Madame Bovary Part Two Chapters 8-11 Summary

     On the day of the agricultural fair held in town, Rudolphe is walking with Emma on his arm. He flirts with her, trying to deduce the meanings of her nudges and sideways glances. Noticing that she is not very interested in the fair, he begins to mock the clothing of other women in town. He admits to her that he has suffered from some melancholy recently and she is very surprised.

     The two of them retire to the "meeting room" on the second floor of the town hall where they have a good view of the fair from a window. Rudolphe draws back from the window, exclaiming that he'd hate to ruin his reputation even further. Emma assures him that his reputation is just fine, but he continues to be self-deprecating.

     He draws closer to Emma, asking if she, too, is disgusted by the way society seems to have conspired against their happiness. He takes her hand as awards are being given out at the fair downstairs. As the award for best manure is given out, he tells her that he would stay with her, could not part with her, and that he is entirely captivated by her. Their fingers intertwine. By the time the national guard makes its way to the second floor of town hall with soft rolls impaled on their bayonets and bottles in their baskets, Rudolphe is escorting Emma home.

     Rudolphe deliberately does not return to Yonville for six weeks. He worries that it may have been too much time, but knows that it was just enough to sharpen her affection for him when she pales at the sight of him. They are alone in the Bovary house. He claims that he did not wish to return after their last meeting, but that his heart is filled with her name and that the thought of her drives him mad. He confesses his love for her, and then notices that Charles is about to enter.

     Rudolphe addresses Charles formally, which flatters the doctor. Rudolphe suggests horseback riding for Emma's health, and the doctor agrees. Rudolphe offers a loaned horse, as Emma does not have one. She initially refuses, mumbling to Charles that it "might not look right," but is quickly convinced by the promise of a new riding frock.

     When they went riding, Rudolphe dresses to impress Emma. When they are alone in the forest, Rudolphe makes advances, calling Emma his angel and Madonna. Emma resists but gives in to him. Emma is enchanted by the idea of being an adulteress. Much to Rudolphe's initial delight, she begins to sneak away whenever Charles is gone to see Rudolphe.

     One day, Rudolphe frowns and is displeased. He believes that she is compromising herself and Emma, in time, agrees. She is nearly caught once, and they agree to be more secretive.

     Rudolphe begins to get tired of her sentimental neediness. She asks about his dead mother and forces him to exchange locks of hair and gifts. She begs for a ring to symbolize their union. He is annoyed by this, but finds that an affair carried out as though it has genuine emotion appeals to some part of him. Eventually, when he is certain of her love, he stops trying to impress Emma. Emma feels her own weakness when she doubles her efforts to rekindle the love that once felt so consuming.

     A letter from her father makes Emma miss him and the farm. She feels overcome by her love for Berthe and asks the maid for her. She covers her with kisses and tells her how much she loves the child. The entire household is baffled by her lavish display of affection for the girl. Rudolphe skips three of their meetings and is surprised to find Emma cold and serious the next time he sees her. Emma, upset, vows to try to make it work again with Charles, but isn't sure how.

     She gets her opportunity when Charles becomes eager to conduct a new type of surgery to cure conditions of clubfoot after reading about it. It seems well within his capabilities, despite his lack of knowledge of the anatomy of the region. He wants to try it out on a club-footed worker at the inn named Hippolyte. Emma is very supportive, thinking that it would earn Charles some fame. She makes all manner of helpful suggestions and celebrates with Charles after the initial surgery.

     Unfortunately, the surgery results in a nasty case of gangrene that leaves Hippolyte very miserable. All of the townsfolk come to visit him, including the priest. Many people suggest superstitious solutions. Another doctor is called from out of town to remedy the situation. He arrogantly looks upon Charles' work with contempt. Who would operate on a man in fine health? He boasts about his own abilities and the ridiculous healthcare fashions from Paris. He tells them that the leg had to be amputated.

     Charles feels terrible about the entire situation and seeks solace in Emma. Emma, however, is incredibly embarrassed by Charles' inadequacy and feels foolish for having thought that he might be successful. He tried to kiss Emma and she runs from the room, slamming the dor. Charles is, of course, baffled. When Rudolphe shows at her garden later that evening, she is waiting for him.

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