The Dowry” by Guy de Maupassant is a humorous piece that brings the reader into the lives of a newlywed couple.  Maupassant sets the tone from the beginning with the opening paragraphs.

“No one was surprised when lawyer Simon Lebrument married Mademoiselle Jeanne Cordier. Lawyer Lebrument had just bought the practice of the notary, Monsieur Papillion.  Now that took money, and Mademoiselle Jeanne Cordier was rich to the tune of 300,000 francs in cash and bearer-bonds. 

Monsieur Lebrument was a good-looking man who cut quite a dash, or as much dash as any provincial lawyer can cut, and dash was not a plentiful commodity in Boutigny-le-Rebours. 

There was grace in Mademoiselle Cordier’s movements and a bloom on her cheek. The grace was perhaps a little stiff and the bloom a little faded, but she was undeniably handsome and attractive, and eminently presentable.”

Light from humor, the story does not transcend the surface.  The narrative quickly moves forward with Lebrument seeming a bit untrustworthy, and then concludes with him abandoning Mademoiselle Jeanne Cordier and running off with her dowry.  The ending is so incomplete that it feels like an undergraduate presentation with the words, I guess that’s it, mumbled with an exhale of breath.


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