Unmasked (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man regretted marrying an English woman after she learned to speak French, as her charm was lost and he discovered her true personality.

A man was on a boat trip to Trouville when he unexpectedly met an old friend, Henri Sidoine, whom he hadn't seen in ten years. As they caught up, they noticed that the boat was full of English people, which seemed to infuriate Sidoine.

Henri Sidoine — narrator's old friend; married to an English woman; disillusioned with his marriage.

This boat is full of English people! The swine!

He revealed that he had married an Englishwoman and was unhappy with his decision. Sidoine explained that he had met his wife, Kate, during a summer vacation in Étretat. He was instantly charmed by her beauty and her broken French, which he found endearing.

Kate (Henri's wife) — young English woman; initially charming due to her broken French; revealed to be less interesting after learning the language.

I married her! I loved her to distraction, as a dream can be loved.

They got married, and he continued to be infatuated with her as long as she struggled with the language. However, once she learned to speak French more fluently, he realized that he no longer loved her as he once did. He compared his wife to a beautiful toy that had lost its charm once he understood her thoughts and opinions. He found her ideas and theories to be detestable and was constantly irritated by her presence. Sidoine admitted that he had taken his wife back to Étretat and was now traveling to Trouville to distract himself from his unhappy marriage.

As they approached Trouville, Sidoine lamented the fact that some women could be so utterly stupid, implying that his wife was one of them.