Rose (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A woman unknowingly hired a male convict disguised as a female maid, who was later arrested by the police, leaving her feeling humiliated and reflecting on the nature of love.

Two young women, Margot and Simone, were enjoying a day at the battle of flowers in Cannes. After an hour of the event, they decided to take a break and ride along the Juan Bay road. As they admired the beautiful scenery, they discussed the importance of love in their lives.

Madame Margot — one of the two young women in the carriage; reflective, experienced.
Madame Simone — the other young woman in the carriage; curious, seeking love.

There are some marvellous evenings, are there not, Margot, when life seems well worth living?

Margot shared her experiences of having servants fall in love with her, while Simone expressed her desire for a more meaningful love.

I assure you it's very good fun to have one of your servants in love with you.

Margot then recounted a shocking story from her past. Four years ago, she had hired a maid named Rose, who was incredibly skilled and efficient.

Rose (Jean Nicolas Lecapet) — convict disguised as a maid; tall, slender, pale, and timid; skilled in sewing, embroidery, and hairdressing.

One day, a police inspector arrived at her home, claiming that one of her servants was a dangerous criminal. After examining all the servants, the inspector revealed that Rose was actually a man named Jean Nicolas Lecapet, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and rape but had escaped four months prior.

Despite the horrifying revelation, Margot admitted that her strongest emotion was not anger or shame, but humiliation. She felt humiliated because the man had been sentenced for rape, and she couldn't help but think of the woman he had assaulted. This realization deeply affected her, and she shared her feelings with Simone, who listened intently but remained silent, lost in her own thoughts.