Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


She yelled, with her hair coming down, her mouth wide open, her eyes aglow:

"You slept with her!"

He let her go, and gave her such a smack on the face that she fell down beside the wall. But she turned towards him, and raising herself on her hands, once more shouted:

"You slept with her!"

He rushed at her, and, holding her down, struck her as though striking a man.

She left off shouting, and began to moan beneath his blows.

She no longer stirred, but hid her face against the bottom of the wall and uttered plaintive cries.

He left off beating her and rose up.

Then he walked about the room a little to recover his coolness, and, an idea occurring to him, went into the bedroom, filled the basin with cold water, and dipped his head into it.

Then he washed his hands and came back to see what she was doing, carefully wiping his fingers.

She had not budged.

She was still lying on the ground quietly weeping.

"Shall you have done grizzling soon?"

She did not answer.

He stood in the middle of the room, feeling somewhat awkward and ashamed in the presence of the form stretched out before him.

All at once he formed a resolution, and took his hat from the mantel-shelf, saying:


Give the key to the doorkeeper when you leave.

I shan't wait for your convenience."

He went out, closed the door, went to the doorkeeper's, and said:

"Madame is still there.

She will be leaving in a few minutes.

Tell the landlord that I give notice to leave at the end of September.

It is the 15th of August, so I am within the limits." And he walked hastily away, for he had some pressing calls to make touching the purchase of the last wedding gifts.

The wedding was fixed for the 20th of October after the meeting of the Chambers.

It was to take place at the Church of the Madeleine.

There had been a great deal of gossip about it without anyone knowing the exact truth.

Different tales were in circulation.

It was whispered that an elopement had taken place, but no one was certain about anything.

According to the servants, Madame Walter, who would no longer speak to her future son-in-law, had poisoned herself out of rage the very evening the match was decided on, after having taken her daughter off to a convent at midnight.

She had been brought back almost dead.

Certainly, she would never get over it.

She had now the appearance of an old woman; her hair had become quite gray, and she had gone in for religion, taking the Sacrament every Sunday.

At the beginning of September the _Vie Francaise_ announced that the Baron Du Roy de Cantel had become chief editor, Monsieur Walter retaining the title of manager.

A battalion of well-known writers, reporters, political editors, art and theatrical critics, detached from old important papers by dint of monetary influence, were taken on.

The old journalists, the serious and respectable ones, no longer shrugged their shoulders when speaking of the _Vie Francaise_.

Rapid and complete success had wiped out the contempt of serious writers for the beginnings of this paper.

The marriage of its chief editor was what is styled a Parisian event, George Du Roy and the Walters having excited a great deal of curiosity for some time past.

All the people who are written about in the papers promised themselves to be there.

The event took place on a bright autumn day.

At eight in the morning the sight of the staff of the Madeleine stretching a broad red carpet down the lofty flight of steps overlooking the Rue Royale caused passers-by to pause, and announced to the people of Paris that an important ceremony was about to take place.

The clerks on the way to their offices, the work-girls, the shopmen, paused, looked, and vaguely speculated about the rich folk who spent so much money over getting spliced.

Towards ten o'clock idlers began to halt.

They would remain for a few minutes, hoping that perhaps it would begin at once, and then moved away.

At eleven squads of police arrived and set to work almost at once to make the crowd move on, groups forming every moment.

The first guests soon made their appearance--those who wanted to be well placed for seeing everything.

They took the chairs bordering the main aisles.

By degrees came others, ladies in rustling silks, and serious-looking gentlemen, almost all bald, walking with well-bred air, and graver than usual in this locality.

The church slowly filled.

A flood of sunlight entered by the huge doorway lit up the front row of guests.