Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


He waited a long time.

At length Madame Walter rose, turned round, saw him, and came up to him.

Her expression was cold and severe,

"Sir," said she,

"I beg of you not to accompany me, not to follow me, and not to come to my house alone.

You will not be received.


And she walked away with a dignified bearing.

He let her depart, for one of his principles was never to force matters.

Then, as the priest, somewhat upset, issued in turn from his box, he walked up to him, and, looking him straight in the eyes, growled to his face:

"If you did not wear a petticoat, what a smack you would get across your ugly chops."

After which he turned on his heels and went out of the church, whistling between his teeth.

Standing under the porch, the stout gentleman, with the hat on his head and his hands behind his back, tired of waiting, was scanning the broad squares and all the streets opening onto it.

As Du Roy passed him they bowed to one another.

The journalist, finding himself at liberty, went to the office of the _Vie Francaise_.

As soon as he entered he saw by the busy air of the messengers that something out of the common was happening, and at once went into the manager's room.

Daddy Walter, in a state of nervous excitement, was standing up dictating an article in broken sentences; issuing orders to the reporters, who surrounded him, between two paragraphs; giving instructions to Boisrenard; and opening letters.

As Du Roy came in, the governor uttered a cry of joy: "Ah! how lucky; here is Pretty-boy!" He stopped short, somewhat confused, and excused himself: "I beg your pardon for speaking like that, but I am very much disturbed by certain events.

And then I hear my wife and daughter speaking of you as Pretty-boy from morning till night, and have ended by falling into the habit myself.

You are not offended?"

"Not at all!" said George, laughingly; "there is nothing in that nickname to displease me."

Daddy Walter went on: "Very well, then, I christen you Pretty-boy, like everyone else.

Well, the fact is, great things are taking place. The Ministry has been overthrown by a vote of three hundred and ten to a hundred and two.

Our prorogation is again postponed--postponed to the Greek calends, and here we are at the twenty-eighth of July.

Spain is angry about the Morocco business, and it is that which has overthrown Durand de l'Aine and his following.

We are right in the swim.

Marrot is entrusted with the formation of a new Cabinet.

He takes General Boutin d'Acre as minister of war, and our friend Laroche-Mathieu for foreign affairs.

We are going to become an official organ.

I am writing a leader, a simple declaration of our principles, pointing out the line to be followed by the Ministry."

The old boy smiled, and continued: "The line they intend following, be it understood.

But I want something interesting about Morocco; an actuality; a sensational article; something or other.

Find one for me."

Du Roy reflected for a moment, and then replied: "I have the very thing for you.

I will give you a study of the political situation of the whole of our African colony, with Tunis on the left, Algeria in the middle, and Morocco on the right; the history of the races inhabiting this vast extent of territory; and the narrative of an excursion on the frontier of Morocco to the great oasis of Figuig, where no European has penetrated, and which is the cause of the present conflict.

Will that suit you?"

"Admirably!" exclaimed Daddy Walter.

"And the title?"

"From Tunis to Tangiers."


Du Roy went off to search the files of the _Vie Francaise_ for his first article, "The Recollections of a Chasseur d'Afrique," which, rebaptized, touched up, and modified, would do admirably, since it dealt with colonial policy, the Algerian population, and an excursion in the province of Oran.

In three-quarters of an hour it was rewritten, touched up, and brought to date, with a flavor of realism, and praises of the new Cabinet.

The manager, having read the article, said: "It is capital, capital, capital!

You are an invaluable fellow.

I congratulate you."

And Du Roy went home to dinner delighted with his day's work, despite the check at the Church of the Trinity, for he felt the battle won.

His wife was anxiously waiting for him.

She exclaimed, as soon as she saw him:

"Do you know that Laroche-Mathieu is Minister for Foreign Affairs?"

"Yes; I have just written an article on Algeria, in connection with it."