Study Guide

Sentimental Education Chapter 7

By Gustave Flaubert

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Chapter 7

A Change of Fortune

  • The carriage ride back to Paris seems to take forever, and when he arrives, the city looks like a mess.
  • He immediately goes to see the Arnouxes. Their shop has been closed, and they have moved houses.
  • Frederick rather frantically seeks out all of their mutual friends in the hope that someone will know what has become of the Arnouxes. He even goes to the police. Things are getting real.
  • At 7:00AM the next morning, he hurries over to Regimbart's favorite bar, where he enjoys a glass of white wine every morning.
  • But finding Regimbart turns into a wild goose chase. At one bar, he nervously awaits "the Citizen" and consumes "a glass of rum, then a glass of kirsch, then a glass of curaçoa, then several glasses of grog, both cold and hot" (1.7.31) Yowza.
  • At the end of a long day, Frederick finds the guy eating dinner. He gets the Arnouxes' new address—on the Rue Paradis Poissonnière. Finally.
  • He hurries over there, but kind of strangely, seeing Madame Arnoux doesn't stir very strong feelings in him: "[S]he seemed to him to have lost some of her fascination" (1.7.27).
  • Frederick makes up some excuse for his prolonged absence—something about a lawsuit and his mother's health. Blah, blah, blah…
  • He asks about old friends, but they clearly aren't as social as they used to be.
  • Arnoux has left the painting business and entered the earthenware (a.k.a. pottery) industry. Frederick is not impressed by Madame Arnoux and decides to get over her. Talk about a complete 180.
  • He visits Deslauriers, who has failed his exams for being too political and meandering in his answers. The kid has become really bitter and critical.
  • Hussonet now owns Arnoux's journal and has renamed it L'Art. He's turning it into a political journal, and Deslauriers tries to get Frederick to invest in it.
  • Frederick buys a bunch of new clothes and considers going to visit the Dambreuses, but he decides to go see the Arnouxes instead. Maybe that crush isn't so dead?
  • The lady is sick, so Frederick goes to "a ball" with Monsieur Arnoux. It's being hosted by Mademoiselle Rose-Annette Bron, referred to as Rosanette.
  • Frederick finds it uncomfortable to celebrate when Madame Arnoux is ill, but he's taken in by the crazy party atmosphere: "Frederick was at first dazzled by the lights. He could see nothing save some silk and velvet dresses, naked shoulders, a mass of colours swaying to and fro to the accompaniment of an orchestra" (1.7.169). Cuh-razy.
  • Young women and old men are partying in bawdy costumes. Actually, the whole affair is risqué.
  • His friends Hussonet and Pellerin point out all the important people: Rosanette is talking to an actor named Delmar (also known as Auguste Delamare, Anténor Delamarre, then Delmas, then Belmar), then to an old man named Monsieur Oudry.
  • Mademoiselle Vatnaz appears and disappears with Arnoux. Rosanette is upset by something—Delmar? Arnoux? Who knows. Yeah, all sorts of intrigue are going on.
  • A woman dubbed "The Sphinx" drinks brandy, screams, and throws up blood. Oh, and things start getting rowdy as the guests begin breaking china. What the?
  • Arnoux and Rosanette get into an argument about money. We're starting to think they may have been lovers.
  • Rosanette demands obedience from her guests, claiming to be their commanding officer. That earns her the title, "the Maréchale."
  • After more crazy chaos, it's finally morning. That means is time to head home.
  • As they leave, Frederick notices that Arnoux is upset by something. He also decides that he enjoys the wicked life of indulgence and luxury.

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