When Lise first marries Sigismund, she is caught up in a fairy-tale existence. She is only nineteen when they marry and has "been set on [her] purpose for ten years." Her family has a higher rank and more money than her husband, but she is "wonderfully happy" at first, confident...
When Lise first marries Sigismund, she is caught up in a fairy-tale existence. She is only nineteen when they marry and has "been set on [her] purpose for ten years." Her family has a higher rank and more money than her husband, but she is "wonderfully happy" at first, confident that her husband's meager finances will be enough to sustain her. As she begins to take care of her own home, Lise reflects that it hasn't been all that long since she played with dolls and looks at her housework as an extension of the playtime of her childhood. Marriage and housework, even to a poorer man, seems "enchanting."
Lise's tone shifts one morning in July when her husband wants to show her his sheep. As they walk, he begins explaining to her his plans to improve their stock by orchestrating some variance in the sheep breeding, which is important to his continued income. This isn't an "enchanting" conversation at all, and Lise begins to see him as "absurd." She has never before had to consider agricultural prospects, let alone the choices behind breeding animals. This sharply conflicts with the picturesque image of marriage that Lise has constructed.
When they arrive at the sheepfold, Lise is again met with the harsh realities of life: some of the sheep are sick. As the sheepmaster and Sigismund examine the sheep, Lise falls into distress. Her husband suggests that she walk away from the scene; he plans to catch up with her a bit later.
As Lise walks away from her husband, her sense of disillusionment regarding marriage is stripped bare. She recalls a little glade that she had seen once before when she and her dog, Bijou, had gone for a walk. The glade looks more like the fairy tales of her dreams, covered in thick green hangings and hidden away from the world. She imagines how horrified her husband will be if he can't find her and wishes to instill a sense of fear in him. If he believes that he has lost Lise for even a "cruel" five minutes, she believes that he will understand what an "unendurably sad and horrible place the universe would be when she was no longer in it."
There is no indication that Sigismund's feelings toward his wife have shifted in this story; instead, Lise must confront her newfound discontent that the realities of marriage don't live up to the fairy tale she had envisioned. Her trip into the glade is an effort to inflict sadness on her husband because of her own feelings of regret.