Study Guide

Madame Bovary Part 3, Chapter 7

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Part 3, Chapter 7

  • The next day, the town bailiff, Maître Hareng, comes to the house to make an inventory of its goods.
  • After they leave, Emma and Félicité try not to give anything away to Charles, who is somehow still blissfully ignorant of all of this.
  • The government even sent a guard to make sure Emma doesn’t do a runner; he stays obediently in the attic so Charles doesn’t notice.
  • The next day, Emma goes to Rouen to ask everyone she knows there for money.
  • Finally, she comes to Léon’s house. They go to their room in the Hôtel du Boulogne, where she proceeds to throw herself upon his mercy. However, he doesn’t have eight thousand francs worth of mercy – who does?
  • Léon attempts to tell her that things aren’t as bad as she thinks – he claims that things will be fine if she pacifies Lheureux with a smaller amount, like three thousand francs. He obediently goes out for a while, supposedly looking for money somewhere, and comes back empty-handed.
  • Emma, who’s going off the deep-end right now, tries to force Léon to steal the money from his employer. Just when he’s about to give in to her will, he remembers that his rich friend Morel will be back in town that evening – he promises to bring Emma the money the next day.
  • But Emma is dubious, and Léon is uncomfortable. He was sure that Emma would believe this lie, but instead she doesn’t look any better. He makes a quick exit.
  • Wandering disconsolately through the town, Emma is almost run over by a passing carriage. She recognizes the man inside – it’s the Viscount.
  • She feels even worse than ever.
  • On the way home, she encounters Homais in the Hirondelle, bringing home his wife’s favorite rolls from a bakery in Rouen.
  • They encounter the blind beggar, as usual. Homais is offended by this spectacle, and babbles on about what the blind man should do to cure his condition. Homais gives the beggar a coin, then actually asks for change (who does that?).
  • Hivert, cruel man that he is, makes the beggar do a dog impression. Emma, full of pity and disgust, gives him a five-franc coin, all the money she has in the world. It seems like a noble gesture to her.
  • Emma’s feelings all desert her – she’s just apathetic now. She hopes that something dramatic might occur – like Lheureux’s death.
  • Unfortunately, no such thing happens. Emma awakens to a commotion; a crowd is gathering in the town square where a sign has been posted. All of Emma’s property is officially for sale.
  • Emma and Félicité decide that the best course of action is to go to see Monsieur Guillaumin, the notary. It’s a last ditch effort.
  • The notary’s house is elegant, and even in her despair, Emma notes that it’s the type of house she should have.
  • Apparently, Monsieur Guillaumin is secretly allied with Lheureux, but he lets Emma babble on about her financial troubles anyway. The notary calmly eats his breakfast while she tries to enlist his help.
  • The only thing Guillaumin will accept in exchange for his help, it seems, is Emma herself. He makes a move on her as soon as she’s done talking. Disgusted, she flees the scene.
  • Back home, Félicité tries to help Emma think of people who can help – someone, anyone. Emma gives up, and imagines what she’ll tell Charles when he gets home. She assumes that he will forgive her for ruining them financially – but she still doesn’t forgive him for the supposed crime of ever meeting her.
  • Charles returns, and Emma slips out before he sees her. She high-tails it over to Binet’s, and presumably asks the tax collector if he can help (he can’t).
  • Two of the town’s gossiping ladies, Madame Tuvache, the mayor’s wife, and her friend Madame Caron, observe her, disgusted by her behavior.
  • Emma, rejected by the whole town, flees to Madame Rollet’s, where she has a small-scale nervous breakdown (understandably) and sends the wetnurse to see if Léon is at her house.
  • In the nurse’s cottage, Emma waits in vain for Léon, who never shows.
  • Madame Rollet returns with bad news. Léon is nowhere to be found, Charles is crying, and everyone is looking for her.
  • Emma only has one more place to go: she heads off to La Huchette to find Rodolphe, ready to giver herself to him for the three thousand francs.

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