Let’s talk about Lheureux, Monsieur Lheureux, the draper.
First of all, a draper is “a retail merchant who sells clothing and dry goods”.
Madam Bovary’s draper seems to be a high-end draper. He deals in expensive items, or maybe he sees greed and unhappiness written all over Emma and plays into her discontent.
Lheureux always knows exactly what Emma will be needing even before she knows it herself.
I can’t imagine if a Target employee stopped by my house with a cart full of delightful goodies, pushed it into my hands, and then said that the store were going to do some creative financing so that I wouldn’t have to pay for my new purchases until much, much later. Tempting.
So Lheureux has his finger on the pulse of Emma’s material greed, but he’s not just a merchant. Madame Bovary’s draper seems to have some side businesses as well: money lending and potential blackmailing. He knows more about Emma than a businessman should, but at the same time, Emma’s not exactly discreet.
As I read, I kept feeling like I should know the word “L’heureux” from high school French years ago. My memory failed me on the meaning of the word, so I looked it up.
heureux: felicitous, fortunate, glad, happy, pleased, lucky, good, excellent
Like I do most other door-to-door salespeople, I believe I’d ignore Lheureux’s knock.
What were your impressions of the draper?