The Bed (Maupassant)

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The Bed
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A person discovered old love letters hidden in an antique bed, revealing the thoughts and emotions of a bedridden woman who reflected on the significance of beds in human lives.

During a stifling summer afternoon, an auction took place where various items were being sold. Among them were beautiful silk ecclesiastical vestments, including a Louis XV chasuble embroidered with lilies of the valley, blue irises, and roses. The chasuble was purchased and taken home by the narrator, who discovered a faint scent of incense and a hidden letter inside the lining.

The Narrator — narrator; buyer of the antique bed and discoverer of the hidden letters.

The letter was addressed to Monsieur l'Abbé d'Argence and contained the thoughts of a woman who had been bedridden for three days.

Monsieur l’Abbé d’Argence — recipient of the love letters; friend of the bedridden woman.
The Bedridden Woman — author of the love letters; reflective, imaginative, and romantic.

The woman wrote about her love for her bed and how it had been a constant presence throughout her life. She mused about the many events that had taken place in it, from birth to death, and how it was a symbol of life itself.

I have come to the conclusion that the bed encircles our whole life; for we are born in it, we live in it and we shall die in it.

She also mentioned the joy and pain that people experienced in their beds, as well as the comfort it provided to those who were ill and suffering.

The woman went on to describe her bed as a place where lovers first came together, experiencing the ecstasy of their union.

What is there sweeter, what more perfect in this world than those embraces which make one single being out of two?

She also pondered the many deaths that had occurred in the bed over the centuries, with people gasping their last breaths and reaching out for a happiness that had vanished forever.

In her letter, the woman expressed her belief that the bed was the ultimate symbol of human life, and that Jesus had proven his divinity by never needing one. She concluded her letter by asking her friend to visit her the next day, hoping that she would be feeling better by then.