BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner


Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Excerpt:

Henry James

Life of Gustave Flaubert xlv—xlviii

Edmund Gosse

Madame Bovary I_424

The Portraits of Gustave Flaubert . . .425-431

Octave Uzanne

MADAME BOVARY

FIRST PART
I

We were at Preparation in the schoolroom when the head master entered, followed by a new boy dressed not in the school uniform but in ordinary plain clothes, and by a school servant bearing a large desk. Those who were asleep woke up, and every one rose as though he had been surprised at his work.

The head master motioned to us to sit down again; then, turning to the usher:

"M. Roger," said he to him half in an undertone, "here is a pupil whom I recommend to your care; he enters the fifth form. If his work and his conduct are deserving, he shall pass into the upper school, where at his age he ought to be."

Lingering in the corner, behind the door, so that he could scarcely be seen was the new boy, a country lad about fifteen years of age, and taller than any among us all. He wore his hair cut straight over the forehead, like a village choir-boy, and his manner was at once sensible and very shy. Although he was not broad across the shoulders, his round jacket of green cloth with black buttons seemed to pinch him uncomfortably under the arms, and through the slit of the cuffs it exhibited red wrists accustomed to be bare. His legs, blue stockinged, protruded from a yellowish pair of trousers braced up very high. He was shod with strong shoes, ill polished, and studded with nails.

The repetition of lessons was commenced. He listened to them with all his ears, attentive as though to a sermon, not daring even to cross his legs nor to lean on his elbow, and at two o'clock, when the bell rung, the usher was obliged to address him individually before he placed himself along with us in the ranks.

We were accustomed, as we went in to school, to throw our caps on the ground, so as to have afterwards greater freedom for our hands; from the threshold of the door the practice was to fling them under the bench in such a way as to strike against the wall and raise a lot of dust. . This was considered " good form."

But, whether it were that he had not noticed this proceeding or that he did not dare conform to it, when prayers were over the new boy still held his cap on his two knees. It was one of those head coverings of composite order, in which are to be observed the elements of the woollen cap, of the chapska, of the round hat, of the otter-skin toque and of the cotton cap, one of those poor things, in fine, the mute ugliness of which has certain depths of expressiveness like the face of an idiot. Shaped like an egg and kept extended by means of whalebones, it commenced with three circular puddinglike bulges; then, divided by a strip of red, there alternated lozenges of velvet and rabbit-skin; after these came a kind of sack which ended in a cardboard polygon, covered with an embroidery of braid worked in a complicated design and having attached to it at the end of a long and too slender cord a little cross-bar made of gold thread by way of tassel. It was new; the peak glittered.

"Stand up," said the professor.

He rose; his cap fell. The whole class tittered. He stooped to recover it. A neighbour with a nudge of his elbow made it fall again; once more he picked it up.

"Put down your cap," said the professor, who was a wit.

There was a roar of laughter from the boys which put the poor fellow quite out of countenance, so that he knew not whether he was expected to keep his cap in his hand, leave it on the ground or put it on his head. He sat down again and placed it on his knees.

"Stand up," said the professor again, "and tell me your name."


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