Louise had requested that Frédéric procure two statues for her, so he goes to Arnoux’s factory to get them. Madame Arnoux is there, and she speaks bitterly of Frédéric’s forthcoming marriage. She hints that she is angry at his involvement with Rosanette. Frédéric denies both the affair and his impending marriage and confesses he is still in love with her. He kisses her eyelids and vows never to marry. Madame Arnoux is surprised and happy. Frédéric makes more wild claims about his feelings for her, and she sends him away. But he continues to visit her at her country home, gaining her trust, and they continue to see each other. They do not become lovers, but they envision a wonderful life together.

Frédéric treads carefully, still hoping that she will agree to become his mistress. He gets impatient. He is not happy that Arnoux suspects nothing, and he begins resenting Madame Arnoux. One afternoon, when her little son, Eugene, is sick, Frédéric convinces her to meet him in a few days on the street, to walk together in public. He plans to seduce her, and he rents a small apartment that he plans for them to duck into during their walk. On Tuesday, the day he expects her, he waits for hours, but she does not arrive. There are riots in the streets on that day, as the working class simmers and revolution is on the horizon, and he suspects they have kept her away.

Meanwhile, Madame is at home, frantically caring for Eugene, who is very sick. She sits with him through the night as he gets worse and worse. He eventually improves, and she decides that this was a warning. She will not continue her association with Frédéric.

The demonstrations have led to a greater energy, and a reformed government seems to be imminent. Frédéric dismisses his love for Madame Arnoux and visits Rosanette. He takes her to the apartment he’d rented for Madame Arnoux, and they finally become lovers.

Analysis: Part Two, Chapters 5 and 6

When Deslauriers connives to take over Frédéric’s job and love, he proves himself to be far from the docile, pathetic friend he has sometimes appeared to be. Until this point, Frédéric has dismissed and welcomed Deslauriers according to his whims, trading his friend for whatever better thing came along, whether it was a more beneficial connection, a woman, or his own personal goals. Deslauriers has been loyal, often hurt by Frédéric’s capriciousness but always ready to forgive. Deslauriers’s attempts to take over Frédéric’s life fail; his conscience stops him from visiting Dambreuse, and his attempts to woo Madame Arnoux are met with laughter. However, he does manage to exert some power over Frédéric’s life when he tells Madame Arnoux that Frédéric is to be married. Although this eventually works in Frédéric’s favor in that it helps Madame Arnoux to realize her own feelings, the fact that he is willing to sabotage Frédéric’s affairs is a significant betrayal.

Among the men in Frédéric’s world, being rivals does not preclude feeling sympathy and even affection for one another. As Frédéric works to win over Madame Arnoux, he feels an attraction to Arnoux because of their similarities. Deslauriers feels as though he almost becomes Frédéric as he goes to visit Madame Arnoux. These affections and similarities are not the sort that occur between ordinary friends. Instead, in both cases, one party is actively trying to steal something—Madame Arnoux—from the other: Frédéric wants to steal her from Arnoux, and Deslauriers wants to steal her from Frédéric. Although the men are rivals, competing for the same prize, both aggressors feel sympathy and connection to their victims. These feelings do not logically fit the situations, and they suggest something that all the men, on some level, know: each of them will lose Madame Arnoux, and, perhaps, none of them really had her in the first place.