Suspense (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A dying woman shared her tragic story with a lawyer, tasking him to find her long-lost son who had discovered her affair and disappeared, leaving her in endless agony and suspense.

A group of men were discussing unexpected legacies and curious inheritances when Monsieur Le Brument, a well-respected advocate, shared a story about a dying woman who had asked him to find her long-lost son. The woman had been married to a wealthy man, but after his death, she rekindled her relationship with her former lover, who was also married. The two had an affair, and the woman's son, Jean, grew up knowing the man as a close family friend.

The Dying Woman — mother of the missing son; heartbroken, desperate, and remorseful.
The Lover — the dying woman's lover and friend; devoted, caring, and guilt-ridden.

One day, Jean caught his mother and her lover in an intimate moment, and he left the house in anger. The woman's lover tried to find Jean, but he was unsuccessful. The woman, devastated by her son's disappearance, refused to see her lover again until her son was found. She lived in agony for twenty years, never knowing what happened to her son or if he was even alive.

My dear child, forgive her, love her now that she is dead, for she has had to live through the most terrible penitential suffering.

On her deathbed, the woman asked Monsieur Le Brument to find her son and tell him about her suffering and love for him. She also wanted her son to know that she had never seen her lover again after that fateful day.

Monsieur Le Brument — narrator; lawyer tasked with finding the missing son; compassionate, experienced.

Despite his best efforts, Monsieur Le Brument was unable to locate the son, and the woman died without ever knowing what happened to him. The advocate was deeply affected by the woman's story and the pain she had endured throughout her life.

I left the house crying like a dumb animal, so much so that my coachman turned round to stare at me.

The Missing Son — disappeared after discovering his mother's affair; angry, unforgiving.

Monsieur Le Brument expresses his frustration and anger towards the missing son for causing his mother so much pain and suffering. This quote is spoken during a conversation with other men in a smoking-room.