Mother and Daughter (Maupassant)

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Mother and Daughter
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young woman, born virtuous, discovered her mother's scandalous lifestyle and gave her an ultimatum to change their lives; when the mother refused, the daughter committed suicide.

A Hungarian or Wallachian countess, Comtesse Samoris, lived in Paris with her daughter, Yveline. The countess was known for her extravagant lifestyle, hosting balls and entertaining numerous lovers. Yveline, on the other hand, was a virtuous and innocent young woman, unaware of her mother's true nature.

Yveline Samoris — young woman; virtuous, serious, and determined; Comtesse Samoris' daughter.
Comtesse Samoris — Yveline's mother; adventuress, elegant, mature, and beautiful; unrepentant about her lifestyle.

One evening, Yveline overheard a conversation between two guests at one of her mother's parties. They discussed the countess's lovers and the origin of her name, which was derived from a Jewish banker named Samuel Morris. Shocked and disgusted, Yveline confronted her mother, who denied everything. However, Yveline remained suspicious and began to observe her mother closely.

A Hungarian or Wallachian countess, or I know not what, she appeared one winter in apartments she had taken in the Champs Élysées, that quarter for adventurers and adventuresses, and opened her drawing room to the first comer or to anyone that turned up.

Eventually, Yveline caught her mother with a lover and gave her an ultimatum: they would both leave Paris and live a quiet life in the countryside, or Yveline would kill herself.

I give you a month to reflect. If, at the end of that month, we have not changed our way of living, I will kill myself, since there is no other honorable issue left to my life.

The countess dismissed her daughter's threat, and a month later, Yveline was found dead in her bed, having committed suicide by inhaling chloroform.

One morning she was found in bed, lifeless, and already quite cold, with a cotton mask over her face.

Yveline's funeral was a grand affair, with her coffin covered in flowers and the church adorned in white. The official explanation for her death was an accident caused by a malfunctioning stove. As for the countess, she mourned her daughter's death for a while before resuming her lavish lifestyle and entertaining guests once more.