Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


Soon there were six standing side by side, with their backs to the wall, swinging into the air, with even and regular motion, the balls of red, yellow, and black, according to the wood they were made of.

And a match having begun, the two who were still working got up to act as umpires.

Forestier won by eleven points.

Then the little man, with the juvenile aspect, who had lost, rang for the messenger, and gave the order,

"Nine bocks."

And they began to play again pending the arrival of these refreshments.

Duroy drank a glass of beer with his new comrades, and then said to his friend:

"What am I to do now?"

"I have nothing for you to-day.

You can go if you want to."

"And our--our--article, will it go in to-night?"

"Yes, but do not bother yourself about it; I will correct the proofs.

Write the continuation for to-morrow, and come here at three o'clock, the same as to-day."

Duroy having shaken hands with everyone, without even knowing their names, went down the magnificent staircase with a light heart and high spirits.


George Duroy slept badly, so excited was he by the wish to see his article in print.

He was up as soon as it was daylight, and was prowling about the streets long before the hour at which the porters from the newspaper offices run with their papers from kiosque to kiosque.

He went on to the Saint Lazare terminus, knowing that the _Vie Francaise_ would be delivered there before it reached his own district.

As he was still too early, he wandered up and down on the footpath.

He witnessed the arrival of the newspaper vendor who opened her glass shop, and then saw a man bearing on his head a pile of papers.

He rushed forward.

There were the _Figaro_, the _Gil Blas_, the _Gaulois_, the _Evenement_, and two or three morning journals, but the _Vie Francaise_ was not among them.

Fear seized him.

Suppose the "Recollections of a Chasseur d'Afrique" had been kept over for the next day, or that by chance they had not at the last moment seemed suitable to Daddy Walter.

Turning back to the kiosque, he saw that the paper was on sale without his having seen it brought there.

He darted forward, unfolded it, after having thrown down the three sous, and ran through the headings of the articles on the first page.


His heart began to beat, and he experienced strong emotion on reading at the foot of a column in large letters,

"George Duroy."

It was in; what happiness!

He began to walk along unconsciously, the paper in his hand and his hat on one side of his head, with a longing to stop the passers-by in order to say to them:

"Buy this, buy this, there is an article by me in it."

He would have liked to have bellowed with all the power of his lungs, like some vendors of papers at night on the boulevards,

"Read the _Vie Francaise_; read George Duroy's article,

'Recollections of a Chasseur d'Afrique.'" And suddenly he felt a wish to read this article himself, read it in a public place, a _cafe_, in sight of all.

He looked about for some establishment already filled with customers.

He had to walk in search of one for some time.

He sat down at last in front of a kind of wine shop, where several customers were already installed, and asked for a glass of rum, as he would have asked for one of absinthe, without thinking of the time.

Then he cried: "Waiter, bring me the _Vie Francaise_."

A man in a white apron stepped up, saying:

"We have not got it, sir; we only take in the _Rappel_, the _Siecle_, the _Lanierne_, and the _Petit Parisien_."

"What a den!" exclaimed Duroy, in a tone of anger and disgust.

"Here, go and buy it for me."

The waiter hastened to do so, and brought back the paper.

Duroy began to read his article, and several times said aloud: "Very good, very well put," to attract the attention of his neighbors, and inspire them with the wish to know what there was in this sheet.

Then, on going away, he left it on the table.

The master of the place, noticing this, called him back, saying:

"Sir, sir, you are forgetting your paper."

And Duroy replied: "I will leave it to you. I have finished with it.

There is a very interesting article in it this morning."