The 298 stories of Guy de Maupassant: synopses, comments and ratings

(actualisé le ) by Ray

Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) was probably the most prolific writer of short fiction in the history of world literature, with 298 stories, novelettes and novellas to his credit [1], almost all of them written in the decade 1880-1889, shortly before his final illness and premature death at the age of 42.

Here you will find a complete list of all of his short stories, novelettes and novellas in chronological order of initial publication, with for each entry:

  • the original title, with a translation in English;
  • identification of the collection of stories in which it first appeared (mostly in one of the 15 collections published during Maupassant’s all-too-short lifetime);
  • an overview of the story;
  • our comments on the literary merits of the text;
  • a note from 1-10, where :
    • 10=> one of his most famous works;
    • 9.5=> a masterpiece of world literature;
    • 9=> one of his best works;
    • 8.5=> a ’must’ read;
    • 8=> a ’good’ read;
    • others=> not in the same category as the above, for the reasons indicated.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. THE 298 SHORT STORIES, NOVELETTES AND NOVELLAS: OVERVIEWS, COMMENTS AND RATINGS

2. OTHER WORKS INCLUDED IN SOME ANTHOLOGIES OF STORIES BY MAUPASSANT

3. INDEX OF STORIES IN ALPHABETIC ORDER (by English title)

4. INDEX OF STORIES IN ALPHABETIC ORDER (by French title)

5. REFERENCES

Guy de Maupassant at the age of 40

1. THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES, NOVELETTES AND NOVELLAS

short stories: < 7,500 words; novelette: 7,500-17,499 words; novella: 17,500-40,000 words; novel: > 40,000 words.

no. date 1st pub. English Title Original Title Genre/ Theme Synopsis/Comments_______________________________________ Note
1 1875-12 The Dried Hand [2] La Main d’écorché horror The narrator is having punch one evening with friends when his old friend Paul bursts into the gathering with the dried hand of a famous criminal of the previous century that he had acquired in Normandy from the sale of the belongings of an old man with a reputation of a sorcerer. The narrator visits Paul the next day to find that he has attached the hand to his doorbell string and had been woken up by a mysterious banging on the door in the middle of the night. The following day Paul is found dead with the marks of immensely strong fingers of his throat, and the narrator escorts his body to his cemetery in Normandy where another surprise awaits him.
- The author’s very first published story, a tale with a supernatural tinge that appeared in the yearly edition of L’Almanach lorrain de Pont-à-Mousson for 1875.
7
2 1876-03 On the Water [5] Sur l’eau riverside drama The narrator, who has rented a house on the Seine for the summer (in an area where so many soon-to-be-famous impressionist painters were active at the time), tells us about the eerie adventure of his neighbour there, an enthusiastic boater and lover of the river and all its mysteries.
- Full of the atmosphere of the very beautiful river Seine, most magnificently described.
9
3 1877-11 The Provider of Holy Water [2] Le Donneur d’eau bénite family drama Pierre, a wheelwright in Normandy and his wife Jeanne were delighted when at long last their son Jean arrived, but he disappeared at the age of five after a circus troop of had passed through their village. The rest of their life was spent searching throughout the country for the boy, eventually living on charity before Jean, then aged, took up a post as provider of holy water in an important Parisian church where he always scrutinised the attendants to try to identify the lost boy, now a man. One day his dream came true.
- A straightforward tale of extreme family fidelity, perhaps a tad simplistic for our modern tastes.
7.5
4 1878-05 The Marriage of Lieutenant Laré [2] Le Mariage du lieutenant Laré Franco-Prussian War of 1870 A detachment of a hundred French soldiers is sent at nighttime in winter to relieve a menaced army position. On the way they encounter an elderly man and his daughter; the man serves them as guide but the young woman is so exhausted that she needs to be carried on a litter by the soldiers. The mission is accomplished and the lieutenant only discovers after the war the true identities of the old man and his daughter.
- This little tale was later incorporated into the more elaborate 1882 story A Memory, with a quite different ending.
7.5
5 1878-09 Coconut, Coconut, fresh Coconut! [2] Coco, Coco, Coco frais ! family anecdote Pierre was present at the death bed of his uncle, who had smiled when he heard a street vendor of coconuts selling his wares just before he passed away, and it turned out that in his will the uncle left not only 500 francs for him but also 100 francs to be given to the first street coconut-vendor he came across. In a manuscript the uncle explains that one of them had played a role or had been present at a number of the key moments in his life.
- A modest but most readable little tale.
7
6 1879-12 Simon’s Papa [5] Le Papa de Simon sociological drama Simon’s mother does not have a husband and she has always been disapproved of and excluded, so Simon has grown up alone and secluded from the rest of the village. When he first appears in school at the age of seven he is at an object of curiosity that turns to scorn, rejection and outright brutality for a long time afterwards. Until the other schoolchildren learn that Simon finally has a new papa...
- A very powerful drama of exclusion and social opprobrium at all levels of society, especially the youngest.
9
7 1880-04 Boule de Suif [3]

(novelette)
Boule de Suif Franco-Prussian War of 1870 The French army has just suffered a catastrophic defeat by the Prussian army and the tattered remains are staggering through the Normandy town of Rouen towards the Atlantic coast. The civilians in Rouen are nervous about the forthcoming occupation of their city by the victorious army, and rightly so, as although the invaders behave more or less correctly, officers and men must he housed and fed and strict order is maintained. After a few days a group of civilians of all kinds obtains permission to leave the town by coach – several rich businessmen with their wives, a very wealthy and somewhat arrogant count and his countess, two nuns, a radical activist, and the title personage Boule de Suif (’Fat Ball’), a fairly young and very plump woman of the streets. All are proud patriots who want to have nothing to do with the foreign military. But the going is slow as it is winter and the horses are weak, and when they arrive at the nearest town on their way to the coast it is already evening and worse yet: the town has already been occupied by Prussian troops. They are obliged to stay there overnight, where the Prussian officer, a stalwart French-speaker of sorts, orders Boule de Suif to come to his office for an interview. Perhaps you can imagine what the officer wanted her to do, but she indignantly refuses and her companions are equally shocked at the grossness of the Prussian. The next day they discover that they cannot leave the town until his desires are satisfied, and little by little the patriotism of the members of the group, including the nuns, takes second place to their desire to continue on their journey: each and everyone – except to a certain degree the radical activist, who remains notably silent throughout the difficult moments – finds excellent reasons why Boule de Suif should sacrifice herself and her patriotic ideals for the common good.
- A beautifully-written story in an understated but penetrating tone that can leave no one indifferent. One of the author’s finest and most universal masterpieces.
10
8 1880-05 The Sundays of a Parisian Bourgeois [4]

(novella)
Les Dimanches d’un bourgeois de Paris social critique In ten rather well-developed sections we follow the activities if a fifty-year-old Parisian civil servant on his Sunday outings as he tries, not always very successfully, to escape from the dullness and servility of his week working in a government office by undertaking only-too-rare ventures out of the city: visits to colleagues, fishing expeditions, celebrating the honours accorded to his superior and even, on one momentous Sunday, visiting Gustave Flaubert in his home in Meudan.
- At the end of the series of episodes he has not particularly grown in intellectual stature but he is a little wiser and the reader has acquired considerable insight into the nooks and crannies of the soul of a very average but finally very honest and even interesting man.
8
9 1880-08 Suicides [21] Suicides psychological drama. A suicide letter is found beside a 57-year-old man who has just shot himself in a depressed state of mind, as explained in his letter.
- An extremely effective, powerful letter that can leave no one indifferent.
8.5
10 1880-09 The Advice of a grandmother
aka
In Former Times [31]
Les Conseils d’une grand’mère
(autre titre : Jadis)
family anecdote in an elegant manor of a certain antiquated style an elderly woman asks her young granddaughter to read to her from the newspaper – but nothing political – and the girl reads an account of a case where a woman had thrown acid into the face of the mistress of her husband and had been acquitted to the applause of the crowds gathered at the trial. The grandmother is shocked and asks for another story, that this time is about a young girl who shot her seducer who hadn’t remained faithful to her thereby crippling him for life, and who had also been acquitted. The grandmother is again shocked, but her granddaughter is far more understanding of the seduced girl’s motivations, and the debate becomes impassioned on both sides.
- A story with a strong moral fibre with a strong didactic undertone that will not be, and perhaps wasn’t already at the time, to every reader’s taste.
7
11 1881-02 In the Family [5]

(novelette)
En famille social critique We follow Monsieur Caravan, a civil servant, in his daily routine going home after a day at the office, having a glass at the local café, getting brow-beaten by his wife at home, and trying to cope with the constant state of warfare between his spouse and his elderly mother who lives with them in an upstairs room and with his two ragamuffin children who run around in the streets all day long. But today there is a dramatic decline in the mother’s health and the issues of heritage and testaments start to assume major proportions...
- A very cynical, very unsympathetic and at the same time most convincing sociological portrait of a certain sector of the population of the time, couched in the most flowing, elegant, clear language one could wish for. Shocking in a way, really, for those who have strong sympathies for the less well-off sector of the population. But Maupassant says it like he sees it, and he says it just so well!
8.5
12 1881-03 Story of a farm girl [5] Histoire d’une fille de ferme social critique We follow Rosa, a young servant on a rather prosperous farm, as she goes to rest in the shade of the barn after a long session cleaning up the dining-room and kitchen after lunch. But her rest is disturbed by Jacques, a farm labourer, who has been watching her for some time. She is a strong girl and easily fends him off but one thing leads to another and even a marriage promise to marry her. But Rosa’s life falls apart a few months later when she is in an interesting situation and Jacque’s commitment to marriage fades and he then disappears.
- Has the plight of the unmarried pregnant young woman throughout history – up until our enlightened days – ever been better and more powerfully told? A moving and timeless tale.
9
13 1881-03 Public Opinion [6] Opinion Publique parody of political banalities We are in the office space of a public ministry and it is almost 11 am so the employees have all shown up because that is the hour when the Minister usually comes to work (!), and in waiting for him to actually appear they talk about public affairs and politics and it is all pretty trite and conventional.
- Are such group conversations of our own day on such topics any more insightful, one may legitimately wonder?
7
14 1881-04 In the Springtime [7] Au Printemps love story The narrator describes his impulse one fine spring day to go out on an excursion to benefit from the good weather and the special springtime feeling in the air and in his whole being. Well, right beside him in the tramway taking him to the riverside there is a delicate young woman with the most attractive set of curls who senses his attention and almost has a smile on her face – but just as he is about to start talking to her a stranger imperiously tugs at his sleeve and says that he must urgently tell him something.
- Which he does, and that does change the day for the narrator, and it also leave the reader just subjugated by the charm and the whimsical power of this epitome of a springtime story in spite of its cynical Maupassantian content.
9
15 1881-04 Paul’s Mistress [7] La Femme de Paul drama Paul is a wealthy young man, son of a distinguished senator, who is regularly seen boating on the Seine at a popular auberge on Croissy Island near Paris with his mistress Madeleine, whom he is crazy about although she does not have the same well-educated bourgeois background. One day a boat arrives below the inn with four well-known young women of a particular genre who provoke Pail’s indignation and cat-calls of “Lesbos! Lesbos!” from the crowd on the shore. But Madeleine defends the ladies and their mores, and is even friendly and soon passionately involved with one of them. Things go from bad to worse from then on, at least for Paul.
- An amazingly frank, sharp portrayal of sexual diversity, and a powerful, fascinating account of the ambience among the Parisian population of those days when out for a good time boating and wining and dining and dancing and sinning and so on in their leisure hours. A literary tour de force!
9
16 1881-04 Madame Tellier’s Establishment [7]

(novelette)
La Maison Tellier social critique Madame Tellier is the owner and manager of a house of prostitution in a provincial Normandy village on the coast, where such establishments had long been considered to be practically normal commercial affairs. Madame had been an inn-keeper before inheriting the establishment with her husband, whose premature death soon left her completely in charge, which she managed to do most successfully. But one day, much to the dismay of the regulars – just about all the important men in town – the house stayed closed for two days with just a mysterious sign posted explaining that they had all left for a communion somewhere else, and we follow the group as they appear in all their finery at a very serious church affair and reception for a niece of Madame Tellier’s at the other end of Normandy where they all have a fine time and make an excellent impression on the citizens there who have no idea of their professional pastimes.
But all good things must come to an end and life must go on, and the anxious notables of the home town must be relieved of the distress caused by their unexpected and unprecedented absence.
- A straightforward account of the sexual mores of those days and no doubt others, with a strong accent on the foibles and not-at-all glorious aspects of the citizenry, bourgeois or not.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s first collection of his stories, La Maison Tellier (1881).
9.5
17 1881-04 An Outing in the Countryside  [5] Une partie de campagne boy meets girl A Parisian family goes on an excursion to the countryside where they have lunch at an inn on the Seine river. The ladies – the very plump thirty-fiveish mother and her eighteen-year-old daughter – accept the invitation of two athletic young men also lunching there to go for a boat ride with them. One of the young men sacrifices himself by taking the mother on his boat, and other one shows the daughter his favourite grove on an island in the river where a nightingale is warbling its mating serenade.
- A beautifully-written, elegant, very sensitive story that somehow says much about life and love, then and always.
9
18 1881-05 On a Spring Evening [14] Par un soir de printemps love story Jeanne and Jacques have grown up together and have fallen in love and are engaged to be married, much to the satisfaction of their families who have always thought that they would make an ideal couple. Even Jeanne’s spinster aunt, who has never has a suitor, is happy for them, but on a lovely spring evening their tenderness is the drop of water that makes the dam of her suppressed emotions overflow.
- A simple but effective and even moving story.
8.5
19 1881-06 The Story of a Dog [6] Histoire d’un chien a man and a dog Cocote is an extremely ugly female mongrel that François has been allowed to keep by the master of the manor where he is a servant. But she has a default – she is absolutely irresistible for all of the male dogs in the neighbourhood and soon the property is invaded by endless streams of mongrels big and small seeking her freely-granted favours. That is too much for the master who tells François to get rid of her or else he will lose his job. As François knows that he could never be hired with such an ugly and now-enormous creature, he does go through with the ordeal, much to his regret and even despair. The author’s prologue to the story states that it is a true one, and concludes with a plea for support for the newly-created Society for the Protection of Animals.
- A worthwhile anecdote on a rare theme for the time.
8
20 1881-12 Wrecks [6] Épaves story of the seaside The narrator comments on his attraction to seaside resorts in the month of December, when the normal summer visitors have left and there only remain those hardline cases who cannot tear themselves away from the the lieu of their past splendour on the beach.
- A light narrative on the fringe of an essay, with dialogues and undoubtedly fictional albeit credible personalities to illustrate his reflections on the somewhat melancholy atmosphere of seaside resorts in the winter months.
8
21 1881-12 Corsican story [6] Histoire corse Corsican drama On reading about the murder of two gendarmes by bandits in Corsica the narrator remembers a walking tour he had made from Ajaccio in the south to Bastia in the north along the coast and then across the wild mountain country which had always provided refuge for that land’s redoubtable bandits and fugitives from justice. What he remembers most about that journey was the extraordinary scenery and the terrible ravages of violence and blood feuds among the people who provided him hospitality.
- A splendid testimony to the land and its people, in spite of the harshness of their ways.
8.5
22 1881-12 A Parisian adventure [8] Une Aventure parisienne social critique A still-young married woman with two children has the feeling on reading about the fashions and the high-life and the animation of life in Paris that she is missing out on something essential, so she arranges to visit her elderly parents there, without husband or children. She tries very hard to get involved in the swing of sophisticated Parisian life, but without success until she does meet a famous writer in a café. With a good deal of insistence and feminine wiles she manages to spend the whole evening and even night with the famous artist, but ends up going back home suitably disillusioned about Paris and its artists and sufficiently reconciled to her life in general and her provincial life in particular.
- Very readable and somehow surprisingly modern.
8
23 1882-01 The Log [8] La Bûche love story The youngish narrator is having tea with a close friend, an almost-elderly, very sophisticated lady when a log that burning in the fireplace rolls onto the carpet. That reminds him of a similar but somewhat more dramatic incident when he had been dining with very close and newly-married friends, a story that the lady insists he tells her and us.
- A good one with a strong lesson about not even thinking of fooling around with a friend’s wife, newly-married or otherwise, I think.
8.5
24 1882-01 The Cake [14] Le Gâteau social critique Mme A. is a highly-regarded hostess who attracted an unending stream of admirers to her receptions, where the highlight was the ceremony of cutting the cake for the crowd (and her husband and his own guests, always relegated to a secondary room in the dwelling): to be selected for the honour was a clear appointment to the envied position of favourite. But all good things come to an end and one day Mme A. finds that it is not so easy any more to find a candidate for the cake-cutting ceremony.
- Cynical and brutal, as so often with Maupassant, perhaps a touch too caricatural though to be sufficiently convincing.
7
25 1882-01 Petition of an Involuntary High-Liver [6] Pétition d’un viveur malgré lui marital drama A elderly, very solitary former officer who had to renounce his career because of the threats of a married woman who had threatened to kill herself if he did not run away with her, which he did only to bitterly regret his fate and by extension the fate of all hen-pecked men young and old, writes to the court to protest against their favouritism to women in cases involving marital conflicts, insisting on the predatory nature of most members of the female sex.
- The man seems somewhat deranged and no, we are not all hen-pecked, and no, they are not mostly all scheming predators who will do anything to have their way!
7
26 1882-01 A Christmas-Eve Party [8] Un Réveillon social critique Two hunters who are staying overnight in an isolated and very cold manor on the Normandy coast realize that it is Christmas Eve when their maid leaves to go to the midnight mass. They decide to participate to see how the other half live in those parts, and they do get what we might call a cultural shock when they are invited into one of the houses to partake of the local people’s supper.
- Not the cosy warm-hearted image of country life that so many other authors tend to portray!
8
27 1882-02 Words of Love [8] Mots d’Amour social critique A young woman writes a short missive full of tender epithets to her “gros coq chéri” (big beloved rooster) begging him to come back to her or at least to write to her, which he does, explaining with numerous citations from her over-exuberant style just why they are not a proper fit, at all, at all.
- Brilliant, amusing and even most instructive too.
8.5
28 1882-02 A Memory [6] Souvenir Franco-Prussian War of 1870 A detachment of French soldiers, reduced to two hundred from their initial strength of eight hundred at the beginning of the 1870 war, is retreating in winter at nighttime through Prussian-occupied territory, trying to rejoin the remnants of the French army further west, when they encounter an old man with a young woman, his daughter, fleeing from marauding Prussian soldiers. The commander decides to take them along, even though the young woman has to be carried, in spite of the exhausted state of the company and their desperate situation. They encounter the marauding Prussian troops described by the refugees and carry on, ultimately successfully, after having taken care of them.
- A striking, realistic, memorable tale, that is a variant, with a different ending, of the earlier 1878 story The Marriage of Lieutenant Laré, that was itself largely integrated into the later 1884 tale The Colonel’s Ideas.
9
29 1882-03 The Blind Man [14] L’Aveugle sociological critique The narrator, in the process of enjoying the atmosphere of a new spring, thinks of how much blind people miss out on such sensations, and remembers the terrible story of how a blind boy in the Norman countryside was treated worse than a dog by one and all, especially his own family who considered him just a useless burden who consumed food that could be better used elsewhere.
- A harsh portrait of the innate insensitivity that was so prevalent in those rough days in that rough region and elsewhere too no doubt.
8
30 1882-03 The Bed [8] Le Lit love story The narrator discovers a letter hidden in an old priest’s gown that he had just bought at a public auction. It is a letter from a sick and probably dying woman to her lover that starts with a memorable passage about beds in general (“The bed, my friend, is our whole life. It’s there that we are born, it’s there that we love, it’s there that we die.”) and continues in a lyrical vein to elaborate most magnificently on that theme.
- A real tour-de-force.
9
31 1882-03 Mademoiselle Fifi [8] Mademoiselle Fifi Franco-Prussian War of 1870 A group of very bored and very blasé not to say brutal Prussian officers stationed in a hastily-abandoned château in Normandy after the French defeat in the War of 1870 decide to organize a banquet-orgy with a group of prostitutes from the nearby town of Rouen. The orgy goes more or less as planned until the final round of champagne and cognac when the most aggressive of the officers starts to insult the French nation, their men and their women. Things do not at all go to plan then, to put it mildly...
- Very hard-hitting, even savage, one of the author’s most powerful stories.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s second collection of his stories, Mademoiselle Fifi (1882).
9.5
32 1882-03 Marroca [8] Marroca love story The narrator, who is sojourning in Algeria and suffering heavily from the heat and the absence of female companionship, writes to a friend who wants to know what the ladies are like in those parts. The letter is essentially – apart from a brief passage quite beside the point about the horrible native women – an account of his steamy affair with the (very) passionate wife of a (European) neighbour in the town where he has rented a house for the summer.
- Apart from the nasty comment referred to above the story is brilliantly told with no holds barred, and with any number of memorable passages. What a writer!
8.5
33 1882-03 The Shepherd’s Leap [14] Le Saut du Berger Norman drama How a very hidebound priest who militantly preached in vociferous, ultra-dogmatic terms against sins of the flesh reacted – very badly and tragically for all concerned – during a storm when, seeking shelter, he entered a shepherd’s hut where a couple were having a very intimate relationship.
- A severe, violent requisition against the precepts of the Church about sex, told with force and even understanding from the viewpoint of the militant priest himself.
8
34 1882-03 Old Objects [14] Vieux Objets sociological drama Adelaide, an elderly woman who has lived all her life in the same house, writes to a Parisian friend about how the old objects that have been stored in the attic for generations incorporate for her not only memories of the glorious happiness of her youth but also the very essence of the long years that have passed her by.
- A light but touching exploration of the theme of old age looking back on time gone by.
8
35 1882-04 Magnetism [14] Magnétisme love story An after-dinner discussion about the (then-)fashionable theme of occultism leads the most cynical anti-occultist of the group, a typically Maupassantian confirmed bachelor and woman-chaser, to recount two seemingly strange incidents that he considers to be more or less explainable in scientific terms, although the second story, about the amazing way he met his mistress, leaves the audience quite unconvinced about its scientific background.
- A clever exploration of two apparently unrelated themes of considerable interest to the author and others too: occultism and falling in love.
8
36 1882-04 The Rock of the Guillemots [22] La Roche aux Guillemots hunting drama A group of ageing hunters, or rather the few of them that are left of the original group of twenty thirty years beforehand, has met up once again at their yearly rendezvous at Etretat on the Normandy coast to hunt guillemots, a rare sea-bird from Newfoundland that nests every year on an isolated eponymous rock on the Norman coast. One of the group arrives at the last minute out of breath dressed all in black, and after the first outing – one might almost say slaughter session – he explains that he really has to leave them already, and when his dismayed comrades insist that he stay for another outing he explains the problem on his agenda.
- The reader, unlike his companions, can only conclude that he has gotten his priorities wrong.
7.5
37 1882-04 A Son [12] Un fils sociological drama A senator and an academician on a promenade on a lovely spring day talk about their sexual exploits in their youth, both convinced that the average man of their milieu has a considerable number of illegitimate children somewhere in view of what they used to do so regularly so many years ago. And the academician tells about a trip he made in those days to Brittany when he had to stay in an inn in the town of Pont l’Abbé where practically everyone only spoke Breton and not French. What he did to the young servant-girl there and the consequences of his brutal behaviour are the central theme of this very cruel story that reflects no honour on the central personage, nor on his dignified companion either and even on its author, in a way.
- Has not well passed the test of time because of its insufferable masochism, in spite of the quality of the prose and even the historical (linguistic) interest of the story itself.
7
38 1882-05 While Traveling [6] En Voyage tragic local story a lady writes to a close friend to recount her travel experiences, and recounts a terrible tale told to her by a local citizen in the mountains above Monaco while she had been admiring an artificial lake that had been the scene of a double drowning years beforehand.
- Very grim indeed.
7
39 1882-05 A Corsican bandit [14] Un bandit corse Corsica On a hike in the mountains of central Corsica the narrator’s companion explains that the region is where Corsican bandits traditionally seek refuge, and tells how a meek, mild-mannered villager became the most celebrated bandit of them all.
- Introduced by a magnificent description of the wild country in question, this dramatic tale is a real treat.
9
40 1882-06 Other Times [6] Autres Temps country farce in the framework of a passionate denunciation of the stereotyped morality of the time, the author relates a scene in a Norman court where a somewhat ageing lady of means had brought a suit against a young man to whom she had legally bequeathed a parcel of land in exchange for his services of an intimate nature, and who had nevertheless gotten married to a young woman.
- A simplistic and rather silly farce in the framework of a libertarian essay, this tale was more effectively developed in the the later 1884 story Rustic Tribunals.
6
41 1882-06 Confessions of a woman [14] Confessions d’une femme hunting drama An elderly woman who has had a very rich love life recounts a dramatic hunting incident during her first marriage that changed her life forever.
- Harsh, cynical, sophisticated, disillusioned – a quite representative M. story.
8
42 1882-06 The Vigil [14] La veillée sociological critique A (severe and inflexible) judge and his sister, a nun, are mourning their mother who has just passed away, and decide to honour the memory of the very devout and straight-laced loved one by reading out loud to each other letters that they find in her desk. Letters that reveal much about the secret love life of their mother in her younger days and that transform completely the nature of the deathbed vigil.
- A grim story, heavily infused with the author’s anti-clericalism and anti-authoritarianism.
7
43 1882-06 The Thief [10] Le Voleur humor Three friends are having a party and when they have become thoroughly inebriated they dress up in the ancient uniforms that the host collects, each with an appropriate weapon. By this time they are all three in a state of extremely joyous excitement, and when they hear a noise in the attic they realize that a prowler is up there, so they launch a military expedition to surround and capture the culprit. Which they manage to do, and after tying him up and putting him safely away in a locked closet up there, they decide to conduct his trial, which process not surprisingly, given their state of inebriation, pronounces a death sentence. However there is a debate about the method even though one of them does wonder if they shouldn’t rather hand the thief over to the gendarmes. It all actually turns out surprisingly well though.
- Most enjoyable – who would have thought that the author of Boule de Suif had a sense of humor?
8
44 1882-06 Dreams [14] Rêves drugs A group of friends are discussing how to escape from the essential boredom of their lives and one of them, a doctor, describes in detail the beneficial effects of breathing ether and how superior that experience is to the better-known drugs like hashish and opium.
- A fascinating and almost convincing account of a drug experience in that bygone age.
8.5
45 1882-07 Moonlight [14] Clair de lune love story A woman reveals to her sister the encounter she had had on a moonlit walk along a Swiss lake one evening when her somewhat inattentive husband had retired early.
- Most convincingly told, a very readable and almost moralistic little tale.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s fourth collection of stories, Clair de Lune (1883).
8
46 1882-10 Moonlight #2 [9] Clair de Lune #2 love story The abbey Marignan is extremely passionate about his religion to the point of fanaticism and hardened dogmatism, especially about morals and sexuality and with particular reference to the feminine portion of humanity. So when he is informed by a servant that his young niece, whom he had been grooming for a career as a nun, regularly meets a young man in the evening by the riverside he is beside himself with rage and decides to go out there for a walk and perhaps a decisive confrontation. But on his way he cannot help being quite overwhelmed by the silence and the beauty and the odiferous atmosphere of the moonlit river and countryside and begins to wonder why the good Lord had created such scenes, and is suddenly filled with enlightenment about the feelings of the young people in question.
- An interesting investigation of the religious mindset of the most dogmatic variety, coupled with an absolutely superb account of the glories of a spring evening.
9
47 1882-07 The Child [9] L’Enfant love story Jacques encounters a lovely young thing on a beach and is so enraptured that after a brief courtship he proposes marriage to her. Her parents are reluctant to agree to the betrothal because of Jacque’s reputation and especially his well-known affair with a certain widow, but he persists emphatically, explaining (truthfully) that that affair is entirely in the past. The wedding is a great success, but when the moment comes for the married couple to retire to their chambers a messenger arrives with an urgent message for Jacques, and he leaves his bride to join his former mistress who is is great difficulty, to put it mildly.
- A very powerful and very moving investigation of the intimate relationship between the sexes in a moment of crisis.
9
48 1882-07 The Lock [21] Le Verrou sentimental-sexual farce. A group of very macho friends who “are so contemptuous of women that they think only of them, only live for them, and direct all their desires and efforts towards them” meet yearly to celebrate their bachelorhood, although there are only four of them left of the original fourteen after twenty years, the others being married or having passed away, and over desert and champagne when everyone has finished boasting about their latest splendid conquests one of them decides to tell the truth for a change, about his first conquest, or rather how he was conquered by a friend of his mother’s, an affair that ended up in a most embarrassing and somewhat comical fashion because of a problem with the lock on his door.
- Cynical and very lively for almost the whole length, narrated most elegantly.
8
49 1882-07 A Rooster Crowed [12] Un Coq chanta country drama The baron de Croissard is passionately fond of hunting and even more passionate about Mme d’Avancelles whom he is assiduously pursuing. He organizes a great hunt on his extensive property after Madame has indicated that she just might be favourably inclined in the autumn season. The hunt is spectacular and the baron is on the point of attaining his goal, but when the rooster crows the next morning there has been a problem...
- A nice story elegantly told with a truly splendid account of the passionate atmosphere of hunting in all its forms.
8.5
50 1882-08 Correspondence [14] Correspondance sociological critique Madame X writes to an old friend Madame Z complaining about how boorish and ill-mannered men have become, and Madame Z replies that woman are now even more ill-behaved than the men, and remembers how elegant people had a good time in the good old days. And finishes with a rather catty gesture herself.
- A charming epistolary exchange, full of bon mots and clever barbs, most entertaining.
8.5
51 1882-08 Normandy Farce [12] Farce Normande farmland wedding A wedding is taking place in the Normandy countryside and the many guests in their Sunday best are coming into the courtyard to sit down at the huge table where the more-than-copious wedding feast is served along with countless jugs of cider, wine and “trous normands” (Norman intermissions) of calvados in between dishes. The dinner that started at 2 pm is still going strong at 8 in the evening, when many of the male guests let go with ribald remarks addressed at the young couple. The bridegroom does react to the teasing, but nevertheless underestimates the hilarious (to his friends) trick that they have prepared for him.
- An authentic sociological document, a really good story with larger overtones, told superbly well.
9
52 1882-08 Crazy? [10] Fou ? marital drama The narrator describes with intensity the many aspects of his voluptuous and very passionate wife and how he could see that at one point she started to become tired of him. But his jealous passion could not be satisfied until he could confront the rival who must be out there somewhere. Whom he does rapidly discover, unfortunately for everyone concerned, as mad jealously knows no reason...
- A sharp, sombre story.
8
53 1882-08 My Uncle Sosthène [21] Mon Oncle Sosthène political drama The uncle in question is a militant free-thinker, anti-clerical, anti-authoritarian republican Freemason who takes particular delight in publicly mocking a Jesuit priest of his neighbourhood. And after a particularly not to say amazingly heavy Freemason feast when Uncle has had to be carried home to bed the narrator plays what he thinks will be a very funny trick when he tells the Jesuit that his uncle is dying and needs ultimate consolation from him. That encounter does not however work out as planned by the playful nephew.
- A somewhat caricatural account of the political climate of the time, of course, but nevertheless interesting, amusing and well-told, of course.
8
54 1882-08 A Real Drama [6] Un Drame vrai crime of passion Two brothers are courting the daughter of a prosperous farm-manor, and the one that had become engaged to the girl was treacherously murdered in cold blood a week before the wedding. No trace could be found of the killer except for a burned piece of paper on which a portion of an unknown song could still be deciphered. Two years later the surviving brother married the girl and twenty years later the elder daughter of the couple became engaged to the son of a magistrate, the very magistrate who had been in charge of the murder investigation. But at the wedding in the midst of all the merriment one of the participants begins to sing the mysterious song that the murderer had left trace of on the piece of evidence he had left behind, and the magistrate takes up the case again.
- The impact of the rather harsh story is somewhat lessened however by the somewhat excessively impassioned anti-establishment comments on the ensuing judicial verdict.
7.5
55 1882-08 A Passion [14] Une passion love story How a young officer let himself get involved with a very insistent older woman and how difficult not to say impossible it became to put and end to the cursed affair.
- A very cynical but engaging tale with a somewhat surprising touch of anti-libertarian morality.
8
56 1882-08 Honeymoon Trip [6] Voyage de Noce chronicle of happiness gone by A woman recalls the joy and emotion of her honeymoon trip by carriage and passenger boat to Naples thirty years beforehand, after which she had always felt that it was her ultimate and final experience of true happiness.
- A calm and effective melancholy narrative, almost a travel chronicle.
8.5
57 1882-09 The Straw-weaver [12] La Rempailleuse love story A large group of hunters and their wives are debating the question of long-lasting (or otherwise) love after a copious dinner, and a retired Parisian doctor recounts the most intense and long-lasting affair he had ever encountered, involving a respectable pharmacist and a wandering gypsy girl.
- With a neat twist at he end, this nicely-told story says something (not particularly flattering) about the hidebound moral attitude of the middle class of the time, and other times too, perhaps.
8.5
58 1882-09 The Rust [10] La Rouille love story Baron Coutelier, a rather energetic 50-year-old, is passionately fond of hunting in all its forms, a topic that he cannot talk too much about and indeed is the only topic that interests him. But his neighbours think he should finally widen his horizons by getting married and introduce him to an eligible widow who wins his heart by actually going out shooting partridges with him. The baron’s heart is duly conquered, but is the rest of him up to the challenge?
- A light tale about a couple of very nice subjects (hunting and the other one, so close to the author’s heart), very nicely told indeed.
8.5
59 1882-09 A Ruse [10] Une ruse marital adventure A young woman being treated by her elderly doctor tells him that she cannot understand how women can manage to have affairs in secret and live in a constant state of deceit and falsity. So the doctor tells her that in his opinion a woman can only love passionately after having been married, and that as for techniques of dissimulation, women have no end of resources when the need arises. To illustrate his theme, he tells her about a patient of his who had called him urgently late one evening to do something – anything – to save her because her lover has suddenly died while visiting her, and her husband would be coming back home soon when his club closed at midnight.
- A very good story indeed, albeit cold-blooded and immoral to a degree, naturellement.
8.5
60 1882-09 A Widow [9] Une Veuve love story An elderly lady reveals the story of the quite maniacal and finally tragic passion that a young boy, heavily influenced by the legends of his extraordinary ancestors, had had for her in her young days.
- A harsh tale told most convincingly.
8
61 1882-09 An Old Man [6] Un Vieux medical farce A new health resort in the mountains has attracted a considerable public with its publicity about the exceptional longevity of the inhabitants of the region. We follow the interviews with his doctor there of an agile elder of eighty-five who is always enquiring about the reason for the demise of other elderly cItizens of the resort.
- An early, shorter and simpler version of his rather more elaborate 1884 story on the same theme Patients and Doctors.
7
62 1882-10 In the Fields [12] Aux champs country drama Two (very) poor peasant families, each with four children, live side by side in the Norman countryside not far from a resort town on the coast. One day a couple from the town pass by in a carriage and stop to admire the lively young children playing there, and they come back several times to see them again. The wealthy and childless couple end up by proposing to adopt the youngest one and provide financial support to the family in exchange, first to one family and then the other.
- A solid sociological drama imbued with the author’s harsh but not necessarily unrealistic judgement on the values of the people that made up the society of his time, all social groups and ages included. With, it must be said, a particular lack of empathy with young children (consistently described in essentially derogatory terms equivalent to ’ragamuffin’ or ’little squirt’), but that is probably beside the point.
8
63 1882-10 Fear [12] La Peur drama with a supernatural tinge A group on a passenger boat ps discussing the title subject and one of them intervenes to give two examples of what fear really is, other than simply the somewhat-instinctive reaction to a dangerous situation such as had been evoked until then. Both examples have an eerie and almost-but-not-quite supernatural aspect to them, and both are suitably impressive and appropriate.
- A striking story impressively told by one of the greatest masters of the language.
9
64 1882-10 The Relic [10] La Relique love story Henri Fontal, a young agnostic, writes to the abbé d’Ennemare, an old friend, to beg him to salvage at any cost (including his eventual conversion to Catholicism) his engagement with the abbé’s vivacious, young and very devout niece that she had suddenly broken off on discovering that the present he had brought back for her from a trip – a saintly relic that he had stolen from the Cologne Cathedral to impress her – was not as authentic as all that.
- A light, somewhat involved but somehow most credible story saying much about the kind of religion that used to be so prevalent and even more about a young man’s priorities when push comes to shove, I mean love. Beautifully told, of course.
8.5
65 1882-10 The Pardon [9] Le Pardon love story Berthe was brought up in a strict family and has remained innocent of the ways of the sophisticated world long after having married Georges and moved to Paris. Georges is absent most evenings and one day Berthe receives an anonymous letter telling her about Mme Rosset, a young widow with whom Georges has been spending so much time. She confronts the two, who have such a convincing story-line that she even becomes an intimate friend of the lady but truth will out at the end.
- A somewhat contrived intrigue apparently aimed at convincing the reader that Georges’s behaviour is in line with progressive morality. Perhaps and perhaps not – that is a decision best left to the reader.
7.5
66 1882-10 Pierrot [12] Pierrot country mores Mme Lefèvre lives in the Normandy countryside and hides a hard heart under an outwardly congenial exterior. She decides to acquire a guard-dog after discovering that someone has stolen onions from her garden overnight, but finds that the prices demanded by the neighbours for their surplus canine population are too extravagant for her penny-pinching tastes. Then the local baker brings her a strange mongrel creature – for free – who is so ugly that no one else wants it. How Mme Lefèvre treats the poor animal and what she does when she discovers to her dismay that she has to pay a government tax on it is the heart-rending, off-putting subject of the rest of the story.
- A good example of the author’s quite extraordinarily disabused and pessimistic attitude towards the vast mass of mankind.
7
67 1882-10 A Norman [12] Un Normand country drama Mathieu is a resourceful former soldier who is established in the Normandy countryside as the caretaker of a chapel where young women in trouble traditionally come for solace and eventual miraculous remedies for their condition. He uses his wood-whistling skills to shape diverse figures of saints so that all the other local folk can find solace for their medical woes, whatever, too. The narrator of the story sets out from nearby Rouen to visit this celebrated shrine, and is recompensed by a memorably comic scene.
- Gloriously rich in Normandy atmosphere, with the author’s cynicism about religion and with a sharp eye and ear for the ways of the locals.
8.5
68 1882-11 That Swine Morin [12] Ce Cochon de Morin humor The distinguished deputy Labarbe explains to a friend just why no one ever mentions the name of Mr. Morin without preceding it with the violently disparaging epithet of the title, and especially how the young Labarbe fulfilled his delicate diplomatic mission of getting Morin out of the very hot water he was in with a lovely young girl’s family after his quite insane and unsuccessful attempt to do her damage during a long train ride.
- Just oozing with Maupassantian charm and elegant cynicism – a complete and even memorable success.
9
69 1882-11 The Kiss [2] Le Baiser the art of seduction An aunt writes to her niece who is in a state because her husband has just left her, to provide friendly advice on the main reason for his discontent – she hadn’t properly mastered the essential feminine art of kissing properly!
- Very short but amusing and nicely put.
7.5
70 1882-11 The Wolf [9] Le Loup hunting The Marquis d’Arville recounts to his dinner companions why for three generations he has refused to go hunting although his ancestors were fanatical about that blood sport, as illustrated by the story he tells about the passionate-to-the-point-of-frenzy hunt for a gigantic white wolf in the previous century.
- A most convincing and impressive evocation of the atmosphere of a hunting in former times.
8.5
71 1882-11 The Will [12] Le Testament country drama The narrator discovers why his neighbour never sees or speaks to his two brothers. Long-hidden family secrets, a man’s undying love for his mother, and a will all figure prominently in this surprisingly effective and affecting story. 8.5
72 1882-11 Madame Baptiste [10] Madame Baptiste drama The narrator has two hours to kill while waiting for his train in a provincial town, so he goes for a walk and ends up following a little funeral procession that has caught his eye because, most unusually, there is no priest in the column. One of the few mourners tells him the whys and the wherefores of what turns out to be a particularly tragic event involving a young woman whose life had been utterly ruined by a servant when she was only a child.
- A biting attack on the mindset of the average citizen of those days and the intolerable condition of women in trouble in those not-so-far-off times. This simple tale told straightforwardly has a Punch with a capital P!
8.5
73 1882-11 Minuet [12] Menuet drama The narrator remembers a touching scene reminiscent of times gone by in the period before the French Revolution that he witnessed regularly in the botanical gardens of the central Parisian park le Jardin de Luxembourg long ago in his youth.
- Evocative and delicately touching, indeed.
8
74 1882-11 A Million [11] Un Million drama of childlessness A childless couple is very worried that they won’t be able to inherit the million-franc legacy of an aunt because the will had stipulated that the money would go to poor people unless the couple had a child within three years of the lady’s demise. Somehow they just must find a way!
- An early, simplified version of the much more developed 1884 novella on the same theme The Heritage [L’Héritage].
7
75 1882-12 The Woodcock [12] La Bécasse narrative introduction The baron des Ravots has always been a fanatical hunter, and even now that he is a cripple and has to stay in his manor he still loves to shoot pigeons from his living-room window, and especially to organize dinners with his fellow hunters where each more or less in turn tells stories to liven up their gay wining and dining sessions.
- This short tale was the introduction and title story of Maupassant’s third collection of stories, Contes de la Bécasse (1883). It well sets the tone of passion for hunting and the accompanying rituals of wining, dining and boasting for the 17 stories in this quintessential Maupassant collection.
8
76 1882-12 Christmas Story [9] Conte de Noël Normandy mores The very agnostic Doctor Bonenfant recounts a veritable miracle that he witnessed in the middle of an extremely severe winter in the Normandy countryside, when a woman who had been seized by an uncontrollable fit of frenzy had been taken as a last desperate measure to participate in the midnight mass at Christmas Eve.
- A most impressive fable that quite perfectly captures the enduring religiosity of the Normandy countryside at the time, told without the author’s usual mockery of matters religious.
8.5
77 1882-12 The Crazy Woman [12] La Folle Franco-Prussian War of 1870 As announced in the first sentence of this very grim story, this is “a very sinister anecdote about the war.” It tells of what happened to a woman who had been bed-ridden for fifteen years ever since losing her baby, her husband and her father in the space of a single month, when the Prussians occupied her village and interpreted her refusal to get out of bed to greet the invaders as a gesture of patriotic defiance.
- These Prussians are just too terrible, and this quite nightmarish story is just too fanatically hostile to them to be memorable or even credible.
7
78 1882-12 The Legend of Mont-Saint-Michel [9] La Légende du Mont-Saint-Michel Norman fable A Norman peasant explains to the narrator, who has just finished visiting the famous abbey, the sly, earthy Norman version of the combat between Saint Michel and the devil that clarifies the saintly origins of the great monument.
- A down-to-earth, unpretentious – and not particularly religious – but amusing local fable, of considerable interest augmented by the splendid beginning: “I first saw it from Cancale, this fairy-land castle planted in the sea. I had seen it confusedly, a grey shadow rising up into the foggy sky. I saw it again from Avranches when the sun was setting. The immensity of sand was red, the horizon was red, all the bay was immeasurably red; alone, the steep abby, rising up over there, far from the land, like a fantastic manor, stupefying like a dream palace, implausibly strange and beautiful, was almost black in the purple of the dying day. I went towards it the next morning at dawn across the sands, my eyes riveted on this monstrous jewel cut like a cameo and vaporous like a muslin veil. The more I approached it the more I felt uplifted with admiration, as nothing else in the world perhaps is more astonishing and more perfect.
8.5
79 1882-12 My Wife [2] Ma Femme boy meets girl After dinner a joyous group of friends are talking about marriage and Pierre, who has a quite perfect wife and who has been very happily married for five years, recounts how it happened even though at the time he ”thought no more about getting married than hanging himself”.
- In fact a quite dramatic tale, recounted most credibly – and very very funny, a masterpiece in its way.
9
80 1882-12 Christmas Night [10] Nuit de Noël drama Henri Templier explains to his entourage why he hates Christmas Eve so much, and it is not a pretty story that he has to tell about how he invited a street-girl to share a Christmas Eve dinner with him once, with disastrous results as far as he was concerned.
- Imbued with misanthropy and misogyny and a strong lack of empathy with little children, this brutal, frankly nasty tale is most distasteful to our modern sensibilities and must have repulsed more than one reader in its own time.
6
81 1882-12 Cunning [14] Rouerie love affair A former Foreign Affairs Minister proclaims that women are particularly cunning when it comes to fooling men in general and husbands in particular, and illustrates his discourse with an account of an intense affair of his own during his years of service.
- Amusing although perhaps not as credible as other tales by the author on the same theme.
7.5
82 1882-12 Yveline Samoris [14] Yveline Samoris family drama The eponymous lady is a society adventuress of perhaps Hungarian origin whose salon is frequented by one and all. Her lovely young daughter loves the gay life-style of her mother but is innocent and quite unlike her loose-living courtesan of a mother, and when she discovers accidentally the truth about her origins and her mother’s morality she reacts most violently indeed.
- Cynical (of course) and harsh (of course) but credible (of course) and well told (of course).
8.5
83 1883-01 On Horseback [10] À Cheval social drama An impoverished young couple of noble extraction in Paris decides to treat their children to a picnic lunch in the countryside, hiring a carriage for the family and a mount for the father, a poorly-paid civil servant, so that he can show off his almost-forgotten riding skills to the children. But the horse is not all that easy to control and there are many many other people milling around on the Champs Elysées on this nice Sunday afternoon and the day does not go according to plan at all.
- A subtle but impressive critique of the ravages of poverty among the average citizens of the time.
8.5
84 1883-01 Beside a Corpse [13] Auprès d’un mort anecdote about Schopenhauer The narrator meets a German tourist on the Mediterranean coast who shows him the book he has been assiduously studying – a text of Schopenhauer liberally annotated by the master himself. The tourist was a student of the great man, and tells how he sat up all night on vigil beside the corpse of the deceased philosopher with another disciple and what they saw then.
- An almost-supernatural tale but not quite, that has not particularly well passed the test of time.
6
85 1883-01 The Cough [6] La Toux considerations on flatulence A letter to a friend telling him a rather intimate story recounted to him by a lady friend in the theatre profession, when the lady was troubled at night because of what she delicately termed the need to ’cough’ but not via the throat, rather lower down. The problem being what her present bed companion would think if in case he wasn’t really asleep and got wind of the event.
- A juvenile kind of joke that some might find crude and vulgar even today.
6
86 1883-01 The Substitute [10] Le Remplaçant drama Madame Bonderoi is an ageing widow with a secret and rather active sex life that provokes a public scandal when two soldiers whom she has engaged to perform regular duties clash in public over a conflict in the schedule for their well-remunerated services.
- Recounted in a comic vein by one of the soldiers to his captain, this very cynical and fundamentally misogynist tale cannot help but raise a chuckle in even the most refined reader. But it is pretty low-down stuff nevertheless.
7
87 1883-01 The Wooden Shoes [12] Les Sabots countryside drama The country priest makes his usual announcements about the goings-on in the community and announces that one of the richest farmers in the neighbourhood is looking for a maid to hire. The parents of a peasant family rush their 20-year-old daughter off for an interview and we follow the lightening-rapid evolution of the relationship between the rather vacuous young woman and the boorish, dominating master over the next few days and later too.
- Good fun, told mostly in peasant dialect, with a typical Maupassantian mix of empathy and snottiness about country folk, though.
7.5
88 1883-01 M. Jocaste [2] M. Jocaste drama of incest A public letter to a lady who has been outraged by an affair of incest, openly taking the side of the 40-year-old man who knowingly married his illegitimate daughter because she resembled so closely her beloved mother with whom he had been madly in love and who had died in childbirth.
- Not everyone’s cup of tea, even in these enlightened times.
5
89 1883-02 Two Friends [10] Deux amis Franco-Prussian War of 1870 M. Sauvage and M. Morissot are passionate about their weekend fishing expeditions along the Seine on the weekends, and decide to go there – after a couple of aperitifs – on a lovely autumn day even though the Prussian army has surrounded Paris after their resounding victory at Sedan in the 1870 war. Their favourite spot is is fact in the no-man’s land beyond the French Army’s defensive positions, but M. Sauvage knows the French commanding officer who will gladly give them a pass, and off they go, on their last-ever fishing expedition.
- Very biting, very anti-Prussian, very powerful.
8.5
90 1883-02 At Sea [12] En Mer drama A fishing-boat captain is faced with a difficult dilemma when his brother’s arm is caught in a netting rope in a violent storm and the only way to save his arm is to abandon the expensive netting and the whole day’s catch. But these are Normandy sailors and this is a Maupassant story, so the outcome is rather obvious.
- Brutal, realistic, cynical.
8.5
91 1883-02 Father Judas [2] Le Père Judas social drama in the countryside A solitary, elderly fisherman living on the edge of an isolated little lake explains to a traveler that the giant cross painted on an abandoned hut was where a strange wanderer, supposed to be Jewish because he never went to church and was called ’Judas, the wandering Jew’ by one and all, had settled down there and lived a precarious existence with the woman living there who had provided him with hospitality.
- A strange tale with a strange atmosphere of an isolated countryside culture.
8
92 1883-02 Awakening [10] Réveil marital adventure The young Madame Vasseur had been married for three years without ever leaving the remote and damp and somewhat unhealthy valley where her elderly husband was intensely preoccupied with managing two industrial weaving mills. Her doctor insists that she spends the winter with her mother in Paris for health reasons, and after a while she has adapted well to the hectic pace of life in the capital – and to the pressing attentions her beauty arouses among the male acquaintances of the family. There are in particular two very persistent and very different suitors, one of whom, the reader feels, will manage to overcome the lady’s blasé resistance before she has to return to her valley home – but which one?
- Pleasantly cynical and even elegantly romantic in a very Maupassantian way.
8.5
93 1883-03 Mademoiselle Cocotte [9] Mademoiselle Cocotte social critique A “cocotte” is a lady of light morals and is the moniker of an incredibly ugly female dog who just loves being intimate with any or all of the male dogs of the neighbourhood, who gather round her non-stop and quite invade the manor where the coach-driver François has been allowed to look after her. But this pack of sex-crazed marauders finally becomes too invasive and the manor owner tells François to get permanently rid of her or else.
- A rather heavy parable about the inconveniences of a too-promiscuous love life (that the author suffered from in the sense that it tragically ended his own life prematurely at the age of 42).
7
94 1883-03 The Jewels [9] Les Bijoux social critique Mr. Lantin is a young civil servant on a modest salary who meets a lovely (and poor and honest) young thing at an evening party who sweeps him off her feet. When they get married she most efficiently runs the household and manages their sparse finances, although Mr. Lantin does find that she has two small failings – her love of the theatre and her mania for collecting false jewellery. One day there is a drama though and Mr. Lantin discovers what might be called the secret life of Mrs. Lantin.
- A modern fable with a cruel and cynical message about women, marriage, modern society, bourgeois morality and so on.
8
95 1883-04 Apparition [9] Apparition ghost story An aged marquis recounts to a gathering an encounter in an isolated manor in his youth that left an indelible mark upon him.
- A nicely-told tale that probably had more impact in M’s time than in our scientifically-minded age.
7.5
96 1883-04 Queen Hortense [9] La Reine Hortense social critique Hortense is an elderly spinster who lives alone in the environs of Paris with her dogs, cats, birds and her garden. She has no real friends and two married sisters who visit her twice a year. One day she falls sick and the two sisters arrive with their husbands to see just how badly off she is and perhaps to profit somewhat from the occasion.
- A hard-hitting condemnation of the brutish, mercantile, insensitive mentality of the average citizen, most convincingly narrated.
8.5
97 1883-04 The Condemned Prisoner [6] Le Condamné à mort spoof on Monaco particularities A series of anecdotes about the tiny but very special Grand-Duchy of Gerolstein, Monaco, particularly about the case of a man sentenced to death for having killed his wife in a dispute who was an almost impossible problem for the penny-pinching (at the time) monarchy as they had no jail, no jailer, no guillotine, no funds for food, etc. A satisfactory solution was eventually found for one and all, especially the prisoner.
- A simplistic spoof of historical interest perhaps, the Principality having changed beyond all recognition since then.
7
98 1883-04 Saint Antoine [12] Saint-Antoine Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Antoine is a very big, boastful and dominating farmer who is full of enthusiasm for violently resisting the Prussian invaders after the defeat at Sedan in 1870, but who calms down entirely when the Prussian army actually occupies the neighbourhood and he is requisitioned to provide food and shelter for a Prussian soldier or else. As soon as he sees that the (very big) fellow doesn’t understand a word of French he becomes great friends with him, constantly plying him with drinks of all kinds and amusing his entourage and neighbours no end by constantly addressing him a “you big pig”. However after on evening of particularly strenuous quaffing the soldier starts to feel that he has been made fun of somehow and push comes to shove. The rest of the story is violent in the extreme.
- Lighter in touch than Maupassant’s other accounts of wartime occupation of France by the Prussians in 1870, this story is just as intensely anti-Prussian, just as critical of the essential moral fibre of the average citizen, and, in a way, just as patriotic as Boule de Suif.
8
99 1883-04 The Adventure of Walter Schnaffs [12] L’Aventure de Walter Schnaffs Franco-Prussian War of 1870 The eponymous Walter is a tranquil and pacifist soldier in the Prussian army advancing through Normandy after the crushing Prussian victory at Sedan in the 1870 war. His unit is severely ambushed by a group of civilian sharpshooters and he immediately flees and hides in a covered hollow. Since he would like to continue to eat every day and in view of his pacifist inclinations he decides to give himself up as a prisoner, but that is easier said than done.
- A light but nevertheless intense episode of a very dramatic and major war that directly resulted in the Paris Commune, the creation of a united Germany proclaimed by Bismark in the Versailles Palace, the cession of Alsace and Lorraine to the new German State and the sowing of the seeds of the great cataclysms of the next century.
8
100 1883-05 While Travelling #2 [17] En Voyage #2 drama How a rather mysterious Russian countess decided to help an utter stranger to escape form the Czarist police, and how the stranger in question behaved towards her afterwards.
- A simple account of a complicated and finally interesting, unusual relationship.
8
101 1883-05 The Accursed Bread [21] Le Pain Maudit family drama Rose is getting married to the nice boy next door and her elder sister, who has left the family home several years before to earn her living as best she sees fit, if you see what I mean, much to her working-class father’s outrage, proposes to the couple to have their wedding feast in her rather luxurious apartment. Both families agree to this cost-saving proposal, and the feast proceeds satisfactorily along on the big day until the innocent bridegroom starts singing songs that end up embarrassing just about everyone.
- A simplistic tale that makes one wonder if the radical author was in fact very much in contact with the working-class milieu he so disparagingly and ineffectually portrays here.
6
102 1883-05 Father Milon [14] Le Père Milon Franco-Prussian War of 1870 The family Milon is dining outside under the shade of a giant pear tree in the courtyard of their Normandy farm and they notice that their “dad’s vine” above the front door is already budding, which probably signifies a good year to come. They recall how and why their dad had been shot there by the occupying Prussian forces during the 1970 war, where the vine had been planted afterwards in his memory.
- A bitter, violent, very memorable and even unforgettable text.
- This was the title story of a posthumous collection of Maupassant’s stories published in 1899, Le Père Milon.
9.5
103 1883-05 A Surprise [6] Une Surprise family drama The narrator and his brother were strictly brought up by their uncle, the village priest Loisel, in a small Normandy village, and after finishing their secondary education in a religious institution went to Paris where they shared an apartment and rapidly adapted to the delights of the big city. They became more than friendly with two young women who worked in the same public ministry as they and who also shared an apartment in their building, and all went well until there was a surprise visit one night right in the middle of an intimate moment of the narrator with his paramour. The evening ended worse than badly for the narrator, needless to say.
- A somewhat juvenile sketch with a strong anti-clerical tinge, not really up to the level of his more sophisticated works.
6.5
104 1883-06 Denis [17] Denis drama Denis, the valet of M. Marambot, a pharmacist, whom he has served faithfully for twenty years, hands a letter over to his master at the beginning of this rather violent tale that informs M. Marambot that he will shortly be receiving a tidy sum of money – money that Denis suggests mentions he could use himself to launch into business on his own. When another letter arrives with what seems to be the money in question, Denis becomes fed up with M. Marambot’s dillydallying, loses his usual joyful and contented manner and attacks his master with a knife in the middle of the night. Both of them survive the encounter physically but not morally.
- A hard story told straightforwardly and most convincingly.
8.5
105 1883-06 The Friend Joseph [14] L’Ami Joseph sociological critique M. de Meroul meets his boyhood friend Joseph at a ball and invites him to come for a visit to his manor in the north of France where he lives with his wife for six months in the year. When Joseph, a bachelor, arrives for a stay there his aggressive republicanism and anti-clericalism do not fit in at all, but not at all, with the traditional monarchism and catholicism of his hosts and their neighbours but they are much too polite to just ask him to leave. What to do?
- An interesting insight into the political atmosphere of the time, most objectively portrayed by the militantly republican (i.e.- anti-monarchist) author.
8
106 1883-06 The Orphan [14] L’Orphelin murder drama Mademoiselle Source is a wealthy spinster who was horribly disfigured by fire in her youth who has never married because she didn’t want to be married for her money. But she has adopted the orphan baby of an neighbour and has lavished loving, perhaps too-loving care on the frail young boy until in adolescence he begins to incessantly stare strangely at her and to change his manner so that she becomes frightened by him and decides to move secretly elsewhere to get definitively away from him. But the day before the move she is found by the roadside with her throat cut.
- A rare attempt by the author at the crime-novel genre of a psychological nature, not very successful unfortunately.
6
107 1883-06 The Greenhouse [13] La Serre marital drama M. and Mme Lerebour have retired to a lovely property in the countryside near Nantes after a successful commercial career, but Madame has become increasingly nervous and difficult, ceaselessly criticizing her hen-pecked husband. One night she is awakened by a noise in the garden and Monsieur forays forth with his revolver to defend house and home, coming back much later with a smile on his face and an eye-witness account of what he saw the maid doing in the greenhouse. Madame is scandalised and wants him to immediately fire the young thing, but Monsieur has other ideas in mind and it all ends most satisfactorily.
- Sort of amusing although possibly too caricatural about bourgeois behaviour for some tastes.
7.5
108 1883-06 The Mother of Monsters [26] La Mère aux monstres sociological drama On seeing an elegant woman on the beach whose children had been deformed because of her mania for wearing tight corsets during her pregnancy to maintain her svelte silhouette, the narrator remembers a similar and even worse example of this evil practice that he had witnessed a long time before among a low woman of the lower classes.
- Yuck!
6
109 1883-06 A Coup d’Etat [15] Un coup d’État civil strife In a small town near Paris political passions are running high when word comes of the fall of the monarchal regime and the creation of a republic in the wake of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. So the very republican Doctor Massarel leads a troop of his supporters to take over the town hall in the name of the new revolution – but the monarchist mayor has shut himself up there already with three heavily-armed soldiers. Civil war is smouldering, but the revolutionary party is not quite as bloodthIrsty as their forbears in 1789, and the tension persists until reason and law and order somehow prevail.
- A tongue-in-cheek parody of the violent political upheaval in Paris (the Paris Commune) at the same time, tempered with an openly disparaging animosity towards the average citizens of all political tendencies, that has however somewhat lost its bite with the passing of time.
7
110 1883-07 The Donkey [17] L’Âne riverside drama Two professional marauders who roam around on the river Seine, stealing and poaching what they can, end up buying an elderly donkey that they mistreat (of course) and worse, and use it to play a practical joke on a stolen-goods dealer.
- A cruel tale about cruel people, a convincing portrait of the low life on the famous river in those days along the Seine rendered famous by so many Impressionist painters.
7.5
111 1883-07 The Window [33] La Fenêtre drama of seduction The narrator recounts his long, too long, intensive courtship of the well-known, wealthy, attractive, intelligent, really quite ideal Mme de Jadelle, and how a fateful false step unfortunately upset his careful plans regarding that most desirable person.
- Sort of interesting in a subtle way, and most artfully narrated.
8.5
112 1883-07 The Mustache [16] La Moustache sentimental letter Jeanne writes to her intimate friend Lucie to complain about her husband’s having cut off his moustache, and goes into a lot of interesting and enthusiastic detail about the erotic advantages of a fine mustache from a feminine point of view.
- Quite an entertaining tour de force, although more of an essay than a traditional story with a plot, heroes and/or villains, suspense of some sort and a dénouement likewise. But artists must have leeway and take liberties with established forms, no doubt.
7.5
113 1883-07 Andrew’s Pain [21] Le Mal d’André family drama The wife of Maître Moreau has succumbed to the insistent advances of Captain Sommerive and given him a rendezvous at her home when her husband leaves for a week on business in Paris. But when the captain finally gets her alone in her boudoir Madame’s young child Andrew in the next-door room hears them and makes such a fuss that Madame has to take him up and interrupt their get-together. The captain finds an effective and satisfying – to him but not particularly to Andrew – method of keeping the little fellow silent.
- An even more cynical than usual vision of the war of the sexes and the role of children therein that is not unless we are mistaken to everyone’s taste, and certainly not to ours.
7
114 1883-07 Him ? [21] Lui ? psychological drama The narrator writes to a friend to announce the amazing news that he is getting married – even though he feels “incapable of loving one woman because he will always love all the others” and his wife-to-be is small, blond and chubby and he knows that a couple of days after the wedding he will inevitably be ardently desiring one tall, brunette and thin. But he has had a hallucination and can no longer bear the thought of being alone, especially at night.
- A surprisingly effective investigation of the psychology of solitude.
8.5
115 1883-07 Miss Harriet [17] Miss Harriet love story A group of friends is travelling by slow coach along the Normandy coast early one morning and one of the ladies asks Chanal, an ageing painter who has the reputation of having been a lucky lover, to tell them a romantic story, which he does, about the saddest love affair of his life involving a reclusive middle-aged English lady at the village inn where he had been staying during an extensive walking/painting tour along the Norman coastline.
- A moving, magnificently narrated, quite unforgettable story, a masterpiece.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s fifth collection of stories, Miss Harriet (1884).
10
116 1883-08 Rabid? [33] Enragée ? marital farce A young and incredibly innocent newlywed writes to her best friend recounting in detail her tumultuous honeymoon, both because she had been tormented throughout after reading an account of rabies and remembering that her pet dog had scratched her nose as she was leaving, and also because of her discovery of the details of the nuptial encounters with her husband for which she had been totally unprepared.
- An amusing and most enjoyable parody of the honeymoon experience, ending nicely with the comment “One gets used to everything...”
8.5
117 1883-08 The Little One [22] Le Petit family drama Monsieur Lemonnier was really crazy about his young wife, constantly gazing at her in adoration and caressing her to the point of folly, and after five years of childlessness they finally had an infant son – but the mother died in childbirth. M. Lemonnier became as obsessed with the little boy as he had been with the mother and spoiled him endlessly with chocolates and biscuits, until one day the maid became fed up with the way the spoiled boy constantly refused normal food, and pointed out the boy’s resemblance to the close friend of the family who had known the mother from childhood onwards, who had always been constantly about the house and still was, and who spoiled the boy as much as Monsieur did. An eye-opening scene indeed with dramatic consequences.
- Cruel, depressing and somewhat distasteful - no one in this story comes out smelling sweet.
7.5
118 1883-08 The Caresses [11] Les Caresses exchange of love letters about sex Geneviève writes to Henri expressing her feelings about platonic love and explaining to him at length that “the day thay you overcome my weaknesses and obtain what you desire, you will become odious to me. The delicate tie that links us to each other will have been broken”. Henry writes back to explain forcefully, citing notably an appropriate text by Musset that he would only know after the physical experience in question whether he really loved her, describing in detail the plus side of caresses, kisses, etc.
- More an impassioned essay on the theme of the need for more sexual liberty than a work of fiction, really, although one must admit that Geneviève is just too straight-laced for words, even in those days. But on the other hand would Henri really be an ideal mate for her? Perhaps asking such questions is the role of fiction after all...
7
119 1883-08 The Case of Madame Luneau [21] Le Cas de Madame Luneau countryside farce The 45-year-old lay-priest Hippolyte, father of six, has sued the fortyish, very plump and very pregnant Madame Luneau for failing to pay him the 100 francs she had promised him in exchange for his services in getting her pregnant in time to inherit her late husband’s heritage. But the case is not an easy one as Madame Luneau points out that Hippolyte’s wife was notoriously unfaithful because of H’s masculine failings, and brings forward six different witnessed to testify that they too had provided Madame Luneau with the service in question.
- A crude tale of crude folk told in their crude dialect that is a tad too silly for our taste, and not all that funny either.
6
120 1883-08 My Uncle Jules [17] Mon Oncle Jules family drama Jules is the black sheep of a very penny-pinching family who had gone to America and on whom the whole family was counting to help them out financially by at least paying back his sizeable debts to them as he had often promised he would do. And one day he does come back.
- A straightforward family drama with an original and convincingly moralistic touch.
8
121 1883-08 Timbuktu [22] Tombouctou Franco-Prussian War of 1870 An officer chatting with a fellow officer on a terrace on the Grand Boulevards in Paris is accosted by a gigantic negro who salutes him gaily with great enthusiasm, and when the fellow has gone gaily on his way he recounts to his comrade how he met the fellow, a former soldier under his orders during the 1970 War nick-named Timbuctu, who had stood out from his fellow soldiers by his uncanny resourcefulness and especially his ability to find food of all sorts and even meat during the severe siege of Bézières by the Prussians.
- A most unpleasant caricature of Africans in the framework of a not very credible and not at all amusing or entertaining story, that has particularly poorly passed the test of time.
5
122 1883-08 A Duel [13] Un Duel Franco-Prussian War of 1870 M. Dubuis, a Parisian merchant, leaves the city by train right after the end of the 1870 war to join his family who had been sent to Switzerland for their safety at the beginning of the war. A big and extremely arrogant officer of the occupying Prussian forces comes into his carriage after a while and makes incessant triumphant and aggressive remarks to one and all, finally ordering M. Dubuis to do errands for him. There is a fight and there is a duel.
- A subtly very patriotic statement that is an interesting testimony on that momentous historical event, too short and abrupt however to be really effective.
7.5
123 1883-09 Humble Drama [13] Humble Drame family drama The narrator remembers meeting a very lonely, mournful English woman in the mountain resorts of central France, who ended up telling him about how her life had been devastated by almost never having seen her son who had always gone away to school in his youth and who had gone to live in far-off India after getting married.
- Not a gay story but a solid one, interestingly narrated in the framework of travel reminiscences and with the aura of a splendid natural site.
8
124 1883-09 Friend Patience [26] L’Ami Patience sociological critique The narrator recounts to a group of friends how he met a former member of their group when travelling on business in Limoges in the centre of France, how much the friend had changed and how he had become very prosperous, very bourgeois and very disagreeable.
- A cynical, not very convincing and not very nice story of moral corruption of the baser sort in the provinces.
6
125 1883-09 The Child #2 [2] L’Enfant #2 reflections on abortion During an after-dinner conversation a baroness is scandalised by a recent affair (described in the text as an abortion) involving a seduced girl had who thrown her new-born baby alive into a pit. A doctor in the group pleads in the girl’s defence, highlighting her sufferings and her social situation, denouncing the hostility of society to free love and its consequences. The debate takes a sharp turn when the doctor compares most unfavourably the soft and dispassionate life of the baroness with that of people with hot blood and fiery passions. He illustrates his theme with an account of one of his patients, a woman who had always had strong sensual urges and at the age of twelve was fully developed and highly nubile as we might say. Well, she had to get married at the age of fifteen because of social constraints on her sensuality and went rapidly through three husbands, two of whom died of exhaustion because of her demanding nature. Alone, she became pregnant, and developed such a hatred for the unborn and very unwanted creature inside her that blood was shed.
- A passionate plea for abortion, legal or otherwise, but some may find the harshness and brutality of the acts described out of place in a short work of fiction.
6
126 1883-09 The Odyssey of a Street Girl [33] L’Odyssée d’une Fille drama of prostitution The narrator remembers an unforgettable scene that plunged him into the very depths of human misery – a rainy night when a young street woman he had helped to get through a police round-up of prostitutes recounts to him her life story, and it is not a pretty one.
- Sad and bitter about the social conditions and the existential dilemma of young, uneducated women in a brutal, egotistical, male-dominated society, one cannot help sharing at least to an extent the narrator’s sympathy for those lost souls roaming the streets of the big cities .
8.5
127 1883-09 The Orient [2] L’Orient the attraction of the East The narrator is shivering with the onset of winter and remembers the last time he saw a good friend who was irresistibly attracted to the lands of the orient. The friend was just getting into the depths of an opium session and described to him the various delightful stages of the trip he was on, and explained how he was just longing to settle down where he could so freely indulge in his heart’s desires (sun, sea, horseback riding, servants, slaves, harem, opium, etc). It was no surprise to find him gone the very next time he called on him.
- A remarkable, heart-felt text on the attraction of life in the East as seen by many intellectuals of the time.
8
128 1883-09 That Girl Martine [33] La Martine countryside drama On going home one day after church with his family Benoist notices the fine form of Martine, a young woman of the village whom fe had never really noticed before, and repeated to himself many times on the way home, that night, the following day and for many days afterwards that Martine was indeed a beautiful girl. He manages to talk to her and meet up with her a number of times and they actually agree to get married as soon as their parents agreed to it, but Benoist was waiting for the right moment to talk to them about it when the village church published the announcement that Martine was officially engaged to be married to Vallin, the richest farmer in the region.
- How Benoist managed to adjust to that situation and how the three young people were eventually reconciled make this perhaps Maupassant’s most effective and moving of his many tales of the Norman countryside.
9
129 1883-09 An Evening [13] Une Soirée sociological critique Maître Saval, a Norman notary well-known locally for his (modest) musical talents and love of music, goes to Paris to hear a new opera and has dinner in a café in Montmartre where he thought he might meet artists or musicians, and does in fact get invited to an artist’s house-warming party nearby. The party doesn’t turn out to be as much fun as he was expecting though.
- A mildly amusing spoof of bourgeois pretentiousness in the artistic domain.
7
130 1883-10 On the Edge of the Bed [28] Au bord du lit marital conflict On coming home after a ball the count of Sallure tells the countess that she had flirted too openly with one of the men there and she retorts by mentioning his own recent affairs with various ladies. She pursues her line of thought by asking how much he has been spending on them per month and when he provides ans estimate she demands the same or more for her own (exclusive) services.
- Entertainingly naughty.
8.5
131 1883-10 The Confession [22] La Confession (à l’origine : L’Aveu) crime drama Marguerite, who is fifty-six although she seem to be at least twenty years older, is on her death-bed and tells her elder sister to listen to the confession that she is about to make to the priest who has just arrived for the final rites. And it is a terrible confession about what she did in their youth that prevented either of them from ever marrying. Sombre in the extreme, a sad tale of a sad crime committed by a deranged young woman.
- Not an enjoyable reading experience even though it is supremely well told. Can a story about a horrible crime ever be anything but horrible?
7.5
132 1883-10 The Confession of Théodule Sabot [26] La Confession de Théodule Sabot countryside farce Théodule is an accomplished carpenter and famous in his village for his aggressive anti-clericalism. The municipal elections are approaching and the Church is worried that Théodule might get elected as mayor which would be bad news indeed for the Church of Rome, and they come up with the idea of completely renovating the stalls and benches in the church, a lucrative, hard-to-resist contract for a carpenter, who however could not be a declared enemy of the Church, obviously. So Théodule and the curé have to come to an agreement, somehow.
- A solid satire nicely narrated.
8
133 1883-10 A Vendetta [22] Une Vendetta Corsican drama The widow Saverini lives with her grown son and her dog on the rocky flanks of the ancient town of Bonifacio, but one night her son is treacherously knifed to death by a certain Nicolas, who immediately flees across the straits to Sardinia where Corsican bandits traditionally sought refuge from the authorities and especially revenge-seekers. The poor, feeble, isolated widow swears revenge (the traditional ’vendetta’) and hatches a terrible means of achieving her end.
- A dramatic tale dramatically recounted with great force and talent.
9.5
134 1883-11 Decorated [21] Décoré sociological critique M. Sacrement is a very wealthy and rather stupid man who has dreamt all his life about getting the prized Legion of Honour pin to wear on his lapel like so many successful people in Paris, although he has never managed to actually do anything worthwhile or even pass his high-school-leaving exam. He is completely obsessed with this dream and knocks at all doors possible, especially those of his politically-influential (and decorated) friends. With the help of his attractive young wife he finally achieves his ambition though.
- A sharp parody of “people” politics that rings quite true even today.
7.5
135 1883-11 The Wait [13] L’Attente family drama A notary recounts to an after-dinner gathering how a woman on her deathbed had asked him to move heaven and earth to find her son who had suddenly one night left the family home – she was a widow by then – when he saw her kissing a family friend with whom she had had a relationship before her marriage, a relationship recently renewed.
- The guests and the author and no doubt the reader too condemn the rash reaction of the boy that devastated the rest of his mother’s life.
7.5
136 1883-11 The String [17] La Ficelle countryside drama A farmer on his way to the market in Normandy is observed by a rival as he picks up a bit of string that might come in useful some day. But the wily and very aggressive rival exploits the micro-incident to maximum effect to demolish the farmer’s reputation.
- Related mostly in patois, the atmosphere of those places in those days among those people is most convincingly portrayed.
8
137 1883-11 The Father [22] Le Père sociological drama François is a lonely bachelor with few means who regularly sees an attractive young person of the opposite sex on the (horse-driven) bus every day on his way to work at his dreary job at the Minister of Public Instruction. One thing leads to another and they eventually start going out on Sundays for an outing in the Seine valley. François and Louise have to deal with the natural consequences of that outing, and François makes a decision that he bitterly regrets ten years later.
- A powerful, enduring tale with a punch.
9
138 1883-11 The Avenger [13] Le Vengeur family drama Antoine Leuillet married at long last the widow of his close friend M. Souris, who had died after nine years of marriage with Mathilde, whom Antoine had courted in vain previously and had assiduously courted, also in vain, ever since the marriage. All went well, although Antoine did have a tendency to be somewhat too contemptuous of his former friend and rival, until the day when Antoine started inquiring too deeply into the marital techniques of his late friend and even the eventual extra-marital relationships of Mathilde, an intimate conversation that ended badly.
- A somewhat overdrawn parody of petit-bourgeois mores, not as amusing as it was supposed to be, one cannot help thinking.
6.5
139 1883-11 Regrets [17] Regret sociological drama M. Saval is aged and lives alone, as he has never married and has no family. He reflects on his isolated status and the absence of love in his life, and remembers the one woman he had really felt strongly attracted by, the wife of a friend whom he frequently met and went on excursions with. On remembering those occasions he recalls that sometimes she had looked at him strangely and he starts to wonder if he shouldn’t have been more forward with her, and decides to investigate the matter more thoroughly by interviewing the lady who is now almost elderly herself. A surprise is in store for him, of course.
- An interesting little story, although somewhat contrived to exemplify the author’s libertarian outlook on male-female relationships.
7.5
140 1883-12 The Prank [31] La Farce humour Starting off with the interesting statement that “We live in an age when pranksters look like undertakers and call themselves politicians”, the narrator regrets that the high-spirited pranks of former days are no longer in fashion, and after admitting that one of his own best farces had resulted in the (hilarious, according to him) death of the victim, he recounts a silly farce that was played on him by his friends at a party and a really stupid, vulgar, utterly gross one that he played on an elderly lady in his youth involving a chamber-pot and explosive powder.
- Neither prank has retained its humorous impact over time in our humble opinion.
6.5
141 1883-12 The Hand [22] La Main Corsican drama A retired judge who had served in the Corsican town of Ajaccio contributes to an after-dinner conversation about supernatural phenomena with an unexplained and very violent case he was involved in in that mysterious land.
- The supernatural element is distinctly present in this unusual tale of an unusual event.
8.5
142 1883-12 The Model [33] Le Modèle sociological critique The well-known painter Jean Summer is morosely accompanying his crippled young wife along the sea front in the Norman resort town of Etretat, and one of the observers wonders just why such a successful artist would have married a person like that with whom he obviously had little affinities, so his companion explains the extreme extent to which the young woman had gone to snare her man.
- A libertarian, anti-marriage parable tinged with misogyny.
7.5
143 1883-12 First Snow [13] Première Neige family drama A pale woman in poor health has come to Cannes to get away from the cold and rain in winter in her Norman castle that her husband has always refused to heat not only because it would be a useless expense but also because the brisk atmosphere was good for the health according to him. She in fact is suffering from a severe lung disease, and we follow her existential dilemma almost to the sad end.
- An interesting insight into the down side of life in the Norman countryside in those days, powerfully portrayed.
8.5
144 1883-12 A Wise Man [21] Un Sage sentimental-sexual farce The narrator’s best friend Blérot, who always tells him everything about everything, marries an attractive, forthcoming woman and is quite ecstatically happy as he recounts in no uncertain terms to his friend. Who however feels somewhat estranged by this new relationship and departs for a lengthy trip abroad. On meeting his friend again after his return he can hardly recognize him as he has been physically exhausted and diminished by the demanding requirements of his spouse. The next time the narrator meets him six months later he has recovered his form and his spirits, having found a solution to his dilemma.
- Somewhat simplistically salacious.
7
145 1884-01 Coco [22] Coco countryside drama Coco is an old horse who can hardly stand up any more that is well treated in her retirement by the quite prosperous farmer and his wife, who have assigned a farm boy to tale care of her and take her out to pasture every day. The boy cannot understand why they insist on wasting food on the old thing and not only starts to neglect feeding it but begins to seriously mistreat it in secret, and an unpleasant end is very much in store for Coco.
- Sad and probably sadly realistic, unfortunately.
8.5
146 1884-01 Waiter, a bock! [17] Garçon, un bock ! sociological drama The narrator meets an old school friend in a café on the boulevard who turns out to be a former schoolmate from a wealthy family who has decided at a very early age to drop out of the social structure and to just drink bocks (strong beers) all day every day. Amazed at the transformation and shocked by the sad state of his former friend, the narrator listens as the bock-drinker relates the family upheaval that changed his life forever at the age of thirteen.
- A solid story with universal overtones, told in the author’s inimitable no-nonsense-but-somehow-elegant style.
9
147 1884-01 The Baptism [17] Le Baptême country life In the Normandy countryside a large family in their Sunday clothes troops out to the local church where the latest member of the family is baptized by the village priest, who is one of the several brothers of the father. After the ceremony they all go back with their numerous guests for a massive feast at the farm where, after a few of the endless rounds of cider, beer and wine ribald jokes flow, mostly directed at the chaste ears of the priest. He bears up well under the harassment, as he becomes more and more fascinated by the mystery of the new life that has arisen magnificently in the person of his tiny new nephew.
- A quite terrific evocation of farm life in general and of the essential emotion aroused by the magical process of the creation of new life in particular.
9
148 1884-01 Letter found on a drowned man [31] Lettre trouvée sur un noyé love affair A man writes to a friend recounting the details of the one and only time he really and sincerely fell in love, and how that affair ended first farcically and then tragically.
- Sharp cynicism with a real punch.
8
149 1884-01 The Old Man [22] Le Vieux countryside farce The elderly father of a Normandy farmer is on his death-bed and the priest has declared that he won’t pass the night, so the farmer and his wife start the funeral preparations right away as time is pressing and the colza crop has to be brought in the next day. The funeral feast is prepared and all the neighbours are invited to the funeral ceremony and feast – but there is a dilemma as the old man is still moving and moaning the next day. Country resourcefulness comes to the rescue and all turns out well in the end.
- Amusing and credible in spite of its possibly exaggerated portrayal of countryside materialism.
8.5
150 1884-01 Misti [2] Misti love affair The narrator is having a very satisfactory affair with his charming mistress, with whose innocent and unsuspecting husband he gets along famously. But the couple meet a bizarre fortune-teller during a fun night out at a fair, and the ancient lady tells them at a suitably eerie rendezvous the next day a really really scary story with dire implications for the young woman’s immediate future. But she manages to find a solution to (almost) everyone’s satisfaction.
- Very sharp and sophisticated, with universal overtones.
8
151 1884-01 Rose [22] Rose sentimental adventure Simone and Margot, two quite young and very vivacious married women, participate energetically in the annual Festival of Roses (aka ’Rose Fight’) in Cannes – splendidly described – after which they go farther along the seashore to admire the scenery and exchange stories. Margot brings up the topic of having an affair with one’s servant and proceeds to elaborate on a curious and even dangerous experience of hers in this domain several years beforehand.
- Charming and actually a lot more original than it sounds.
8.5
152 1884-01 A Coward [22] Un Lâche sociological drama The viscount Signoles is an elegant, wealthy society figure who is quite an experienced swordsman and an expert shot, so he doesn’t hesitate to provoke a stranger to a duel when he feels that friends whom he has invited to a café have been insulted. But the day and especially the night before the dangerous encounter he is overcome by odd sensations when contemplating his possible imminent demise and he starts to wonder if they are not in fact symptoms of fear that could mortally embarrass and shame him on the field of battle.
- A serious study of the fear of death that the viscount Signoles is not the only person to ever have suffered from.
9
153 1884-02 Idyll [17] Idylle social narrative On a long train journey in Italy a young man shares a coach with a young woman who has given birth recently and whose breasts are painfully overflowing with mother’s milk. Not a particularly easy situation for either of them.
- A delicate situation delicately described, a mini-masterpiece.
8.5
154 1884-02 The Diamond Necklace [22] La Parure sociological drama Madame Loisel borrows a diamond necklace from a long-time and better-off friend to be sufficiently elegant to at long last be able to go to an official ball, where her natural elegance and beauty, highlighted by her splendid outfitting, cause quite a sensation. But the necklace is lost on coming home very late at night and she and her husband have to somehow replace it with a similar and extremely expensive one, far beyond their means.
- A stunning story, a classic, sad and moving with a strong social undertone.
10
155 1884-02 The Umbrella [21] Le Parapluie sociological critique. Madame Oreille is fanatically penny-pinching, to the extent of going to the insurer’s to claim payment for the repair of a damaged umbrella. The astonished insurer, used to dealing in cases involving vastly greater sums, kindly hears her out and comes to a most reasonable conclusion.
- Meant apparently as a parody of the limited mentality of the common person, this foolish tale about a very foolish person has not well passed the test of time.
5
156 1884-02 The Protector [26] Le Protecteur political satire We follow the career of a student from the provinces who assiduously cultivates acquaintances among the more outgoing of his fellow students in Paris, follows their later careers, offers his services on all occasions and finally is appointed to a senior position when one of them becomes a minister. He is just so delighted with this accomplishment of his lifetime dream that he offers his services, notably letters of recommendation to key government officials, to one and all, including people he meets casually in stores and on the street. When that gets him into trouble his training as a sycophant comes in very handy.
- A simplistic parody of the political mores of the day and later too.
7
157 1884-02 Notes of a Traveller [2] Notes d’un voyageur train trip We start off on a train trip from Paris down to the French Riviera with the narrator’s spirited comments, mostly rather cynical and dismissive, about the other people in his compartment and with various stories that the travellers tell each other. Highlights are the quite brilliant account of the country around a practically deserted little fishing village called Saint Tropez, and then on the way back, the final story he hears a fellow from Marseille telling two ladies about what happened to a young Corsican on that train some time previously, a real shocker!
- A lively travel chronicle with (hopefully) fictional content.
8
158 1884-02 A Sale [33] Une Vente country farce Two Norman country fellows, Brument, a peasant-farmer and Cornu, a café-owner, are in prison for having attempted to drown the former’s wife, who has survived and is also present at the courtroom proceedings. The two fellows, or rather idiots, explain that after a very heavy drinking-session at Cornu’s establishment they were trying to establish how much water the lady in question displaced when immersed, as the amount Brument had sold her for depended on for her weight in displaced litres of water.
- Too silly for words, and too contemptuous of country folk in the bargain.
5
159 1884-02 Vain Advice [6] Vains conseils love affair An elderly man writes to a young fellow of twenty-four who has asked him for advice on how to get out of the quite impossible situation he finds himself in – he has been having a satisfactory and above all safe relationship with a (married) lady friend of his mother, but the lady is every day becoming visibly older, heavier, uglier and more insistent on a definitive arrangement. The very experienced elder man explains in forceful terms how difficult it is to find a solution to the young man’s desperate dilemma.
- Sharp and cynical, with humorous overtones(!).
7.5
160 1884-03 The Heritage [18]

(novella)
L’Héritage drama of childlessness In this ambitious 23,000-word novella we follow the career of an up-and-coming young civil servant who arrives at work every day before his colleagues, works much harder and longer than them, curries favour with his superiors and is obviously destined for rapid advancement up through the ranks. Especially after he has married the daughter of one of his colleagues who is about to come into an interesting heritage. But the marriage remains childless and the office tongues begin to wag and his social standing and especially his career prospects begin to suffer as the heritage in question is dependent on his having a descendancy. What to do?
- A really quite fascinating not to say masterful as well as entertaining account of the workings of a large civil administration aka bureaucracy, imbued with the sharp and essentially critical Weltanschauung of the author.
9
161 1884-03 Happiness [22] Le Bonheur Corsican story At tea-time in a villa on the French Riviera the view across the Mediterranean is so clear that Corsica can be perceived on the horizon, and one of the guests illustrates the theme of the conversation about whether love can really last long with his account of having met an elderly couple in a remote mountain cove there many years beforehand.
- Moving and most convincing, nicely conveying the atmosphere of the Isle of Beauty then and even now.
9
162 1884-03 The Beggar [22] Le Gueux countryside drama He had been abandoned at birth in a ditch in the Norman countryside and crippled for life as an adolescent when left on the road as a joke by locals who had left the uneducated, ignorant youth drunk on the road after plying him with liquor. For the rest of his life he had wandered the neighbourhood begging from one and all for his daily subsistence, but when everyone in the four villages that he ceaselessly circulated in, being afraid to ever venture further into unknown territory, became tired of paying him the slightest attention, he was led to desperate measures to avoid starving to death.
- An almost incredibly grim, dark parable of human insensitivity in the countryside and elsewhere that is very affecting indeed.
9.5
163 1884-03 Mother Sauvage [17] La Mère Sauvage Franco-Prussian War of 1870 A woman whose son has left her alone to join the French Army at the beginning of the War of 1870 behaves cordially to the four robust Prussian soldiers she is obliged to house and feed when the victorious enemy occupies the area. And then she learns of the death in combat of her beloved and only son.
- A stark, bitter, violent, powerful glimpse into life in an occupied territory as seen by the population of the defeated country.
8.5
164 1884-03 Encounter [21] Rencontre sentimental-sexual farce. The baron Entraille finds his young wife in a compromising situation with a young man at a party and tells her the next day that they will henceforth live separately and that she will be liberally provided for providing that she behaves with absolute correctness. He promptly departs for an extended stay at his hunting lodge and then at his provincial manor and abroad, and on coming back he unexpectedly meets her on an overnight train, although he has difficulty recognizing her, she has become so elegant and sophisticated. The surprising whys and wherefores of the encounter will be explained to him the next morning.
- Very clever and convincing, although things like that couldn’t happen today, I don’t think – or could they?
8.5
165 1884-03 Solitude [28] Solitude soliloquy on solitude After a pleasant dinner among friends, one of them invites the narrator to go for a walk with him along the Champs Elysées, where he explains a) that he feels so solitary that he dreads returning to his lonely flat; b) that “out greatest torment in life comes from the fact that we are eternally alone, and that all our efforts, all our acts, only tend to try to flee from this solitude”; c) that ever since he became conscious of his state of solitude “it seems to me that I am sinking more each day into an underground tunnel of which I can’t find the sides, that I don’t know where it ends, and perhaps it has no end”; d) recalls the desperate phrase of Flaubert “We are all in a desert. No one understands anyone.”; e) exclaims that women make him best perceive his solitude: “Misery! How I have suffered because of them, because they have often given me, more than the men, the illusion of not being alone!” At the end of the promenade the narrator thinks that his friend is either a wise man indeed or has quite lost his senses.
- A moving soliloquy on a powerful theme indeed.
9
166 1884-03 Memories [19] Souvenirs loneliness A woman writes to a friend in Paris to explain why she won’t come to visit her any more, explaining that true happiness for her lies in dreaming, not about the future but about the past. Her whole life is taken up remembering past things and past times.
- Quite moving, in a smooth, subtle, impressive way.
8
167 1884-04 Châli [21] Châli pedophilia A retired admiral remembers a diplomatic mission he undertook in his younger days to a sultanate in the heart of India where after elaborate feasting, hunting and (brutal) pugilistic ceremonies he finds a group of six (!) very young girls or rather children aged from four (!!) to eight (!!!) years old in his sleeping quarters, to be disposed of as he wished. Well our hero ends up falling in love with the oldest of them, Châli, and it all turns out very badly, of course.
- A truly shocking pedophile tale that is difficult to read to the end. Mr. Maupassant, shame on you!
2
168 1884-04 The Drunkard [22] L’Ivrogne countryside drama A storm is raging in the Norman seaside village of Yport and Mathurin invites Jérémie to take refuge with him in the café to play dominoes and get drunk once again, which they do in spite of Jérémie’s hesitations because of his wife being left alone once again in their little home. The storm is severe and lasts a long time and the evening ends in violence and tragedy.
- A stark and barely-supportable exploration of the very real and very tragic problem of alcoholism.
8
169 1884-04 The Boss Woman [21] La Patronne sentimental-sexual adventure The narrator recounts his arrival as a young student in Paris at a small boarding-house run by a strict lady of middle age and imposing stature. Naturally, this being a young man and a story by Maupassant he is most reluctant to accept any restrictions on his nocturnal activities, so one night when he has snuck into his room with a young female acquaintance, whom he has finally convinced to come up for a visit, there is a terrible scene when the landlady bursts into the room when the two of them are in a most embarrassing state of undress. But our lad is no pushover...
- Yet another good one on an eternal theme, well carried off by a master-teller of this kind of tale and the others too.
9
170 1884-04 The Little Barrel [21] Le Petit Fût countryside drama Maître Chicot is a wily and wealthy local entrepreneur who hankers after the farm of a neighbour, the retired old but very sturdy “Mother” Magloire. But the old peasant in question is viscerally attached to her land and well-being, so Maître Chicot proposes an sizeable lifetime annuity to her that she does accept after taking suitable legal advice. Maître is faced with the prospect of handing over a lovely lump of money to her every month until she manages to pass away, which in view if her frugal and healthy lifestyle is likely to take forever, and he has to find a way to make that happen sooner rather than later, which he cleverly manages to do by means of the eponymous barrel in question.
- Simple but malicious and most credible.
8.5
171 1884-05 Adieu [22] Adieu sociological drama Two middle-aged fellows are reminiscing about their glorious youthful days after dinner on a pleasant summer evening on the Parisian boulevards and the talk turns on the topic of ageing. That provokes Pierre into telling Henri about how he had recently run into a former passionate love of his when she came into his train carriage with her four children and how she had changed size-wise over those twelve long years. For the first time he realized that he too had seriously aged.
- A forceful tale with a strong theme, even if its macho masculine-superiority Weltanschauung has aged a lot since those days too.
8
172 1884-05 The Horror [31] L’Horrible social satire At the end of a dinner party the guests comment on a local tragedy the previous day when a group of people had drowned in the river right in front of them. The General de G. agrees that the accident was horrible, but then proceeds to give the guests an example of what he calls a really horrible event (and is) that he witnessed during the recent Franco-Prussian War. And then he tops that one with an even more atrocious incident that he participated in during his active career in Africa.
- Truly horrible, indeed, but told in a straightforward way that heightens the impact of the different episodes.
7.5
173 1884-05 The Hairpiece [26] La Chevelure mental illness A doctor explains to the narrator how his patient, a quite insane man in a cell in an institution for the mentally ill, became obsessed with a hairpiece that he discovered hidden in an old desk and by his ever-more intense researches into the origins of the thing and its whys and wherefores.
- Another strange incursion by the author into the world of the mentally ill, a world that he might have felt that he was destined to enter himself only a few short years later.
7.5
174 1884-05 Patients and Doctors [20] Malades et médecins character study The narrator remembers visiting the health resorts in the Auvergne mountains in the centre of France and how an elderly visitor there made a study on the number of patients in all the establishments in the area who died there of something other than straightforward old age.
- Charming and even amusing.
8
175 1884-05 Promenade [23] Promenade psychological drama M. Leras has been working all day in the dark, damp back office oh the bookstore as he has been doing all his life, and instead of going straight home for supper as he almost always does in view of his limited resources, he decides to go for a walk as it is one of the first fine days of the new spring. First along the boulevards, then, as it was so interesting to see the bustling life all around him, he continues the promenade up the Champs Elysées and along into the Bois de Boulogne. Where there are endless carriages full of couples in a romantic frame of mind, and where he is repeatedly approached by loose ladies looking for love. And he realizes that his life has slipped quite meaninglessly away.
- A sad and moving story splendidly recounted, with a particularly interesting portrait of the Paris of the time and its vibrant lifestyle.
9
176 1884-05 The Rondoli Sisters [21]

(novelette)
Les Sœurs Rondoli sentimental-sexual adventure Pierre is not a traveler at heart – he worries too much about awful trains, hotels and restaurants and the immense waste of time all that entails – but he has tried twice to go down to Italy to visit Florence, Venice and Rome like everyone should. But he has never gotten farther than Genoa because of a certain young lady who entered his train compartment on the way there in the company of his close friend Paul, who had let himself be convinced to come along because of the prospect of all those amazing Italian beauties down there.
- A beautifully-narrated sentimental adventure with suitably immoral overtones, quite a tour de force really, pure Maupassant.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s sixth collection of stories, Les Sœurs Rondoli (1884).
9
177 1884-05 A Memory #2 [22] Souvenir #2 boy meets girl The narrator remembers a splendid Sunday outing – nowadays every day is a Sunday for him, but then there was only one per week and it was always a very special one – in the Seine valley and the delightful adventure he had had with a lady who was out for a stroll with her husband. They had lost their way and the narrator helped them out or rather helped her out after having gotten rid of the husband.
- A quite delightful story and a beautiful evocation of the lovely area around the Seine so beloved by impressionist painters in those far-off days.
9
178 1884-06 The Colonel’s Ideas [23] Les Idées du Colonel Franco-Prussian War of 1870 The Colonel Laporte propounds his views on the Frenchman’s overwhelming not to say obsessive interest in the female half of humanity, and illustrates his declaration with the story of how his detachment in the recent Franco-Prussian War managed against all odds to survive after rescuing a young woman and her father fleeing from marauding Prussian troops.
- A dramatic tale recounted in an engaging, almost light-hearted spirit that is hard to resist.
8.5
179 1884-06 Boniface’s Crime Case [22] Le Crime au père Boniface countryside farce The village postman Boniface arrives a bit earlier than expected at the isolated house of the newly-arrived (and newly-married) tax inspector M. Chappuis, and is alarmed to find everything still shut up and strange noises inside. Alarmed by a crime story about serial murders that he has been reading in M. Chappuis’s national newspaper on the way over, he alerts the local gendarmerie and comes back with them to arrest the supposed marauders red-handed. But the noises he had heard were not in fact as alarming as he had thought, much to his astonishment and the amusement of the gendarmes.
- Amusing in a simplistic, adolescent way but amusing nonetheless.
- This was the lead story of the original edition of Maupassant’s eighth collection of stories, Contes du Jour et du Nuit (1885).
7.5
180 1884-07 The Confession #2 [22] L’Aveu #2 countryside drama Céleste, a robust farm girl, and her mother are carrying heavy pails of milk after milking the family’s many cows when Céleste collapses under the strain and confesses to her mother that she is in an interesting condition. After getting a beating she explains the monetary circumstances at the origin of the event and the mother is faced with a moral dilemma that she quickly resolves.
- Although cynical and no doubt simplistic, this earthy story is convincing and almost amusing in spite of its serious sociological significance.
8
181 1884-07 Fear #2 [2] La Peur #2 drama During a train ride, a fellow passenger muses on the nature of fear after seeing a somewhat eerie sight when passing through a forest, and then the narrator remembers a story on the theme of fear recounted to an evening gathering chez Flaubert (!) by the Russian author Turgenev (!), about an experience he had had when hunting in the forests in Russia.
- A rather good story too, naturally.
8
182 1884-07 The Tomb [2] La tombe drama The guardian of a municipal cemetery is woken at night by a horrible sight – a well-dressed, serious-looking young man is in the act of digging up the corpse of a young woman who has just been buried there. The fellow is arrested and calmly explains in court his motivation and the circumstances that led to the outrage.
- Grim.
7
183 1884-07 The Return [23] Le Retour countryside drama The wife of a Norman fisherman is alone in her cottage with her five children while her husband is out at sea, and a horribly ugly tramp in rags arrives to not only scare her and her ragamuffin children but also to start her wondering if he could possibly be her first husband, the father of two of her children, who was lost at sea on the banks of Newfoundland ten years previously?
- Told largely in dialect-dialogue style, this harsh tale about incredibly poor people – materially and culturally – is not the kind of thing that the author does best.
7
184 1884-07 The Twitch [13] Le Tic drama The narrator is having a health cure in the Auvergne mountains and meets an apparently healthy fellow-patient accompanying his unwell daughter. They sympathize and the narrator learns their story, full of drama with a shocker of a final twist.
- Very nicely told, one is right there in the atmosphere of the place and the times.
8
185 1884-07 Bed No. 29 [26] Le Lit 29 Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Captain Épivent is a tall, handsome, elegant soldier much envied by his fellow officers for his innumerable feminine conquests, whose favourite pastime is going for a walk in the fashionable quarter of the city of Rouen where he is certain to attract much attention from the society ladies and others who gather there. His eye is caught by Irma, the splendid mistress of one of the town’s notables, whom he sets after in his usual determined and irresistible manner. They do become most attached to one another, but then war breaks out, the Captain has to leave for the front, and Irma has to face up to the occupation of the city by the victorious Prussian army. Which she does most successfully in one sense and tragically in another.
- A very bleak and cruel parody of the military mindset, somewhat too much so, we cannot help thinking. Sad and disturbing in any case.
8
186 1884-08 The Abandoned Child [23] L’Abandonné social drama After forty-five years of marriage Mme de Cadour has arranged a holiday on the Normandy coast for the first time much to the surprise of her husband, who decides to retire for a nap after lunch and asks the couple’s long-time friend, a former diplomat who is accompanying them, to accompany Madame on the promenade she insists on having in the countryside. Off they go, not to admire the scenery but to pay their first visit ever to the illegitimate son they clandestinely had together forty-five years beforehand and promptly abandoned for social-status reasons, however with appropriate support. But the culture-gap between this elegant couple and the ways of the countryside is just too wide for words.
- A hard-hitting, unsentimental, very realistic account of a most credible and even significant social situation.
9
187 1884-08 The Confession #3 [33] La Confession #2 marital farce The very serious, orthodox, irreproachable Captain de Fontenne has married the vivacious young high-spirited (and wealthy) young Laurune, and in spite of everyone’s doubts about the chances of success of their marriage it turned out very well. She is very active in social work of all kinds, and her only default is that she sometimes breaks out into peals of high-spirited laughter while describing her activities to her husband afterwards. At one point the Captain has to participate in a major military exercise and leave his young wife alone for a week, and when he returns she senses that something had gone wrong and the Captain ends up confessing what he had done that he very deeply regretted. With a surprising reaction indeed from his ever-charming wife.
- Amusing in a not all that high-spirited kind of way.
8
188 1884-08 A Parricide­ [22] Un Parricide sociological drama A man is on trial after having come forward to confess to the seemingly-inexplicable murder of a wealthy couple that had baffled the authorities. In court he explains how he discovered that the couple were in fact his biological parents who had abandoned him at birth.
- A drama about parenthood that has not really lost its sting.
8.5
189 1884-08 Yvette [24]

(novella)
Yvette macho-seduction drama Jean de Seville is a young, wealthy, elegant man-about-town who frequents the somewhat dubious salon of the marquise Ovardi because he hankers after (if you’ll pardon the expression) the marquise’s splendid and surprisingly resistant daughter of the title. Things come to a head when the self-styled marquise – in fact a very sophisticated and successful courtesan – invites Jean and his (big, handsome) friend Léon out to her country house on the Seine for a weekend stay-over. Jean puts all his expertise in seduction to the test but Yvette is in fact not at all the same kind of person as her mother and when he starts talking straight to her about the way things work in the world there is a first-class drama indeed.
- An in-depth portrait (23,000 words) of a world of outer sophistication and inner superficiality, pretentiousness, frivolity and snobbishness most convincingly and effectively done, with perhaps somewhere or other a moral or two, possibly but probably not, in any case beautifully written and satisfyingly cynical and immoral.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s seventh collection of stories, Yvette (1884).
9
190 1884-09 Discovery [28] Découverte marital drama On the passenger-boat trip along the Normandy coast from Le Havre to Trouville the narrator meets an old friend who remarks somewhat bitterly on the large number of English people there and everywhere, and when the narrator wonders why he has such animosity to their neighbours from across the Channel he explains that he had married one of them himself. Who although she had remained faithful to him (thus depriving him of grounds for divorce) had unfortunately taken French lessons after a while and had completely lost her charming accent.
- Light and amusing.
8
191 1884-09 The Dowry [26] La Dot marital drama The young and somewhat carefree notary Simon Lebrument is in dire need of funds to buy a notarial office in the suburbs of Paris, so no one is very surprised when he courts and marries the charming Jeanne Cordier who just happens to be endowed with a very sizeable dowry. After a few days of love-making which have completely converted Jeanne to her new marital status, they go off to Paris on their honeymoon – with the whole dowry in cash in a briefcase for the notarial purchase in question. But things do not work out at all as the bride had expected.
- This is probably intended as a critique of notaries in general and of the provincial bourgeoisie in particular, but it is even harsher and more cynical than usual and not as interesting as all that.
7
192 1884-09 The Funeral Pyre [25] Le Bûcher drama A visiting Hindu prince dies during a visit to Normandy, and his devout followers arrange for his corpse to be burned in the open air on the beach according to the ancestral Hindu custom. Quite contrary to the accepted sanitary practice in those Western parts, but nevertheless faith triumphs, although the local population and authorities do not appear in their best light.
- Based on a real incident, this is a calm and subtle plea for religious tolerance.
7.5
193 1884-09 The Inheritance [20] Le legs domestic drama The best friend of M. and Mme Serbois has just died childless and when his will is opened it turns out that he has gallantly left all his considerable wealth to the Mme Serbois. The husband is disappointed and arrangements are made to share the bonanza with the husband, who is then happy – but the reader is left wondering about the motive for the legacy.
- Very directly told, somewhat without the author’s habitual elegance and subtlety though.
6.5
194 1884-09 Mohammed-Blackguard [23] Mohammed-Fripouille military drama The narrator is visiting a military friend in Algeria and over coffee and cognac on his terrace in the old town overlooking the bay of Algiers the captain tells him about a dangerous mission of reprisal against a local tribe that had murdered an English tourist in the outlands.
- Extremely violent, extremely vicious, extremely supercilious and hostile to the native population, extremely distasteful to the modern reader, this nasty tale does convey a good sense of the supremacist mentality of the French in Algeria at the time, and later too no doubt.
3
195 1884-09 A Crazy Man? [2] Un Fou ? supernatural drama The narrator remembers an evening when a friend revealed to him the strange and very deadly powers that he possessed in stormy weather.
- Not everyone’s cup of tea in these more enlightened times(?).
7
196 1884-10 Berthe [23] Berthe drama related to mental illness The narrator, on a visit to a good friend, a doctor in the old town of Riom in the central Auvergne region, stops off for a moment with him at one of his patients, after which the doctor tells him about the unfortunate daughter of the house, a splendid beauty who had been born severely mentally retarded and who had nevertheless been married to a local playboy, with devastating results.
- An interesting and even powerful exploration of the heavy theme of mental sickness, in the usual Maupassantian framework of the moral turpitude of the money-grubbing bourgeoisie.
8
197 1884-10 Bombard [26] Bombard political satire Simon Bombard, a big, healthy, handsome, flashily-dressed fellow from Caen in Normandy has always had an incredible aptitude for doing nothing. He just knows that his route to success is to meet, seduce and marry one of the many almost-elderly society ladies who congregate in the seaport resort of Trouville, which he finally manages to do during a holiday there. But the bride, a haughty English woman, is not as easily taken in by Simon’s bombast as he thought.
- Not a very uplifting story, it must be said – one does hope that there aren’t as many awful people in Normandy as the author seems to think!
7
198 1884-10 The Guardian [23] Le Garde hunting drama After dinner the company is telling tales about hunting accidents, and M. Bonniface, an old friend of everyone present and an enthusiastic hunter, tells about the most tragic hunting accident of his life.
- A a sobering tale indeed.
8
199 1884-11 The Confession #4 [26] La Confession #3 family drama The son and daughter of the the honourable citizen M. Badon-Leremincé are gathered at the notary’s office to hear the testimony of their dearly beloved and recently deceased father, in which he confesses to them the terrible secret – and it is a bad one indeed – that he has hidden from them all these years.
- A difficult but powerful story with a strong moral message about the low moral standards of the middle class aka bourgeoisie.
8
200 1884-11 The Revenge [33] La Revanche theatrical comedy Set in the form of a theatre sketch, we hear a) the monologue of M. de Garelle who is in Cannes rejoicing in his newly-divorced status as a free agent, able to openly pursue one or many of the adorable creatures who are surely waiting to make his acquaintance out there somewhere ; b) the dialogue of the same with his former wife who had just passed by, whom he assiduously courts in spite of her outrage at being addressed by the man whom she had divorced on the grounds that he had so energetically beaten her on the mere suspicion of being unfaithful.
- A brilliant text, very clever and full of wit, very amusing indeed.
9
201 1884-11 Rustic Tribunals [28] Tribunaux rustiques countryside farce A large crowd of local people has gathered in the local court to hear the case brought by a very large middle-aged woman against a young man who has gotten married with a young woman is spite of having signed an agreement to remain faithful to the plaintiff (after receiving a handsome piece of property in exchange for the promise). The judge hears the point of view if both sides and of their witnesses – all talking highly-uneducated country slang – and manages to come to a clear-cut decision in spite of all the emotion and confusion surrounding the affair.
- Quite amusing, really, in spite of its underlying superciliousness towards sImple farm folk.
7.5
202 1884-12 The Cupboard [26] L’Armoire prostitution This tale starts off with the very Maupassantian line “We were talking about women, after dinner, because what else does one talk about, amongst men?” and one of the fellows tells about how one night when he was feeling particularly lonely he went to the Folies Bergères to find suitable love at a suitable price. Which he did and on going into the young person’s tiny apartment he went through the usual routine of asking her how she got started in the game and after a while, as she was revealing her life story, there was a noise in the cupboard and lo and behold there was a little boy there who had gone asleep and fallen off the chair that he had to stay on while his mother was occupied with a guest. This was too much for the narrator and he left and the reader doesn’t feel much better about things either at this point.
- A very explicit and very sad story of existential misery on the bottom of the social scale.
8
203 1884-12 Room 11 [26] La Chambre 11 social drama/farce The elegant, highly-regarded, vivacious wife of a senior magistrate leads a secret love life centred on the younger officers – but not too young as those are too indiscrete and not too old because those are too tired – in the regiment established in her provincial town, and has managed to maintain her reputation for years while secretly meeting her lovers in security thanks to a strict procedure for maintaining confidentiality. But there is a slip-up one day...
- Sort of entertaining, with a satisfying touch of cynicism about the life-style of those on top of the social ladder.
8
204 1884-12 The Prisoners [26] Les Prisonniers Franco-Prussian War of 1870 We follow the adventures of a sturdy young countrywoman living in a isolated cottage in the forest near the northern town of Rethel during the War of 1870, when a patrol of Prussian soldiers pound on her door one night seeking board and shelter.
- Really quite dramatic and realistic, very nicely narrated, with a serious touch of cynicism about the moral fibre of the dignified citizens of the town in question as an extra.
8.5
205 1885-01 For Sale [28] À Vendre Promenade in Brittany A young man is on a long walk all around the Brittany coastline and he couldn’t he happier as he admires the scenery and soaks up the enchanting atmosphere of that lovely land. When he comes across a charming cottage nestled in a valley overlooking the sea he cannot resist going in and finding our more about who the owner is and why it is on sale, which he does and where he finds a picture of a mysterious young woman, whose story that is recounted to him fits quite perfectly in with his romantic mood.
- Very nicely told, very charming, very impressive – a happy story, one might almost say for a change.
9
206 1885-01 True Story [22] Histoire Vrai hunting drama An old and rather decrepit nobleman, one of a group of riotous hunters after a very liquid dinner tells his companions, who had been making ribald comments about the serving-girl, how he had negotiated his way out of a difficult situation with his pregnant mistress many years beforehand.
- Not a pretty story, and not one we could recommend to anyone, even though it was probably intended to stoke negative feelings about the social class who indulged in the sort of thing described here.
5
207 1885-01 The Strange Woman [28] L’Inconnue sentimental-sexual adventure Guys are talking about gals and how one sees so many adorable creatures walking around, on the beach for example but especially in the big city, that one would just love to get to know better – but a moment later they have passed on out of one’s life forever, alas! One of them tells about a mysterious brunette he has fallen hopelessly in love with when he first saw her on the Pont de la Concorde in Paris, how his diligent efforts to make her his own turned out badly, and how the memory of her has haunted him ever since.
- Somewhat surprisingly, the fact that the lady was dark and no doubt of Jewish origin is supposed to explain somehow the narrator’s inadequacies in this affair, but the link is probably unclear to most modern readers, at least to this one.
7
208 1885-01 The Baptism #2 [28] Le Baptème #2 countryside drama The doctor-narrator has just been offered a golden glass of cognac and as he is slowly savouring it he recalls the tragic effect of alcohol on a baptism that he had participated in in the Brittany countryside near Pont-Aven. The parents and family were waiting in front of the church on a cold winter day waiting for the elderly priest, who was late, to arrive to open the door of the church. Local custom had it that the new-born child must be presented nude for the ceremony and the simple-minded father had insisted that the baby’s wrappings be removed while they were waiting in spite of the freezing cold, despite the doctor’s protestations. When the priest eventually arrived and the lengthy ceremony was over, the father departed with friends – and the baby – to celebrate the event, and only arrived home the next morning completely inebriated, having spent the money the doctor has provided for the religious service on liquor and having fallen asleep in a ditch on the way home. The baby had not survived the ordeal.
- As cruel a story as Maupassant ever wrote, if not the cruellest.
7
209 1885-01 Toine [26] Toine countryside farce Toine is a huge, boisterous and very popular fellow whose countryside tavern is well frequented by the locals who love his home-made calvados (schnaps) and his amusing company. But his wife is very stern and intolerant of his fondness for his own product, and when he falls sick and becomes completely bed-ridden she takes her revenge on him in a way that amuses everyone but Toine himself.
- A true farce, realistically recounted in the country style.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s tenth collection of stories, Toine (1886).
8
210 1885-02 White and Blue [2] Blanc et bleu snow story The narrator is admiring the magnificent view of the Alps from a small boat (painted white and blue) off the Riviera coast and the contrast between the white snow-covered alpine mountain tops and the greenery below. He talks about the terrible avalanches that had recently devastated a number of Alpine villages, and his companion retorts with a snow story of his own, a very funny one about an incident he had witnessed after a party in Paris on a snowy evening.
- A really good story told in the framework of a lovely travel chronicle.
8.5
211 1885-02 Father Mongilet [26] Le Père Mongilet sociological satire Everyone in the office goes out to the countryside around Paris on nice summer Sundays, except for Monsieur Mongilet who always spends his Sundays walking and tramwaying around and exploring the city’s different neighbourhoods and its infinite mysteries. He explains to his co-workers that he did once accept an invitation to visit a suburban colleague on a Sunday and recounts what happened that made him vow never to go outside the city limits again.
- An amusing and even instructive account of Parisian life in a certain milieu in those times and possibly later too.
8
212 1885-02 Letter From a Madman [27] Lettre d’un fou mental illness A man writes to his doctor explaining his evolution to a mentally-disturbed state, originally provoked by the phrase of Montesquieu “One organ more in our machine, or less, would make us a different kind of intelligence” and then proceeds to unfavourably compare each of our (only) five senses with those of other creatures better endowed in each respect and to imagine the immense possibilities of perception of beings that might be elsewhere – on other worlds or perhaps right around us – endowed with such superior characteristics. That leads him to doubt what his (limited) senses tell him about the world around him – and to be afraid of what really might be out there, of what he and we might call the supernatural. At the end he starts hearing strange noises and seeing strange images at night in his mirror.
- Pretty scary and even thought-provoking, a rather powerful text all in all, that was later developed into the longer novelette The Horla.
8.5
213 1885-02 Our English People [26] Nos Anglais anti-English spoof The narrator provides us with three pages of a notepad found abandoned in a railway carriage describing the odd and eventually insufferable behaviour of a group of very religious (in a Protestant way) English tourists in a hotel in the town of Menton on the French Riviera.
- The note-taker does specify of course that he has some nice English friends so one must avoid generalizations, but somehow one does and one is not too pleased about the xenophobic tone of the tale.
6
214 1885-03 In the Train [28] En Wagon adolescent farce Vacation time is about to begin in the valley of Royat in the mountains in Auvergne in the centre of France and three noble families have commissioned a priest to go on an important errand in Paris for them – to fetch their three adolescent sons who are in boarding schools in the capital and escort them to their vacation location, while making sure that they are prevented from getting into trouble on the train trip, especially with the young and dangerous members of the opposite sex who are so frequently on that line. All goes well until a woman in the coach starts to moan and groan and tells the concerned priest that she thinks that she is about to give birth.
- Amusing from an adolescent point of view, perhaps, probably a bit too simplistic for most of the rest of humanity though.
7.5
215 1885-03 Roger’s Method [26] Le Moyen de Roger erotic spoof On hearing a street vendor cry out “Ask here for the method of getting rid of your mother-in-law!” the narrator asks his friend Roger what his wife ifs referring to when she regularly refers in public to “Roger ’s method” for reinvigorating men who are out of shape. So Roger tells him about how he overcame an embarrassing difficulty on his wedding night to the complete satisfaction of his bride.
- Perhaps a bit too crude and vulgar for some people, including us, but some may find it entertaining, possibly.
6.5
216 1885-04 Little Soldier [28] Petit Soldat sentimental-sexual drama Two soldiers, close friends both from the same Brittany village, go out on every Sunday leave for a long walk and a picnic lunch along the Seine river. The highlight of the day is watching a robust farm girl take her cow out to pasture and back, always at the same time of day. One day she offers them a sip of fresh milk and they strike up friendship and one thing leads to another and the friendship of the soldiers comes to a sad end.
- A simple story masterfully recounted.
9
217 1885-06 A Failure [33] Un Échec Corsican story On his way to Ajaccio in Corsica by way of Bastia, the narrator notices an interesting young lady on the boat to Bastia and sets his sights on her. Using his considerable charm and experience to strike up a conversation with her on the boat, he discovers that she too is going to Ajaccio to join her officer husband there, so he discretely reserves all of the seats on the coach that will take them there from Bastia across the mountains and gallantly offers the lady a seat. The adventure begins as the coach leaves for the overnight trip, and it will not be entirely without incident.
- A story that happens to take place in Corsica on a universal theme. The best part is the evocation of the wild mountains traversed during the trip.
8
218 1885-07 Finished [13] Fini the drama of ageing At the beginning of the story the count de Lormerin looks at himself in a mirror and is pleased with what he sees – an elegant man in fine shape. Just then he receives a letter from a former sweetheart that he was madly in love with many years ago, who invites him to come for a visit, which he does right away. He cannot recognize the white-haired, rather tired person he meets there – but her young daughter is the spitting image of the splendid beauty he was so enamoured with twenty-five years beforehand. On returning home he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, wherefore the bitter comment of the title.
- Smoothly cynical and disillusioned.
8
219 1885-07 Joseph [30] Joseph high-society farce The baroness de Fraisières and the countess de Gardens are having a champagne dinner in the isolated villa on the Normandy coast where their husbands had left them for a business trip to Paris. The countess, almost inebriated, remarks that what is lacking is a lover to finish the evening off properly, although they are practically impossible to come by in such an isolated spot, whereupon the baroness comments that she can always find one, even in such a place, and the rest of the story bears out her claim.
- A quite credible conversation with a clever twist at the end, and most effectively cynical about the going-on of the not-all-that-noble nobility of those days, now practically vanished from the face of the earth.
8
220 1885-08 The Pin [28] L’Épingle sentimental drama A traveller finds hospitality in a prosperous property in a hot, unnamed southern country where he soon finds that his host is a Parisian like himself who has fled far away after having his entire fortune devoured by a ravaging woman who twisted him about her little finger while she was spending his entire fortune on the good life. But he can’t get her out of his mind and is working hard to be able to go back and have another try...
- A most engaging tale most engagingly narrated, just so evocative of a certain Parisian way of life in the Belle Époque.
8.5
221 1885-08 The Secret [28] La Confidence sentimental-sexual adventure The Baroness of Grangerie is resting when her close friend the Marquise de Rennedou rushes in somewhat disheveled and exclaims “Done at last!”She proceeds to tell her intimate friend how utterly fed up she had become not only with her ugly husband’s big red nose and enormous stomach but also and particularly with his intimate demands upon her and finally with his insane jealousy and surveillance. That had culminated the other day when they were in a restaurant at a table next to the almost-as-horrible M. Baubignac and the husband had accused her of arranging the get-together and of being M. B’s mistress! So she got even with him as she amusingly describes in detail to her friend.
- Even cruder and more explicit than usual, this tale of marital incompatibility and sexual misery is not at all a bag of laughs – it is harsh and cruel and cynical beneath its casual, light-hearted surface, it is quintessential Maupassant.
8.5
222 1885-08 My Twenty-Five Days [13] Mes vingt-cinq Jours health-resort anecdote On arriving at his hotel in a health resort in the Auvergne mountains in the centre of France a man discovers the notes left in a drawer by a previous visitor and we read about how the fellow a) didn’t like anything about the place, especially the food, except for the splendid scenery; b) tried mostly unsuccessfully to lose a few grams; c) struck up acquaintance with a couple of charming young widows; d) was bitterly disappointed when they left on the arms of two ’widowers’ who arrived suddenly to whisk them away; e) briefly describes a-visit to a mountain village town with remarkably fluid mores. The narrator concludes with the disappointed remark that his own twenty-five days there weren’t much different, except that he hadn’t had the chance of meeting two widows.
- A modestly charming albeit somewhat disabused account of life in the well-known health resort.
7.5
223 1885-09 Imprudence [28] Imprudence marital drama He loved her because she was young and fresh, confusing that feeling somewhat with the effect the ocean air and the sunny seaside landscape evoked in his veins. She loved him because he was young, rather rich, and was courting her, and because it is normal for young girls to love young men who say tender words to them. So they got married and after three months of happy love-making both started to become a bit blasé about it and started trying to find ways to liven up their relationship. She had the idea of going to one of her husband’s former hangouts and pretending that she was just the latest in his long list of mistresses, and the conversation there about what he had really gotten up to in his bachelor days really gets her thinking.
- Clever and cynical, a very solid story with no doubt a very solid moral somewhere.
8
224 1885-09 Mister Belhomme’s bug [28] La bête à Maît Belhomme countryside farce A group of travellers are on a horse-drawn stagecoach in the Norman countryside when one of them is taken with an unbearable pain in his ear that he proclaims to be a bug that has crawled in there. The suffering of the poor fellow is such that everyone tries to find a solution which they finally manage to do after stopping off at a farmhouse on the way.
- Told largely in Norman dialect, this authentic-sounding quasi-farce is a lot of fun even though it might sound a tad condescending towards country folk to latter-day urban sophisticates like us.
8.5
225 1885-09 A Madman [28] Un Fou crime drama A distinguished, universally-respected (and very severe) magistrate has just passed away, and among his papers is found a document describing his morbid fascination with death and its bloodiness, to the extent that he had been driven to commit crimes himself to satisfy his urge to revel in the liquid red stuff on the spot.
- Sick and revolting, with a no doubt subterranean implication in the choice of the nature of the central characters – not so much that we are all potential madmen and murderers, but probably more that judges and other representatives of established society are no doubt at least as rotten as the criminals they condemn.
6
226 1885-10 The Woodcocks [28] Les Bécasses countryside drama A passionate hunter writes to a friend in Paris to explain that it is quite impossible for him to come back to the big town while the hunting season for the elusive woodcock is in full swing. He goes on to recount his exciting life with two dear friends and their dogs on their expedition to the hunting grounds of the friends in Normandy, during the brief period when the woodcock arrive in the nearby woods once a year. In the middle of their outing however, they come across a deaf-mute shepherd, whose tragic story is recounted by one of the friends.
- A brilliant evocation of the atmosphere of a hunt, marred somewhat by the sordidness of the story about the shepherd and his late wife and the dark side of the mentality of country people that it illustrates.
8
227 1885-11 All Will Be Well [28] Ça ira bohemian love-life The narrator finds himself in a small provincial town where he has stopped off in error and where there is really nothing to do to pass the time away. In the café of the little town he recognizes a former rather tattered female acquaintance of his younger days nicknamed ’Ça Ira’ (all will be well) when he went out boating on the Seine on Sundays with a varied group of fellows and (loose) girls, and she tells him her life story and how she ended up finding a wealthy young man at the Opera in Paris who enabled her to end up owning the establishment there in this town.
- A sort-of-interesting account of low life in Paris in the good old Belle Époque days.
8
228 1885-11 Monsieur Parent [28]

(novelette)
Monsieur Parent family drama The life of M. Parent is quite obsessively centred on the little 3-yr-old Georges, whom he caresses and cuddles and admires incessantly – he lives on his considerable income – practically all day long. After a long session at the park one day however there is a big scene with the maid who is angry because Monsieur Parent wants to wait for his wife to come home – she is late once again – and in exasperation she starts to tell him the truth about his wife, her lover and even the parenthood of his child. That turns into a very nasty confrontation indeed when the wife finally does come home with the long-time friend in question and push comes to shove with disastrous consequences, at least for Monsieur Parent.
- A sad story about an unbalanced man and his inability to stop torturing himself about fatherhood and loneliness, this ambitious story (14,400 words) is somehow not as touching as it should have been in view of the profundity of its themes, perhaps because of the quite pathetic weaknesses and lack of character of George’s (legal) father.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s ninth collection of stories, Monsieur Parent (1885).
8
229 1885-12 The little Roque girl [29]

(novelette)
La Petite Roque sex crime The postman on his circuit around the village of Roüy-le-Tors finds the dead body of a young 12-year-old girl in the woods and promptly alerts the mayor of the village who lives nearby, and the police, a magistrate and a doctors rapidly arrive on the scene to investigate what is obviously the rape-murder of the young girl Roque, who had been missing since the previous day. The magistrate and the police suspect that the crime had been committed by a tramp or one of the doubtful working-class elements in the village, but readers of Maupassant know that the culprit is far more likely to be a sly and hypocritical member of the town’s notability, a hypothesis that is rapidly confirmed, and we follow the mental processes of the killer as he observes the fruitless investigations of his friend the magistrate and eventually is wrenched with pangs of regret for what he has done.
- An in-depth (12,500-word) investigation of the psyche and thought processes of a notable and a sex criminal;
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s eleventh collection of stories, La Petite Roque (1886).
8
230 1885-12 Saved [29] Sauvée marital farce The marquise de Rennedon sweeps into the home of her friend the baroness de Grangerie with the triumphant announcement that she was “saved” – she had acquired proof of her husband’s infidelity and was now certain to be able to get a most satisfactory divorce. The tale of how she managed this long-desired achievement follows, much to the delight of the baroness and the reader too.
- Naughty, immoral and very funny, a Maupassantian masterpiece.
9
231 1886-01 The Wreck [29] L’Épave drama with sentimental overtones The narrator is dining with a friend on New Year’s Eve when the friend receives a letter from a lady who writes to him once a year in memory of their former encounter in dramatic circumstances. He recounts how they had found themselves on a ship-wreck off the coast of the island of Ré near La Rochelle and how close they came to getting very involved with one another.
- A neat tale nicely told with sensitivity and just the right touch of wistfulness.
9
232 1886-01 The Hermit [29] L’Ermite sex-related drama A hermit established quasi-permanently on a mountain top in the south of France finally explains to the narrator, after several visits, his terrible secret that caused him to flee from Paris and his Parisian way of life there to seek solitary solace in his hermitage.
- An unusual story and not a particularly nice one, although there might be a moral here about excessive promiscuity (but probably not in view of the author’s quasi-obsession with the subject), and the hermit’s hideaway is most evocatively described.
7.5
233 1886-01 Mademoiselle Pearl [29] Mademoiselle Perle family drama For the yearly ceremony of declaring one of the females of the family gathering at the Epiphany galette des rois (kings’ cake) ceremony at the house of his wealthy friends the Chantals, the narrator had been unexpectedly declared king instead of the head of the Chantal family, and in that role had declared Perle, the eldest daughter of the family, much to hers and the family’s surprise, as this was the first time, curiously enough, that Perle had ever been so honoured. Afterwards M. Chantal explained to his guest why Mademoiselle Perle had always taken back seat in the family ever since she had been adopted by his father in dramatic circumstances forty-one years beforehand.
- A forceful and moving story on the theme of what might have been.
9
234 1886-02 On Cats [29] Sur les Chats meditation on cats and women Reading a book on a bench in his garden on a pleasant sunny day the narrator finds the gardener’s cat on his lap, almost but not quite about to plunge its claws into his flesh. This starts off a long train of thought about cats (not always positive), and recollections of the declarations of several major poets about the grace and felineness of those animals and their female human counterparts, culminating in the memory of a stay in a secluded castle in the wild mountains above Nice when an erotic dream had been interrupted at the critical moment and he had woken up to find his hand cuddling the round body of the lord of the manor’s cat, who it turned out had access to all of the rooms of the castle via secret passages that had been built into the manor at its conception.
- Apart from one nasty incident in his youth, the narrator’s mental soliloquy is most engaging and evocative both of the scenery in the south of France and of cats and feline females.
8
235 1886-03 Julie Romain [29] Julie Romain a former celebrity remembers The narrator is on a walking tour of the French Riviera from Saint-Raphaël to Italy and discovers a particularly attractive cottage nestled in a valley that he discovers belongs to the great singer Julie Romain, who has retired there. Fascinated by the her career and her tumultuous love affairs he presents his card, is invited for tea and then dinner, when the diva evokes her career and the great loves of her life.
- A lyrical, elegant account of a bygone age.
9
236 1886-03 Madame Parisse [29] Madame Parisse marital adventure The narrator is admiring the splendid view of Antibes at sunset and notices a well-dressed, handsome woman of about thirty-five walking melancholily along the waterfront. His companion, a local citizen, recounts the celebrated story of the adventure of the lady, Madame Parisse, with the dashing young officer commanding the town fifteen years before, just after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
- Particularly evocative of the enchanting atmosphere of the Riviera at the time, this amusing tale might have a moral but that is not the point – it is a good one in any case.
9
237 1886-03 Rosalie Prudent [29] Rosalie Prudent infanticide crime Rosalie, a maid in a bourgeois (wealthy middle-class) family living on its income, is on trial for having killed her new-born child and buried it in the garden. When questioned about the husband of the child and her motives for the terrible act she names the family’s nephew as the father and dramatically describes what happened on that fateful night.
- A somewhat banal but nevertheless tragic story told emotionally in the uneducated language of the serving-girl. The outcome of the trial does not come as too much of a surprise in view of the author’s very understanding treatment of her case and his obvious outrage at the social injustices involved, but we cannot help having reserves about the basic morality of burying babies (alive) in the garden no matter what the mitigating circumstances or the author’s opinions are.
7
238 1886-04 The Sign [30] Le Signe society farce The marquise de Rennedon is still in bed (at 9 am) when her close friend the baroness de Grangerie practically bursts into her bedchamber, pale and in tears, to tell her about the trouble she is in. She had been looking out the window of her apartment near the busy Saint Lazare railway station when she noticed a rather handsome redhead doing the same in a window on the other side of the street. Well, there was a steady stream of fellows who looked up at the lady who seemed to be sort of smiling at them, and regularly one of them would turn in to her building to come out only 20 minutes or so seemingly satisfied. The lady was a tramp! But how did she make contact with the fellows so effectively? The baroness got out her opera binoculars and saw that she was making a certain almost imperceptible gesture with the head if the fellow below seemed to react to a slight smile – and set herself in front of a mirror to try to imitate the subtle gesture in question. Finding that she could in fact do it even better than the girl, she tried it out herself on the gentlemen passing by – and one of them, a big handsome one, actually turned in to her building to follow up on it! The baroness then recounts the resulting encounter and her present dilemma, because the fellow had promised to return the next day! The marquise does have a clever proposal of how to get out of the mess, though.
- A quite immoral and decadent story, but a very, very funny one.
9
239 1886-04 The Old Amable [29] Le Pére Amable countryside drama Césaire is a farm lad who really really wants to marry Céleste, in spite of the stubborn refusal of his ageing and penny-pinching father Amable on the grounds that the girl has already had a child out of wedlock that the family would have to feed for years if Césaire married her. Céleste insists that Césaire get the local priest to convince Amable to grant his permission, which he does successfully. So there is a wedding and life carries on and it is not an easy life for any of them.
- Perhaps the most sombre of Maupassant tales of the countryside, there is meat and food for thought in this extremely realistic tale in a pessimistic vein.
9
240 1886-04 Health Trip [27] Voyage de santé medical farce M. Panard was a very prudent man who was particularly concerned not to say obsessed with his health and who tried out any and all methods and remedies possible to keep disease from his door. On reading about a possible outbreak of typhoid fever in Paris he hurriedly left with his wife for Saint-Raphaël on the Riviera, but rushed away from the hotel there because of bad odours suggesting all kinds of germs and infections left there by previous tenants. At Cannes and Nice the same problem arose even worse, so M.Panard rushed back to the safety of his home in Paris where he discovered the reason for his anguished departures on opening his suitcases.
- A parody of health-conscious citizens that was a good idea that didn’t quite work out.
6
241 1886-06 In the Bushes [30] Au Bois comedy of morals The mayor of a village near Paris is alerted by his security guard that he had arrested a rather elderly, distinctly overweight and unglamorous Parisian couple for having been found committing a moral outrage in the bushes on the outskirts of the village. The mayor and the reader then are treated to the lady’s interesting explanation of why she had insisted on returning to the scene of a long-regretted and long-lasting frustration of her youthful days.
- An interesting sociological-sexual situation that somehow seems too caricatural to have the intended emotional effect.
7
242 1886-06 Humain Misery [27] Misère Humaine lamentation on human misery Jean d’Espars explains that he has become completely disillusioned, discouraged and we might even say depressed by the sight of terrible misery that one cannot help seeing about one, even in places like the street in front of the Paris Opera. He tells how all his joie de vivre left him on a hunting excursion three years previously when on a dismal day shooting pheasants a doctor passing by in a carriage asked him to help carry a woman dying of dysentery back to her home, and how what he saw there shocked him to the roots.
- A dismal and depressing view if life here on earth, told with passion and emotion.
8.5
243 1886-07 Day of Celebration [6] Jour de fête meditation on solitude The narrator flees away from the city on the national holiday, detesting the sounds and noises of the madding crowd in a spirit of rebellion against celebrating and being gay when the government tells one to do so. He wanders along a river bank admiring the solitude and the intense concentratIon of the fishermen on the banks waiting so intently for a bite, and admires a solitary woman meditating on her own on a terrace. He stays for the night in a little village – only to be woken up by the clamour of the village youngsters celebrating as loudly as possible, and to get away from it all he seeks shelter in a secluded church, where he is alone until the woman he had seen on the terrace comes silently into the church, goes up to the alter and is shaken by tears. He feels almost moved to tears himself, and the chronicle ends with the thought “If the churches are closed down, where will women go to cry?”
- An original, rather anti-social portrayal of the emotions of solitary beings.
8
244 1886-08 The Devil [30] Le Diable country farce The local doctor is explaining to the peasant farmer Honoré that his elderly mother is on the point of dying and is unlikely to last the night, and warns him not to leave her alone, as Honoré would like to do as the colza is ripe and just must be brought in, or else the doctor would not take care of him when it was his turn to go. So Honoré has to hire the surveillance services of the village specialist in the matter, La Rapet, that however risks to almost ruin him as La Rapet charges by the day and the old lady is so tough that she might last out the night and even longer. A fIxed sum is negotiated and la Rapet is faced with a problem as the old mother does indeed last longer than the doctor expected. She does find a satisfactory solution to her problem, though, just in time.
- An amusing little tale full of atmosphere, even if the peasant population is depicted, as usual, in a highly unflattering albeit effectively comic light.
8
245 1886-08 A Divorce Case [35] Un cas de divorce mental illness A lawyer pleads the divorce case of a woman who has been beaten and totally rejected by her young husband who has apparently lost his senses, as shown by extracts from the man’s notebook detailing his sudden distaste for the physical aspect of a marriage relationship and his growing fondness or rather extreme passion for flowers, which among all their other wonderful qualities reproduce themselves so much more elegantly than humans.
- A strange and impressive foray into the realm of mental illness, a realm of recurring interest to the author and one that he succumbed to only a few years later.
8.5
246 1886-08 A Family [30] Une Famille sociological critique The narrator recounts how he went to visit an old friend whom he hadn’t seen for fifteen years in the provincial town where he had settled down. The friend, previously so close to him, so alert, dynamic and alive, was now barely recognizable as he had put on so much weight, had become a conformist local notable and had acquired a (dull, frowsy) wife and five children! The dinner with the family, including the wife’s very aged, almost deaf and and quite incapacitated father, turned our to be more than disagreeable because of the way everyone had so much fun teasing the old man about his appetite and tantalizing him with tidbits held just out of reach. The story ends shortly afterwards with the narrator more disenchanted than ever with the awfulness of a bourgeois family life.
- Not the author’s most convincing denunciation of the shallowness of the middle-class way of life, though.
7
247 1886-09 The Inn [30] L’Auberge alpine drama The young Ulrich and the older Gaspard take care of the Hauser family’s inn on the Gemmi pass high up in the Swiss Alps throughout the winter months, and it is not an easy task, as they are completely snowed in there for almost six months. Towards the end Gaspard goes out hunting for mountain goats in particularly cold weather and doesn’t come back when expected, so Ulrich has to go out to try and find him. This is the story of how he tried to do that and how he finally cracked under the strain of loneliness and fear of the unknown elements that he felt all around their isolated shelter.
- A rather eerie and unusual story, perfectly credible and most dramatic in the end. The only alpine story in the Maupassant opus.
8.5
248 1886-09 The Latin Question [13] La Question du latin learning latin and life The narrator remembers his latin classes with Father Piquedent, an expert in the language of Ciceron who was famous for the remarkable achievements of his boarding-school pupils in the local and national Latin competitions. The narrator had lessons from the narrator in his flat in town, and they became friendly, the priest finally revealing his distress at being isolated and penniless and incapable of doing anything but teach Latin. The narrator, already at eighteen a fairly gay bachelor, uses his charm and wits to find another future for the Father.
- A straightforward, naturalistic tale of solitude in an academic environment that ends satisfactorily and even happily for the Father and the reader too.
8.5
249 1886-10 The Horla [30]

(novelette)
Le Horla horror story The narrator starts his recital of recent events by recalling how splendidly he had been feeling in his home in the countryside near Rouen, and how his spirits progressively declined and he became constantly overtaken by a feeling of extreme nervousness and fatigue. Worse, he became conscious of an invisible and very mysterious presence about him that somehow controlled his will and even his actions. His notes become ever more distressed and anguished about the manifestations of this domineering force as he mobilises all his energies and inventiveness to eliminate the mysterious being who seemed to have come from far off – Brazil at least, as other similar cases were reported there – and it all finishes very, very badly indeed.
The theme of “magnetism” and esoteric unseen powers was very much in fashion at the time of its publication, encouraged greatly by the exploits of the hypnotist Mesmer, and this is probably the most powerful work ever on the theme, brilliantly developed by Maupassant in many penetrating passages. Although the subject has lost much of its impact though over time, read as an exploration of the development of the process of mental sickness it can and should be considered as a masterpiece.
- this was the title story in the Maupassant’s twelfth collection of stories, Le Horla (1887);
- the final 9400-word version published in that collection is a development of a shorter story of the same name published in Oct. 1886;
- the title can be interpreted as ’The Thing Out There’ (le hors-là).
9.5
250 1886-10 The Farmer [31] Le Fermier countryside drama The narrator accompanies the baron du Treilles to his hunting grounds in Normandy, where they are met by a farmer who is obviously completely devoted to the baron. After dinner when the man had retired the baron recounts the marriage of the man and the reason why he and the baron are on such close terms, and it is a sad one indeed.
- A quite wonderful evocation of the Norman countryside as a bonus to this emotional story.
8.5
251 1886-10 The Marquis de Fumerol [30] Le Marquis de Fumerol political farce Roger recounts to his royalist circle of friends how his ultra-royalist parents had reacted when news arrived of the imminent death of his mother’s brother, the Marquis de Fumerol. There would be a serious political scandal if the free-thinking and libertarian Marquis, the black sheep of the family, passed away without receiving last rites in due form from the Church, so they rushed off with a priest to his (decrepit, working-class) dwelling where they were rebuffed in no uncertain terms by the Marquis and the two ladies of light morals who were with him. But in view of the important political issues at stake (monarchism vs anti-clerical socialism) the family would just not take no for an answer.
- A political parody with punch that is rather a lot of fun.
8
252 1886-11 Cry of Alarm [13] Cri d’alarme marital infidelity A discussion of extra-marital relations in the form of a letter from a young man explaining his liberal but nevertheless innocent views on the matter and the disturbing comments of his married mistress on the question one wine-fuelled evening when he pursued the discussion too intently. 7.5
253 1886-11 The Hole [30] Le Trou fishing farce Léopold, a passionate Sunday-fisherman (a Parisian carpet-repairer the rest of the week) and his wife, who always go to a special spot on the Seine where the fish always bite, get there late one Sunday and find that their spot has been occupied by another fisherman, who not only refuses to give it up but who proceeds to pull in a superb catch of prize fish. Sharp comments end up being made by Léopold’s sharp-tongued wife and the other fellow’s spouse replies in kind and soon there is a royal battle underway that ends up in court. The author nicely captures the petty mentalities of the various antagonists – not to mention the atmosphere of fishing on that very special river – but we have trouble today adhering to his ill-concealed contempt for the common man.
- Possibly meant to be humorous somehow, the fact is that the fatal fate of the enemy fisherman is no joke.
7
254 1886-12 Love [30] Amour Sub-titled “Three Pages From the Notebook of a Hunter”, this rough tale recounts the excitement felt by a passionate hunter going out in the middle of the night with a companion to wait for the wild ducks in the nearby swamp to wake up and be shot. There is a particularly sad episode at the end illustrating the tremendous attachment to each other of a couple of wild ducks who have the misfortune to fly too near to the human ’heroes’ of the story.
- From a hunter’s point of view this (short) story is quite perfect, for others distinctly less so.
7.5
255 1886-12 Clochette [30] Clochette morality tale The narrator remembers how kind Clochette, a handicapped sewing-woman who came once a week to his family home in his youth to do mending, had always been to him, telling him an endless number of fantastic stories that he had never forgotten. One day he had found Clochette dead on the floor, and after the doctor had arrived to examine her he had hidden in a corner out of distress, and had overheard the doctor recount how Clochette had received the terrible injury that had changed her life forever at the age of seventeen.
- A sad story indeed, with a strong social sting.
8.5
256 1887-01 New Year Gifts [13] Étrennes sentimental crisis Jacques is writing letters to his close friends on New Year’s Day when his lady friend Irène arrives unexpectedly in a very distraught state on the verge of tears, because her husband, whom Jacques had always thought to be a mild civilized man of the world, had not only beaten her but told her to cut off all relations with Jacques or else leave house and home, which she does not want to do, to preserve her standing in society. A crisis that will reveal the true feelings of both Jacques and Irène.
- Smart and sophisticated, albeit immoral in an old-fashioned way, of course.
8
257 1887-01 The Kings [30] Les Rois Franco-Prussian War of 1870 The Captain de Garens remembers the dramatic Epiphany in a village that his unit was guarding against the Prussians during the War of 1870, when they had been having a feast with confiscated goods, fowls and wine in the company of the village priest and three ladies. When shots were heard in the middle of the rather joyous dinner they all rushed out to find that blood had in fact been spilt and their dinner spoiled.
- Not a particularly glorious event, on the whole, although the tale well evokes the tense atmosphere of tense soldiers in a tense war zone.
8
258 1887-01 The Vagabond [30] Le Vagabond social drama Jacques is an unemployed carpenter who has been walking for forty days all over the country looking for work of any kind, mostly unsuccessfully, as the farther away from his home town he goes, the more hostile one and all are to wandering strangers. On the verge of starvation he breaks into a house for food and drink and makes off with a bottle of cognac and then bad goes to worse and he has committed an unpardonable crime.
- We are most effectively led to perfectly understand the social conditions leading up to Jacque’s crime, but not everyone will be able to consider it as complacently as the author.
7
259 1887-01 Madame Hermet [2] Madame Hermet mental illness The author-narrator begins with the exclamation that the subject of mental illness has always attracted him, and illustrates this with an account of a visit he had made to an institution when he participated in an interview with a certain Madame Hermet, who had always been excessively attentive to her health and was now absolutely convinced that she had marks all over her face and could not be persuaded otherwise. After the interview the doctor tells the narrator about the family event that caused her relapse into such a profound state of mental imbalance.
- A rather morbid exploration of the world of the mentally insane that cannot but leave the reader ill at ease, which was no doubt the author’s objective.
8
260 1887-03 An Evening [33] Une Soirée provincial farce The sub-officer Varajou decides to take a week-long leave at his sister’s home in Vannes in Brittany, as though he had never gotten on well with his straight-laced sister or her boring husband at least he wasn’t in debt to her as he was with all the other members of the family. The first evening meal was not at all as luxurious as he would have liked and there wasn’t even any wine, so he went off right after dinner to spend time in the town’s main café, where after his cognac he asked for directions to a place where “one has a good time”. After a moment of misunderstanding he was directed to the local “house”, but got his directions mixed up and has a most embarrassing time of it.
- Simplistically crude humour of the adolescent variety, even though it is acceptably immoral, anti-bourgeois and contemptuous of life in small towns.
6.5
261 1887-05 The Baroness [33] La Baronne mores of a courtesan Visiting a very expensive art-dealer’s installation, when the narrator’s companion enquires about a remarkable Renaissance painting of Christ that he had seen there previously, the art dealer explains how the eponymous baroness, who had come to him in desperation to ask for a sizeable loan, had managed to acquire the precious and very costly painting herself less than two years later.
- The smooth ways of smooth and not always irreproachable people make good reading when written about by a master of words like Maupassant.
8.5
262 1887-05 The Dead Woman [34] La Morte supernatural drama The narrator was madly in love with his beloved mistress who had died suddenly after only one year of their life together after catching pneumonia in a rainstorm one evening. Not long after the funeral the narrator spends the whole night wandering around the cemetery where he sees strange things and learns the terrible truth about his fate of his mistress.
- A suitably eerie atmosphere for a ghastly ghost story.
8
263 1887-05 The Door [32] La Porte love story Karl analyses for his friends the three kinds of husbands with unfaithful wives – the blind ones, the clear-sighted ones and the weak ones. But he once came across one of a special kind, that he proceeds to tell us about – a most friendly and accommodating husband who invited Karl to visit him and his wife in their country residence, and there kept him under close surveillance until one night during an artistic discussion a door is inadvertently opened on purpose and Karl finally gets the message.
- A clever story masterfully recounted.
8.5
264 1887-06 The Night [32] La Nuit drama Opening nicely with “I love the night with passion” (and explaining why), continuing with “The day tires me and bores me” (and explaining why) and then with “But when the sun goes down a confused joy, a joyous feeling of my whole body, invades me” (and explaining why), the narrator recounts a night-time walk throughout the length of Paris and back, describing his nocturnal emotions and the essence of the Paris of his time in remarkable depth. But all alone so late at night the environment loses its charm and becomes eerie in the extreme, a living nightmare, that ends badly, of course, this being Maupassant.
- A masterful poem in prose!
9
265 1887-06 Madame Husson’s Rose-Boy [33] Le Rosier de Madame Husson social drama The narrator stops off unexpectedly at the ancient town of Gisors in Normandy when his train breaks down just after passing it on its way to Rouen, and calls upon an old friend who lives there, who has become immoderately plump and is now immoderately proud of his adopted town. After a very gastronomic lunch they visit the historic town, and cross an middle-aged figure in the last stages of inebriety whose story is colourfully recounted by his host.
The fellow is called The Rose-Boy (le Rosier) by one and all because of a contest a very virtuous and strict leading lady of the town had organized to honour a “rose-girl” (la Rosière), the town’s purest and most irreproachable young girl, with roses and the sizeable prize of 500 francs, on the model of similar ceremonies in the bigger towns. Try as she and her society friends could, not a single girl in the town turned out to be above suspicion of having faulted, so they awarded the prize to a very timid 20-year-old boy, Isidore, who was as pure as the driven snow and who thus became Madame Husson’s “rose-boy”. A splendid ceremony followed by a magnificent feast was held in the main square, when Isidore had his very first taste of calvados, the local version of schnapps. In the middle of the night the young fellow, by then very much under the influence, left for Paris with all of his gains and when he eventually returned empty-handed long afterwards the rose-winner had become the hopeless alcoholic that we met at the beginning of the story.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s thirteenth collection of stories, Le Rosier de Madame Husson (1888).
9
266 1887-07 The Rabbit [34] Le Lapin countryside farce Early one morning a servant-girl announces to Maître Lecacheur, a wealthy farmer and mayor of his village, that someone has just stolen one of his prized rabbits. The mayor suspects Polyte, a layabout that he had recently laid off for having been insolent, and sends the gendarmes off to find him, probably at the home of a certain Severin, a somewhat simple-minded shepherd whose wife was known to have been seeing Polyte lately. So the gendarmes do a very thorough search of the Severin home, and the culprit is found and arrested. Eight day later the mayor finds the shepherd waiting for him in his office, wanting to know if he had the legal right to beat his wife in view of her misbehaviour.
- A very simple tale told simply largely in dialect, with a certain air of urbane superiority to primitive country people that is not as amusing as the author seems to think it is.
7
267 1887-07 The Father #2 [32] Le Père #2 drama After 15 years of the hectic, corrupt and corrupting life in Paris, Jean de Valnoix has retired to the family home in the woods by a river in the centre of France where the narrator is visiting him for a couple of weeks of comradeship and conversation. The servant reminds Jean that it is the day of the year when he is visited by a gypsy woman, and Jean tells the narrator and us about how he met this interesting person and why she is so grateful to him.
- A nice story with large implications, just beautifully told.
8.5
268 1887-08 The Ordinance [34] L’Ordonnance marital drama The elaborate funeral ceremony for the deceased wife of the distinguished Colonel de Limousin, who had married his much-younger late wife, the daughter of a comrade in arms, three years before. On coming home he finds a letter from his late wife that confesses her secret love affair with one of his officers, without saying which one. The straight-laced Colonel is devastated and the story ends violently and tragically.
- Not a gladdening tale but a saddening one that is just about entirely credible, even though all marriages with a large age difference between the spouses don’t always end so badly, thank goodness.
8
269 1887-09 Moiron [32] Moiron crime drama Mr. Moiron was a highly respected teacher in the north of France whose three children all died of pneumonia within a short space of time. He became particularly attentive to the young people under his care, buying them presents and treating them all tenderly. But several of them died mysteriously after a while and the senior magistrate who tells the story was brought in to investigate.
- A grim story that perhaps has something to say about the criminal tendencies lurking out there in the most unsuspected souls.
7.5
270 1887-11 Society Conversations [6] Comment on cause society mores Starting off with the abrupt declaration that “society people are of a special kind, remarkable above all for their complete ignorance” and continuing with a scathing portrait of the emptiness and tediousness of the conversations in high-society circles, the text then provides a series of increasingly catty and venomous examples of conversations on the favourite topic of these get-togethers, adultery.
- An admittedly well-put and even amusing diatribe, but the subject can rapidly become rather tedious after too much repetition...
7
271 1887-11 Duchoux [34] Duchoux existential drama On coming out of yet another evening of cards at his Parisian club the wealthy baron de Mordiane is overtaken with a wave of boredom with his solitary existence and on an impulse decides to travel down to the Mediterranean to meet at long last the illegitimate son he had had in his youthful days and had never seen, although he had adequately provided for his future. Off he goes with his valet to meet Duchoux (a reference to illegitimacy) as his son has been named, who is now an architect in the countryside near Marseille, where he discusses business with the fellow under an assumed name in the midst of his large family and considerable dirt and disorder. The baron’s illusions about starting off a new family life with his offspring become rapidly clear to him and he quickly returns to his Parisian way of life.
- An interesting but very snobbish portrait of the contrast between a happily married man and his happily unmarried biological father.
8
272 1887-11 The Murderer [33] L’Assassin murder drama A suave lawyer explains to the court why his client, an honourable employee with the most conservative values and rigid morals, had attacked – and killed – his long-standing employer with scissors when the employer had given him notice on the grounds of the behaviour of his wife.
- A simplistic critique of straight-laced morality, of simple-minded people who adhere too easily to the established values and of insensitive company owners – but not of the judicial system, that lets the killer go scot free!
6
273 1888-01 The Pins [34] Les Épingles seduction farce Two young fellows are talking about women – what else? – in a café on the boulevards and one of them explains how his well-organised life with scheduled visits on different days of the week by his two mistresses was shattered when one of them noticed a pin that had been left by the other and started communicating with her by means of her own (slightly-different) pins.
- Smooth, sophisticated, cynical, clever, charming in its misogynist Maupassantian way.
8
274 1888-02 Divorce [33] Divorce marital farce A man comes into a famous divorce lawyer’s office to ask him to sue for divorce, and explains that his wife had publicly offered a dowry of 2.5 million francs to any prospective husband, an offer that the fellow, whose notarial business was struggling, had accepted. But after a while she was regularly absent at certain times in the day, so he followed her and had one heck of a surprise, or rather several.
- A shaky story with a shaky denouement.
7
275 1888-02 Our Letters [32] Nos Lettres love story The narrator is staying with dear friends in their family manor and has been put in the room of Aunt Rose, whose rather straight-laced, inelegant portrait is hanging on the wall. Waking up in the middle of the night he decides to write letters and looks for writing-paper in the old desk there, where he discovers a nicely-hidden long needle that opens a secret compartment where Rosa had hidden two precious letters that the narrator reads for us.
- A powerful story told with great intensity.
9
276 1888-03 The 25 francs of the Mother Superior [35] Les 25 Francs de la supérieure countryside farce Pavilly is an itinerant farm-worker and a natural clown with an odd physique and a gift for making everyone laugh at his antics and jokes. But he has an accident fooling around on a loaded farm-wagon, falls off, breaks a leg and is carried off to have it mended at the local convent. Where he has great success with the Mother Superior with his joyful mimics and antics and his help with the services as he gets better, so that when he has to leave she gives him twenty-five francs. That he promptly spends in a tavern getting so inebriated that within an hour he is back at the Mother Superior’s establishment with another broken leg (the other one)!
- A surprisingly successful story of a very silly fellow with a nice countryside atmosphere.
8
277 1888-08 The Drowned Man [35] Le Noyé social drama Patin is the owner of a fishing boat who drinks too much and is particularly brutal with his formerly-lovely wife Désirée, who is terrified of him. He fails to come back after a monumental storm, but Désirée is nevertheless afraid that he may have escaped somehow from the sinking of his boat, and even three years later is driven to hysterics when a pet parrot she had bought to keep her company starts swearing roughly at her exactly like her hopefully-former husband Patin. Not a good idea on the part of the parrot!
- Sort of amusing in a crude, rough, primitive way.
7.5
278 1888-10 The Cripple [35] L’Infirme drama of what might have been A disabled man with crutches is helped into the narrator’s train carriage by his valet, and as the train gets underway the narrator is sure that he has seen him somewhere before. They introduce themselves and the man turns out to be the Lieutenant (later Captain) Revalière whom the narrator had met at a reception twelve years previously, before the 1870 war, and who had had both his legs blown off by a cannon ball in the war. The former lieutenant had been engaged to a splendid young woman but the terrible wound had put an end to that. He had never married, somewhat to the narrator’s surprise, as Revalière was carrying a number of children’s toys with him. We find out why at the end and that is a moving moment indeed.
- A small masterpiece of understated emotional power.
9
279 1888-10 A Portrait [35] Un Portrait psychological portrait On seeing the celebrated man-about-town and ladies-man Milial nearby the narrator asks a friend to introduce him, as he is curious about just why the fellow is so attractive to women. He strikes up a conversation with Milial and finds himself rapidly under his subtle charm, feeling as if he had known him for ages. Milial invites him for lunch in two days’ time and the narrator, who has arrived early, is shown into a salon where he sits for a while looking at a portrait of a fascinating young woman, who appears to be smiling in an almost sad manner. When Milial arrives he explains who the woman in the portrait was, and the narrator understands the secret of the man’s attractiveness.
- Not gay, but a most attractive story indeed.
8.5
280 1889-01 Boitelle [34] Boitelle racism in the countryside Boitelle is a fellow who does the dirtiest work going – cleaning out sewers, ditches, dung-heaps, etc. He explains that he has to work at something to feed his large family – he has had fourteen children – and that he would have become a worker like the others if his parents hadn’t opposed his wishes when he was young man and had fallen heads over heels in love with a black woman he had met in the seaport of Le Havre whom they had forbidden him to marry.
- An honest and finally quite powerful account of the rejection of black-skinned people by the simple folk in the Norman countryside in those far-off days.
8.5
281 1889-01 Hautot, Father and Son [34] Hautot père et fils sociological drama Hautot father is an imposing, very wealthy and very strict Norman farmer, and a keen hunter – but there is a bad accident on the opening day of the hunting season and he is mortally wounded. He tells his son on his dying bed about his secret love-life away from home, and his son solemnly promises to visit the woman in question and look after her. A daunting prospect indeed for the rather timid and traditional-minded son, but he does go to see her and things work out better than expected.
- Told in a straight-forward fashion with no flourishes, this tale rings true and quietly but surely succeeds in touching the heart of the reader.
9
282 1889-01 One Evening [34] Un Soir marital drama At the end of a long trip through the Atlas mountains in Algeria the narrator meets an old school comrade who has settled there and who has takes him on a spectacular nighttime fishing expedition and afterwards, on the terrace of his town house overlooking the port, recounts his unhappy marriage in Marseille that decided him to leave the metropolis for ever.
- Full of atmosphere, it is hard not to agree with the narrator’s conclusion that “certain encounters, certain inexplicable combinations of things, without having anything particularly exceptional, contain a decidedly greater amount of the secret quintessence of life than that what is normally disseminated each day.”
8.5
283 1889-02 Allouma [34]

(novelette)
Allouma drama of seduction in colonial Algeria On a walking tour of the mountains in the west of the French colony of Algeria the narrator, who has quite lost his way, receives hospitality from a French colonist, M. Auballe, who had established a vineyard in that wild region. The dinner conversation turns rapidly of course to the subject of women, and M. Auballe explains at length and in detail his relations with his mistress Allouma, a somewhat mysterious and particularly lovely native girl that his devoted servant Mohammed has procured for him.
- A splendid account of the wild land in that part of the world at the time, but thoroughly imbued with an overweening male-superiority and European-superiority ideology that is just insufferable in our more egalitarian and liberated age. Literary works must be judged on their literary merits, certainly, but a red line has to be drawn somewhere, and it has been crossed here.
- This was the lead story of Maupassant’s fourteenth collection of stories in 1889 La Main Gauche (a title that alludes to adultery, a feature of most of the stories in the collection, although not this one).
4
284 1889-02 The Rendezvous [34] Le Rendez-vous extra-marital adventure Madame Haggan leaves her residence in the centre of Paris for yet another rendezvous with her lover, the handsome young count Martelet and decides to walk there for once instead of the usual taxi-coach. On the way she stops off to rest on a park bench to think about whether she really should be doing what she is doing in view if the risk of being discovered and starts wondering if her diminishing attraction for the count is really worth all the trouble. An unexpected encounter on leaving the park solves her dilemma about whether or not to carry on with the planned rendezvous.
- A naughty but nevertheless amusing and charming marital adventure.
8.5
285 1889-03 The Port [34] Le Port drama of prostitution After a very long four-year voyage all over the world a sturdy three-master, the Notre-Dame-des-Vents, finally comes back to port in Marseilles and most of the sailors go out on leave together, led by Célestin, a tough, experienced Breton sailor, to visit the red-light district. They end up in one of the nicer places there, and the whole night is spent by one and all drinking, going up and down the stairs, singing and spending all their wages of the past six months. At the end of the night, not quite as inebriated as most of his companions, Célestin starts asking the husky girl who has been his choice for the night about her life, and after a while she asks him if he knows where the ship Notre-Dame-des-Vents is! Célestin’s astonishment rapidly leads to the discovery of just who the girl is, and it is a shocking one.
- A sad story about the sordid world of prostitution.
7.5
286 1889-05 The Mask [35] Le Masque drama of ageing At a costume ball in Montmartre one of the lead dancers, a last-minute replacement for one of the star performers, plunges into the crowd after a frenetic number and falls into a dead faint. A doctor is called for, who rapidly appears – a university professor who was present at the ball – who not without difficulty cuts off his complex mask and discovers that the fellow is of quite advanced age and has almost lost his senses. The doctor accompanies the man to his tiny little apartment in a run-down dwelling in Montmartre, where his wife explains that her husband is an incorrigible woman-chaser, a former assistant to a high-society hairdresser and an accomplished dancer who just couldn’t adjust to his white hair and ageing physique and always wore his mask at public balls to maintain his appearance of his youthfulness and keep his hopes of further conquests alive.
- A powerful parable of the eternal psychological drama of ageing, told with feeling by the long-suffering and very devoted wife.
8.5
287 1889-07 The Test [35] L’Épreuve marital drama M. Bondel has retired after a lifetime of hard work in commerce to the town of Saint-Germain with his wife, where they can at last peacefully enjoy life. But their conversations tend to become conflictual as they both are pretty stubborn and Madame has a particularly sharp tongue. Things become tense when Monsieur talks about a friendly neighbour only to hear his wife not only scornfully remark that the fellow has horns because his wife hasn’t been faithful to him, but also bursts out laughing when M. Bondel declares that he personally would know right away if his wife was ever unfaithful. So Bondel starts to have doubts, and decides to settle them by going to Paris and bringing back a surprise visitor – the old friend of the family whom they hadn’t seen for some time. Big mistake!
- Typically cynical and contemptuous of the mentality of the middle class (aka petite bourgeoisie) of both sexes, but amusing nevertheless.
7.5
288 1889-09 Alexandre [2] Alexandre domestic strife Alexandre has been serving the now-retired Captain Maramballe and his wife for thirty-five years and today like every day he pushes the old and invalid Madame on a wheelchair for a walk under the lime trees. They inevitably talk about the Captain and his unpleasantly brutal behaviour, but when Madame asks Alexandre why he had stayed with them for so long he makes a rather surprising declaration.
- A simple tale told with sure effect.
8
289 1889-09 The Soporific [2] L’Endormeuse meditation on suicide On admiring the splendour of a river scene on a lovely day the narrator reads about the startlingly high number of suicides every year, starts to imagine the horrible physical suffering of the victims in their final moments and then in a dreamy state of mind imagines a society where there is a special facility enabling sufferers to finish their days painlessly and peacefully – a facility that he visits in his dream. But just as he is testing one of the pleasant-smelling gases used in the establishment (!) he is woken up by a watchman on his way to take care of the corpse of yet another probable suicide found in the river.
- An effective, imaginative meditation on an eternal problem.
8
290 1889-09 The Man From Mars [2] L’Homme de Mars discourse on the existence of life on Mars A stranger enters the narrator’s abode in Etretat on the Norman coast and after explaining that a) although he sounds like a madman he isn’t; b) there is a ton of good scientific reasons to think that there is intelligent life on Mars; c) that he has seen what looked like a shooting star but when it shot down into the sea just off the coast he saw that it was probably a space-ship from Mars that had lost control.
- Interesting but unfortunately science has advanced since then and we can only conclude now that the fellow was in fact a bit off his rocker.
7
291 1890-02 The Olive Grove [35]

(novelette)
Le Champ d’oliviers tragedy of illegitimacy The abbot Vilbois, a vigorous and highly-respected priest has exercised for twenty years in the Mediterranean port of Garandou. He had renounced his former high-society life as the baron of Vilbois twenty-five years earlier after his conversion, when his mistress had declared that she was pregnant with the child of another man. But one day a very dirty, run-down and rough young tramp arrives declaring to be the priest’s natural son. An intense and penetrating encounter that ends very dramatically.
- A well-developed investigation of the theme of illegitimacy in a religious framework, most effective.
9
292 1890-02 Mouche [35] Mouche sexual drama In this story sub-titled “Memories of a Boatsman” the narrator recounts the time of his youth between the ages of twenty and thirty when he would go out boating on the Seine on every possible occasion with four friends. All that was lacking was a girl to enliven their get-togethers and that was provided by one of them when he arrived with the dynamic, gay and almost bizarre Mouche (’fly’), who soon became on intimate terms with all of them although the original escort had exclusive rights on weekends. And one day Mouche announced that she was pregnant... A frank, liberal, libertarian account of youthful mores, highlighted by the loveliness of the river Seine where the story takes place. And it doesn’t end quite as badly as one might expect!
- Charming, in spite of its crudeness and its constant macho tone, well worth reading.
8
293 1890-04 The Useless Beauty [35] L’Inutile Beauté marital drama The elegant and very beautiful countess of Mascaret is on the point of leaving for a promenade in the Bois de Boulogne in her coach when her husband asks if he can join her. She agrees with clenched lips and in the coach she tells him that she is fed up with his insane and brutal jealousy and with her situation that has kept her out of Parisian social life because of the constant pregnancies that he had literally forced upon her so that she has had seven children over the eleven years of their marriage. When he brutally insists on his marital prerogatives she asks him to come with her to a church, where she swears before God that one of the seven children is not his, but refuses to say which one. The count, in a state of shock, leaves Paris and takes up a new, more relaxed and dissolute life-style. Truth will out in the end, though.
- A wordy but eloquent discourse on the rights and (mostly) wrongs of the married state, recounted in masterful style.
- This was the title story of Maupassant’s fifteenth and last collection of stories, L’Inutile Beauté (1889).
9
294 1890-04 Who Knows ? [35] Qui sait ? mental illness A man who has always felt uneasy in the presence of others explains the very strange not to say supernatural events that led to his admission into an institute for mentally disturbed persons.
- The supernatural elements are presented in a naturalistic framework however that lessons the credibility of this interesting account of the descent into mental illness.
8
295 1891-01 The Tombstones [36] Les Tombales love story The narrator recounts an adventure he had when visiting the tombstone of a former mistress in the Montmartre Cemetery.
- A darned good story, packed with the cynicism and the charm so typical of the author.
8.5
296 1893-03 The Pedlar [13] Le Colporteur humble drama in the suburbs The narrator goes boating on the Seine and walks back to his Parisian abode through the suburbs at night where he meets a pedlar coming back from a day’s work, who is only too happy to have company in those dangerous parts at nighttime. His day’s work has been particularly successful and he insists that the narrator come to have a glass of wine at his home to celebrate, but what the narrator saw there pretty well spoiled his day.
- An excellent albeit not particularly gay text, full of atmosphere. It was the very last text the brilliant author published before his untimely and tragic death shortly afterwards that year at the age of 42.
8.5
297 1900-06 Afterwards [37] Après religion and celibacy After the children had gone to bed after tenderly wishing goodnight to the abby Mauduit who had come to dinner as usual every Thursday, the countess de Saville asks him whether he doesn’t regret having been unable to have children of his own. The abby recounts his tortured loneliness during his youth and the awful incident that decided him to embark upon a life dedicated to the service of others.
- A moving final text.
8.5
298 1921-11 The Doctor Héraclius Gloss [6]

(novelette)
Le Docteur Héraclius Gloss social satire The doctor in question is a very respectable citizen who spends all of his time, apart from copious daily lunches (always of roast quail) and weekly visits with two learned friends, searching for ancient manuscripts that will enable him to penetrate deeper than anyone before into the mysterious world of philosophy. And one day he discovers an ancient manuscript about the transmigration of souls and becomes a fervent enthusiast of the doctrine of metempsychosis, to the point of renouncing to eat animals of any sort, even quail, because they might be a reincarnation of someone expiating in that form his or her errors in a previous existence. To cut a long story short, he ends up in the municipal insane asylum (twice!) after finally renouncing that doctrine, but then nevertheless seeking to eliminate as many animals in his neighbourhood (!) as possible.
- This spoof in a heavily satirical tone of the Parisian manias and events of the time is too caricatural to evoke any real interest for the modern reader after the first dozen or so of its thirty mini-chapters.
- Written in 1875, Le Docteur Héraclius Gloss was first published posthumously in 1921.
6

2. OTHER WORKS INCLUDED IN SOME ANTHOLOGIES OF STORIES BY MAUPASSANT

no. date English Title Original Title Genre Synopsis/Comments_____________________________________________________________
1 1882 Laughable Conflicts Conflits pour rire essay In the form of a public letter on the subject of the frequent conflicts between state and religion at the time, this militant text cites a scene in a Brittany village where the local priest was discovered mutilating the primitive sculpture on the frontal of his ancient church because it revealed too openly the natural attributes of its Adam and Eve figures, to illustrate the author’s conviction that the education system must not be influenced by literal interpretations of the Bible.
Never included in any of the 17 collections of his short fiction published by Maupassant during his lifetime, this work was included in the authoritative Pléiade edition of his collected stories in France in 1974 and has been included in most digital collections of his short fiction, but it is a (short) essay on the subject of religion in state schools nevertheless, and not a work of fiction.
2 1882 The Englishman of Etretat L’Anglais d’Etretat chronicle On the well-publicised occasion of a visit to Victor Hugo by the English poet Swinburne, the author remembers meeting the non-conformist English poet fifteen years earlier in the Norman coast town of Etretat.
This chronicle was published in the review Le Gaulois on November 4, 1882, and was the basis of Maupassant’s later study of Swinburne that he wrote for the French translation of Swinburne’s “Poems and Ballads” by Gabriel Mourey. It has been included in some digital collections of Maupassant’s stories at the end of the collection “Le Rosier de madame Husson”, but it was not included in any of the editions of that book published during the author’s lifetime. It is not a work of fiction.
3 1883 The Man-Woman L’Homme-Fille essay A discourse on men – essentially frivolous young Parisian social climbers – who have feminine qualities of the more changing and inconsistent sort that is not very complimentary to either sex.
Really an essay and not a story, it forcefully expresses the author’s opinions on the subject, but does not have any fictional content, a story line, dialogues or characters. It was originally published in the Gil-Blas periodical in March 1883 and was not included in any of the numerous collections of his stories published by Maupassant during his lifetime. It was however added posthumously to the collection Toine in a 1908 edition of his complete works, and has thereafter been included in most anthologies of Maupassant’s stories.
4 1884 Chronicle Chronique chronicle The author comments on two very recent criminal processes, whereby a) a young woman who threw a bottle of acid into the face of a rival for the attention of her lover was condemned to prison for one year; and b) a husband who shot his wife’s lover was also sentenced to a year in prison. With much sarcasm and not a little indignation he lets us know clearly what he thinks of his country’s judicial system. But there is worse to come – he concludes with an account of the tragic damages a witch-doctor inflicted on a desperate woman’s ailing child in Italy and the hesitant attitude of the authorities there...
This is a journalistic chronicle, one of Maupassant’s specialties, that has been included in most digital anthologies of Maupassant’s stories.
5 1884 Recollections Souvenirs chronicle The author remembers visiting the fair in Rouen with Gustave Flaubert and the poet Louis Bouilhet.
A chronicle published in the review Le Gaulois on December 4, 1884, it has been included in some digital editions of his stories at the end of the collection of stories “Le Rosier de madame Husson”, but it was not included in any of the editions of that collection published during the author’s lifetime. It not a work of fiction.
6 1884 Women Who Dare Celles qui osent essay This essay on libertarian morality in the form of a letter to René Maizeroy, a well-known author and close friend of Maupassant’s, was the prefix to Maizeroy’s book Women Who Dare. It has been included in some digital collections of Maupassant’s stories at the end of the collection “Le Rosier de madame Husson”, but it was not included in any of the editions of that book published during the author’s lifetime. It is not in any way a work of fiction.
7 1885 A Letter Une Lettre essay in a chronicle published in the journal Gil Blas on Dec. 6, 1885, the author presents a letter he says he had received from a lonely young woman looking for a husband, asking him to intercede for her with his (preferably wealthy) friends. He proceeds to emit various hypothesis about who could have written the letter – an enemy to trap him, a friend as a joke, etc. – and concludes with an appeal to the public to help him out.
Really a journalistic essay on the theme of mercantile marriages that was never published in any of the 15 collections of short stories published by Maupassant during his lifetime (or posthumously after his death until 1967).
8 1887 The Voyage of The Horla Le Voyage du Horla chronicle Maupassant vividly describes in this article published in the newspaper Le Figaro on July 16, 1887 under the title De Paris à Heyst the quite spectacular trip he took in The Horla, an ultra-modern balloon named after the story he had published the previous year, from Paris to the northern Belgian town of Heyst.
It has sometimes been included in some posthumous editions of his collection of stories The Horla, but was not included in any editions of that collection published during his lifetime. It is a journalistic chronicle, not a work of fiction.

3. INDEX OF STORIES IN ALPHABETIC ORDER (by English title)

A Christmas-Eve Party (Un Réveillon)
A Corsican bandit (Un bandit corse)
A Coup d’Etat (Un coup d’État)
A Coward (Un Lâche)
A Crazy Man? (Un Fou ?)
A Divorce Case (Un cas de divorce)
A Duel (Un Duel)
A Failure (Un Échec)
A Family (Une Famille)
A Madman (Un Fou)
A Memory (Souvenir)
A Memory #2 (Souvenir #2)
A Million (Un Million)
A Norman (Un Normand)
A Parisian adventure (Une Aventure parisienne )
A Parricide (Un Parricide)
A Passion (Une passion)
A Portrait (Un Portrait)
A Real Drama (Un Drame vrai)
A Rooster Crowed (Un Coq chanta)
A Ruse (Une ruse)
A Sale (Une Vente)
A Son (Un fils)
A Surprise (Une Surprise)
A Vendetta (Une Vendetta)
A Widow (Une Veuve)
A Wise Man (Un Sage)
Adieu
Afterwards (Après)
Alexandre
All Will Be Well (Ça ira)
Allouma
An Evening (Une Soirée)
An Old Man (Un Vieux)
An Outing in the Countryside (Une partie de campagne)
Andrew’s Pain (Le Mal d’André)
Apparition
At Sea (En Mer)
Awakening (Réveil)
Bed No. 29 (Le Lit 29)
Berthe
Beside a Corpse (Auprès d’un mort)
Boitelle
Bombard
Boniface’s Crime Case (Le Crime au père Boniface)
Boule de Suif
Châli
Christmas Night (Nuit de Noël)
Christmas Story (Conte de Noël)
Clochette
Coco
Coconut, Coconut, fresh Coconut! (Coco, Coco, Coco frais !)
Confessions of a woman (Confessions d’une femme)
Correspondence (Correspondance)
Corsican story (Histoire corse)
Crazy? (Fou ?)
Cry of Alarm (Cri d’alarme)
Cunning (Rouerie)
Day of Celebration (Jour de fête)
Decorated (Décoré )
Denis
Discovery (Découverte)
Divorce
Dreams (Rêves)
Duchoux
Encounter (Rencontre)
Father Judas (Le Père Judas)
Father Milon (Le Père Milon)
Father Mongilet (Le Père Mongilet)
Fear (La Peur)
Fear #2 (La Peur #2)
Finished (Fini)
First Snow (Première Neige)
For Sale (À Vendre)
Friend Patience (L’Ami Patience)
Happiness (Le Bonheur)
Hautot, Father and Son (Hautot père et fils)
Health Trip (Voyage de santé)
Him ? (Lui ?)
Honeymoon Trip (Voyage de Noce)
Humain Misery (Misère Humaine)
Humble Drama (Humble Drame)
Idyll (Idylle)
Imprudence
In Former Times (Jadis)
In the Bushes (Au Bois)
In the Family (En famille)
In the Fields (Aux champs)
In the Springtime (Au Printemps)
In the Train (En Wagon)
Joseph
Julie Romain
Letter found on a drowned man (Lettre trouvée sur un noyé)
Letter From a Madman (Lettre d’un fou)
Little Soldier (Petit Soldat)
Love (Amour)
M. Jocaste
Madame Baptiste
Madame Hermet
Madame Husson’s Rose-Boy (Le Rosier de Madame Husson)
Madame Parisse
Madame Tellier’s Establishment (La Maison Tellier)
Mademoiselle Cocotte
Mademoiselle Fifi
Mademoiselle Pearl (Mademoiselle Perle)
Magnetism (Magnétisme)
Marroca
Memories (Souvenirs)
Minuet (Menuet)
Miss Harriet
Mister Belhomme’s bug (La bête à Maît Belhomme)
Misti
Mohammed-Blackguard (Mohammed-Fripouille)
Moiron
Monsieur Parent
Moonlight (Clair de lune)
Moonlight #2 (Clair de Lune #2)
Mother Sauvage (La Mère Sauvage)
Mouche
My Twenty-Five Days (Mes vingt-cinq Jours)
My Uncle Jules (Mon Oncle Jules)
My Uncle Sosthène (Mon Oncle Sosthène)
My Wife (Ma Femme)
New Year Gifts (Étrennes)
Normandy Farce (Farce Normande)
Notes of a Traveller (Notes d’un voyageur)
Old Objects (Vieux Objets)
On a Spring Evening (Par un soir de printemps)
On Cats (Sur les Chats)
On Horseback (À Cheval)
On the Edge of the Bed (Au bord du lit)
On the Water (Sur l’eau)
One Evening (Un Soir)
Other Times (Autres Temps)
Our English People (Nos Anglais)
Our Letters (Nos Lettres)
Patients and Doctors (Malades et médecins)
Paul’s Mistress (La Femme de Paul)
Petition of an Involuntary High-Liver (Pétition d’un viveur malgré lui)
Pierrot
Promenade
Public Opinion (Opinion Publique)
Queen Hortense (La Reine Hortense)
Rabid? (Enragée ?)
Regrets (Regret)
Roger’s Method (Le Moyen de Roger)
Room 11 (La Chambre 11)
Rosalie Prudent
Rose
Rustic Tribunals (Tribunaux rustiques)
Saint Antoine (Saint-Antoine)
Saved (Sauvée)
Simon’s Papa (Le Papa de Simon)
Society Conversations (Comment on cause)
Solitude
Story of a farm girl (Histoire d’une fille de ferme)
Suicides
That Girl Martine (La Martine)
That Swine Morin (Ce Cochon de Morin)
The 25 francs of the Mother Superior (Les 25 Francs de la supérieure)
The Abandoned Child (L’Abandonné)
The Accursed Bread (Le Pain Maudit)
The Adventure of Walter Schnaffs (L’Aventure de Walter Schnaffs)
The Advice of a grandmother (Les Conseils d’une grand’mère)
The Avenger (Le Vengeur)
The Baptism (Le Baptême)
The Baptism #2 (Le Baptême #2)
The Baroness (La Baronne)
The Bed (Le Lit)
The Beggar (Le Gueux)
The Blind Man (L’Aveugle)
The Boss Woman (La Patronne)
The Cake (Le Gâteau)
The Caresses (Les Caresses)
The Case of Madame Luneau (Le Cas de Madame Luneau)
The Child (L’Enfant)
The Child #2 (L’Enfant #2)
The Colonel’s Ideas (Les Idées du Colonel)
The Condemned Prisoner (Le Condamné à mort)
The Confession (La Confession (à l’origine : L’Aveu) )
The Confession #2 (L’Aveu #2)
The Confession #3 (La Confession #2)
The Confession #4 (La Confession #3)
The Confession of Théodule Sabot (La Confession de Théodule Sabot)
The Cough (La Toux)
The Crazy Woman (La Folle)
The Cripple (L’Infirme)
The Cupboard (L’Armoire)
The Dead Woman (La Morte)
The Devil (Le Diable)
The Diamond Necklace (La Parure)
The Doctor Héraclius Gloss (Le Docteur Héraclius Gloss)
The Donkey (L’Âne)
The Door (La Porte)
The Dowry (La Dot)
The Dried Hand (La Main d’écorché)
The Drowned Man (Le Noyé)
The Drunkard (L’Ivrogne)
The Farmer (Le Fermier)
The Father (Le Père)
The Father #2 (Le Père #2)
The Friend Joseph (L’Ami Joseph)
The Funeral Pyre (Le Bûcher)
The Greenhouse (La Serre)
The Guardian (Le Garde)
The Hairpiece (La Chevelure)
The Hand (La Main)
The Heritage ( L’Héritage)
The Hermit (L’Ermite)
The Hole (Le Trou)
The Horla (Le Horla)
The Horror (L’Horrible)
The Inheritance (Le legs)
The Inn (L’Auberge)
The Jewels (Les Bijoux)
The Kings (Les Rois)
The Kiss (Le Baiser)
The Latin Question (La Question du latin)
The Legend of Mont-Saint-Michel (La Légende du Mont-Saint-Michel)
The Little Barrel (Le Petit Fût)
The Little One (Le Petit)
The little Roque girl (La Petite Roque)
The Lock (Le Verrou)
The Log (La Bûche)
The Man From Mars (L’Homme de Mars)
The Marquis de Fumerol (Le Marquis de Fumerol)
The Marriage of Lieutenant Laré (Le Mariage du lieutenant Laré)
The Mask (Le Masque)
The Model (Le Modèle)
The Mother of Monsters (La Mère aux monstres)
The Murderer (L’Assassin)
The Mustache (La Moustache)
The Night (La Nuit)
The Odyssey of a Street Girl (L’Odyssée d’une Fille)
The Old Amable (Le Pére Amable)
The Old Man (Le Vieux)
The Olive Grove (Le Champ d’oliviers)
The Ordinance (L’Ordonnance)
The Orient (L’Orient)
The Orphan (L’Orphelin)
The Pardon (Le Pardon)
The Pedlar (Le Colporteur)
The Pin (L’Épingle)
The Pins (Les Épingles)
The Port (Le Port)
The Prank (La Farce)
The Prisoners (Les Prisonniers)
The Protector (Le Protecteur)
The Provider of Holy Water (Le Donneur d’eau bénite)
The Rabbit (Le Lapin)
The Relic (La Relique)
The Rendezvous (Le Rendez-vous)
The Return (Le Retour)
The Revenge (La Revanche)
The Rock of the Guillemots (La Roche aux Guillemots)
The Rondoli Sisters (Les Sœurs Rondoli)
The Rust (La Rouille)
The Secret (La Confidence)
The Shepherd’s Leap (Le Saut du Berger)
The Sign (Le Signe)
The Soporific (L’Endormeuse)
The Story of a Dog (Histoire d’un chien)
The Strange Woman (L’Inconnue)
The Straw-weaver (La Rempailleuse)
The String (La Ficelle)
The Substitute (Le Remplaçant)
The Sundays of a Parisian Bourgeois (Les Dimanches d’un bourgeois de Paris)
The Test (L’Épreuve)
The Thief (Le Voleur)
The Tomb (La tombe)
The Tombstones (Les Tombales)
The Twitch (Le Tic)
The Umbrella (Le Parapluie)
The Useless Beauty (L’Inutile Beauté)
The Vagabond (Le Vagabond)
The Vigil (La veillée)
The Wait (L’Attente)
The Will (Le Testament)
The Window (La Fenêtre)
The Wolf (Le Loup)
The Woodcock (La Bécasse)
The Woodcocks (Les Bécasses)
The Wooden Shoes (Les Sabots)
The Wreck (L’Épave)
Timbuktu (Tombouctou)
Toine
True Story (Histoire Vrai)
Two Friends (Deux amis )
Vain Advice (Vains conseils)
Waiter, a bock! (Garçon, un bock!)
While Traveling (En Voyage)
While Travelling #2 (En Voyage #2)
White and Blue (Blanc et bleu)
Who Knows ? (Qui sait ?)
Words of Love (Mots d’Amour)
Wrecks (Épaves)
Yveline Samoris
Yvette


4. INDEX OF STORIES IN ALPHABETIC ORDER (by French title)

À Cheval
À Vendre
Adieu
Alexandre
Allouma
Amour
Apparition
Après
Au Bois
Au bord du lit
Au Printemps
Auprès d’un mort
Autres Temps
Aux champs
Berthe
Blanc et bleu
Boitelle
Bombard
Boule de Suif
Ça ira
Ce Cochon de Morin
Châli
Clair de lune
Clair de Lune #2
Clochette
Coco, Coco, Coco frais !
Coco
Comment on cause
Confessions d’une femme
Conte de Noël
Correspondance
Cri d’alarme
Décoré
Découverte
Denis
Deux amis
Divorce
Duchoux
En famille
En Mer
En Voyage
En Voyage #2
Enragée ?
Épaves
Étrennes
Farce Normande
Fini
Fou ?
Garçon, un bock !
Hautot père et fils
Histoire corse
Histoire d’un chien
Histoire d’une fille de ferme
Histoire Vrai
Honeymoon Trip
Humble Drame
Idyll (Idylle)
IEn Wagon
Imprudence
Jadis
Joseph
Jour de fête
Julie Romain
L’Abandonné
L’Ami Joseph
L’Ami Patience
L’Âne
L’Armoire
L’Assassin
L’Attente
L’Auberge
L’Aventure de Walter Schnaffs
L’Aveu
L’Aveu #2
L’Aveugle
L’Endormeuse
L’Enfant
L’Enfant #2
L’Épave
L’Épingle
L’Épreuve
L’Ermite
L’Héritage
L’Homme de Mars
L’Horrible
L’Inconnue
L’Infirme
L’Inutile Beauté
L’Ivrogne
L’Odyssée d’une Fille
L’Ordonnance
L’Orient
L’Orphelin
La Baronne
La Bécasse
La bête à Maît Belhomme
La Bûche
La Chambre 11
La Chevelure
La Confession
La Confession #2
La Confession #3
La Confession de Théodule Sabot
La Confidence
La Dot
La Farce
La Femme de Paul
La Fenêtre
La Ficelle
La Folle
La Légende du Mont-Saint-Michel
La Main d’écorché
La Main
La Maison Tellier
La Martine
La Mère aux monstres
La Mère Sauvage
La Morte
La Moustache
La Nuit
La Parure
La Patronne
La Petite Roque
La Peur
La Peur #2
La Porte
La Question du latin
La Reine Hortense
La Relique
La Rempailleuse
La Revanche
La Roche aux Guillemots
La Rouille
La Serre
La tombe
La Toux
La veillée
Le Baiser
Le Baptême
Le Baptême #2
Le Bonheur
Le Bûcher
Le Cas de Madame Luneau
Le Champ d’oliviers
Le Colporteur
Le Condamné à mort
Le Crime au père Boniface
Le Diable
Le Docteur Héraclius Gloss
Le Donneur d’eau bénite
Le Fermier
Le Garde
Le Gâteau
Le Gueux
Le Horla
Le Lapin
Le legs
Le Lit
Le Lit 29
Le Loup
Le Mal d’André
Le Mariage du lieutenant Laré
Le Marquis de Fumerol
Le Masque
Le Modèle
Le Moyen de Roger
Le Noyé
Le Pain Maudit
Le Papa de Simon
Le Parapluie
Le Pardon
Le Père
Le Père #2
Le Pére Amable
Le Père Judas
Le Père Milon
Le Père Mongilet
Le Petit Fût
Le Petit
Le Port
Le Protecteur
Le Remplaçant
Le Rendez-vous
Le Retour
Le Rosier de Madame Husson
Le Saut du Berger
Le Signe
Le Testament
Le Tic
Le Trou
Le Vagabond
Le Vengeur
Le Verrou
Le Vieux
Le Voleur
Les 25 Francs de la supérieure
Les Bécasses
Les Bijoux
Les Caresses
Les Conseils d’une grand’mère
Les Dimanches d’un bourgeois de Paris
Les Épingles
Les Idées du Colonel
Les Prisonniers
Les Rois
Les Sabots
Les Sœurs Rondoli
Les Tombales
Lettre d’un fou
Lettre trouvée sur un noyé
Lui ?
M. Jocaste
Ma Femme
Madame Baptiste
Madame Hermet
Madame Parisse
Mademoiselle Cocotte
Mademoiselle Fifi
Mademoiselle Perle
Magnétisme
Malades et médecins
Marroca
Menuet
Mes vingt-cinq Jours
Misère Humaine
Miss Harriet
Misti
Mohammed-Fripouille
Moiron
Mon Oncle Jules
Mon Oncle Sosthène
Monsieur Parent
Mots d’Amour
Mouche
Nos Anglais
Nos Lettres
Notes d’un voyageur
Nuit de Noël
Opinion Publique
Par un soir de printemps
Petit Soldat
Pétition d’un viveur malgré lui
Pierrot
Première Neige
Promenade
Qui sait ?
Regret
Rencontre
Réveil
Rêves
Rosalie Prudent
Rose
Rouerie
Saint-Antoine
Sauvée
Solitude
Souvenir
Souvenir #2
Souvenirs
Suicides
Sur l’eau
Sur les Chats
Toine
Tombouctou
Tribunaux rustiques
Un bandit corse
Un cas de divorce
Un Coq chanta
Un coup d’État
Un Drame vrai
Un Duel
Un Échec
Un fils
Un Fou
Un Fou ?
Un Lâche
Un Million
Un Normand
Un Parricide
Un Portrait
Un Réveillon
Un Sage
Un Soir
Un Vieux
Une Aventure parisienne
Une Famille
Une partie de campagne
Une passion
Une ruse
Une Soirée
Une Surprise
Une Vendetta
Une Vente
Une Veuve
Vains conseils
Vieux Objets
Voyage de santé
Yveline Samoris
Yvette


5. REFERENCES

5.1. SITES

- Project Gutenberg: downloadable Maupassant stories

- Guy de Maupassant in Wikipedia

5.2. ANTHOLOGIES

- Guy de Maupassant – Œuvres complètes (Arvensa, digital edition; 9,448 pages)

- Complete Short Stories Guy de Maupassant (Rupa Publications India, 1024 pages)

- Guy de Maupassant, contes et nouvelles, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 2 volumes, 1974-79.

Footnotes

[1not counting 8 essays and chronicles identified above that are not works of fiction but have been included in some anthologies of his work published posthumously.

[2first published in book form posthumously in Œuvres complètes de Guy de Maupassant [Complete Works of Guy de Maupassant] in 1908.

[3first published in 1880 in the Les Soirées de Medan, a celebrated collection of stories by Zola, Huysmans, Maupassant, Hennique, Céard and Alexis.

[4first published in book form posthumously in an illustrated edition in 1901.

[5first published in book form in Maupassant’s first collection of stories, La Maison Tellier (1881).

[6first published in book form posthumously in the collection La Pléiade (1974-79).

[7this previously-unpublished story was first published in the collection La Maison Tellier (1881).

[8first published in book form in the original Belgian edition of Maupassant’s second collection of stories, Mademoiselle Fifi (1882).

[9first published in book form in Maupassant’s fourth collection of stories, Clair de Lune (1883).

[10first published in book form in the 1883 edition of the collection Mademoiselle Fifi.

[11first published in book form posthumously in the Albin Michel collection Misti (1967).

[12first published in book form in Maupassant’s third collection of stories, Contes de la Bécasse (1883).

[13first published in book form posthumously in the collection Le Colporteur [The Peddler] (1900).

[14first published in book form posthumously in the collection Le Père Milon (1899).

[15previously unpublished, this story was first published in the collection Clair de Lune (1883).

[16first published in book form in the 1899-1904 Ollendorf illustrated edition of Maupassant’s collected works.

[17first published in book form in Maupassant’s fifth collection of stories, Miss Harriet (1884).

[18first published in the collection Miss Harriet (1884).

[19first published in book form posthumously in the 1964 edition of the Albin Michel collection Contes.

[20first published in book form posthumously in the Albin Michel collection Contes in 1956.

[21first published in book form in Maupassant’s sixth collection of stories, Les Sœurs Rondoli (1884).

[22first published in book form in Maupassant’s eighth collection of stories, Contes de Jour et de la Nuit (1885).

[23first published in book form in Maupassant’s seventh collection of stories, Yvette (1884).

[24first published in the collection Yvette (1884).

[25first published in book form posthumously in the 1909 edition of the collection Claire de Lune.

[26first published in book form in Maupassant’s tenth collection of stories, Toine (1886).

[27first published in book form posthumously in the 1964-67 edition of the Albin Michel collection Contes.

[28first published in book form in Maupassant’s ninth collection of stories, Monsieur Parent (1885).

[29first published in book form in Maupassant’s eleventh collection of stories, La Petite Roque (1886).

[30first published in book form in Maupassant’s twelfth collection of stories, Le Horla (1887).

[31first published in book form in the 1887 edition of the collection Contes du Jour et de la Nuit.

[32first published in book form in the 1888 edition of the collection Clair de Lune.

[33first published in book form in Maupassant’s thirteenth collection, Le Rosier de madame Husson (1888).

[34first published in book form in Maupassant’s fourteenth collection, La Main Gauche (1889).

[35first published in book form in Maupassant’s fifteenth collection of stories, the last published during his lifetime, L’Inutile Beauté (1890).

[36first published in book form in the second edition of the collection La Maison Tellier in 1891.

[37first published posthumously in the collection Le Colporteur (1900).