Title: A Meeting.
Date Read: 12th December 2011
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Finding his wife in the embrace of another man, Baron d’Etraille informs his wife that they are going to split, amicably. They meet again by chance six years later, but it soon becomes clear to the Baron that this meeting may not be as incidental as he may have first thought.
Afterthoughts: A delightful and mildly humourous story from Maupassant, in which he shows moments of real sublimity in his prose (see the quoted passage below for example). The highlight of this story however lies not in its ending, which is certainly satisfying enough, but in Maupassant’s short contemplation on ageing, and on how people can change to the point where ‘only the outline [of a person] can be recognised’. Beautifully observed, and well worth reading for this reason alone.
Notable Quote: It was she, indeed; she whom he had loved, but who was now altered, with a more assured smile and greater self-possession. There were two women in one, mingling a great part of what was new and unknown with many sweet recollections of the past. There was something singular, disturbing, exciting about it –a kind of mystery of love in which there floated a delicious confusion. It was his wife in a new body and in new flesh which lips had never pressed.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.