Guy de Maupassant.

The complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant online

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life. I, who come of a good family,
and who was an ofiScer of the Honveds,
must now go into service, and thank
God if I find a mistress who is at the
same time beautiful and an aristocrat,
as you are."

Miss Zoe — ^that was the lovely wo-
man's name — ^smiled, and at the same
time showed two rows of pearly teeth.

"I like your looks," she said, "and
I feel inclined to take you into my
service if you are satisfied with my
terms."

"A lady's whim," said the maid to
herself, when she noticed the ardent
looks which Miss Zoe gave her man-
servant; "it will soon pass away." But
that experienced female was mistake
that time.



Zoe was really in love, and the re-
spect with which Lajos treated her put
her into a very bad temper. One eve-
ning, when she intended to go to the
Italian Opera, she countermanded her
carriage, refused to see the noble adorer
who wished to throw himself at her
feet, and ordered her groom to be sent
up to her boudoir.

"Lajos," she began, "I am not at all
satisfied with you."

"Why, Madame?"

"I do not wish to have you about mc
any longer; here are your wages for
three months. Leave the house imme-
diately." And she began to walk up
and down the room impatiently.

"I will obey you, Madame," the
groom replied, "but I shall not take my
wages."

"Why not?" she asked hastily.

"Because then I should be under your
authority for three months," Lajos
said, "and I intend to be free, this very
moment, so that I may be able to tell
you that I entered your service, not for
the sake of your money, but because I
love and adore you as a beautiful
woman."

"You love me!" Zoe exclaimed
"Why did you not tell me sooner? I
merely wished to banish you from my
presence, because I love you, and did
not think that you loved me. But you
shall smart for having tormented me
so. Come to my feet immediately."

The groom kneeled before the lovely
creature, whose moist lips sought his
at the same instant.

From that moment Lajos became her
favorite. Of course he was not allowed
to be jealous, as a young lord was still
her official lover, and had the pleasme



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THE ODALISQUE OF SENICHOU



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of pajdng for everything. Besides,
there was a whole army of so-called
"good friends," who were fortunate
enough to obtain a smile now and then,
and occasionally something more, and
who, in return, had permission to pre-
sent her with rare flowers or diamonds.

The more intimate Zoe became with
Lajos, the more uncomfortable she felt
when he looked at her, as he frequently
did, with undisguised contempt. She
was wholly under his influence and was
afraid of him, and one day, when he was
playing with her dark curls, he said
jerringly:

"It is said that contrasts usually at-
tract each other, and yet you are as dark
as I am."

She smiled, then tore off her black
curls, and immediately the most charm-
ing, fair-haired woman was sitting by
the side of Lajos, who looked nf her at-
tentively, but without any surprise.

He left his mistress at about mid-
night, in order to look after the horses,



as he said, and she put on a very pretty
nightdress and went to bed. She re-
mained awake for fully an hour, ex-
pecting her lover, and Uien she went to
sleep. But in two hours' time she was
roused from her slumbers, and saw a
Police Inspector and two constables by
the side of her magnificent bed.

"Whom do you want?" she cried.

"Cscila K ."

"I am Miss Zoe."

"Oh! I know you," the Inspector
said with a smile; "be kind enough to
take off your dark locks, and you will

be Caecilia K . I arrest you, in thd

name of the law."

"Good heavens!" she stammered,
"Lajos has betrayed me."

'"You are mistaken, Madame," the In-
spector replied; "he has merely done his
duty."

"What? Lajos— my lover?"

"No, Lajos, the detective."

Cascilia got out of bed, and the next
moment sank fainting on to the floor.



The Odalisque of Senichou



In Senichou, which is a suburb of
Prague, there lived about twenty years
ago two poor but honest people, who
earned their bread by the sweat of their
brow. The man worked in a large print-
ing establishment, and his wife employed
her spare time as a laundress. Their
pride and their only pleasure was their
daughter Viteska, a vigorous, voluptuous,
handsome girl of eighteen, whom they
brought up very well and carefully. She
worked as a dressmaker, and was thus



able to help her parents a little. She
made use of her leisure moments to im-
prove her education, and especially her
music, was a general favorite itf the
neighborhood on account of her qiuet
and modest demeanor, and was looked
upon as a model by the whole suburb.

When she went to work in town, the
tall girl, with her magnificent head —
which resembled that of an ancient
Amazon in its wealth of black hair —
and dark, sparkling yet liquid eyes, at-



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WORKS OF GUY DE MAUPASSANT



tracted the looks of passers-by, in spite
of her shabby dress, much more than
the graceful, well-dressed ladies of the
aristocracy. Frequently some wealthy
young lounger would follow her home;
and even try to get into conversation
with her, but she always managed to get
rid of them and their importunities.
She did not require any protector, for
she was quite capable of protecting her-
self from any insults.

One evening, however, she met a man
on the suspension bridge whose strange
appearance drew from her a look which
evinced some interest, but perhaps even
more surprise. He was a tall, handsome
man with bright eyes and a black beard,
was very sunburned, and in his long
coat — ^which was like a caftan — ^with a
red fez on his head, he gave those who
saw him the impression of an Oriental!
He had noticed her look all the more
as he himself had been struck by her
poor, and at the same time regal, ap-
pearance. He remained standing and
looking at her in such a way that he
seemed to be devouring her with his
eyes, and Viteska, who was usually so
fearless, looked down. She hurried on
and he followed her; the quicker she
walked, the more rapidly he followed
her, and, at last, when they were in a
narrow, dark street in the suburb, he
suddenly said in an insinuating voice:

"May I offer you my arm, my pretty
giri?"

'^ou can see that I am old enough
to look after myself," Viteska replied
hastily; "I am much obliged to you, and
must beg you not to follow me any
more; I am known in this neighborhood,
and it might damage my reputation.*'

**0h! You are very much mistaken



if you think you will get rid of me so
easily," he replied. "I have just come
from the East and am returning there
soon. Come with me, and as I fancy
that you are as sensible as you are
beautiful, you will certainly make your
fortune there. I will bet that before
the end of a year, you will be covered
with diamonds and be waited on by
eunuchs and female slaves."

"I am a respectable girl, sir," she re-
plied proudly, and tried to go on in
front, but the stranger was immediately
at her side again

"You were born to rule," he whispered
to her. "Believe me, and I understand
the matter, that you will live to be a
Sultaness, if you have any luck."

The girl did not give him any an-
swer, but walked on.

"But, at any rate, listen to me,*' the
tempter continued.

"I will not listen to anything; be-
cause I am poor, 3rou think it will be
easy for you to seduce me," Viteska
exclaimed; "but I am as virtuous as i
am poor, and I should despise any posi-
tion which I had to buy with my
shame."

They had reached the little house
where her parents lived, and she ran in
quickly and slammed the door bdiind
her.

When she went into the town the
next morning, the stranger was waiting
at the comer of the street where she |
lived, and bowed to her very respect-
fuUy.

"Allow me to speak a few words with
you," he began. "I feel that I oug^t
to beg your pardon for my behavior
yesterday." |

"Please let me go on my way quietly."



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THE ODALISQUE OF SENICHOU



629



the girl replied. "What will the neigh-
bors think of me?"

"I did not know you," he went on,
without paying any attention to her
angry looks, "but your extraordinary
beauty attracted me. Now that I know
that you are as virtuous as you are
charming, I wish very much to become
better acquainted with you. BeUeve
me, I have the most honorable inten-
tions."

Unfortimately, the bold stranger had
taken the girl's fancy, and she could
not find it in her heart to refuse him.

"If you are really in earnest," she
stammered in charming confusion, "do
not follow me about in the public
streets, but come to my parents' house
like a man of honor, and state your in-
tentions there."

"I will certainly do so, and imme-
diately, if you like," the Sitranger re-
plied, eagerly.

''No, no," Viteska said; "but come
this evening if you like."

The stranger bowed and left her, and
really called on her parents in the eve-
ning. He introduced himself as Ireneus
Krisapolis, a merchant from Smyrna,
spoke of his brilliant cricumstances, and
finally declared that he loved Viteska
passionately.

"That is all very nice and right," the
cautious father replied, "but what will
it all lead to? Under no circumstances
can I allow you to visit my daughter.
Such a passion as yours often dies out
as quickly as it arises, and a respectable
girl is easily robbed of her virtue."

"And suppose I make up my mind to
marry your daughter?" the stranger
asked, after a moment's hesitation.

"Then I shall refer you to my child.



for I shall never force Viteska to marry
against her will," her father said.

The stranger seized the pretty girl's
hand, and spoke in glowing terms of his
love for her, of the luxury with which
she would be surrounded in his house,
of the wonders of the East, to which he
hoped to take her, and at last Viteska
consented to become his wife. There-
upon the stranger hurried on the ar-
rangements for the wedding in a manner
that made the most favorable impression
on them all, and during the time before
their marriage, he virtually lay at her
feet like a humble slave.

As soon as they were married, the
newly-married couple set off on their
journey to Smyrna and promised to
write as soon as they got there. But a
month, then two and three, passed with-
out the parents — ^whose anxiety in-
creased every day — receiving a line from
them unta at last the father in terror
applied to the police.

The first thing was to write to the
Consul at Smyrna for information: his
reply was to the effect that no merchant
of the name of Ireneus Krisapolis was
known in Smyrna, and that he had never
been there. The police, at the entreaties
of the frantic parents, continued their
investigations, but for a long time with-
out any result. At last, however, they
obtained a little light on the subject,
but it was not at all satisfactory. The
police at Pesth said that a man whose
personal appearance exactly agreed with
the description of Viteska's husband had
a short time before carried off two girls
from the Hungarian capital to Turkey,
evidently intending to trade in that
coveted, valuable commodity there, but
that when he found that the authorities



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WORKS OF GUY DE MAUPASSANT



were on ias track He Had escaped from
justice by sudden flight.



Four years after Viteska's mysterious
disappearance, two persons, a man and
a woman, met in a narrow street in
Damascus, in a manner scarcely less
strange than that in which the Greek
merchant met Viteska on the suspension
bridge in Prague. The man with the
black beard, the red fez, and the long,
green caftan, was no one else than
Ireneus Elrisapolis; matters appeared to
be going well with him; he had his
hands comfortably thrust into the red
shawl which he had round his waist,
and a negro was walking behind him
with a large parasol, while another car-
ried his chibouque after him. A noble
Turkish lady met him in a litter borne
ty four slaves; she was wrapped like a
ghost in a white veil, only that a pair
of large, dark, threatening eyes flashed
at the merchant.

He smiled, for he thought that he had
found favor in the eyes of an Eastern
houri, and that flattered him. But he
soon lost sight of her in the crowd, and
forgot her almost immediately. The
next morning, however, a eunuch of the
Pasha's came to him, to his no small
astonishment, and told him to come
with him. He took him to the Sultan's
most powerful deputy, who ruled as an
absolute despot in Damascus. They
went through dark, narrow passages,
and curtains were pushed aside, which
rustled behind them again. At last they
reached a large rotunda, the center of
which was occupied by a beautiful foun-
tain, while scarlet divans ran all around
it Here the eunuch told the merchant



to wait, and left him. He was puzzling
his brains as to the meaning of it all,
when suddenly a tall, commanding wo-
man came into the apartment. Again a
psiir of large, threatening eyes looked
at him through the veil, while he knew
from her green, gold-embroidered caftan,
that if it was not the Pasha's wife, it
was at least one of his favorites who
was before him. So he hurriedly knelt
down, and crossing his hands on his
breast, he put his head on the ground
before her. But a clear, diabolical laugh
made him look up, and when the beau-
tiful odalisque threw back her veil, he
uttered a cry of terror, for his wife,
his deceived wife, whom he had sold,
was standmg before him.

"Do you know me?" she asked with
quiet dignity.

"Viteska!"

'Tes, that was my name when I was
your wife," she replied quickly, in a
contemptuous voice; "but now that I am
the Pasha's wife, my name is Sarema.
I do not suppose you ever expected to
And me again, you wretch, when you
sold me in Varna to an old Jewish profli-
gate, who was only half alive. You see
I have got into better hands, and I have
made my fortune, as you said I should
do. Well? What do you expect of me;
what thanks, what reward?"

The wretched man was lying over-
whelmed at the feet of the woman whom
he had so shamefully deceived, and coidd
not And a word to say. He felt that he
was lost, and had not even got the
courage to beg for mercy.

"You deserve death, you miscreant,^
Sarema continued. "You are in my
hands, and I can do whatever I please,
with you, for the Pasha has left yoo^



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THE ODALISQUE OF SENICHOU



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punishment to me alone. I ought to
have you impaled, and to feast my eyes
on your death agonies. That would h%
the smallest compensation for all the
years of degradation that I have been
through, and which I owe to you."

"Mercy, Viteska! Mercy!" the
wretched man cried, trembling all over,
and raising his hands to her in supplica-
tion.

The odalisque's only reply was a
laugh, in which rang all the cruelty of
an insulted woman's deceived heart. It
seemed to give her pleasure to see the
man whom she had loved, and who had
so shamefully traflScked in her beauty,
in mortal agony, cringing before her,
whining for his life, as he grovelled on
his knees. At last she seemed to re-
lent somewhat.

"I will give you your life, you miser-
able wretch," she said, "but you shall
not go unpunished." So saying, she
clapped her hands, and four black
eunuchs came in. They seized the
favorite's unfortunate husband and in a
moment boimd his hands and feet.

"I have altered my mind, and he shall
not be put to death," Sarema said, with
a smile that made the traitor's blood
nm cold in his veins. "But give him a
himdred blows with the bastinado, and
I will stand by and count them."

"For God's sake," the merchant
screamed, "I can never endure it."

"We will see about that," the favorite
said, coldly; "if you die imder it, it was
allotted you by fate; I am not going to
retract my orders."

She threw herself down on the cush-
ions, and began to smoke a long pipe,



which a female slave handed to her on
her knees. At a sign from her the
eunuchs tied the wretched man's feet
to the pole, by which the soles of the
culprit were raised, and began the ter-
rible punishment. Already at the tenth
blow the merchant began to roar like a
wild animal, but the wife whom he had
betrayed remained unmoved, carelessly
blowing the blue wreaths of smoke into
the air. Resting on her lovely arm,
she watched his features, which were
distorted by pain, with merciless enjoy-
ment.

During the last blows he only groaned
gently, and then he fainted.



A year later the dealer was caught
with his female merchandise by the po-
lice in an Austrian town and handed
over to justice, when he made a full
confession. By that means the parents
of the "Odalisque of Senichou" heard
of their daughter's position. As they
knew that she was happy and surrounded
by luxury, they made no attempt to get
her out of the Pasha's hands, who, like
a thorough Mussulman, had become the
slave of his slave.

The unfortunate husband was sent
over to the frontier when he was re-
leased from prison. His shameful traf-
fic, however, flourishes still, in spite of
all the precautions of the police and of
the consuls. Every year he provides
the harems of the East with those
voluptuous Boxclanas, especially from
Bohemia and Himgary, who, in the eyes
of a 'Mussulman, vie with the slender
Circassian women for the prize of
beauty.



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Bric-a-Brac



"If you would like to see the inter-
esting bric-a-brac there, come with me,**
said my friend, Boisrene.

He then led me to the first story of
a beautiful house, in a great street in
I'aris. We were received by a very strong
man, of perfect manners, who took us
from piece to piece showing us rare ob-
jects of which he mentioned the price
carelessly. Great sums, ten, twenty,
thirty, fifty thousand francs, came from
his lips with so much grace and facility
that one could not doubt that millions
were shut up in the strong boxes of this
merchant man of the world.

I had known him by name for a long
time. Very clever, very tactful, very
mtelligent, he served as intermediary for
all sorts of transactions. In touch with
all the richest amateurs of Paris, and
even of Europe and America, knowing
their tastes, their preferences for the
moment, he brought them by a word or
a dispatch, if they lived in some far-
off town, when he knew that some ob-
ject was to be sold that would please
them.

Men in the best of society had had
recourse to him in times of embarrass-
ment, perhaps to get money for play,
perhaps to pay a debt, perhaps to sell
a picture, a family jewel, or a tapestry,
or even to sell a horse, where the owner
was in close straits.

It was said that he never refused his
services when he could foresee any
chance of gain.

Boisrene seemed intimate with this
curiosity merchant. They had managed
more than one affair together. I mVself
looked at the man with much interest.

He was tall, thin, bald, and very



elegant. His sweet, insinuating voic
had a particular diarm, a tentative
charm, which gives^ to things a special
value. When he held an article in his
fingers, he turned it, re-turned it, and
looked at it with so much directness,
tactfulness, elegance, and sympathy that
the object was at once embellished,
transformed by his touch and his look.
And one v/ould immediately estimate it
at a higher cost than before it passed
from the show-case to his hand.

"And your Christ, the beautiful Christ
of the Renaissance," said Boisrwie,
"that you showed me last year?"

The man smiled and replied:

"It is sold, and in rather a strange
fashion. In fact, the whole story of a
Parisian woman is in the sale. Would
you like me to tell it to you?"

"Yes, indeed."

"Do you know the Baroness Sa-
moris?"

"Yes and no. I have only seen her
once, but I know who she is!"

"You know fully?"

'Tes."

"Are you willing to tell me, that I may
see whether you are deceived or not?"

"Very willing. Madame Samoris is a
woman of the world who has a daughter
without ever having had a husband, as
the saying goes. But, if she has not
had a husband, she has lovers, after a
discreet fashion, so that they are re-
ceived into certain society which is
tolerant or blind. She is constant at
Church, receives the sacrament with re-
flection, after the fashion of one who
knows, and never will compromise hw-
self. She hopes her daughter will make
a good marriage. Is it not so?"



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"Yes, but I will complete your in-
formation; she is a kept woman who
makes herself respected by her lovers
more than if she did not live with them.
That is rare merit; for in this Way one
obtains whatever is desired of a man.
The one whom she chooses, without
which a man would have doubts, pays
court a long time, desires her with fear,
solicits with shame, obtains with aston-
ishment, and possesses with considera-
tion. He does not perceive that he pays,
so much tact does she use in taking;
and she maintains their relation with
such a tone of reserve, of dignity, of
propriety, that in going away from her
he would slap the face of a man capable
of suspecting the virtue of his mistress.
And that with the best faith in the
world.

"I have rendered some services to
this woman in many of her undertak-
ings. She has no secrets from me.

^'Somewhere in the first days of Jan-
uary, she came to me to borrow thirty
thousand francs. I had not the amount
at hand, you imderstand, but as I de-
sired to oblige her, I begged her to
tell me her situation fully, that I might
see if there was anything I could do for
bet.

"She told me things in such precau-
tionary language as she might use in re-
lating a most delicate story for her
daughter's first communion. I finally
understood that times were hard and
that she found herself without a sou.
The conunercial crisis, political disturb-
ances which the government actually
seemed to entertain with pleasure,
rumors of war, and the general con-
straint had made money hesitate, even
in the hands of lovers. And then, she



could not, this honest woman, give her-
self to the first comer.

"A man of the world, of the best
world, was necessary for her, one who
would preserve her reputation while
furnishing the daily needs. A rake
would compromise her forever, even
though he were very rich, and make the
marriage of her daughter problematical.
She could not think of business ar-
rangements, of dishonoring inter-
mediaries who might be able to relieve
her of her embarrassment for a time.
She must maintain the standard of her
house, continue to receive with open
doors, in order not to lose the hope of
finding, among her visitors, the discreet
and distinguished friend whom she was
waiting to choose.

"For my part, I observed to her that
there seemed little chance of my thirty
thousand francs returning to me, since,
when they were eaten up, she would
have to obtain sixty thousand at a single
blow in order to give me half.

"She was disconsolate while listening
to me, and I could think of nothing to
be done, when an idea, a truly genial
idea, crossed my mind. I had just
bought the Christ of the Renaissance
which I showed you, an admirable piece,
the most beautiful in that style that I
have ever seen.

" *My dear friend,' said I to her, *I
am going to make you take this little
ivory home with you. You can invent
an ingenious story, touching, poetic,
whatever you wish, which will explain
your desire of parting with it. It can
be understood that it is an heirloom of
the family, inherited from your father.

"*I will see some amateurs for you
and take them there myself. The rest



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you will attend to. I wiU let you under-
stand their situation by a word, a watch-
word. This piece is worth fifty thou-
sand francs, but I let you have it for
thirty thousand. The difference will be
yours."

"She reflected some moments with a
profound air and then replied:

" 'Yes, .perhaps it is a good idea. I
thank you very much.*

"The next day I sent the Christ of
the Renaissance to her house, and that
evening I sent to her the Baron Saint-
Hospital. For three months I addressed
clients to her, clients of the best, who
were confident of my judgment in busi-
ness. But I heard no one speak to her.

"Then, having received a foreign cus-
tomer who spoke very bad French, I
decided to present him myself at the
house of Madame Samoris, in order to
let him see the piece.



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