1:23 pm - Thursday April 26, 2018

A Lively Friend-by Guy de Maupassant-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name: A Lively Friend

Written by: Guy De Maupassant

Category: Fiction, Short Stories, Short Novel

Page 1:

They had beer, constantly in each other’s society for a whole winter in
Paris. After having lost sight of each other, as generally happens in
such cases, after leaving college, the two friends met again one night,
long years after, already old and white-haired, the one a bachelor, the
other married.

M. de Meroul lived six months in Paris and six months in his little
château at Tourbeville. Having married the daughter of a gentleman in
the district, he had lived a peaceful, happy life with the indolence of
a man who has nothing to do. With a calm temperament and a sedate mind,
without any intellectual audacity or tendency toward revolutionary
independence of thought, he passed his time in mildly regretting the
past, in deploring the morals and the institutions of to-day, and in
repeating every moment to his wife, who raised her eyes to heaven, and
sometimes her hands also, in token of energetic assent:

“Under what a government do we live, great God!”

Madame de Meroul mentally resembled her husband, just as if they had
been brother and sister. She knew by tradition that one ought, first of
all, to reverence the Pope and the King!

And she loved them and respected them from the bottom of her heart,
without knowing them, with a poetic exaltation, with a hereditary
devotion, with all the sensibility of a well-born woman. She was kindly
in every feeling of her soul. She had no child, and was incessantly
regretting it.

When M. de Meroul came across his old schoolfellow Joseph Mouradour at a
ball, he experienced from this meeting a profound and genuine delight,
for they had been very fond of one another in their youth.

After exclamations of astonishment over the changes caused by age in
their bodies and their faces, they had asked one another a number of
questions as to their respective careers.

Joseph Mouradour, a native of the south of France, had become a
councillor-general in his own neighborhood. Frank in his manners, he
spoke briskly and without any circumspection, telling all his thoughts
with sheer indifference to prudential considerations. He was a
Republican, of that race of good-natured Republicans who make their own
ease the law of their existence, and who carry freedom of speech to the
verge of brutality.

He called at his friend’s address in Paris, and was immediately a
favorite, on account of his easy cordiality, in spite of his advanced
opinions. Madame de Meroul exclaimed:

“What a pity! such a charming man!”

M. de Meroul said to his friend, in a sincere and confidential tone:
“You cannot imagine what a wrong you do to our country.” He was attached
to his friend nevertheless, for no bonds are more solid than those of
childhood renewed in later life. Joseph Mouradour chaffed the husband
and wife, called them “my loving turtles,” and occasionally gave vent to
loud declarations against people who were behind the age, against all
sorts of prejudices and traditions.

When he thus directed the flood of his democratic eloquence, the married
pair, feeling ill at ease, kept silent through a sense of propriety and
good-breeding; then the husband tried to turn off the conversation in
order to avoid any friction. Joseph Mouradour did not want to know
anyone unless he was free to say what he liked.

Summer came round. The Merouls knew no greater pleasure than to receive
their old friends in their country house at Tourbeville. It was an
intimate and healthy pleasure, the pleasure of homely gentlefolk who had
spent most of their lives in the country. They used to go to the nearest
railway station to meet some of their guests, and drove them to the
house in their carriage, watching for compliments on their district, on
the rapid vegetation, on the condition of the roads in the department,
on the cleanliness of the peasants’ houses, on the bigness of the cattle
they saw in the fields, on everything that met the eye as far as the
edge of the horizon.

They liked to have it noticed that their horse trotted in a wonderful
manner for an animal employed a part of the year in field-work; and they
awaited with anxiety the newcomer’s opinion on their family estate,
sensitive to the slightest word, grateful for the slightest gracious
attention.

Joseph Mouradour was invited, and he announced his arrival. The wife and
the husband came to meet the train, delighted to have the opportunity of
doing the honors of their house.

As soon as he perceived them, Joseph Mouradour jumped out of his
carriage with a vivacity which increased their satisfaction. He grasped
their hands warmly, congratulated them, and intoxicated them with
compliments.

He was quite charming in his manner as they drove along the road to the
house; he expressed astonishment at the height of the trees, the
excellence of the crops, and the quickness of the horse.

When he placed his foot on the steps in front of the chateau, M. de
Meroul said to him with a certain friendly solemnity:

“Now you are at home.”

Joseph Mouradour answered: “Thanks, old fellow; I counted on that. For
my part, besides, I never put myself out with my friends. That’s the
only hospitality I understand.”

Then he went up to his own room, where he put on the costume of a
peasant, as he was pleased to describe it, and he came down again not
very long after, attired in blue linen, with yellow boots, in the
careless rig-out of a Parisian out for a holiday. He seemed, too, to
have become more common, more jolly, more familiar, having assumed along
with his would-be rustic garb a free and easy swagger which he thought
suited the style of dress. His new apparel somewhat shocked M. and
Madame de Meroul, who even at home on their estate always remained
serious and respectable, as the particle “de” before their name exacted
a certain amount of ceremonial even with their intimate friends.

Filed in: Children, Fantasy, Fiction, Guy de Maupassant

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