunged Frederick into a thoughtful mood, but very soon he ceased
to think about Sénécal.

During the same week, his notary at Havre sent him the sum realised by
the sale of his farm - one hundred and seventy-four thousand francs. He
divided it into two portions, invested the first half in the Funds, and
brought the second half to a stock-broker to take his chance of making
money by it on the Bourse.

He dined at fashionable taverns, went to the theatres, and was trying to
amuse himself as best he could, when Hussonnet addressed a letter to him
announcing in a gay fashion that the Maréchale had got rid of Cisy the
very day after the races. Frederick was delighted at this intelligence,
without taking the trouble to ascertain what the Bohemian's motive was
in giving him the information.

It so happened that he met Cisy, three days later. That aristocratic
young gentleman kept his counteance, and even invited Frederick to dine
on the following Wednesday.

On the morning of that day, the latter received a notification from a
process-server, in which M. Charles Jean Baptiste Oudry apprised him
that by the terms of a legal judgment he had become the purchaser of a
property situated at Belleville, belonging to M. Jacques Arnoux, and
that he was ready to pay the two hundred and twenty-three thousand for
which it had been sold. But, as it appeared by the same decree that the
amount of the mortgages with which the estate was encumbered exceeded
the purchase-money, Frederick's claim would in consequence be completely

The entire mischief arose from not having renewed the registration of
the mortgage within the proper time. Arnoux had undertaken to attend to
this matter formally himself, and had then forgotten all about it.
Frederick got into a rage with him for this, and when the young man's
anger had passed off:

"Well, afterwards - - what?"

"If this can save him, so much the better. It won't kill me! Let us
think no more about it!"

But, while moving about his papers on the table, he came across
Hussonnet's letter, and noticed the postscript, which had not at first
attracted his attention. The Bohemian wanted just five thousand francs
to give the journal a start.

"Ah! this fellow is worrying me to death!"

And he sent a curt answer, unceremoniously refusing the application.
After that, he dressed himself to go to the Maison d'Or.

Cisy introduced his guests, beginning with the most respectable of them,
a big, white-haired gentleman.

"The Marquis Gilbert des Aulnays, my godfather. Monsieur Anselme de
Forchambeaux," he said next - (a thin, fair-haired young man, already
bald); then, pointing towards a simple-mannered man of forty: "Joseph
Boffreu, my cousin; and here is my old tutor, Monsieur Vezou" - a person
who seemed a mixture of a ploughman and a seminarist, with large
whiskers and a long frock-coat fastened at the end by a single button,
so that it fell over his chest like a shawl.

Cisy was expecting some one else - the Baron de Comaing, who "might
perhaps come, but it was not certain." He left the room every minute,
and appeared to be in a restless frame of mind. Finally, at eight
o'clock, they proceeded towards an apartment splendidly lighted up and
much more spacious than the number of guests required. Cisy had selected
it for the special purpose of display.

A vermilion épergne laden with flowers and fruit occupied the centre of
the table, which was covered with silver dishes, after the old French
fashion; glass bowls full of salt meats and spices formed a border all
around it. Jars of iced red wine stood at regular distances from each
other. Five glasses of different sizes were ranged before each plate,
with things of which the use could not be divined - a thousand dinner
utensils of an ingenious description. For the first course alone, there
was a sturgeon's jowl moistened with champagne, a Yorkshire ham with
tokay, thrushes with sauce, roast quail, a béchamel vol-au-vent, a stew
of red-legged partridges, and at the two ends of all this, fringes of
potatoes which were mingled with truffles. The apartment was illuminated
by a lustre and some girandoles, and it was hung with red damask

Four men-servants in black coats stood behind the armchairs, which were
upholstered in morocco. At this sight the guests uttered an
exclamation - the tutor more emphatically than the rest.

"Upon my word, our host has indulged in a foolishly lavish display of
luxury. It is too beautiful!"

"Is that so?" said the Vicomte de Cisy; "Come on, then!"

And, as they were swallowing the first spoonful:

"Well, my dear old friend Aulnays, have you been to the Palais-Royal to
see _Père et Portier_?"

"You know well that I have no time to go!" replied the Marquis.

His mornings were taken up with a course of arboriculture, his evenings
were spent at the Agricultural Club, and all his afternoons were
occupied by a study of the implements of husbandry in manufactories. As
he resided at Saintonge for three fourths of the year, he took advantage
of his visits to the capital to get fresh information; and his
large-brimmed hat, which lay on a side-table, was crammed with

But Cisy, observing that M. de Forchambeaux refused to take wine:

"Go on, damn it, drink! You're not in good form for your last bachelor's

At this remark all bowed and congratulated him.

"And the young lady," said the tutor, "is charming, I'm sure?"

"Faith, she is!" exclaimed Cisy. "No matter, he is making a mistake;
marriage is such a stupid thing!"

"You talk in a thoughtless fashion, my friend!" returned M. des Aulnays,
while tears began to gather in his eyes at the recollection of his own
dead wife.

And Forchambeaux repeated several times in succession:

"It will be your own case - it will be your own case!"

Cisy protested. He preferred to enjoy himself - to "live in the
free-and-easy style of the Regency days." He wanted to learn the
shoe-trick, in order to visit the thieves' taverns of the city, like
Rodolphe in the _Mysteries of Paris_; drew out of his pocket a dirty
clay pipe, abused the servants, and drank a great quantity; then, in
order to create a good impression about himself, he disparaged all the
dishes. He even sent away the truffles; and the tutor, who was
exceedingly fond of them, said through servility;

"These are not as good as your grandmother's snow-white eggs."

Then he began to chat with the person sitting next to him, the
agriculturist, who found many advantages from his sojourn in the
country, if it were only to be able to bring up his daughters with
simple tastes. The tutor approved of his ideas and toadied to him,
supposing that this gentleman possessed influence over his former pupil,
whose man of business he was anxious to become.

Frederick had come there filled with hostility to Cisy; but the young
aristocrat's idiocy had disarmed him. However, as the other's gestures,
face, and entire person brought back to his recollection the dinner at
the Café Anglais, he got more and more irritated; and he lent his ears
to the complimentary remarks made in a low tone by Joseph, the cousin, a
fine young fellow without any money, who was a lover of the chase and a
University prizeman. Cisy, for the sake of a laugh, called him a
"catcher"[A] several times; then suddenly:

"Ha! here comes the Baron!"

At that moment, there entered a jovial blade of thirty, with somewhat
rough-looking features and active limbs, wearing his hat over his ear
and displaying a flower in his button-hole. He was the Vicomte's ideal.
The young aristocrat was delighted at having him there; and stimulated
by his presence, he even attempted a pun; for he said, as they passed a

"There's the best of La Bruyère's characters!"[B]

After that, he put a heap of questions to M. de Comaing about persons
unknown to society; then, as if an idea had suddenly seized him:

"Tell me, pray! have you thought about me?"

The other shrugged his shoulders:

"You are not old enough, my little man. It is impossible!"

Cisy had begged of the Baron to get him admitted into his club. But the
other having, no doubt, taken pity on his vanity:

"Ha! I was forgetting! A thousand congratulations on having won your
bet, my dear fellow!"

"What bet?"

"The bet you made at the races to effect an entrance the same evening
into that lady's house."

Frederick felt as if he had got a lash with a whip. He was speedily
appeased by the look of utter confusion in Cisy's face.

[A] _Voleur_ means, at the same time, a "hunter" and a "thief." This is
the foundation for Cisy's little joke. - TRANSLATOR.

[B] _Coq de bruyère_ means a heath-cock or grouse; hence the play on the
name of La Bruyère, whose _Caractères_ is a well-known work. - TRANSLATOR.

In fact, the Maréchale, next morning, was filled with regret when
Arnoux, her first lover, her good friend, had presented himself that
very day. They both gave the Vicomte to understand that he was in the
way, and kicked him out without much ceremony.

He pretended not to have heard what was said.

The Baron went on:

"What has become of her, this fine Rose? Is she as pretty as ever?"
showing by his manner that he had been on terms of intimacy with her.

Frederick was chagrined by the discovery.

"There's nothing to blush at," said the Baron, pursuing the topic, "'tis
a good thing!"

Cisy smacked his tongue.

"Whew! not so good!"


"Oh dear, yes! In the first place, I found her nothing extraordinary,
and then, you pick up the like of her as often as you please, for, in
fact, she is for sale!"

"Not for everyone!" remarked Frederick, with some bitterness.

"He imagines that he is different from the others," was Cisy's comment.
"What a good joke!"

And a laugh ran round the table.

Frederick felt as if the palpitations of his heart would suffocate him.
He swallowed two glasses of water one after the other.

But the Baron had preserved a lively recollection of Rosanette.

"Is she still interested in a fellow named Arnoux?"

"I haven't the faintest idea," said Cisy, "I don't know that gentleman!"

Nevertheless, he suggested that he believed Arnoux was a sort of

"A moment!" exclaimed Frederick.

"However, there is no doubt about it! Legal proceedings have been taken
against him."

"That is not true!"

Frederick began to defend Arnoux, vouched for his honesty, ended by
convincing himself of it, and concocted figures and proofs. The Vicomte,
full of spite, and tipsy in addition, persisted in his assertions, so
that Frederick said to him gravely:

"Is the object of this to give offence to me, Monsieur?"

And he looked Cisy full in the face, with eyeballs as red as his cigar.

"Oh! not at all. I grant you that he possesses something very nice - his

"Do you know her?"

"Faith, I do! Sophie Arnoux; everyone knows her."

"You mean to tell me that?"

Cisy, who had staggered to his feet, hiccoughed:

"Everyone - knows - her."

"Hold your tongue. It is not with women of her sort you keep company!"

"I - flatter myself - it is."

Frederick flung a plate at his face. It passed like a flash of lightning
over the table, knocked down two bottles, demolished a fruit-dish, and
breaking into three pieces, by knocking against the épergne, hit the
Vicomte in the stomach.

All the other guests arose to hold him back. He struggled and shrieked,
possessed by a kind of frenzy.

M. des Aulnays kept repeating:

"Come, be calm, my dear boy!"

"Why, this is frightful!" shouted the tutor.

Forchambeaux, livid as a plum, was trembling. Joseph indulged in
repeated outbursts of laughter. The attendants sponged out the traces of
the wine, and gathered up the remains of the dinner from the floor; and
the Baron went and shut the window, for the uproar, in spite of the
noise of carriage-wheels, could be heard on the boulevard.

As all present at the moment the plate had been flung had been talking
at the same time, it was impossible to discover the cause of the
attack - whether it was on account of Arnoux, Madame Arnoux, Rosanette,
or somebody else. One thing only they were certain of, that Frederick
had acted with indescribable brutality. On his part, he refused
positively to testify the slightest regret for what he had done.

M. des Aulnays tried to soften him. Cousin Joseph, the tutor, and
Forchambeaux himself joined in the effort. The Baron, all this time, was
cheering up Cisy, who, yielding to nervous weakness, began to shed

Frederick, on the contrary, was getting more and more angry, and they
would have remained there till daybreak if the Baron had not said, in
order to bring matters to a close:

"The Vicomte, Monsieur, will send his seconds to call on you to-morrow."

"Your hour?"

"Twelve, if it suits you."

"Perfectly, Monsieur."

Frederick, as soon as he was in the open air, drew a deep breath. He had
been keeping his feelings too long under restraint; he had satisfied
them at last. He felt, so to speak, the pride of virility, a
superabundance of energy within him which intoxicated him. He required
two seconds. The first person he thought of for the purpose was
Regimbart, and he immediately directed his steps towards the Rue
Saint-Denis. The shop-front was closed, but some light shone through a
pane of glass over the door. It opened and he went in, stooping very low
as he passed under the penthouse.

A candle at the side of the bar lighted up the deserted smoking-room.
All the stools, with their feet in the air, were piled on the table. The
master and mistress, with their waiter, were at supper in a corner near
the kitchen; and Regimbart, with his hat on his head, was sharing their
meal, and even disturbed the waiter, who was compelled every moment to
turn aside a little. Frederick, having briefly explained the matter to
him, asked Regimbart to assist him. The Citizen at first made no reply.
He rolled his eyes about, looked as if he were plunged in reflection,
took several strides around the room, and at last said:

"Yes, by all means!" and a homicidal smile smoothed his brow when he
learned that the adversary was a nobleman.

"Make your mind easy; we'll rout him with flying colours! In the first
place, with the sword - - "

"But perhaps," broke in Frederick, "I have not the right."

"I tell you 'tis necessary to take the sword," the Citizen replied
roughly. "Do you know how to make passes?"

"A little."

"Oh! a little. This is the way with all of them; and yet they have a
mania for committing assaults. What does the fencing-school teach?
Listen to me: keep a good distance off, always confining yourself in
circles, and parry - parry as you retire; that is permitted. Tire him

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Online LibraryGustave FlaubertSentimental Education; Or, The History of a Young Man. Volume 2 → online text (page 1 of 21)