Alliteration is a sound device where the initial consonant sounds of a word are repeated. This creates a musical effect and often adds a subtle emphasis in a sentence.
Mathilde is a woman who feels that she deserves a better life. Her husband is only a lowly clerk, and cannot take care of her with the level of comfort she feels she deserves. When he tries to please her by getting an invitation to a ball, he expresses his excitement through alliteration.
I had tremendous trouble to get it. Every one wants one; it's very select, and very few go to the clerks. You'll see all the really big people there.
The alliteration is the repetition of the “t” sound in “tremendous trouble” and helps the reader appreciate the importance of the ball.
Mathilde does not respond well, however. Alliteration is used again to demonstrate his confusion at her reaction.
He stopped, stupefied and utterly at a loss when he saw that his wife was beginning to cry. Two large tears ran slowly down from the corners of her eyes towards the corners of her mouth.
The words “stopped, stupefied” are alliteration of the “st” sound. Mathilde’s husband was surprised that she wasn’t excited about the invitation to the ball. He thought she would be glad, but she is just complaining about the fact that she doesn’t have anything she considers appropriate to wear.
After he gives up all of the money he has saved to buy her a new dress worthy of the ball, she is still not happy. She is worried about her jewelry.
"I'm utterly miserable at not having any jewels, not a single stone, to wear," she replied. "I shall look absolutely no one. I would almost rather not go to the party."
Mathilde uses alliteration to emphasize the fact that she does not have any jewelry she considers worthy of wearing to the ball. Her husband suggests flowers, which she rejects. He finally recommends asking a wealthy friend to borrow a necklace. This Mathilde agrees to, and of course that is what gets her into all the trouble.