Boule de Suif

by

Guy de Maupassant

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Mrs. Carré-Lamadon, a traveler in the carriage to Havre, is the model bourgeois wife—dainty, young, and wrapped in furs. Like her husband, she represents a middle ground between the boorish Mrs. Loiseau and the ethereal Countess. She and her husband are outwardly the ideal French provincial couple; Maupassant suggests that she is consistently unfaithful, though, as she favors young French officers over Mr. Carré-Lamadon. In fact, when the group is stranded in Tôtes, she feels an absurd disappointment that the devious Prussian officer “chose” Miss Rousset instead of her. Despite her own affairs, she judges Miss Rousset harshly just the like the rest of the “high society” travelers and she faints in the carriage out of hunger because she refuses to eat the food of a prostitute. Mrs. Carré-Lamadon is as ineffectual as her husband, happy to go along with the rest of the group as they pressure Miss Rousset into giving into the officer.

Mrs. Carré-Lamadon Quotes in Boule de Suif

The Boule de Suif quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Carré-Lamadon or refer to Mrs. Carré-Lamadon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Boule de Suif published in 1992.
Boule de Suif Quotes

The three men installed their wives at the back [of the carriage] and then followed them. Then the other forms, undecided and veiled, took in their turn the last places without exchanging a word.

Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

These six persons formed the foundation of the carriage company, the society side, serene and strong, honest, established people, who had both religion and principle.

Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

As soon as she was recognized, a whisper went around among the honest women, and the words “prostitute” and “public shame” were whispered so loud that she raised her head. Then she threw her neighbors such a provoking, courageous look that a great silence reigned […then] conversation began among the three ladies, whom the presence of this girl had suddenly rendered friendly, almost intimate. It seemed to them they should bring their married dignity into union in opposition to that sold without shame; for legal love always takes on a tone of contempt for its free confrère.

Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

They could not eat this girl’s provisions without speaking to her. And so they chatted, with reserve at first; then, as she carried herself well, with more abandon. The ladies De Breville and Carré-Lamadon, who were acquainted with the ins and outs of good-breeding, were gracious with a certain delicacy. The Countess, especially, showed that amiable condescension of very noble ladies who do not fear being spoiled by contact with anyone, and was charming. But the great Madame Loiseau, who had the soul of a plebian, remained crabbed, saying little and eating much.

Related Symbols: Basket of Food
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

The breakfast was very doleful; and it became apparent that a coldness had arisen toward Ball-of-Fat, and that the night, which brings counsel, had slightly modified their judgements. They almost wished now that the Prussian has secretly found this girl, in order to give her companions a pleasant surprise in the morning. What could be more simple? Besides, who would know anything about it? She could save appearances by telling the officer that she took pity on their distress. To her, it would make little difference!

“Well, we are not going to stay here and die of old age. Since it is the trade of this creature to accommodate herself to all kinds, I fail to see how she has the right to refuse one more than another…and to think that to-day we should be drawn into this embarrassment by this affected woman, this minx! For my part, I find that this officer conducts himself very well…and we must remember too that he is master. He has only to say ‘I wish,’ and he could take us by force with his soldiers.”

Page Number: 23-24
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Carré-Lamadon Character Timeline in Boule de Suif

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Carré-Lamadon appears in Boule de Suif. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Boule de Suif
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...by the four others who are still covered and indistinct. The three married women—Mrs. Loiseau, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon , and Countess Hubert de Breville—sit towards the back and bring out foot stoves. The... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
Mrs. Loiseau, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon , and the Countess start to whisper things like “public shame,” loud enough so that... (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
At this point, Mr. Carré-Lamadon and Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and the Count and Countess are in total agony—they can’t believe that food is so... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
The whole group descends on the basket and quickly empties it. Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and the Countess now allow themselves to talk to Miss Rousset (feeling an obligation because... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...in to “calm” the “exasperated” young woman. Although there is awkwardness in the carriage afterwards, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and the Countess are even more impressed by Miss Rousset’s outburst. (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...cold again. The Countess gives her foot stove to Miss Rousset, and Mrs. Loiseau and Mrs. Carré-Lamadon give theirs to the two nuns. (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
...nuns obey the order first, followed by the Count and Countess, then Mr. Carré-Lamadon and Mrs. Carré-Lamadon then Mr. Loiseau and Mr. Loiseau. Mr. Loiseau greets the officer, who looks right through... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...walk, the three married women are mortified that they’re in the presence of Miss Rousset. Mrs. Carré-Lamadon thinks to herself that the officer is even kind of attractive (she’d know—she’s been friendly... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
During lunch, this plan takes form. Mrs. Loiseau, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon , and the Countess are kind to Miss Rousset only to “increase her docility and... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...the Count leads his wife away from Miss Rousset immediately. Miss Rousset tries to greet Mrs. Carré-Lamadon but she is met with silence. The group acts as though she is not there,... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...carriage moves towards Le Havre with an atmosphere of cold awkwardness. The Countess turns to Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and, breaking the silence, asks about a society friend of theirs. The women chatter about... (full context)