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CHAPTER 10

Emma is haunted by the idea that someone will find out about her affair with Rodolphe. One morning, returning from her lover's estate, she meets Captain Binet, who's out duck hunting. She lies to him, saying that she's been to the wet-nurse's house to see her baby, even though everyone in Yonville knows that Berthe has been living with her parents for a year.

That same night, Charles, thinking his wife looks unhappy and wanting to distract her, takes Emma to the pharmacist's house after dinner, where she accidentally meets Binet again. The tax-inspector makes a reference to meeting Emma that morning, but luckily for her, Charles doesn't notice anything. The next day Emma and Rodolphe decide that they must act more discreetly. Rodolphe promises to look for a "safe" house in Yonville, but meanwhile the lovers meet in the garden. Emma waits until Charles is asleep, then slips into the darkness, half-dressed. On rainy nights they meet in Charles' consulting room.


Though he's occasionally embarrassed by her extreme sentimentality, Rodolphe is also affected by the passion in Emma's love. Yet the very intensity of her feelings allows him to take her for granted. Emma notices the change in his attitude and begins to regret ever having given in to him. She feels helpless because she realizes how much she's in Rodolphe's power. After six months, they resemble "a married couple placidly keeping a domestic affair alive." Again, reality is encroaching on the dream.

Every year, to commemorate the mending of his broken leg by Charles years ago, Emma's father sends them a turkey. This year, he sends a letter along with the present. Emma is troubled by the way her affair with Rodolphe is going, and the letter makes her think back to her life with her father when she seemed happier. She sees Berthe rolling around playfully on the grass and experiences a sudden burst of love for her daughter.

NOTE:

Notice the way Emma's memory plays tricks on her. When she's unhappy in the present, she romanticizes the past. If she can't actually escape her present reality, she can certainly escape it by way of her imagination. The sudden change of attitude toward her child also indicates a longing for innocence and for a way of life that she "should" lead as a mother.

That night she acts coldly toward Rodolphe, but he ignores her. She wonders why she continues the affair, and wants to love Charles but doesn't know what she can do to get close to him.

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