Monday, August 9, 2010

Short Story Monday: "The Confession" by Guy de Maupassant

Paris is July may be over, but my interest in Guy de Maupassant's short stories continues. Mel at The Reading Life wrote about "The Confession" a couple of weeks ago, and I had to read it for myself. It introduces two sisters who have spent their entire lives together. The younger, at 56, is on her death-bed. First, du Maupassant sets the scene:
"The apartment had that sinister aspect, that air of hopeless farewells, which belongs to the chambers of the dying. Medicine bottles stood about on the furniture, linen lay in the corners, pushed aside by foot or broom. The disordered chairs themselves seemed affrighted, as if they had run, in all the senses of the word. Death, the formidable, was there, hidden, waiting."
Then, the details emerge. Many years earlier, the older sister was engaged, but her true love died very suddenly just days before the wedding. The younger sister, only twelve at the time, vowed she would never marry and stay with her sister forever.
"They lived together all the days of their life, without ever being separated a single time. They went side by side, inseparably united. But Marguerite seemed always sad, oppressed, more melancholy than the elder, as though perhaps her sublime sacrifice had broken her spirit. She aged more quickly, had white hair from the age of thirty, and often suffering, seemed afflicted by some secret, gnawing trouble."
Finally, the reason behind that 'gnawing trouble' is revealed during the death-bed confession. All this in three pages! It packs quite a punch and will leave a lasting impression... which is what I have come to expect from a Guy de Maupassant story. You may read it here.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.


  1. The only de Maupassant story I've read was An Uncomfortable Bed which I didn't love. Maybe I'll have to try some more.

  2. I believe I've read this story before as it is vaguely familiar. But I will read it again now as you have perked my interest in discovering the death-bed confession. I love the quotes and the way he put his words together.

  3. This short story sounds fabulous, Joann. It's amazing how much is coverws in just 3 pages! It's hard to imagine someone being so sad for so much of their life that they age faster. My heart hurts a little fo this poor woman. I will read The Confession for sure and thank you for bringing it to my attention.
    I adore short stories but have difficulty finding people who read them. I'm going to stob by John's blog and then I'm going to get back into reading some short stories.

    ~ Amy

  4. Carol - I haven't read An Uncomfortable Bed, but really liked the three I've recently read. Wonder if I've just been lucky in my selections...

    Margot - At three pages, the reread won't take long. It's quite a story!

    Amy - I didn't know you liked short stories! I hadn't read any since high school and then 'rediscovered' them just over a year ago. John does a post every Monday and invites anyone to leave a link. Would love to have you join in!!

  5. The way you describe it makes me think of Atonement.

    1. Thats what i thought atonement was, but thats probably two figures by the fountain.

  6. I will have to read this one. It sounds quite good.

  7. I've only read the widely anthologized stories ("The Necklace" for example, which is brilliant). Must. Go. Read. This.
    Thank you!

  8. Wait, only 3 pages?! wow. I am more than intrigued.

  9. John - Hmmm, now that you mention it...

    Teddy Rose - I hope you like it!

    DS - The Necklace is where I started, too. I loved that one and am glad to have sound several more online!

    Care - Go ahead and read it! Let me know what you think...

  10. Thanks for the link! I love the excerpts you posted and will definitely read this!

  11. EL Fay - You're welcome! Hope you enjoy the story.


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