Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


That evening they only saw one another at dinnertime.

Then they retired to their rooms, both exhausted with fatigue.

Charles Forestier was buried the next day, without any funeral display, in the cemetery at Cannes.

George Duroy wished to take the Paris express, which passed through the town at half-past one.

Madame Forestier drove with him to the station.

They walked quietly up and down the platform pending the time for his departure, speaking of trivial matters.

The train rolled into the station.

The journalist took his seat, and then got out again to have a few more moments' conversation with her, suddenly seized as he was with sadness and a strong regret at leaving her, as though he were about to lose her for ever.

A porter shouted, "Take your seats for Marseilles, Lyons, and Paris."

Duroy got in and leant out of the window to say a few more words.

The engine whistled, and the train began to move slowly on.

The young fellow, leaning out of the carriage, watched the woman standing still on the platform and following him with her eyes.

Suddenly, as he was about to lose sight of her, he put his hand to his mouth and threw a kiss towards her.

She returned it with a discreet and hesitating gesture.


George Duroy had returned to all his old habits.

Installed at present in the little ground-floor suite of rooms in the Rue de Constantinople, he lived soberly, like a man preparing a new existence for himself.

Madame Forestier had not yet returned.

She was lingering at Cannes.

He received a letter from her merely announcing her return about the middle of April, without a word of allusion to their farewell.

He was waiting, his mind was thoroughly made up now to employ every means in order to marry her, if she seemed to hesitate.

But he had faith in his luck, confidence in that power of seduction which he felt within him, a vague and irresistible power which all women felt the influence of.

A short note informed him that the decisive hour was about to strike:

"I am in Paris.

Come and see me.--Madeleine Forestier."

Nothing more.

He received it by the nine o'clock post.

He arrived at her residence at three on the same day.

She held out both hands to him smiling with her pleasant smile, and they looked into one another's eyes for a few seconds.

Then she said: "How good you were to come to me there under those terrible circumstances."

"I should have done anything you told me to," he replied.

And they sat down.

She asked the news, inquired about the Walters, about all the staff, about the paper.

She had often thought about the paper.

"I miss that a great deal," she said, "really a very great deal.

I had become at heart a journalist.

What would you, I love the profession?"

Then she paused.

He thought he understood, he thought he divined in her smile, in the tone of her voice, in her words themselves a kind of invitation, and although he had promised to himself not to precipitate matters, he stammered out:

"Well, then--why--why should you not resume--this occupation--under--under the name of Duroy?"

She suddenly became serious again, and placing her hand on his arm, murmured: "Do not let us speak of that yet a while."

But he divined that she accepted, and falling at her knees began to passionately kiss her hands, repeating:

"Thanks, thanks; oh, how I love you!"

She rose.

He did so, too, and noted that she was very pale.

Then he understood that he had pleased her, for a long time past, perhaps, and as they found themselves face to face, he clasped her to him and printed a long, tender, and decorous kiss on her forehead.

When she had freed herself, slipping through his arms, she said in a serious tone: "Listen, I have not yet made up my mind to anything.

However, it may be--yes.

But you must promise me the most absolute secrecy till I give you leave to speak."

He swore this, and left, his heart overflowing with joy.