Title: The Jewels (also known as The False Gems)
Date Read: 27 July 2009
Available Online?: YES.
Briefly: Monsieur Lantin, a senior clerk at the Ministry of the Interior, is married to a beautiful and intelligent woman, whose only vice is a love for theatre and for jewellery. Being of simple and reasonably poor means, the wife’s taste for jewellery can only extend to imitation pieces, but she doesn’t seem too bothered by this.
Afterthoughts: In the translator’s notes of a recently purchased Leisure Circle Library collection of Maupassant stories, Roger Colet makes no apology for omitting The Necklace from the collection, preferring instead to include The Jewels due to it being ‘a vastly superior story’. Having not long ago read The Necklace, and enjoying it immensely (as I know many other readers have), I was intrigued to find out how Colet’s claims measured up. Now that I have read it I’ve got to say that Colet is spot on. The Jewels is a much better story, and it reads as a kind of antonym to The Necklace. I loved it!
Notable Quote: ‘Her husband, who was rather shocked by this love of show, often used to say: “My dear, when a woman can’t afford to buy real jewels, she ought to appear adorned with her beauty and grace alone: those are still the rarest of gems. But she would smile sweetly and reply” I can’t help it. I like imitation jewellery. It’s my only vice. I know you’re right but people can’t change their natures.” ‘
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.