The Farmer (Maupassant)

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The Farmer
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A baron visited his old family farm and learned the tragic story of his father's former orderly, whose wife died of a broken heart after leaving the castle and her unrequited love for the baron.

A man accepted an invitation from his friend, Baron René de Treilles, to visit his farm for the first shooting of the season. They traveled to the farm in a carriage driven by a tall, white-haired peasant named Master Lebrument.

Baron René de Treilles — narrator; a pure Norman, tall, broad, and slightly stout; about fifty years old; kind and empathetic.
Master Lebrument — old farmer; former orderly of the baron's father; tall, white-haired, and thin; devoted and honest.

The man noticed the close relationship between the Baron and the peasant, which intrigued him.

During dinner, the man asked the Baron about his connection with the peasant. The Baron explained that he was deeply attached to Master Lebrument because of a tragic event in his life. The peasant used to be the orderly of the Baron's father and later became his valet. He fell in love with a beautiful chambermaid named Louise, who was also loved by the Baron.

Louise-Hortense Marinet — Lebrument's deceased wife; once a pretty and lively chambermaid; died of a broken heart due to her unrequited love for the baron.

Despite her refusal, Louise eventually married Master Lebrument and they settled down as farmers.

Years later, the Baron visited the farm and learned that Louise had died of consumption. Master Lebrument revealed that she had actually died of grief, as she could not bear to be away from the Baron. She had made her husband promise to tell the Baron the truth about her death.

It is because I cannot get over leaving the castle that I am dying, because my feeling for our young master, Baron René, was so great.

The Baron was deeply moved by this revelation and felt guilty for causing her death. Since then, the Baron visited the farm every year, feeling a sense of guilt and responsibility towards Master Lebrument.