Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 423
For six weeks, Rodolphe avoids Emma, telling himself that her desire for him will grow in his absence. When he finally does go to see her, she at first acts annoyed. He has been hunting and traveling a great deal since he last saw her, but he claims that he has been pining after her constantly. He even says that he has often stood outside her house late at night, thinking about her. His romantic language impresses her, but she tries to resist his advances.
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When Charles arrives home, Emma is having trouble controlling her confused emotions. Rodolphe says that she seems ill. He suggests that it would be healthy for her to go out horseback riding, and he offers his own horses for the purpose. Emma understands Rodolphe’s ulterior motives, so she refuses to go. Charles, who does not understand what is at stake, presses her to accept the offer. She protests that “it might look strange” but eventually gives in.
The following day, Emma goes out riding with Rodolphe. He takes her into the woods and declares his undying love for her. She continues to resist him for a while, but his poetic language and classic good looks are ultimately too tempting to her. Eventually she gives in, and the two of them make love.
When Emma arrives home, she is elated. She tells herself that she is finally experiencing love. She feels more beautiful and exciting than ever before—more like the heroine of a novel than herself. Charles is pleased by her improved mood, and he buys her a horse so that she can go for rides with Rodolphe more often.
After that, Emma and Rodolphe spend a great deal of time together. They also write letters to each other every day, whether they see each other or not. Emma resists taking risks at first, but soon she grows bolder. One morning when Charles goes out early to see a patient, she runs alone to Rodolphe’s chateau, La Huchette, and sneaks into his bedroom to wake him. He is obviously charmed that she has done this, so after that she makes a habit of sneaking to La Huchette every time she gets a chance. She loves being with him, and she always cries when she has to leave.
One day, when Emma makes one of these unexpected visits, Rodolphe looks displeased. She asks him what is wrong, and he says that he is worried. She is “risking her reputation” by sneaking out to see him so often.