Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 3

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 3

The First Steps

  • Julien is working in the de La Mole's study one day when the daughter, Mathilde, comes in looking for a book. She wants to borrow it in secret because it's indecent. But she can't because he's always there. This makes her dislike him.
  • Count Norbert (the son) walks in and asks Julien to go horseback riding with him. Julien goes along. But he's not very good on a horse, so he soon falls off in the middle of the street.
  • The family is impressed with how easily Julien tells the story of his fall. Most Paris men would be far too proud to admit to this story without sugarcoating it or blaming it on someone else.
  • The next day, Julien finds a young man sitting next to him in the library. The marquis comes in and banishes the other guy from the library. His name is Monsieur Tanbeau and he's a young man who's also employed by the marquis. But it's clear that this guy isn't going to get the special treatment that Julien is. This of course makes them enemies.
  • Julien asks Norbert to take him riding again. Norbert is worried that Julien will hurt himself, and he almost does. But everything works out fine in the end. Norbert praises Julien's bravery at the de La Mole's dinner table that night.
  • Meanwhile, Father Pirard leaves to take up his new position at a nearby parish. Julien is now on his own with the de La Moles.