The Dowry (Maupassant)

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The Dowry
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A newlywed husband abandoned his wife during their honeymoon in Paris, taking her entire dowry with him, leaving her devastated and seeking help from a cousin.

A young notary named Simon Lebrument married Jeanne Cordier, a pretty girl with a dowry of three hundred thousand francs.

Maître Simon Lebrument — handsome notary; cunning, manipulative, and deceitful.
Jeanne Cordier — young, naive, and loving wife; graceful and fresh.

After spending a week together, they decided to take a trip to Paris. Simon asked Jeanne to remind her father to have her dowry ready, as he planned to pay for his practice with it.

On their way to Paris, they boarded an omnibus. Simon went to the top to smoke a cigarette, leaving Jeanne inside.

How annoying! Now I cannot smoke. She answered in a low tone: I am sorry too, but not on account of your cigar.

As the journey continued, Jeanne grew increasingly uneasy and sad, wondering why her husband had not joined her. Eventually, she found herself alone in the omnibus and realized that Simon had gotten off at an earlier stop.

Distraught and lost, Jeanne sought help from her cousin, Henry, who worked at the Ministry of Marine.

Henry Barral — Jeanne's cousin; clerk in the Ministry of Marine; helpful and understanding.

She tearfully explained her situation, and Henry deduced that Simon had likely run off with her dowry. Devastated by this revelation, Jeanne broke down in tears, and Henry comforted her, taking her into his home and offering her support.