Madame Aubain Quotes in A Simple Heart
On the first floor, there was Madame’s bedroom, a very large room, decorated with pale, flowery wallpaper and containing a picture of ‘Monsieur’ dressed up in the fanciful attire that was fashionable at the time. This room led directly to a smaller bedroom which housed two children’s beds, each with the mattress removed. Next came the parlour, which was always kept locked and was full of furniture draped in dust-sheets. […] The two end panels of this bookcase were covered in line drawings, landscapes in gouache and etchings by Audran, a reminder of better days and of more expensive tastes that were now a thing of the past.
For lunch she served a sirloin of beef, along with tripe, black pudding, a fricassee of chicken, sparkling cider, a fruit tart and plums in brandy, all accompanied by a stream of compliments…not forgetting their dear departed grandparents whom the Liébards had known personally, having been in service to the family for several generations. The farm, like the Liébard’s themselves, had an old-world feel to it. The beams in the ceiling were pitted with woodworm, the walls blackened with smoke, the window panes grey with dust.
Félicité became very attached to them. She bought them a blanket, some shirts and a cooking stove. They were obviously out to take advantage of her. Madame Aubain was annoyed that Félicité was not more firm with them. She also took objection to the familiar way in which the nephew spoke to Paul.”
Although Félicité had been fed such rough treatment since she was a child, she felt very offended by Madame Aubain. But she soon got over it. After all, it was to be expected that Madame should get upset about her own daughter. For Félicité, the two children were of equal importance; they were bound together by her love for them and it seemed right that they should share the same fate.
They found a little chestnut-coloured hat made of long-piled plush, but it had been completely destroyed by the moths. Félicité asked if she might have it as a keepsake. The two women looked at each other and their eyes filled with tears. Madame Aubain opened her arms and Félicité threw herself into them. Mistress and servant embraced each other, uniting their grief in a kiss which made them equal.
He thoroughly irritated Madame Aubain and so she gave him to Félicité to look after. She decided she would teach him to speak and he was very soon able to say, ‘Pretty boy!’, ‘Your servant, sir!’ and ‘Hail Mary!’ She put him near the front door and a number of visitors were surprised that he would not answer to the name ‘Polly’ […] Some people said he looked more like a turkey or called him a blockhead. Félicité found their jibes very hurtful. There was a curious stubborn streak in Loulou which never ceased to amaze Félicité; he would refuse to talk the minute anyone looked at him! Even so, there was no doubt that he appreciated company.
Félicité wept for her in a way that servants rarely weep for their masters. That Madame should die before her disturbed her whole way of thinking; it seemed to go against the natural order of things; it was something unacceptable and unreal.
Ten days later, just as soon as they could get there from Besançon, the heirs arrived on the scene. Madame Aubain’s daughter-in-law went through all the drawers, chose a few pieces of furniture for herself and sold what was left. […] On the walls, yellow patches marked the places where pictures had once hung. They had taken away the children’s beds, along with their mattresses, and the cupboard had been cleared of all Virginie’s things. Félicité went from room to room, heartbroken.