A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert

A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert

Author:Gustave Flaubert [Flaubert, Gustave]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-1-61219-082-2
Publisher: Melville House
Published: 2011-06-21T04:00:00+00:00


His name was Loulou. His body was green, the tip of his wings pink, his face blue, and his breast golden.

But he had a tiresome habit of chewing his perch, would tear out his feathers, scatter his droppings, spill his bathwater; Madame Aubain, whom he annoyed, gave him to Félicité for good.

She set about training him; soon he repeated, “Pretty boy! Your servant, Monsieur! Hail Mary full of grace!” He was put near the door, and many people were surprised he didn’t answer to the name of Jacquot, since all parrots were named Jacquot. People compared him to a turkey, to a block of wood: so many stabs in the heart for Félicité! Strange obstinacy Loulou had, to stop speaking the minute people started looking at him!

Nonetheless he sought company; for on Sundays, while the Rochefeuille ladies, M. de Houppeville, and the new regulars—Onfroy the apothecary, M. Varin, and Captain Mathieu—had their card parties, he would beat against the panes with his wings, and thrash about so furiously that it was impossible to hear each other.

Bourais’s face must have seemed very amusing to him. As soon as he saw him, he began to laugh, to laugh with all his might. His screams rebounded in the courtyard, the echo repeated them, the neighbors went to their windows and laughed too; in order not to be seen by the parrot, M. Bourais would slip along the wall, hiding his profile with his hat, reach the river, then enter through the garden door. And the looks he gave the bird were lacking in tenderness.

Loulou had been slapped at by the butcher boy, when the bird dared to thrust his head into his basket; and since then he always tried to nip him through his shirt. Fabu threatened to wring his neck, even though he was not cruel, despite the tattoos on his arms and his big side whiskers. Quite the contrary! He had a liking for the parrot, and even wanted, when he was in a jovial mood, to teach him swear words. Félicité, who was frightened by these manners, put him in the kitchen. His chain was taken away, and he wandered throughout the house.

When he went down the stairs, he would lean the curve of his beak against the steps, lift his right foot, then his left; and she was afraid that such gymnastics would cause him dizzy spells. He became ill, could no longer speak or eat. There was a thickness under his tongue, like the kind chickens sometimes have. She cured him by pulling out this film with her fingernails. M. Paul, one day, had the imprudence to blow cigar smoke into his nostrils; another time when Madame Lormeau teased him with the tip of her parasol, he grabbed at the ferrule; to cap it all off, he got lost.

She had put him down on the grass to refresh him, and had gone away for a minute; and, when she returned, no more parrot! First she looked for him


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