Title: The Signal.
Date Read: 31st May 2010
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: While still asleep in her bed one morning, the Marquise de Rennedon is rudely awakened by the unexpected arrival of her friend the Baronne de Grangerie. The Baronne is in a state. It seems her decision to be a little playful with the men who stroll the street beneath her Parisian(?) apartment window has backfired somewhat. The Marquise listens intently as Madame de Grangerie explains all.
Afterthoughts: Maupassant is as frisky with this tale as the characters he manipulates in it. And while he explores a number of serious moral issues, he does so with an exquisite air of playfulness. I wouldn’t say that this is one of his best tales I’ve read to date but it’s a good one nonetheless.
Notable Quote: “I asked myself: How does she manage to make herself understood so quickly, so well and so completely? Does she add a sign of the head or a motion of the hands to her looks? And I took my opera-glasses to watch her proceedings. Oh! they were very simple: first of all a glance, then a smile, then a slight sign with the head, which meant: ‘Are you coming up?’ But it was so slight, so vague, so discreet, that it required a great deal of knack to succeed as she did. And I asked myself: ‘I wonder if I could do that little movement, from below upwards, which was at the same time bold and pretty, as well as she does,’ for her gesture was very pretty.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.