The Jewels (Maupassant)

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The Jewels
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man discovered his late wife's jewelry was real and valuable, leading him to question her fidelity. He sold the jewels, enjoyed his newfound wealth, and remarried a virtuous but cantankerous woman.

Monsieur Lantin fell in love with a young woman, the daughter of a country tax collector, and married her.

Monsieur Lantin — clerk in the Ministry of the Interior; loving husband; naive, later wealthy.

She was a perfect wife, managing their household economically and showering her husband with love and attention. However, she had two peculiar tastes: a love for the theatre and for false jewelry. She often attended the theatre with her friends and adorned herself with imitation gems.

First Wife — beautiful, modest, and virtuous; loved theater and false jewelry; died of pneumonia.

Monsieur Lantin said this to his first wife when discussing her love for false jewelry. It happened during one of their conversations at home.

My dear, as you cannot afford to buy real gems, you ought to appear adorned with your beauty and modesty alone, those are the rarest ornaments of your sex.

One winter evening, after attending the opera, she fell ill and died of inflammation of the lungs. Lantin was devastated and struggled to make ends meet without her. One day, he decided to sell one of her necklaces, believing it to be worth only a few francs. To his surprise, a jeweler informed him that the necklace was worth thousands of francs.

A jeweler said this to Monsieur Lantin when he brought his wife's necklace to sell, thinking it was fake. This was the moment Lantin discovered the jewelry's true value.

Sir, that necklace is worth from twelve to fifteen thousand francs; but I could not buy it unless you tell me exactly where it comes from.

Shocked, Lantin visited another jeweler who confirmed its value and revealed that he had sold it to his wife. Lantin realized that his wife must have received the jewelry as gifts from someone else. Overwhelmed with grief and suspicion, he fainted on the street. After recovering, he decided to sell the rest of her jewelry, which turned out to be worth a fortune. With his newfound wealth, Lantin resigned from his job, indulged in luxuries, and eventually remarried.

Second Wife — very virtuous but cantankerous; caused Lantin much suffering.

His second wife was a virtuous woman but had a difficult temperament, causing Lantin much suffering.