Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


He showed himself pleasant and full of attention and affection.

He laughed, pleased at everything, while she remained thoughtful and somewhat severe.

It was a somewhat cool autumn day.

The people in the streets seemed in a hurry, and walked rapidly.

Du Roy led his wife to the front of the shop in which he had so often gazed at the longed-for chronometer.

"Shall I stand you some jewelry?" said he.

She replied, indifferently: "Just as you like."

They went in, and he asked:

"What would you prefer--a necklace, a bracelet, or a pair of earrings?"

The sight of the trinkets in gold, and precious stones overcame her studied coolness, and she scanned with kindling and inquisitive eyes the glass cases filled with jewelry.

And, suddenly moved by desire, said: "That is a very pretty bracelet."

It was a chain of quaint pattern, every link of which had a different stone set in it.

George inquired: "How much is this bracelet?"

"Three thousand francs, sir," replied the jeweler.

"If you will let me have it for two thousand five hundred, it is a bargain."

The man hesitated, and then replied: "No, sir; that is impossible."

Du Roy went on: "Come, you can throw in that chronometer for fifteen hundred; that will make four thousand, which I will pay at once.

Is it agreed?

If not, I will go somewhere else."

The jeweler, in a state of perplexity, ended by agreeing, saying:

"Very good, sir."

And the journalist, after giving his address, added:

"You will have the monogram, G. R. C., engraved on the chronometer under a baron's coronet."

Madeleine, surprised, began to smile, and when they went out, took his arm with a certain affection.

She found him really clever and capable.

Now that he had an income, he needed a title. It was quite right.

The jeweler bowed them out, saying:

"You can depend upon me; it will be ready on Thursday, Baron."

They paused before the Vaudeville, at which a new piece was being played.

"If you like," said he, "we will go to the theater this evening.

Let us see if we can have a box."

They took a box, and he continued:

"Suppose we dine at a restaurant."

"Oh, yes; I should like that!"

He was as happy as a king, and sought what else they could do.

"Suppose we go and ask Madame de Marelle to spend the evening with us.

Her husband is at home, I hear, and I shall be delighted to see him."

They went there.

George, who slightly dreaded the first meeting with his mistress, was not ill-pleased that his wife was present to prevent anything like an explanation.

But Clotilde did not seem to remember anything against him, and even obliged her husband to accept the invitation.

The dinner was lovely, and the evening pleasant.

George and Madeleine got home late.

The gas was out, and to light them upstairs, the journalist struck a wax match from time to time.

On reaching the first-floor landing the flame, suddenly starting forth as he struck, caused their two lit-up faces to show in the glass standing out against the darkness of the staircase.

They resembled phantoms, appearing and ready to vanish into the night.

Du Roy raised his hand to light up their reflections, and said, with a laugh of triumph:

"Behold the millionaires!"


The conquest of Morocco had been accomplished two months back.

France, mistress of Tangiers, held the whole of the African shore of the Mediterranean as far as Tripoli, and had guaranteed the debt of the newly annexed territory.