Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


He had not been deceived by the tone in which she had said:

"I would rather stay at home."

He was very amiable towards her during the next few days.

He even appeared lively, which was not usual, and she said:

"You are growing quite nice again."

He dressed early on the Friday, in order to make some calls before going to the governor's, he said.

He started just before six, after kissing his wife, and went and took a cab at the Place Notre Dame de Lorette.

He said to the driver: "Pull up in front of No. 17, Rue Fontaine, and stay there till I tell you to go on again.

Then drive to the Cock Pheasant restaurant in the Rue Lafayette."

The cab started at a slow trot, and Du Roy drew down the blinds.

As soon as he was opposite the door he did not take his eyes off it.

After waiting ten minutes he saw Madeleine come out and go in the direction of the outer boulevards.

As soon as she had got far enough off he put his head through the window, and said to the driver:

"Go on."

The cab started again, and landed him in front of the Cock Pheasant, a well-known middle-class restaurant.

George went into the main dining-room and ate slowly, looking at his watch from time to time.

At half-past seven, when he had finished his coffee, drank two liqueurs of brandy, and slowly smoked a good cigar, he went out, hailed another cab that was going by empty, and was driven to the Rue La Rochefoucauld.

He ascended without making any inquiry of the doorkeeper, to the third story of the house he had told the man to drive to, and when a servant opened the door to him, said:

"Monsieur Guibert de Lorme is at home, is he not?"

"Yes sir."

He was ushered into the drawing-room, where he waited for a few minutes.

Then a gentleman came in, tall, and with a military bearing, gray-haired though still young, and wearing the ribbon of the Legion of Honor.

Du Roy bowed, and said:

"As I foresaw, Mr. Commissionary, my wife is now dining with her lover in the furnished rooms they have hired in the Rue des Martyrs."

The commissary of police bowed, saying:

"I am at your service, sir."

George continued: "You have until nine o'clock, have you not?

That limit of time passed, you can no longer enter a private dwelling to prove adultery."

"No, sir; seven o'clock in winter, nine o'clock from the 31st March.

It is the 5th of April, so we have till nine o'clock.

"Very well, Mr. Commissionary, I have a cab downstairs; we can take the officers who will accompany you, and wait a little before the door.

The later we arrive the best chance we have of catching them in the act."

"As you like, sir."

The commissary left the room, and then returned with an overcoat, hiding his tri-colored sash.

He drew back to let Du Roy pass out first. But the journalist, who was preoccupied, declined to do so, and kept saying:

"After you, sir, after you."

The commissary said: "Go first, sir, I am at home."

George bowed, and passed out.

They went first to the police office to pick up three officers in plain clothes who were awaiting them, for George had given notice during the day that the surprise would take place that evening.

One of the men got on the box beside the driver. The other two entered the cab, which reached the Rue des Martyrs.

Du Roy said: "I have a plan of the rooms.

They are on the second floor.

We shall first find a little ante-room, then a dining-room, then the bedroom.

The three rooms open into one another.

There is no way out to facilitate flight.

There is a locksmith a little further on.

He is holding himself in readiness to be called upon by you."

When they arrived opposite the house it was only a quarter past eight, and they waited in silence for more than twenty minutes.

But when he saw the three quarters about to strike, George said:

"Let us start now."