An Apparition (Maupassant)

From Summarium
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An Apparition
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man was asked by a friend to retrieve some letters from an abandoned château, where he encountered a mysterious woman who asked him to comb her hair, before disappearing without a trace.

An old man named Marquis de la Tour Samuel shared a story that had haunted him for 56 years. In 1827, he met a friend who had aged significantly due to the death of his wife. The friend asked Marquis to retrieve some important papers from his château, which he had left on the day of his wife's burial. Marquis agreed and went to the château the next day.

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Marquis de la Tour Samuel — elderly man who tells the story; haunted by the incident for fifty-six years; fearful of the supernatural.

Upon entering the château, Marquis found it in a state of disrepair. He went to the bedroom where the papers were kept and began searching for them. Suddenly, he heard a rustling sound and felt a shiver down his spine. A tall woman dressed in white appeared before him, asking for his help.

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The Mysterious Woman — apparition in the château; dressed in white; long, black hair; sad and suffering.

A tall woman, dressed in white, stood gazing at me from the back of the chair where I had been sitting an instant before.

She handed him a comb and asked him to comb her long, black hair, claiming it would cure her suffering. Marquis reluctantly complied, and after he finished, the woman thanked him and disappeared.

I suffer frightfully. I suffer, oh! how I suffer! and my hair hurts me so!

Shaken by the encounter, Marquis quickly left the château and returned to his friend's house. However, his friend had gone out the previous evening and had not returned. Marquis waited for a week, but his friend never reappeared. The authorities were notified, and a search was conducted, but no trace of the friend or the mysterious woman was ever found. The incident remained a mystery for the rest of Marquis' life.