Gustave Flaubert.

Works online

. (page 1 of 19)
Online LibraryGustave FlaubertWorks → online text (page 1 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|








Gustave Flaubert

W^m'"-' ^ ■'iu.ed by Google

%' 'I

Digitized by


Digitized by


Digitized by


Digitized by


Digitized by



\A.i/Sl7 1/ C -m Va. IQ

Then Wf)ly.Xift^l one, wear\^ as I,
^ IhoM ffrAlly sKftilf seek. Some precipice

r Thyscjjj.

t . ip^' ■ Digitized by GoOglC

Digitized by


*> p WORKS 3 v«>Q








Digitized by



Copyright, 1904, by

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London

Digitized by





Chapter IX. paob


Chapter X.



[extract from a plan found amongst
gustave flaubert's papers indicating
the conclusion of the work.] . . 94




Poems) OF LOUIS BOUILHET . . . 1-22



BERT 1-42



Digitized by


Digitized by






WHICH TO CAST THYSELF." (See page 6, The

Dance of Death) Frontispiece

nero: yet, i am loth to die )
death: die, thenI )

Digitized by


Digitized by





Sons of the Church.

pARCEL reappeared next day at three
o'clock, his face green, his eyes
bloodshot, a lump on his forehead,
his breeches torn, his breath tainted
'with a strong smell of brandy, and
his person covered with dirt.
He had been, according to an annual custom of
his, six leagues away at Iqueville to enjoy a midnight
repast with a friend; and, stuttering more than ever,
crying, wishing to beat himself, he begged of them
for pardon, as if he had committed a crime. His
masters granted it to him. A singular feeling of se^
renity rendered them indulgent.

The snow had suddenly melted, and they walked
about the garden, inhaling the genial air, delighted
merely with living.

Was it only chance that had kept them from
death? Bouvard felt deeply affected. P^cuchet re-

lo G. F.— I


Digitized by



called his first commission, and, full of gratitude to
the Force, the Cause, on which they depended, the
idea took possession of them to read pious works.

The Gospel dilated their souls, dazzled them like a
sun. They perceived Jesus standing on a mountain,
with one arm raised, while below the multitude lis-
tened to Him; or else on the margin of a lake in the
midst of the apostles, while they drew in their nets;
next on the ass, in the clamour of the "alleluias,"
His hair fanned by the quivering palms; finally, lifted
high upon the Cross, bending down His head, from
which eternally falls a dew of blood upon the world.
What won them, what ravished them, was His
tenderness for the humble. His defence of the poor.
His exaltation of the oppressed; and they found in
that Book, wherein Heaven unfolds itself, nothing the-
ological in the midst of so many precepts, no dogma,
no requirement, save purity of heart.

As for the miracles, their reason was not aston-
ished by them. They had been acquainted with them
from their childhood. The loftiness of St. John en-
chanted P^cuchet, and better disposed him to appre-
ciate the Imitation.

Here were no more parables, flowers, birds, but
lamentations — a compression of the soul into itself.

Bouvard grew sad as he turned over these pages,
which seemed to have been written in foggy weather,
in the depths of a cloister, between a belfry and a
tomb. Our mortal life appeared there so wretched
that one must needs forget it and return to God.
And the two poor men, after all their disappoint-
ments, experienced that need of simple natures — to
love something, to find rest for their souls.

They studied Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah.

Digitized by



But the Bible dismayed them with its lion-voiced
prophets, the crashing of thunder in the skies, all the
sobbings of Gehenna, and its God scattering empires
as the wind scatters clouds.

They read it on Sunday at the hour of vespers,
while the bell was ringing.

One day they went to mass, and then came back.
It was a kind of recreation at the end of the week.
The Count and Countess de Faverges bowed to them
from the distance, a circumstance which was re-
marked. The justice of the peace said to them with
blinking eyes:

"Excellent! You have my approval."

All the village dames now sent them consecrated
bread. The Abb^ Jeufroy paid them a visit; they re-
turned it; friendly intercourse followed; and the priest
avoided talking about religion.

They were astonished at this reserve, so much so
that P^cuchet, with an assumption of indifference, asked
him what was the way to set about obtaining faith.

"Practise first of all/'

They began to practise, the one with hope, the
other with defiance, Bouvard being convinced that he
would never be a devotee. For a month he regularly
followed all the services; but, unlike P^cuchet, he did
not wish to subject himself to Lenten fare.

Was this a hygienic measure? We know what
hygiene is worth. A matter of the proprieties ? Down
with the proprieties! A mark of submission towards
the Church? He laughed at it just as much; in short,
he declared the rule absurd, pharisaical, and contrary
to the spirit of the Gospel.

On Good Friday in other years they used to eat
whatever Germaine ?ervpd up to them. But on this

Digitized by



occasion Bouvard ordered a beefsteak. He sat down
and cut up the meat, and Marcel, scandalised, kept
staring at him, while P^cuchet gravely took the skin
off his slice of codfish.

Bouvard remained with his fork in one hand, his
knife in the other. At length, making up his mind,
he raised a mouthful to his lips. All at once his handy
began to tremble, his heavy countenance grew pale,
his head fell back.

"Are you ill?"

"No. But " And he made an avowal. In con-
sequence of his education (it was stronger than himself),
he could not eat meat on this day for fear of dying.

Pdcuchet, without misusing his victory, took ad-
vantage of it to live in his own fashion. One evening
he returned home with a look of sober joy imprinted
on his face, and, letting the word escape, said that
he had just been at confession.

Thereupon they argued about the importance of

Bouvard acknowledged that of the early Christians,
which was made publicly: the modem is too easy.
However, he did not deny that this examination con-
cerning ourselves might be an element of progress, a
leaven of morality.

P^cuchet, desirous of perfection, searched for his
vices: for some time past the puflings of pride were
gone. His taste for work freed him from idleness; as
for gluttony, nobody was more moderate. Some-
times he was carried away by anger.

He made a vow that he would be so no more.

In the next place, it would be necessary to acquire
the virtues: first of all, humility, that is to say, to be-
lieve yourself incapable of any merit, unworthy of the

Digitized by



least recompense, to immolate your spirit, and to place
yourself so low that people may trample you under
their feet like the mud of the roads. He was far as
yet from these dispositions.

Another virtue was wanting in him — chastity.
For inwardly he regretted M^lie, and the pastel of the
lady in the Louis XV. dress disturbed him by her
ample display of bosom. He shut it up in a cupboard,
and redoubled his modesty, so much so that he feared
to cast glances at his own person.

In order to mortify himself, Pdcuchet gave up his
little glass after meals, confined himself to four pinches
of snuff in the day, and even in the coldest weather
he did not any longer put on his cap.

One day, Bouvard, who was fastening up the vine,
placed a ladder against the wall of the terrace near
the house, and, without intending it, found himself
landed in P6cuchef s room.

His friend, naked up to the middle, first gently
smacked his shoulders with the cat-o -nine-tails with-
out quite undressing; then, getting animated, pulled
off his shirt, lashed his back, and sank breathless
on a chair.

Bouvard was troubled, as if at the unveiling of a
mystery on which he should not have gazed.

For some time he had noticed a greater cleanliness
about the floor, fewer holes in the napkins, and an
improvement in the diet — changes which were due to
the intervention of Reine, the curb's housekeeper.
Mixing up the affairs of the Church with those of her
kitchen, strong as a ploughman, and devoted though
disrespectful, she gained admittance into households,
gave advice, and became mistress in them. P^cuchet
placed implicit confidence in her experience.

Digitized by



On one occasion she brought to him a corpulent
man with narrow eyes like a Chinaman, and a nose
like a vulture's beak. This was M. Gouttman, a dealer
in pious articles. He unpacked some of them shut
up in boxes under the cart-shed: a cross, medals,
and beads of all sizes; candelabra for oratories, port-
able altars, tinsel bouquets, and sacred hearts of blue
pasteboard, St. Josephs with red beards, and porcelain
crucifixes. The price alone stood in his way.

Gouttman did not ask for money. He preferred
barterings; and, having gone up to the museum, he
offered a number of his wares for their collection of
old iron and lead.

They appeared hideous to Bouvard. But P^cu-
chet's glance, the persistency of Reine, and the
bluster of the dealer were effectual in making him

Gouttman, seeing him so accommodating, wanted
the halberd in addition; Bouvard, tired of having ex-
hibited its working, surrendered it. The entire
valuation was made. '* These gentlemen still owed a
hundred francs." It was settled by three bills payable
at three months; and they congratulated themselves
on a good bargain.

Their acquisitions were distributed through the
various rooms. A crib filled with hay and a cork
cathedral decorated the museum.

On P^cuchet's chimney-piece there was a St. John
the Baptist in wax; along the corridor were ranged
the portraits of episcopal dignitaries; and at the bot-
tom of the staircase, under a chained lamp, stood a
Blessed Virgin in an azure mantle and a crown of
stars. Marcel cleaned up those splendours, unable to
imagine anything more beautiful in Paradise.

Digitized by



What a pity that the St. Peter was broken, and
how nicely it would have done in the vestibule!

P^cuchet stopped sometimes before the old pit for
composts, where he discovered the tiara, one sandal,
and the tip of an ear; allowed sighs to escape him,
then went on gardening, for now he combined man-
ual labour with religious exercises, and dug the soil at-
tired in the monk's habit, comparing himself to Bruno.
This disguise might be a sacrilege. He gave it up.

But he assumed the ecclesiastical style, no doubt
owing to his intimacy with the cur^. He had the
same smile, the same tone of voice, and, hke the
priest too, he slipped both hands with a chilly air
into his sleeves up to the wrists. A day came when
he was pestered by the crowing of the cock and
disgusted with the roses; he no longer went out, or
only cast sullen glances over the fields.

Bouvard suffered himself to be led to the May
devotions. The children singing hymns, the gorgeous
display of lilacs, the festoons of verdure, had im-
parted to him, so to speak, a feeling of imperishable
youth. God manifested Himself to his heart through
the fashioning of nests, the transparency of fountains,
the bounty of the sun*; and his friend's devotion ap-
peared to him extravagant, fastidious.

**Why do you groan during mealtime?"

"We ought to eat with groans,'* returned P^-
cuchet, "for it was in that way that man lost his
innocence" — a phrase which he had read in the
Seminarist's Manual, two duodecimo volumes he had
borrowed from M. Jeufroy: and he drank some of the
water of La Salette, gave himself up with closed
doors to ejaculatory prayers, and aspired to join the
confraternity of St. Francis.

Digitized by



In order to obtain the gift of perseverance, he re-
solved to make a pilgrimage in honour of the Blessed
Virgin. He was perplexed as to the choice of a
locality. Should it be N6tre Dame de Fourviers, de
Chartres, d'Embrun, de Marseille, or d'Auray ? Ndtre
Dame de la D^livrande was nearer, and it suited just
as well.

"You will accompany me?"

"I should look like a greenhorn,'* said Bouvard.

After all, he might come back a believer; he did
not object to being one; and so he yielded through

Pilgrimages ought to be made on foot. But forty-
three kilometers would be trying; and the public
conveyances not being adapted for meditation, they
hired an old cabriolet, which, after a twelve hours'
journey, set them down before the inn.

They got an apartment with two beds and two
chests of drawers, supporting two water-jugs in little
oval basins; and "mine host" informed them that
this was "the chamber of the Capuchins" under the
Terror. There La Dame de la D^livrande had been
concealed with so much precaution that the good
fathers said mass there clandestinely.

This gave P^cuchet pleasure, and he read aloud a
sketch of the history of the chapel, which had been
taken downstairs into the kitchen.

It had been founded in the beginning of the
second century by St. R^gnobert, first bishop of
Lisieux, or by St. Ragnebert, who lived in the seventh,
or by Robert the Magnificent in the middle of the

The Danes, the Normans, and, above all, the Prot-
estants, had burnt and ravaged it at various epochs.

Digitized by



About 1 1 12, the original statue was discovered by a
sheep, which indicated the place where it was by
tapping with its foot in a field of grass; and on this
spot Count Baudouin erected a sanctury.

"'Her miracles are innumerable. A merchant of
Bayeux, taken captive by the Saracens, invoked her:
his fetters fell off, and he escaped. A miser found a
nest of rats in his com loft, appealed to her aid, and
the rats went away. The touch of a medal, which
had been rubbed over her effigy, caused an old material-
ist from Versailles to repent on his death-bed. She gave
back speech to Sieur Adeline, who lost it for having
blasphemed; and by her protection, M. and Madame
de Becqueville had sufficient strength to live chastely
in the married state.

'"Amongst those whom she cured of irremedia-
ble diseases are mentioned Mademoiselle de Palfresne,
Anne Lirieux, Marie Duchemin, Francois Dufai, and
Madame de Jumillac n6e d'Osseville.

" ' Persons of high rank have visited her : Louis XL,
Louis XIII., two daughters of Gaston of Orleans,
Cardinal Wiseman, Samirrhi, patriarch of Antioch,
Monseigneur V^roles, vicar apostolic of Manchuria;
and the Archbishop of Quelen came to return thanks
to her for the conversion of Prince Talleyrand.'"

"She might," said P^cuchet, "convert you also!"

Bouvard, already in bed, gave vent to a species of
grunt, and presently was fast asleep.

Next morning at six o'clock they entered the

Another was in course of construction. Canvas
and boards blocked up the nave; and the monument,
in a rococo style, displeased Bouvard, above all, the
altar of red marble with its Corinthian pilasters.

Digitized by



The miraculous statue, in a niche at the left of
the choir, was enveloped in a spangled robe. The
beadle came up with a wax taper for each of them.
He fixed it in a kind of candlestick overlooking the
balustrade, ask^d for three francs, made a bow, and

Then they surveyed the votive offerings. Inscrip-
tions on slabs bore testimony to the gratitude of the
faithful. They admired two swords in the form
of a cross presented by a pupil of the Polytechnic
School, brides' bouquets, military medals, silver
hearts, and in the comer, along the floor, a forest of

A priest passed out of the sacristy carrying the
holy pyx.

When he had remained for a few minutes at the
bottom of the altar, he ascended the three steps, said
the Oremus, the Introit, and the Kyrie, which the boy
who served mass recited all in one breath on bended

The number present was small — a dozen or fifteen
old women. The rattling of their beads could be
heard accompanying the noise of a hammer driving
in stones. P^cuchet bent over his prie-dieu and re-
sponded to the **Amens.'* During the elevation, he
implored Our Lady to send him a constant and inde-
structible faith. Bouvard, in a chair beside him, took
up his Euchology, and stopped at the litany of the
Blessed Virgin.

"Most pure, most chaste, most venerable, most
amiable, most powerful — Tower of ivory — House of
gold — Gate of the morning."

These words of adoration, these hyperboles drew
him towards the being who has been the object of so

Digitized by



much reverence. He dreamed of her as she is repre-
sented in church paintings, above a mass of clouds,
cherubims at her feet, the infant Jesus on her breast —
Mother of tendernesses, upon whom all the sorrows of
the earth have a claim — ideal of woman carried up to
heaven; for man exalts that love arising out of the
depths of the soul, and his highest aspiration is to rest
upon her heart.

The mass was finished. They passed along by the
dealers' sheds which lined the walls in front of the
church. They saw there images, holy-water basins,
urns with fillets of gold, Jesus Christs made of cocoa-
nuts, and ivory chaplets; and the sun brought into
prominence the rudeness of the paintings, the hideous-
ness of the drawings. Bouvard, who had some
abominable specimens at his own residence, was in-
dulgent towards these. He bought a little Virgin of blue
paste. P^cuchet contented himself with a rosary as a

The dealers called out: "Come on! come on!
For five francs, for three francs, for sixty centimes,
for two sous, don't refuse Our Lady!"

The two pilgrims sauntered about without making
any selections from the proffered wares. Uncompli-
mentary remarks were made about them.

"What is it they want, these creatures?"

"Perhaps they are Turks."

"Protestants, rather."

A big girl dragged P^cuchet by the frock-coat; an
old man in spectacles placed a hand on his shoulder;
all were bawling at the same time; and a number of
them left their sheds, and, surrounding the pair, re-
doubled their solicitations and effronteries.

Bouvard could not stand this any longer.

Digitized by



"Let us alone, for God's sake!"

The crowd dispersed. But one fat woman followed
them for some distance, and exclaimed that they
would repent of it.

When they got back to the inn they found Goutt-
man in the caf6. His business called him to these
quarters, and he was talking to a man who was ex-
amining accounts at a table.

This person had a leather cap, a very wide pair of
trousers, a red complexion, and a good figure in spite
of his white hair: he had the appearance at the same
time of a retired officer and an old strolling player.

From time to time he rapped out an oath; then,
when Gouttman replied in a mild tone, he calmed down
at once and passed to another part of the accounts.

Bouvard who had been closely watching him, at
the end of a quarter of an hour came up to his side.

"Barberou, I believe?"

"Bouvard!" exclaimed the man in the cap, and
they embraced each other.

Barberou had in the course of twenty years ex-
perienced many changes of fortune. He had been
editor of a newspaper, an insurance agent, and manager
of an oyster-bed.

"I will tell you all about it," he said.

At last, having returned to his original calling, he
was travelling for a Bordeaux house, and Gouttman,
who took care of the diocese, disposed of wines for
him to the ecclesiastics. "But," he hurriedly added,
"you must pardon me one minute; then I shall be at
your service."

He was proceeding with the examination of the
accounts, and all of a sudden he jumped up excitedly.

"What! two thousand?"

Digitized by




"Ha! it's wrong, that's what it is!"

"What do you say?"

"I say that I've seen H6rambert myself," replied
Barberou in a passion. "The invoice makes it four
thousand. No humbug!"

The dealer was not put out of countenance.

"Well, it discharges you — what next?"

Barberou, as he stood there with his face at first
pale and then purple, impressed Bouvard and P6cu-
chet with the apprehension that he was about to
strangle Gouttman.

He sat down, folded his arms, and said:

"You are a vile rascal, you must admit."

"No insults, Monsieur Barberou. There are wit-
nesses. Be careful!"

"I'll bring an action against you!"

"Ta! ta! ta!" Then having fastened together his
books, Gouttman lifted the brim of his hat: "I wish
you luck on't!" With these words he went off.

Barberou explained the facts: For a credit of a

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryGustave FlaubertWorks → online text (page 1 of 19)