Madame Bovary Part Two Chapters 12-15 Summary

     Emma and Rudolphe begin their affair anew, as though it had not already been sullied by neediness and apathy. Emma prepares everything perfectly every time she sees Rudolphe. Her love of Rudolphe seems to feed off of her disgust for Charles.

     She becomes used to giving into her whims for new things. She purchases from the merchant who has come to see her before, Lheureux. She has a prosthetic leg purchased for Hippolyte, and a fancy riding crop for Rudolphe. She buys many little gifts for Rudolphe that she insists that he take though he feels humiliated by them.

     When the merchant comes to collect and Emma does not have enough money to pay the bill, the merchant asks for the items back. Emma quickly agrees, and he assures her that he is just kidding. Then he says that all he really wants back is the riding crop.

     Emma instantly says that he cannot have it back. He mentions that maybe he should ask Charles for it; he knows that he has her in a bind and intends to blackmail her into payment. Emma, however, simply takes one of Charles' patient's payments and uses it to settle her debt. She thinks that Charles won't even notice that the money is gone.

     Rudolphe quickly grows tired of Emma's neediness. She is constantly professing her love. She accuses him of having loved other women and weeps. He begins to treat her more coarsely and she, in turn, begins to alter her everyday behavior. She becomes far more reckless.

     Emma and Charles' mother get into a huge fight when the elder Madame catches a man, presumably there to see the maid, fleeing the kitchen. Emma sends a secret message to Rudolphe and meets with him afterward to ask to run away. He agrees and Emma begins to dream of their escape. After this, her household demeanor becomes much more docile. Charles falls even more deeply in love with her, thinking of their lives together with their daughter.

     Emma orders an expensive coat for travel and some luggage. She sees Rudolphe the night before they are set to leave and they talk of how sad it is to leave, but how wonderful it will be to be together. Rudolphe feels sad as he leaves that night. He thinks she is a pretty mistress but he cannot afford the expensive of the trip or to be saddled with caring for a child. He clearly does not possess the strength of feeling toward Emma that she possesses toward him.

     He begins to write a letter to Emma when he arrives home. He goes through a box of love letters and mementoes from all of his mistresses and notes that their faces blur together a little. He takes care to write a letter that will discourage Emma enough to leave him alone. In order to make the letter seem more genuine, he uses a drop of water to make a fake tear-stain and seals it using the impression from a ring that Emma bought him.

     He sends the letter to Emma in the usual way, in a basket under fruit, and Emma is taken with emotion even before she is able to read it. She reads it in the attic. She considers jumping out the window and is stopped by Charles calling and the maid's hand on her sleeve. She goes down to dinner, but faints during it when Rudolphe rides by on his horse, on his way to Rouen. She is bedridden with grief for some time afterward.

     In addition to being concerned for his wife's health, Charles is hit with financial issues. The merchant delivered twice the luggage that Emma had originally ordered in addition to the coat. Charles tried to refuse them but was unable to do so.

     At some point while Emma is bedridden, she calls for the priest to perform sacraments. She has a moment during the communion and is filled with the same awe that she felt upon discovering the imagery in the convent school in her youth. As she heals, she spends time clothing orphans, sending firewood to new mothers, and patiently teaching her daughter to read. Charles and Charles' mother are relieved.

     At the pharmacist's recommendation, Charles convinces Emma to accompany him to Rouen to see an opera. He reasons that his bills are not due for some time, so he can afford to do so. Emma is quite taken with the plot at first, but Charles does not understand it. At the end of one of the acts, Charles goes to get a refreshment for Emma and runs into Leon. Leon stops by to pay his respects shortly thereafter.

     They leave the opera early. Leon asks to accompany the couple to their next show, but Charles tells him that they are only in town for that day and night. Thinking that it might do Emma some good, Charles suggests that she stay and accompany Leon the next day. Emma says that she is unsure. Charles invites Leon to dine with them in Yonville, regardless of the decision about the opera the next day.

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