Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


If you had only nodded to me when I passed you just now, I should have left you alone.

But you wanted to do the grand.

I'll pay you out!

Ah, so you won't say good evening when you meet me!"

She would have gone on for a long time, but Madame de Marelle had opened the door of the box and fled through the crowd, blindly seeking the way out.

Duroy started off in her rear and strove to catch her up, while Rachel, seeing them flee, yelled triumphantly:

"Stop her, she has stolen my sweetheart."

People began to laugh.

Two gentlemen for fun seized the fugitive by the shoulders and sought to bring her back, trying, too, to kiss her.

But Duroy, having caught her up, freed her forcibly and led her away into the street.

She jumped into an empty cab standing at the door.

He jumped in after her, and when the driver asked,

"Where to, sir?" replied,

"Wherever you like."

The cab slowly moved off, jolting over the paving stones.

Clotilde, seized by a kind of hysterical attack, sat choking and gasping with her hands covering her face, and Duroy neither knew what to do nor what to say.

At last, as he heard her sobbing, he stammered out:

"Clo, my dear little Clo, just listen, let me explain.

It is not my fault. I used to know that woman, some time ago, you know--"

She suddenly took her hands from her face, and overcome by the wrath of a loving and deceitful woman, a furious wrath that enabled her to recover her speech, she pantingly jerked out, in rapid and broken sentences:

"Oh!--you wretch--you wretch--what a scoundrel you are--can it be possible? How shameful--O Lord--how shameful!"

Then, getting angrier and angrier as her ideas grew clearer and arguments suggested themselves to her, she went on:

"It was with my money you paid her, wasn't it?

And I was giving him money--for that creature. Oh, the scoundrel!"

She seemed for a few minutes to be seeking some stronger expression that would not come, and then all at once she spat out, as it were, the words:

"Oh! you swine--you swine--you swine--you paid her with my money--you swine--you swine!"

She could not think of anything else, and kept repeating,

"You swine, you swine!"

Suddenly she leant out of the window, and catching the driver by the sleeve, cried,

"Stop," and opening the door, sprang out.

George wanted to follow, but she cried,

"I won't have you get out," in such loud tones that the passers-by began to gather about her, and Duroy did not move for fear of a scandal.

She took her purse from her pocket and looked for some change by the light of the cab lantern, then taking two francs fifty centimes she put them in the driver's hand, saying, in ringing tones:

"There is your fare--I pay you, now take this blackguard to the Rue Boursault, Batignolles."

Mirth was aroused in the group surrounding her.

A gentleman said: "Well done, little woman," and a young rapscallion standing close to the cab thrust his head into the open door and sang out, in shrill tones,

"Good-night, lovey!"

Then the cab started off again, followed by a burst of laughter.


George Duroy woke up chapfallen the next morning.

He dressed himself slowly, and then sat down at his window and began to reflect.

He felt a kind of aching sensation all over, just as though he had received a drubbing over night.

At last the necessity of finding some money spurred him up, and he went first to Forestier.

His friend received him in his study with his feet on the fender.

"What has brought you out so early?" said he.

"A very serious matter, a debt of honor."

"At play?"

He hesitated a moment, and then said: "At play."


"Five hundred francs."