Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 23

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 23

The Clergy, Their Woodlands, and Freedom

  • Julien wants to get on with his secret mission, but the men at the meeting just keep talking about the future of France. Every single one of them seems to have a different vision for what France should be like.
  • When Julien and the Marquis de La Mole leave the meeting at three a.m., the marquis is embarrassed by how foolish some of the "great" men of France sounded at the meeting. He makes Julien promise never to breathe a word about the meeting to anyone.
  • The next day, Julien is given a fake passport and pushed into a carriage.
  • Julien gets stopped quickly on his trip, since there are apparently no horses available at his next stop. Julien thinks that something about the situation doesn't smell right.
  • Julien meets up with an Italian singer who tells him that the whole horse situation is bogus.
  • The man from their inn sent his horses across town to make it look like he doesn't have any. It's clear that someone knows about Julien.
  • Julien is wakened from his sleep that night by two men rummaging through his room. They're looking for a letter, but little do they know that what they're looking for exists only inside Julien's head. Julien grips his pistols and wants to kill them, but just waits until they leave.
  • Julien continues on his journey and meets up with the Duke whom he's supposed to deliver the "letter" in his head to.
  • After the duke listens to his message, he tells Julien to take the next train out of town and to return on the twenty-second of the month and meet the duke in a special cafĂ©.