Date Read: 17th January 2011
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Showing an obvious affection for children, the aged Comtesse de Saville is puzzled as to why the equally aged Abbé Mauduit has chosen to live a life without marriage and family. With her grandchildren tucked up bed the comtesse seizes an opportunity to question the old abbot.
Afterthoughts: This is a beautifully penned story from Maupassant, one which philosophises on the effects of separation and isolation on a young mind (in this case a child who has been sent to a boarding school). As one can imagine it’s rather a sad tale (which becomes even sadder the more one reads), yet it remains essential reading. A perfect story perhaps, for those who want something with substance, on which to ruminate over on a cold winter’s night?
Notable Quote: Come now, M. le Cure, tell me this–tell me how it was you resolved to renounce forever all that makes the rest of us love life–all that consoles and sustains us? What is it that drove you, impelled you, to separate yourself from the great natural path of marriage and the family? You are neither an enthusiast nor a fanatic, neither a gloomy person nor a sad person. Was it some incident, some sorrow, that led you to take life vows?
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.