Title: A Farm Girl’s Story (also known as The Story of a Farm Girl)
Date Read: 8th February 2009
Available Online?: YES (although read for this review was the David Coward translation of the story in A Day in the Country and Other Stories (Oxford University Press)).
Briefly: On a farm in the middle of the French countryside, overworked and undervalued serving girl Rose, begins to relent to the charms of resident farmhand Jacques. One thing thing leads to another (as it always does with amorous farmhands :)), Rose gets pregnant and Jacques runs off abandoning her. Fraught with worry, Rose’s biggest concern now is keeping her pregnancy a secret for as long as possible.
Afterthoughts: Although this story is somewhat lengthy, it’s a real classic. Certainly never to be described as a laugh-a-minute, Maupassant’s exploration of unwanted pregnancy is the story’s real triumph. That, and a perfect demonstration of the storyteller’s sublime skill in establishing setting.
Notable Quote: The farmyard, which was surrounded by trees, seemed to be asleep. The tall grass, amid which the tall yellow dandelions rose up like streaks of yellow light, was of a vivid, fresh spring green. The apple trees cast their shade all round them, and the thatched roofs, on which grew blue and yellow irises, with their sword-like leaves, steamed as if the moisture of the stables and barns were coming through the straw. The girl went to the shed, where the carts and buggies were kept. Close to it, in a ditch, there was a large patch of violets, whose fragrance was spread abroad, while beyond the slope the open country could be seen, where grain was growing, with clumps of trees in places, and groups of laborers here and there, who looked as small as dolls, and white horses like toys, who were drawing a child’s cart, driven by a man as tall as one’s finger.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.