Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 10

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 10

Queen Marguerite

  • Julien scolds himself for revealing his inner thoughts to Mathilde. He catches her later that day giving him strange looks, then realizes that being intense in front of her has made her like him.
  • After dinner, Julien asks one of the de La Moles' friends why Mathilde is dressed in mourning clothes. It turns out that one of her ancestors was executed on this day a long time ago. After his head was cut off, his lover took his head and cradled it in her arms.
  • The story makes Julien realize how much of a poetic, romantic (and melodramatic) soul Mathilde has.
  • Now that the floodgates have opened between them, Julien tells Mathilde all of his thoughts about Napoleon and the corruption of the rich.
  • Sometimes, Mathilde tries to regain power by acting like she's above him. But he always answers by becoming totally professional and treating her like an employer, which makes her back down.
  • Julien decides that he wants to sleep with Mathilde and then leave the de La Mole house for good.
  • He keeps wondering about whether Mathilde is actually in love with him.