Madame Bovary Part Two Chapters 1-4 Summary

     Yonville is a market town about twenty miles from Rouen. The town's setup is described at length during the first several paragraphs. There is an impressive pharmacy run by a man named Homais and the cemetery caretaker grows potatoes in an uninhabited corner of the cemetery. The first chapter of part two also focuses on the conversation of the townsfolk waiting on Mr. and Mrs. Bovary to arrive at the inn for dinner before going to their new home.

     Charles and Emma were delayed because her greyhound had run away at some point during their travels. The entire party searched for Djali, to no avail. Emma, of course, blamed Charles and wept. When they arrived, they were to eat their dinner at the inn with a local gentleman named Leon and the pharmacist, Homais. Leon watches Emma as she warms herself by the fire.

     The pharmacist tells Charles to expect that many of his patients would rather turn to superstition and religion than to science. Emma asks Leon about nice places to walk, however there are few. They being to talk, discovering that they have some interests in common. Homais, the pharmacist, mentions gardening. When Charles tells him that Emma would prefer to read in her room, Leon comments that he is the same. Emma stares at him. They go on to excitedly discuss the theatre, book genres, and many other things.

     When they leave the inn, they must say goodnight immediately as the new Bovary home is only about 50 yards from the inn. The moving men had left everything is disarray. Emma muses that when she goes to bed, this will be fourth time she's slept at an odd place: the convent, Tostes, La Vaubyessard, and Yonville. Each one, she feels, marks a drastic change in her life.

     The next day, Leon eagerly awaits dinnertime in hopes of seeing Emma, but he doesn't. His manners are considered refined for Yonville; he is not overly concerned with politics and listens politely when people talk. Despite this, he is not accustomed to conversations with "ladies," such as Emma Bovary and wishes to speak with her.

     The pharmacist is happy to have Charles in town and eager to get the man in his pocket. After being reprimanded for practicing medicine without a degree, Homais feels the need to be in the doctor's good graces. This way, if Monsieur Bovary were to notice some of these illegal consultations, he would be less likely to report Homais.

     Charles is very unhappy. He has no patients and doesn't know what to do with his time. He is concerned about money and is increasingly aware of the cost of Madame's dresses, repairs at Tostes, and the number of items ruined during the move. He is quite excited, however, by Emma's pregnancy.

     Emma decides that she wants a boy. She wants to name him George. She thinks that, hopefully, he could live an unrestricted life as compensation for her own frustrations. The child, born at sunrise on Sunday morning, is a girl. After much deliberation about naming the child, Emma settles on a name that she recalls from the ball at La Vaubyessard: Berthe. Emma's father is not able to make it, so Monsieur Homais is named the godfather. He brings them gifts of candy from his shop.

     When Emma goes to see her daughter at the wet-nurse's house, she runs into Leon. She and Leon walk there together, a fact that is known by the entire town by evening. When Emma arrives there, she picks up her daughter and sings to her. The baby throws up on her collar. As she and Leon go to leave, the wet nurse chases them down a couple of times to ask for various supplies: soap, coffee, brandy.

     Leon feels sorry for himself that he has to live in a town such as Yonville. He longs for more refined conversation. He thinks of the women in Yonville and then thinks of Emma. He wants to be more intimate with her but feels that the abyss between them is too wide.

     Emma took to watching the street from the parlor as the weather grew colder. She noticed that Leon walked to the inn twice a day. Monsieur Homais would visit during dinner to discuss the news and suggest recipes to the maid.

     On Sundays, Homais hosts small soirees attended by any townsfolk that had not yet become offended by his political views or vicious gossip. Leon advises her in card games against the pharmacist until Emma and Leon retire to a corner together to flip through a fashion magazine. In this way, they become close and it did not incite jealousy in her husband.

     When cactuses became fashionable, Leon purchases one for Emma and delivers it to her. She has a special shelf installed to hold it near her window. She buys him a velvet and wool bedspread, which he shows to Mr. and Mrs. Homais and others. These gift exchanges and the positive way that Leon spoke of Emma lead most of the townspeople to assume that Emma is Leon's mistress. Leon longs to declare himself to her, but cannot determine how to do so.

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