Indiscretion (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A married couple, seeking to reignite their passion, dined in a private room of a cabaret, pretending to be lovers, leading the wife to question her husband about his past relationships.

A young couple, Paul and Henrietta, were deeply in love before their marriage. They spent their days together, dreaming of each other and desiring each other with all their hearts.

Paul — husband; young, well-bred, and fastidious; loving and affectionate.
Henrietta — wife; young, charming, and delicate; loving and adventurous.

After their marriage, their love became more grounded, but they began to grow weary of one another. They still loved each other dearly, but there were no more surprises or new experiences to share.

One day, Henrietta asked Paul to take her to dine in a cabaret, specifically a fashionable one where he was known. She wanted to pretend to be his mistress for an evening, hoping it would rekindle their passion.

I would like to be taken for your mistress … and that the waiters, who don’t know that you are married, should suppose me your mistress, and you too …

Paul agreed, and they went to a well-known café where he was recognized by the staff.

As they dined, Henrietta became increasingly intoxicated and began asking Paul about his past relationships. He admitted to having had many mistresses before her, both from high society and lower classes. Henrietta was both disgusted and intrigued by this revelation, asking him about the differences between the women he had been with.

Oh, it’s revolting! Because of course it is revolting, when you think of it … all those women … naked … and always … always the same thing.

Paul explained that each woman was unique in her body and her way of making love, and that it was indeed amusing to have variety. Henrietta, still intoxicated, pondered this idea and eventually embraced her husband passionately. The waiters discreetly left the couple alone for a few minutes before returning to serve the rest of their meal.

As the evening came to an end, Henrietta continued to reflect on the idea of variety in relationships, seemingly intrigued by the concept.