The Door (Maupassant)

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The Door
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man was invited to a couple's country estate, suspecting the husband's jealousy, but discovered the wife's unattractive appearance, which the husband intentionally revealed, deterring any potential affair.

A man named Karl Massouligny shared his experience with complaisant husbands, categorizing them into blind, weak, and clairvoyant. He then recounted a particular encounter with a rare type of husband. Karl met an elegant couple in Paris and began courting the wife, who was known to have had many adventures. One evening, he noticed the husband spying on them, but the wife dismissed his concerns.

Your husband is spying on us.

Karl's courting became more assiduous, and he was eventually invited to spend a month with the couple at their country estate. Upon arriving, Karl met another man, Comte de Morterade, who seemed to be a former lover of the wife. The husband appeared to be encouraging Karl's pursuit of his wife, and the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. However, Karl could not find an opportunity to be alone with the wife, as the husband was always present.

Karl Massouligny — narrator; intrigued by the husband's suspected jealousy; observant, cautious.
Louise — wife of the inviting husband; elegant, fashionable, and seemingly charming; unattractive in private.
The Husband — Louise's husband; seemingly jealous, but actually cunning and protective of his wife's reputation.
Comte de Morterade — friend of the couple; pleasant, but with unclear intentions.

One day, the husband spoke to Karl about marriage, hinting that wives often lose their charm once they are married.

My boy, don’t talk about things you know nothing about.

A few days later, the husband intentionally showed Karl his wife in a disheveled and unattractive state, causing Karl to lose interest in her.

Gracious! how stupid I am! Oh, how thoughtless! My wife will never forgive me for that!

Karl left the estate three days later, and the husband seemed genuinely upset to see him go. Karl never discovered the true nature of the husband's relationship with his wife or the Comte de Morterade, but he was grateful for the husband's intervention in his pursuit of the wife.