Roger's Method (Maupassant)

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Roger's Method
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man struggled with his performance on his wedding night, left his wife, sought confidence with another woman, and returned to his wife, who believed he had a secret method.

A man named Roger was walking with his friend one day when they heard a street-hawker advertising a method to get rid of mothers-in-law. This reminded the friend of a question he had been meaning to ask Roger about a mysterious "Roger's method" that his wife often mentioned. Roger decided to share the story with his friend in confidence.

Roger had married a widow whom he was deeply in love with. They had a quiet wedding and no honeymoon. After the ceremony, they went for a drive and then returned home for dinner.

Roger — narrator; newlywed husband; bashful, devoted to his wife.
Gabrielle — Roger's wife; a widow; bold, free of speech, enjoys teasing.

During the drive, Roger's wife teased him about being gallant, but he was too embarrassed to do anything more than kiss her hand and neck.

I'm very much afraid I've drawn a blank. You make me very uneasy.

At dinner, Roger's wife continued to tease him, and he became increasingly nervous. When it was time for them to go to bed, Roger found himself unable to perform due to his anxiety. His wife's laughter and teasing only made matters worse.

Come on - be brave - buck up, you poor boy.

In a fit of anger, Roger left the house and wandered the streets. While walking, Roger decided to take revenge on his wife by sleeping with another woman. He went to a nearby house and spent a long time there, feeling satisfied with his secret revenge. When he returned home, he was calm and confident, and his wife was surprised by his sudden change in demeanor.

From that day on, Roger's wife believed that he had discovered some secret method to overcome his anxiety and would often mention "Roger's method" to others. Roger told his friend that if anyone was nervous about their wedding night, they should try his stratagem, as it had worked wonders for him in the past.