Devouring de Maupassant: Two Friends

Title: Two Friends
Date Read: 22 March 2009
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Despite the Prussian siege of the French capital, two Parisian gentlemen – watchmaker Monsieur Morissot and draper Monsieur Sauvage, decide to seek permission to pass through the fortified French lines in order to re-engage in their weekly pastime of fishing the Ile Marante in Colombes. Permission is granted and the two settle down for a day’s fishing, with any thoughts of their country at war, being far from them minds.
Afterthoughts: I’m in awe because this is a truly beautiful story from De Maupassant, with so many elements to it – friendship, loyalty, hope, despair, and all told in a simple yet profound way. I’ve already had a recent epiphany over one French author a couple of weeks ago (Proust) and this story (along with La Horla) is convincing me that I’m just about to have a second (so don’t be surprised if I announce another new personal reading challenge next week :o)).
Notable Quote: “Before the war broke out Morissot had been in the habit, every Sunday morning, of setting forth with a bamboo rod in his hand and a tin box on his back. He took the Argenteuil train, got out at Colombes, and walked thence to the Ile Marante. The moment he arrived at this place of his dreams he began fishing, and fished till nightfall.”

Rating: ★★★★½

*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I absolutely love Maupassant. Highly recommend.In some ways I like him better than Chekhov. But Chekhov wins in other ways. I only read about 80 of his stories last summer. Must go reread…

  2. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Only? 80 is quite a lot Rebecca (although less than a third of the total he published). Anyway I know where to come when I want some expert advice :o).

  3. Rob, The volume I read had about 270 stories (billed as “The complete”…) and only put a small dent in the pile… I guess while I loved his stories, I only could read 80 at a time. Hence the need to read more now! Anyway, I hope you enjoy him when you read him!

  4. I read some of de Maupassant’s stories in French in highschool and I remember liking his stories then as well. I recently revisited him – in large part because of Rebecca’s blogging about him and because I came across a collection of his stories in English. This one (and The Horla) were among them. I loved the stories all over again and I’ll definitely be looking for more of his stories.

    Rob, I highly recommend you to read more of de Maupassant’s work. I think you’ll appreciate his stories.

  5. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Rebecca – Do you have an ISBN for that volume? I know it doesn’t contain them all but it’s a good starting point. Emm….then again I’ve already upped about a 100 of the stories on to my Sony Reader. Ahhh..but what if I want to read them in the bath?…Owwww, decisions decisions! :o)

    Myrthe – Consider your much-valued recommendation taken on board. Thank you and [watch this space]

  6. Actually the volume I read is supposedely the complete short stories; I only read 80 out of the 270. It was edited by Professor Artine Artinian; copyright 1955 by Doubleday under the imprint Hanover House, no ISBN number, no indication of who translated it. I found it specifically because two reviewers on amazon said it was the one to read. I was lucky enough to find it in my library in Australia (in the “vault”). I just couldn’t, in that month, read all of them. Too bad, because it seems that volume is rather hard to find! I’ll probably never find it again.

  7. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Thanks for the info Rebecca. Has anyone ever told you how wonderfully helpful you are?

  8. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Me again Rebecca. After a few hours of research I now know that the Artine Artinian edition of De Maupassant is essential for finding out the authentic De Maupassant shorts. However I’m only keen to know the 270 (271?) stories which Artinian ascribed as being wholly authored by De Maupassant. A long shot I know but did you manage to note down or photocopy the index of the 270 stories? Sorry to ask. It’s just such a hard book to get a hold of now (as you’ve already noted)