A man visited Algeria and was captivated by its beauty, especially the town of Bougie. He rented a Moorish house and adapted to the local custom of taking a siesta after lunch. One day, he went for a walk by the sea and stumbled upon a beautiful woman named Marroca taking a bath. They soon became friends and eventually lovers.
The narrator is describing his thoughts on love and passion in Africa, and how the climate and environment seem to intensify these feelings.
Do not misunderstand me. I do not know whether what you call love of the heart, love of the soul, whether sentimental idealism, Platonic love, in a word, can exist on this earth; I doubt it, myself.
Marroca was married to a Frenchman named Pontabèze, but she was more attracted to the man.
She insisted that he come to her house and sleep with her when her husband was away. The man was hesitant but eventually agreed. One night, while they were together, Marroca's husband unexpectedly returned home. The man hid under the bed while Marroca dealt with her husband. Fortunately, her husband left without discovering the man.
After the husband left, the man came out from under the bed and noticed a small hatchet on a chair. Marroca revealed that if her husband had discovered the man, she would have used the hatchet to kill him. This shocking revelation showed the extreme lengths Marroca was willing to go to protect her lover and her own desires.