Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 1, Chapter 9

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 1, Chapter 9

An Evening in the Country

  • Julien sits down with Madame de Rênal and her friend Madame Derville one evening. When he's sure that Derville can't see, he reaches out and holds Madame de Rênal's hand. She pulls away, but he grabs it again.
  • When Madame Derville asks to head back inside the house, Madame de Rênal says she'd like to stay out (so she can keep holding Julien's hand).
  • Julien hardly sleeps that night and sleeps in until noon the next day. When he comes downstairs, he gets chewed out by a newly returned Monsieur de Rênal. The boss isn't happy that Julien has wasted the entire morning with teaching anything to the de Rênal children.
  • While walking with Madame de Rênal, Julie learns the Monsieur de Rênal is going to have all the mattresses in the house re-stuffed. He is secretly hiding a picture under his mattress and he's worried that it'll be found. At this point, we don't know who's in the picture.
  • He takes Madame de Rênal aside and asks her to help him get his picture back. Madame is crushed because she assumes it's a picture of his sweetheart.
  • Nonetheless, she goes up to his room for him and gets the box that the picture is in. She has also promised Julien not to look at the picture.
  • We only find out afterward that it's a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte that Julien is hiding. The rich folks of France all despise Napoleon, and Julien might get run out of town if people found out that he worshipped the man like a hero.
  • Julien burns the box and everything in it. Afterward, he tries to kiss Madame's hand. But she pushes him away and he storms off, angry with hurt pride.