The Confession (Maupassant)

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The Confession
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A strict, austere man confessed to his wife that he had been unfaithful during a drunken night, but instead of being upset, she found the situation amusing and laughed uncontrollably.

Captain Hector-Marie de Fontenne married Laurine d'Estelle, a charming and wealthy young woman. Laurine was known for her laughter and wit, while Hector was a serious and austere man.

Captain Hector-Marie de Fontenne — austere, ingenuous, single-minded, and strict; husband of Laurine.
Laurine d'Estelle — pretty, slender, and self-possessed; charming, tactful, and quick-witted; wife of Captain de Fontenne.

They got along well, with Laurine often sharing stories of her charitable deeds with her husband.

One summer, Hector took part in military exercises and found himself drinking more than usual one evening. He became intoxicated and ended up spending the night with an actress. Overwhelmed with guilt, he confessed his sins to a priest and took the sacrament. However, he still felt a deep sense of remorse and believed he owed a confession to his wife as well.

When Laurine returned from visiting her parents, she noticed Hector's troubled demeanor and pressed him to share his secret. Reluctantly, he confessed his infidelity to her.

I confess to you as I would confess to a priest, Laurine.

Instead of reacting with anger or sadness, Laurine burst into uncontrollable laughter. She found the situation so amusing that she couldn't stop laughing, despite her husband's growing anger.

You… you… you have deceived me. Oh! oh! oh!

Hector, offended by Laurine's reaction, called her vulgar and stormed out of the room. Laurine, still laughing, continued to find the situation hilarious even as her laughter began to fade.