The Diamond Necklace
(Guy de Maupassant)
THEDIAMONDNECKLACEA short Story by Guy de Maupassant Mathilde was born a woman of great beauty in the bosom of a family of austere financial means. She was thus married-off to a little clerk of the Ministry of education, Mr. Loisel. Her married existence was marked by many sacrifices and try as she must it was impossible to maintain acquaintances with a certain decorum. She dreamed of rich tapestries and sets of china or silver dinner table settings. Her wadrobe was limited to ordinary garments with limited charm or elegance. Her days passed devoid of glory. Friends who knew her often commented that a woman of her beuaty should have struck a better marriage. Nothing ever changed, she became resigned to the facts of her station in life. One day her husband brings an invitation to a formal ball at the Ministry, a grand event, the couple should attend. Mathilde is dismayed for She has nothing to wear, her dresses are very inappropriate for the occasion. Her husband decides to invest four hundred francs in a proper gown and the idea of the grand event begins to take hold. It is now time to find her a jewel to wear, for she has none at all. Her friend Madame Forestier is kind enough to let her borrow a piece of jewelry. When she was before the box of the lady, she finds a beautiful diamond necklace. That?s it, she has made her choice. The lady agrees and Mathilde is now delighted to attend the ball properly dressed. The long awaited night comes. It is an affair late into the night. Mathilde is the center of attention that night. She dances until four am. in the arms of elegant gentlemen who admire her beauty and grace while her husband is at a nearby chamber, sleeping. At the end of the dance, the couple departs. It is a cold morning, they walk for some time until they locate a carriage that can take them home. She is elated, it has been the greatest night of her life. They arrive to their house and Oh, horro! Mathilde has lost the diamond necklace.Tragedy and despair clench her throat, what will she tell Madame Forestier. Monsieur Loisel traces back all their steps, looks for the carriage by number, spends the night in vain searching everywhere nevertheless, the diamond necklace is gone. They cannot let her friend know. The next couple of days are spent deciding what to do. Sure, the only thing is to obtain a piece that will resemble the one she borrowed. They set out to this effect and find by chance a very fine necklace, quite similar for thirty-six thousand francs. Mathilde returns the box with the substitute piece within. Madame doesn?t open the box but coldly exclaims she expected it so be returned sooner. This is the family?s budget of years. Loisel uses an inheritance left by his father, fifteen thousand, he borrows from friends and family, signs promissory notes and begins to work extra hours and sacrifice every centime. They change address to a smaller apartment in the populace?s section. Mathilde must do all the house chores without any help and learns to live like one of the people, while Loisel is trying to meet all his onerous obligations. This life of sacrifice goes on for ten years until they finally pay off the debt. In her moments alone, Mathilde recalls that night of gaiety, the ball, the dancing. She wonders what would have been of her life if she had not lost the necklace. Her new existence has aged her prematurely and she has acquired the habits of the common people, she is loud, her knuckles are red and the hands sturdy and deformed by the hard work. Her clothes are as plain as can be. One day in the Champs Elysees she encounters Madame Forestier and addresses her by her first name. Hi Jeanne. The lady cannot recognize her at first and then in great surprise, she?s desolate to see Mathilde?s old and deteriorated condition. Mathilde accepts that she has had a life of poverty and suffering since she last saw her. It was because of her. Me? Explain asks the Madame. Remember that necklace that you let me borrow for the ball. Yes I do, you returned it. The truth is I had lost her and I had to buy a replacement diamond necklace purchased with great sacrifice. It has taken us ten years to pay back all the debts associated with it. Madame Forestier takes her hands into hers and says Oh dear Mathilde you poor child, my necklace was paste, false jewels. It was worth less than five hundred francs at the most!