Madame Bovary Part 3, Chapter 2 Summary
- Emma returns to the inn, and finds that she’s missed the Hirondelle, which was there to pick her up earlier. She hires a cab and catches up to the stagecoach. She returns home.
- Once there, Félicité sends her next door to the Homais house, saying that it’s urgent.
- It’s jam making day in Yonville, a particularly hectic time.
- At chez Homais, Emma discovers the pharmacist’s family in an uproar. It turns out that Justin almost made a fatal mistake – he almost used a pan for jam that was dangerously close to the jar of arsenic.
- Homais is unbelievably angry; his wife and the children freak out, as though they’d already been poisoned. Emma observes all this, as Homais goes through the whole chain of events again.
- Poor Justin. Things just go from bad to worse for him. As Homais shakes him back and forth angrily, a book falls out of his pocket. Not just any book…a book called Conjugal Love. With pictures. The children are struck dumb, and Homais snatches it away furiously.
- At this point, Emma successfully breaks into the conversation. She asks what’s wrong.
- Homais bluntly tells her that her father-in-law, the elder Monsieur Bovary, is dead.
- Emma goes to find Charles as Homais cools down a bit, still grumbling.
- Charles has been waiting for his wife, and tearfully greets her with a hug and kiss. Emma, remembering Léon, is grossed out by her husband. She responds with an extraordinary lack of sympathy.
- Charles, poor man, just thinks that Emma is struck by grief, when in reality, she just doesn’t know what to say, and doesn’t feel anything.
- Hippolyte limps in, bringing Emma’s bags. Emma is embarrassed as ever by his presence, a symbol of Charles’s failures.
- The next day, Charles’s mother arrives. Mother and son are debilitated by grief; Emma is unmoved. Instead, she’s daydreaming about Léon.
- Monsieur Lheureux, who seems to have an incredible radar system for knowing the absolute worst time for stopping by, stops by.
- The merchant and Emma step aside to discuss business. Lheureux slyly proposes another lending arrangement – knowing that Emma is a fool with money, he wants Charles to give her power of attorney (basically control over their financial situation), so he can deal with her.
- Soon enough, he returns with yards of black fabric for a mourning dress.
- Lheureux keeps pushing Emma about the whole power of attorney business, which she doesn’t really understand. However, she figures things out soon enough.
- As soon as Charles’s mother leaves, Emma goes into financier mode. She has a document drawn up by the notary, which gives her control over the family’s money and loans.
- Charles is amazed by what seems like Emma’s common sense. She slyly suggests that they should have someone else look over the notarized document before they sign it – and Charles himself sends her to Rouen to meet with Léon. She’s gone for three days.
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