Study Guide

Townies in A Simple Heart

By Gustave Flaubert

Townies

Pont-l'Évêque is full of minor characters who play some role or another in the story. There's Mother Simon, a kind woman who cares for Félicité as she is dying. There are Robelin and Liébard, farmers who sell Madame Aubain hens and cheese and give her rides when she needs to go out of town. Guyot is the children's teacher until they go to boarding school.

There's also the Marquis de Gremanville, Madame Aubain's drunken uncle "who had been ruined by crooks and who lived at Falaise on what little remained of his land. He would always appear at lunch time, with a hideous poodle that dirtied the furniture with its paws" (2.22). He's sort of the picture of the family's decadence; they used to be rich but not so much anymore.

Félicité's sister, Nastasie (Barette) Leroux, is another one who shows up around mealtimes, conveniently, and seems to be exploiting Félicité's generosity. Colmiche also benefits from her kindness, but not because he's family. He's "an old man who was said to have done terrible things in '93. He lived on the banks of the river in a ruined pigsty" (3.93). Terrible punishment.

Finally, there are the Baron and Madame de Larsonnière along with their n**** servant, who are only in town as long as duty calls but who make the important donation of Loulou the parrot to Félicité. Madame Aubain's friends Monsieur and Madame Lormeau, Madame Lechaptois, the Rochefeuille girls, and Monsieur de Houppeville appear in name only.