Friend Patience (Maupassant)

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Friend Patience
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man reunited with an old friend who had become wealthy and successful, only to discover that his friend's fortune was built on a morally questionable business involving his wife and sister-in-law.

Two old friends met at a café in Limoges after many years apart. They reminisced about their college days and caught up on each other's lives. One of the friends, Patience, invited the other to his house for lunch the next day. The friend, an inspector of finances, accepted the invitation.

The Narrator — inspector of finances; successful, observant, and somewhat judgmental.
Robert Patience — old friend of the narrator; wealthy, proud, and morally ambiguous.

The next day, the inspector went to Patience's house, which was a large and luxurious hotel with a beautiful garden. The house was filled with expensive furniture and artwork, but there was a strange, overpowering odor throughout. As the inspector looked out the window, he saw three women in white tea-gowns walking arm in arm in the garden. They disappeared behind the trees, leaving the inspector entranced by their beauty and grace.

Patience entered the room and proudly showed off his home and the women in the garden. He revealed that he had started with nothing and had built his wealth and success from the ground up. The women in the garden were his wife and sister-in-law.

And to think that I began with nothing—my wife and my sister-in-law!

The inspector was impressed by his friend's accomplishments and the life he had built for himself.