Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary

Emma soon realizes that Rodolphe is right; she needs to protect her reputation. After all, if she gets caught, she may not be able to see him anymore. One morning, on her way home from Rodolphe’s chateau, she meets Monsieur Binet, the local tax collector. He happens to be out duck hunting. They chat briefly, and she thinks he realizes her guilt. In fact, he is too busy worrying about his own guilt. He is breaking the local duck hunting laws, and he thinks she knows it.

After this encounter, Emma spends the day worrying that Monsieur Binet will tell someone what he has seen. She runs into him that afternoon at the pharmacist’s shop. In her nervousness, she grows so agitated that people think she is ill. But Monsieur Binet does not mention the morning’s encounter.

When this scare has passed, Rodolphe and Emma change their patterns. He travels to her house at night and meets her on a bench at the back of her garden. On colder nights, they meet in Charles’s medical consultation room instead. Once, when they are inside, they hear someone in the garden. Emma asks Rodolphe if he has his pistols, and he seems shocked that she would think he needed them. She is impressed that he is not afraid of Charles, whereas Rodolphe is perplexed by her assumption that he hates her husband enough to shoot him.

Emma's sentimentality annoys Rodolphe. She insists on exchanging locks of hair and making constant flowery declarations of love. That sort of thing was all right in the early days, when he was still trying to convince her to be with him—but now it is getting a bit old. However, he is enjoying his affair with her enough to continue it.

One day Emma receives a letter from her father, Monsieur Rouault, along with a gift of a turkey from his farm. His quaint misspellings and his simple statements about life on the farm fill her with nostalgia—not so much for farm life itself, which she never liked, but rather for the girlish innocence she once possessed. In her childhood, she was “rich in illusions” and did not know it. Now she is beginning to feel rather tired of her life. She does not quite understand why she is unhappy, but she is.

On her next few visits with Rodolphe, Emma acts cold and distant. She begins to suspect that she would be happier if only she worked to be a better wife and mother. She begins showing more affection toward her daughter, and she tries again to find a reason to love Charles.