Sunday, June 14, 2009

Short Story: Yvette by Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant in not unknown in the reading cirle. His short stories must have been read by one and all and at one time or the other. I have read almost all of his works and the endings are always twisted. They can be interpreted in various ways but not the way one has expected them to. However, I don't hear about him in this blog world. Today I thought I would showcase him. I found a few of his stories online and chose to re-read Yvette after say 20 years.

Yvette is about a girl who is already dead at the start of the story. The narrator is talking to someone he knows about as Comtesse. Comtesse Samoris, who has killed her own daughter, Yvette.

"The comtesse is nothing but a common, ordinary parvenue originating no one knows where. A Hungarian or Wallachian countess or I know not what. She appeared one winter in apartments she had taken in the Champs Elysees, that quarter for adventurers and adventuresses, and opened her drawing-room to the first comer or to any one that turned up."

"Madame Samoris is the type of these adventuresses, elegant, mature and still beautiful. Charming feline creatures, you feel that they are vicious to the marrow of their bones. You find them very amusing when you visit them; they give card parties; they have dances and suppers; in short, they offer you all the pleasures of social life.

She had a daughter who was just the opposite, a simple, virtuous girl, who wasn't aware of her mother's loose morals. One day she overheard her some people talking about the mother and her numerous men friends. Yvette confronted her and teld her that at the end of the month, they should retreat to an unknown village and lead a unsullied life or she will kill herself. The Comtesse disregarded this.

"At the end of a month the Comtesse Samoris had resumed her usual entertainments, as though nothing had occurred. One day, under the pretext that she had a bad toothache, Yvette purchased a few drops of chloroform from a neighboring chemist. The next day she purchased more, and every time she went out she managed to procure small doses of the narcotic. She filled a bottle with it."

And one day she didn't wake up. She was dead as she had claimed. The mother shed a few tears and resumed her old ways.

And what about the girl's death?

"Oh! they pretended that it was an accident caused by a new stove, the mechanism of which got out of order. As a good many such accidents have Occurred, the thing seemed probable enough."

Guy de Maupassant needs to be rediscovered because he was one of the greatest story tellers of all times.

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Anonymous said...

I think I've only read one Guy de Maupassant story, and that was in school. (Haven't heard of this particular story, though.) I do recall enjoying it quite a bit, though. Now if only I could get past my dislike of short stories ...

Teddy Rose said...

Sounds like quite a depressing story.

This is my short story:

John Mutford said...

I was actually introduced to Maupassant through blogs a while back.

John Mutford said...

I haven't read Yvette, but I like the premise. I think I'll bookmark it for Halloween.

Unknown said...

You're right that we haven't seen much about him on the blogs. He must be in one of the classic anthologies I have. Maybe we should find one of those list of Short Stories you must read before you die. He's sure to have more than a few on the list.

Thanks for coming by Short Story Sunday.

IMAGINE said...

Guy is a classic.