The Necklace (Part 1/2)
By etrawick, Updated
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She suffered endlessly, feeling she was entitled to all the delicacies and luxuries of life. She suffered because of the poorness of her house as she looked at the dirty walls, the worn-out chairs and the ugly curtains. All these things that another woman of her class would not even have noticed, tormented her and made her resentful.
One evening her husband came home with an air of triumph, holding a large envelope in his hand. "Look," he said, "here's something for you." She tore open the paper and drew out a card, on which was printed the words: "The Minister of Education and Mme. Georges Rampouneau request the pleasure of M. and Mme. Loisel's company at the Ministry, on the evening of Monday January 18th."She stared at him angrily, and said, impatiently: "And what do you expect me to wear if I go?" Two large tears ran slowly from the corners of her eyes towards the corners of her mouth. "What's the matter? What's the matter?"
With great effort she overcame her grief and replied in a calm voice, as she wiped her wet cheeks: "Nothing. Only I have no dress and so I can't go to this party." He was distraught, but tried again: "Let's see, Mathilde. How much would a suitable dress cost, one which you could use again on other occasions, something very simple?" She thought for a moment, computing the cost. At last she answered: "I don't know exactly, but I think I could do it with four hundred francs." He said: "Very well, I can give you four hundred francs. But try and get a really beautiful dress."
The day of the party drew near, and Madame Loisel seemed sad, restless, anxious. Her dress was ready, however. One evening her husband said to her: "What's the matter? You've been acting strange these last three days." She replied: "I'm upset that I have no jewels, not a single stone to wear. I will look cheap. I would almost rather not go to the party." "How stupid you are!" her husband cried. "Go and see your friend Madame Forestier and ask her to lend you some jewels. You know her well enough for that." She uttered a cry of joy. "Of course. I had not thought of that."
Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace, and her heart began to beat with uncontrolled desire. Her hands trembled as she took it. She fastened it around her neck, over her high-necked dress, and stood lost in ecstasy as she looked at herself. Then she asked anxiously, hesitating: "Would you lend me this, just this?" "Why, yes, of course."She threw her arms around her friend's neck and embraced her rapturously.
The day of the party arrived. Madame Loisel was a success. She was prettier than all the other women, elegant, gracious, smiling, and full of joy. All the men stared at her, asked her name, tried to be introduced. All the cabinet officials wanted to waltz with her. The minister noticed her.
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