Title: The First Snowfall
Date Read: 06 February 2012
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: When a Norman gentleman takes his young Parisian wife home to live in his chateau, she becomes sad and melancholic about the loneliness of the place, and the cold conditions that she has to endure. Unable to take it any more she asks her husband to install a furnace in the castle, and when he refuses she comes up with a plan that can’t fail to grab the husband’s attention.
Afterthoughts: This is rather a sad tale from Maupassant (or more accurately, SAD as in Seasonal Affective Disorder), about a wife who is largely ignored by her husband until she does something so detrimental to her health, that she contracts a terminal illness. Rather than mourn about it though, the woman takes comfort in the fact that she is able to live out her final weeks in a place where she doesn’t have to endure the ‘hardships’ that she had to when she was fit and well. I hyphenated ‘hardships’ because I didn’t feel personally as though the woman’s life was all that bad, even with the author painting it in such a way. I’ve a feeling that I would have been more sympathetic towards the story’s protagonist had Maupassant created a stronger character, but in the end I just thought of her as being whiney and weak. A good story nonetheless, but one that feels quite trivial for the most part.
Notable Quote: She stretched out her shivering hands to the big flames. The glaring fire burned her face; but icy whiffs seemed to glide down her back and to penetrate between her skin and her underclothing. And she shivered from head to foot. Innumerable draughts of air appeared to have taken up their abode in the apartment, living, crafty currents of air as cruel as enemies. She encountered them at every moment; they blew on her incessantly their perfidious and frozen hatred, now on her face, now on her hands, and now on her back.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.