The Window (Maupassant)

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The Window
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man courted a widow and agreed to spend the summer with her to prove their compatibility, but ended up having an affair with her maid and accidentally revealing it to the widow.

A man fell in love with a widow named Mme. de Jadelle and decided to propose to her. She agreed to consider his proposal but wanted to spend the summer together at her estate to get to know each other better.

Mme. de Jadelle — widow; whimsical, romantic, unconventional, sensitive, and cautious about choosing a husband.

As you like! I really don’t know whether you will please me sooner or later, but I ask nothing better than to put it to the test.

The man agreed, and they spent their days riding horses and discussing various topics. However, he soon realized that he was being watched day and night by Mme. de Jadelle's maid, Césarine.

Césarine — maid; pretty, from Granville, and becomes the narrator's mistress.

Wanting to learn more about Mme. de Jadelle, the man bribed Césarine to answer some questions about her mistress's physical appearance. Césarine told him that Mme. de Jadelle was shaped just like her, and the man became infatuated with the maid.

Except that she’s black, sir, madame is shaped just like me.

They began a secret affair, and the man grew more attached to Césarine while still pursuing Mme. de Jadelle.

One morning, the man saw Césarine leaning out of a window and decided to surprise her with a kiss. However, when he lifted her skirt, he realized that it was actually Mme. de Jadelle. She was furious and demanded that he leave her estate immediately. The man tried to apologize and explain his mistake, but Mme. de Jadelle refused to forgive him.

Mme. de Jadelle hopes that M. de Brives will relieve her of his company at once.

He left the estate, heartbroken and unable to forget the scent of verbena that lingered in his memory.