Misti (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man falls in love with a married woman, and they enjoy secret escapades together. After hearing a fortune-teller's story about a cat attacking a lover, the woman gives away her own cat to protect her lover.

A bachelor had a mistress who was a married woman. He enjoyed the comfort and pleasure of having a home provided by her and her husband.

The Narrator — narrator; bachelor who enjoys having married women as mistresses; appreciates comfortable homes and friendships with his mistresses' husbands.
Emma — married woman; the narrator's mistress; dark, capricious, religious, superstitious, and charming; has a black cat named Misti.
Emma's Husband — civil servant; often away from home, leaving Emma and the narrator free to spend time together.

The husband was often away, leaving the bachelor and the woman to spend their evenings together. They would sometimes go out to low taverns, enjoying the thrill of being in a dangerous environment.

If I were insulted in one of these places, what would you do?

One evening, they encountered an old fortune-teller who offered to tell the woman's fortune. She predicted happiness, children, a journey, money, a lawsuit, a dark gentleman, the return of a friend, a success, and a death. The woman was intrigued and visited the fortune-teller's home the next day to learn more about the predicted death.

The fortune-teller told the woman a story about her own past, in which her beloved cat had attacked her lover, causing him to lose his eyes and eventually die of misery.

If you love a man, you must not keep it.

The woman, now fearful for her own lover's safety, decided to give away her own cat, Misti, to protect him.

When the bachelor visited the woman again, he noticed that Misti was gone. She explained that she had given the cat away because she was afraid for his eyes, showing her love and concern for him.