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Comedy of Marriage and Other Tales   By: (1850-1893)

Book cover

First Page:

GUY DE MAUPASSANT

A COMEDY OF MARRIAGE

MUSOTTE

THE LANCER'S WIFE

AND OTHER TALES

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LA PAIX DU MÉNAGE

MUSOTTE

ADDENDA

THE LANCER'S WIFE

HAUTOT SENIOR AND HAUTOT JUNIOR

NO QUARTER

THE ORPHAN

A LIVELY FRIEND

THE BLIND MAN

THE IMPOLITE SEX

THE CAKE

THE CORSICAN BANDIT

THE DUEL

LA PAIX DU MÉNAGE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

MONSIEUR DE SALLUS

JACQUES DE RANDOL

MADAME DE SALLUS

Time: Paris, 1890

ACT I.

SCENE I.

Mme. de Sallus in her drawing room, seated in a corner by the fireplace. Enter Jacques de RANDOL noiselessly; glances to see that no one is looking, and kisses Mme. de Sallus quickly upon her hair. She starts; utters a faint cry, and turns upon him.

MME. DE SALLUS

Oh! How imprudent you are!

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Don't be afraid; no one saw me.

MME. DE SALLUS

But the servants!

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Oh, they are in the outer hall.

MME. DE SALLUS

How is that? No one announced you

JACQUES DE RANDOL

No, they simply opened the door for me.

MME. DE SALLUS

But what will they think?

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Well, they will doubtless think that I don't count.

MME. DE SALLUS

But I will not permit it. I must have you announced in future. It does not look well.

JACQUES DE RANDOL [ laughs ]

Perhaps they will even go so far as to announce your husband

MME. DE SALLUS

Jacques, this jesting is out of place.

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Forgive me. [ Sits .] Are you waiting for anybody?

MME. DE SALLUS

Yes probably. You know that I always receive when I am at home.

JACQUES DE RANDOL

I know that I always have the pleasure of seeing you for about five minutes just enough time to ask you how you feel, and then some one else comes in some one in love with you, of course, who impatiently awaits my departure.

MME. DE SALLUS [ smiles ]

Well, what can I do? I am not your wife, so how can it be otherwise?

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Ah! If you only were my wife!

MME. DE SALLUS

If I were your wife?

JACQUES DE RANDOL

I would snatch you away for five or six months, far from this horrible town, and keep you all to myself.

MME. DE SALLUS

You would soon have enough of me.

JACQUES DE RANDOL

No, no!

MME. DE SALLUS

Yes, yes!

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Do you know that it is absolute torture to love a woman like you?

MME. DE SALLUS [ bridles ]

And why?

JACQUES DE RANDOL

Because I covet you as the starving covet the food they see behind the glassy barriers of a restaurant.

MME. DE SALLUS

Oh, Jacques!

JACQUES DE RANDOL

I tell you it is true! A woman of the world belongs to the world; that is to say, to everyone except the man to whom she gives herself. He can see her with open doors for a quarter of an hour every three days not oftener, because of servants. In exceptional cases, with a thousand precautions, with a thousand fears, with a thousand subterfuges, she visits him once or twice a month, perhaps, in a furnished room. Then she has just a quarter of an hour to give him, because she has just left Madame X in order to visit Madame Z, where she has told her coachman to take her. If he complains, she will not come again, because it is impossible for her to get rid of her coachman. So, you see, the coachman, and the footman, and Madame Z, and Madame X, and all the others, who visit her house as they would a museum, a museum that never closes, all the he's and all the she's who eat up her leisure minute by minute and second by second, to whom she owes her time as an employee owes his time to the State, simply because she belongs to the world all these persons are like the transparent and impassable glass: they keep you from my love.

MME. DE SALLUS [ dryly ]

You seem upset to day.

JACQUES DE RANDOL

No, no, but I hunger to be alone with you. You are mine, are you not? Or, I should say, I am yours... Continue reading book >>




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