Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


The _Vie Francaise_ has no longer any interest to spare him."

The old fellow hesitated for a few moments, and then made up his mind.

"Do so," said he; "so much the worse for those who get into such messes."


Three months had elapsed.

Du Roy's divorce had just been granted. His wife had resumed the name of Forestier, and, as the Walters were to leave on the 15th of July for Trouville, it was decided that he and they should spend a day in the country together before they started.

A Thursday was selected, and they started at nine in the morning in a large traveling landau with six places, drawn by four horses with postilions.

They were going to lunch at the Pavilion Henri-Quatre at Saint Germain.

Pretty-boy had asked to be the only man of the party, for he could not endure the presence of the Marquis de Cazolles.

But at the last moment it was decided that the Count de Latour-Yvelin should be called for on the way.

He had been told the day before.

The carriage passed up the Avenue of the Champs Elysees at a swinging trot, and then traversed the Bois de Boulogne.

It was splendid summer weather, not too warm.

The swallows traced long sweeping lines across the blue sky that one fancied one could still see after they had passed.

The three ladies occupied the back seat, the mother between her daughters, and the men were with their backs to the horses, Walter between the two guests.

They crossed the Seine, skirted Mount Valerien, and gained Bougival in order to follow the river as far as Le Pecq.

The Count de Latour-Yvelin, a man advancing towards middle-age, with long, light whiskers, gazed tenderly at Rose.

They had been engaged for a month.

George, who was very pale, often looked at Susan, who was pale too.

Their eyes often met, and seemed to concert something, to understand one another, to secretly exchange a thought, and then to flee one another.

Madame Walter was quiet and happy.

The lunch was a long one.

Before starting back for Paris, George suggested a turn on the terrace.

They stopped at first to admire the view.

All ranged themselves in a line along the parapet, and went into ecstasies over the far-stretching horizon.

The Seine at the foot of a long hill flowed towards Maisons-Lafitte like an immense serpent stretched in the herbage.

To the right, on the summit of the slope, the aqueduct of Marly showed against the skyline its outline, resembling that of a gigantic, long-legged caterpillar, and Marly was lost beneath it in a thick cluster of trees.

On the immense plain extending in front of them, villages could be seen dotted.

The pieces of water at Le Vesinet showed like clear spots amidst the thin foliage of the little forest.

To the left, away in the distance, the pointed steeple of Sastrouville could be seen.

Walter said: "Such a panorama is not to be found anywhere in the world.

There is not one to match it in Switzerland."

Then they began to walk on gently, to have a stroll and enjoy the prospect.

George and Susan remained behind.

As soon as they were a few paces off, he said to her in a low and restrained voice:

"Susan, I adore you.

I love you to madness."

She murmured: "So do I you, Pretty-boy."

He went on: "If I do not have you for my wife, I shall leave Paris and this country."

She replied: "Ask Papa for my hand.

Perhaps he will consent."

He made a gesture of impatience.

"No, I tell you for the twentieth time that is useless.

The door of your house would be closed to me. I should be dismissed from the paper, and we should not be able even to see one another.

That is a pretty result, at which I am sure to arrive by a formal demand for you.

They have promised you to the Marquis de Cazolles.

They hope that you will end by saying 'yes,' and they are waiting for that."

She asked: "What is to be done?"

He hesitated, glancing at her, sidelong fashion.

"Do you love me enough to run a risk?"