Title: Mademoiselle Fifi
Date Read: 28 May 2009
Available Online?: YES (it should be noted though, that the version I read was from the Capuchin Classics edition On Horseback and Other Stories).
Briefly: This story focuses on the antics of a bunch of Prussian officers who are ‘holed up’ in the wealthy surroundings of a French chateau. With the local French populous being easy to contain, the officers soon get bored, and when the ‘rearranging’ and dismantling of the lush interior becomes exhausted, the Prussian officers decide that a wagon full of French ladies is just the thing to bring a bit of light relief.
Afterthoughts: What another delightful tale from De Maupassant, but for anyone who may think from its title that this is some kind of French love story, I can tell you that you are way off the mark. I won’t say any more on that in case I spoil it for you, but I will say that for its delightful humour (especially the ‘teapot mines’), and it’s wholly unexpected ending, this is an absolute must-read. Superb!
Notable Quote: “The little marquis went into the drawing-room to get what he wanted, and returned with a small, delicate china teapot, which he filled with gunpowder. He then carefully pushed a fuse through the spout. This he lighted and took his infernal machine into the next room, after which he came back immediately and shut the door. The Germans all stood expectant, their faces full of childish, smiling curiosity, and as soon as the explosion had shaken the chateau, they all rushed in.”
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.