A Portrait (Maupassant)

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A Portrait
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man became acquainted with a charming individual and discovered the source of his charm upon seeing a portrait of his late mother, who possessed a similar captivating gaze.

A man had long wanted to meet a certain Don Juan named Milial, who was known for his irresistible charm and numerous love affairs. One day, he finally had the chance to be introduced to Milial and they quickly became friends. The man was struck by how easily they connected and how familiar Milial seemed to him, despite having just met.

The Narrator — narrator; curious about the charm of a man he meets; observant, reflective.
M. Milial — charming man with a mysterious allure; grey hair, long beard, soft voice; tender and affectionate.

I don’t know … it’s a question of charm.

The man was invited to Milial's home for dinner, where he arrived early and was shown into a dimly lit, intimate drawing room. He felt instantly at ease and comfortable in the room, which was filled with beautiful, unobtrusive furniture and decorations. On the wall, he noticed a portrait of a young woman with a captivating smile and gaze. The woman in the portrait seemed to be alone and at home, creating a sense of solitude in the room.

When Milial arrived, the man asked about the woman in the portrait, and Milial revealed that it was his mother, who had died young.

It is my mother, who died very young.

The man then understood the source of Milial's inexplicable charm - it came from his mother's captivating presence, which had been passed down to him.