Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


"He was very well off, Vaudrec?"

"Yes, very well off."

"Do you know what his fortune was?"

"No, not exactly.

One or two millions, perhaps."

He said no more.

She blew out the light, and they remained stretched out, side by side, in the darkness--silent, wakeful, and reflecting.

He no longer felt inclined for sleep.

He now thought the seventy thousand francs promised by Madame Walter insignificant.

Suddenly he fancied that Madeleine was crying.

He inquired, in order to make certain:

"Are you asleep?"


Her voice was tearful and quavering, and he said:

"I forgot to tell you when I came in that your minister has let us in nicely."

"How so?"

He told her at length, with all details, the plan hatched between Laroche-Mathieu and Walter.

When he had finished, she asked: "How do you know this?"

He replied: "You will excuse me not telling you.

You have your means of information, which I do not seek to penetrate.

I have mine, which I wish to keep to myself.

I can, in any case, answer for the correctness of my information."

Then she murmured: "Yes, it is quite possible.

I fancied they were up to something without us."

But George, who no longer felt sleepy, had drawn closer to his wife, and gently kissed her ear.

She repulsed him sharply.

"I beg of you to leave me alone.

I am not in a mood to romp."

He turned resignedly towards the wall, and having closed his eyes, ended by falling asleep.


The church was draped with black, and over the main entrance a huge scutcheon, surmounted by a coronet, announced to the passers-by that a gentleman was being buried.

The ceremony was just over, and those present at it were slowly dispersing, defiling past the coffin and the nephew of the Count de Vaudrec, who was shaking extended hands and returning bows.

When George Du Roy and his wife came out of the church they began to walk homeward side by side, silent and preoccupied.

At length George said, as though speaking to himself: "Really, it is very strange."

"What, dear?" asked Madeleine.

"That Vaudrec should not have left us anything."

She blushed suddenly, as though a rosy veil had been cast over her white skin, and said:

"Why should he have left us anything?

There was no reason for it."

Then, after a few moments' silence, she went on:

"There is perhaps a will in the hands of some notary.

We know nothing as yet."

He reflected for a short time, and then murmured: "Yes, it is probable, for, after all, he was the most intimate friend of us both.

He dined with us twice a week, called at all hours, and was at home at our place, quite at home in every respect.

He loved you like a father, and had no children, no brothers and sisters, nothing but a nephew, and a nephew he never used to see.

Yes, there must be a will.

I do not care for much, only a remembrance to show that he thought of us, that he loved us, that he recognized the affection we felt for him.

He certainly owed us some such mark of friendship."

She said in a pensive and indifferent manner: "It is possible, indeed, that there may be a will."

As they entered their rooms, the man-servant handed a letter to Madeleine.