Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Madam Bovary's unused penholder

She would be wearing her dressing-gown unbuttoned, revealing, between the copious folds of her corsage, a pleated chemisette with gold buttons. Round her waist she had a cord with big tassels, and her little wine-red slippers had large knots of ribbon, spreading down over the instep. She had bought herself a blotting-pad, a writing-case, a pen-holder and envelopes, though she had nobody to write to; she would dust her ornaments, look at herself in the mirror, pick up a book, then, dreaming between the lines, let it fall in her lap. She yearned to travel or to go back to living in the convent. She wanted equally to die and to live in Paris.

Gustav Flaubert, Madame Bovary, first published 1856.
Screenshot from the 1949 movie Madame Bovary, starring Jennifer Jones.

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