Madame Bovary

  • Part I

  • Chapter One

  • Narrator

    We were in class when the head-master came in, followed by a โ€œnew fellow,โ€ not wearing the school uniform, and a school servant carrying a large desk.

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  • Those who had been asleep woke up, and every one rose as if just surprised at his work.

  • The head-master made a sign to us to sit down.

  • Then, turning to the class-master, he said to him in a low voice--

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    Head-master

    โ€œMonsieur Roger, here is a pupil whom I recommend to your care; he'll be in the second.

  • If his work and conduct are satisfactory, he will go into one of the upper classes, as becomes his age.โ€

  • Narrator

    The โ€œnew fellow,โ€ standing in the corner behind the door so that he could hardly be seen, was a country lad of about fifteen, and taller than any of us.

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  • His hair was cut square on his forehead like a village chorister's; he looked reliable, but very ill at ease.

  • Although he was not broad-shouldered, his short school jacket of green cloth with black buttons must have been tight about the arm-holes, and showed at the opening of the cuffs red wrists accustomed to being bare.

  • Narrator

    His legs, in blue stockings, looked out from beneath yellow trousers, drawn tight by braces, He wore stout, ill-cleaned, hob-nailed boots.

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  • We began repeating the lesson.

  • He listened with all his ears, as attentive as if at a sermon, not daring even to cross his legs or lean on his elbow; and when at two o'clock the bell rang, the master was obliged to tell him to fall into line with the rest of us.

  • Narrator

    When we came back to work, we were in the habit of throwing our caps on the ground so as to have our hands more free; we used from the door to toss them under the form, so that they hit against the wall and made a lot of dust: it was โ€œthe thing.โ€

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  • But, whether he had not noticed the trick, or did not dare to attempt it, the โ€œnew fellow,โ€ was still holding his cap on his knees even after prayers were over.

  • It was one of those head-gears of composite order, in which we can find traces of the bearskin, shako, billycock hat, sealskin cap, and cotton night-cap; one of those poor things, in fine, whose dumb ugliness has depths of expression, like an imbecile's face.

  • Narrator

    Oval, stiffened with whalebone, it began with three round knobs; then came in succession lozenges of velvet and rabbit-skin separated by a red band; after that a sort of bag that ended in a cardboard polygon covered with complicated braiding, from which hung, at the end of a long thin cord, small twisted gold threads in the manner of a tassel.

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  • The cap was new; its peak shone.

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    Master

    โ€œRise,โ€