Rosalie Prudent (Maupassant)

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Rosalie Prudent
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young maid, accused of infanticide, revealed the truth about her pregnancy and the father of her twins during her trial, leading to her acquittal.

Rosalie Prudent, a maid employed by the Varambot family, became pregnant and gave birth to a child in her attic bedroom without her employers' knowledge. She then killed and buried her child in the garden. The case was brought to court, and during the trial, it was revealed that Rosalie had made a complete set of baby clothes and had sought advice from a local midwife, indicating that she had intended to keep and raise her child.

When questioned by the president of the court, Rosalie finally revealed that the father of her child was Joseph Varambot, the nephew of her employer.

Rosalie Prudent — young maid; pregnant with twins; emotional, lonely, and desperate.
Joseph Varambot — nephew of Rosalie's employers; N.C.O. in the artillery; seductive, manipulative.

It was Monsieur Joseph, Monsieur Varambot’s nephew.

She explained that Joseph had seduced her during his leave from the military and that she had not realized she was pregnant until a month after he left. Rosalie tearfully recounted her efforts to prepare for the baby's arrival, including making clothes and seeking a new job in anticipation of her dismissal.

However, Rosalie's story took a tragic turn when she revealed that she had actually given birth to twins. Overwhelmed by the prospect of raising two children on her meager salary, she had smothered them with a pillow and buried them separately in the garden.

I didn’t know what I was doing! I thought my last hour had come. I put the pillow over them, without knowing what I was doing.

Her emotional testimony moved many in the courtroom to tears.

In the end, Rosalie Prudent was acquitted of the charges against her.

The girl Rosalie Prudent was acquitted.