Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 31

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 31

Make Her Afraid

  • Julien checks Mathilde's box at the opera and sees her crying. He finds it more difficult than ever to tell her he loves her.
  • The next day, he finds Mathilde sitting on a couch in the library. She says she's willing to offer him proof of her commitment. She offers to run away with him to London.
  • The scandal this would cause would mean they basically have to get married. Julien wants to accept this offer, but he's still skeptical about her fickleness.
  • One day, he can't take it anymore and kisses Mathilde's hand while they're walking in the garden. He says he totally can't live without her.
  • Then he takes it all back and leaves Mathilde feeling crushed.
  • By the end of their conversation, Mathilde thinks that Julien's heart might be swinging her way again. But she's irritated by the way he keeps sending letters to Madame de Fervaques.