Tag Archives: guy de maupassant

INTERESTING FACTS: IS THE AGE OF 40 TOO LESS FOR HERCULEAN ACHIEVEMENTS–FIVE REAL LIVE CASES OF LIT-LUMANRIES

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    What is the right age to achieve something in life? Is 40 years, too less a time, or sufficient time to achieve something in life? In this context let me give you an example of 5 lit-luminaries of the 19th century who are more or less contemporaries and who became world renowned figures in their short lifespan. Let me start with Swami Vivekananda an Indian monk, a spiritual guru and also a lit-luminary, lifespan 12th January 1863 – 4th July 1902, a total of 39 years. Let me follow it up with American writer Edgar Allan Poe, born on 19th January 1809, died on 17th October 1849, a life span of 40 years. Then you have the French writer Guy De Maupassant, born on 5th August 1850 and died on 6th July 1893, a life span of 42 years. In the rostrum there is also, Nikolai Vasilie Gogol, a Russian writer of Ukraine origin, who was born on 20th March 1809 and died on 21st February 1852, a life span of 43 years. And last but not the least we have Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, a Russian playwright and short-story writer born on 29th January 1860, he died on 15th July 1904, at the age of forty-four. They all left behind a phenomenal legacy of success and heaps of lessons for the future generations within the ebbs and flows of their limited lifespan.

    The mean life expectancy in the 19th century was around 40-45 years. Life expectancy today is around 72 years. There are two off-shoots to this. One, they lived around hundred to ninety percent of the average life expectancy of those times. Two, they only lived for around forty years—a time period, much too less, for any significant milestone achievement barring sports and some other similar careers. When we compare 40 years with today’s life expectancy, it is only around 55%. So then, does life-expectancy, has anything to do with your achievements. The case-study of the quintet says no. There are some more authors, poets and lit-figures from various other countries who created a name for themselves and died very young, say between the age of 17 and 35 years, but I’m not discussing them in this short hypothesis. So, isn’t it, the irony of nature that some in a short lifespan of 40 years make gigantic strides, while others don’t even do that in a century?

    Second half of 19th century, when these five were alive and kicking saw some paradigm changes in their countries. Some major events were as follows. India had the First War of Independence in 1857. British East India Company was replaced by the British Crown in 1858. In Russia there was the Crimean War in 1856, Caucasian War in 1864 and the capture of Tashkent by the Russian Army in 1865, Sale of Alaska in 1867, Russian Turkish War in 1877, the severe famine in 1891, Death of Alexander-III in 1894, and the first party congress of Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). In America and Europe Slavery was abolished, first and Second Industrial Revolutions which overlapped with the 18th and 20th centuries respectively led to massive urbanization. Construction of Suez Canal began in 1859, connecting Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea that enabled a more direct route for shipping between Europe and Asia. The Islamic gunpowder empires (Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal) were formally dissolved and European imperialism, brought much of South Asia, Southeast Asia and almost all of Africa under colonial rule. It was also marked by the collapse of the Spanish rulers, Zulu Kingdom, First French Empire, Holy Roman and the Mughal Empire.

    Even with all the hullabaloo in their country and continent there was still calm in these five luminaries. They had single focus, just like Arjun’s concentration—machli ki aankh (eye of the fish) and that was … write, write and write till their last moments. Though, born into an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta, yet Swami Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt, that all living beings, were an embodiment of the divine self. Therefore, service to God, could only be rendered by service to mankind and a lot of that came through texts. In particular I must also mention that Anton Chekhov fell sick in 1885 yet he kept writing till he died of tuberculosis in 1904. Some of them even had financial problems leading to trying times to obtain education and some even had to support their education by writing scripts for magazines and even by selling fish. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, the second child of actors David and Elizabeth Poe. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. He became an orphan yet he fought back to become one of the most formidable writers of short stories. When Maupassant was 11, his mother, an independent minded woman took a divorce from her husband and Maupassant thereafter lived with his mother who was the single biggest influence on him but that entailed hardships. Gogol lost his father at the age of fifteen yet he aspired to become a writer.

    So then, what is the central idea of life? Well that is to have a mission within all the diversions. Nothing is possible without a mission. And if you can’t fix a mission for yourself follow your heart just as these luminaries did and that itself will take you to your mission.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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BOOK REVIEW: LOVE by Guy De Maupassant

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

Maupassant is a 19th-century French author. He is remembered for his genius in the oeuvre of short stories. His title ‘Love’ will only make sense to kind and passionate human beings. Love is an emotion that abodes both in human beings and animals. But on a raw comparison one might find it to be more unalloyed in animals than in men.

Haven’t you heard of the love tragedy? He killed her then he killed himself, therefore, he loved her. So then, what does he or she signify singly and separately? Well they signify nothing. It is only when they unify in love the world comes alive for both of them.

In this story “Love” the narrator is reminded of a story after reading a tragic love story in one of the papers. The narrator’s story takes place long back in the days of his youth, during a hunting expedition at his cousin’s estate.

Narrator’s cousin, Karl de Rauville, invites the narrator to join him in a duck shooting expedition held early in the morning. Karl’s estate lies in a valley that has a river running through it. During dinner, in the great hall whose sideboards, walls, and ceiling were all covered with stuffed birds, with outstretched wings, or perched upon branches—hawks, herons, owls, nightjars, buzzards, vultures, falcons—and my cousin himself like some strange animal of the Arctic region, in his sealskin jacket, puts before me all the plans he had made for this night.

It is very scenic there. The river has naturally promoted healthy plant growth along its banks. There are many trees with good foliage that attracts birds of all kinds on the land. At some point, the river expands into a marsh that the narrator describes as “the best hunting ground” he has ever seen.

The group leaves for the marsh a little after three in the morning. It consists of the narrator, his cousin Karl, the gamekeeper and the dogs Plongeon and Pierrot. The narrator describes his cousin Karl, ‘as a jolly red-headed and big bearded, immensely powerful fellow of forty, a lively and likeable sort of a beast, who had within him just that pinch of Attic-salt that makes mediocrity tolerable, lived the life of a country gentleman in a house which was half-farm, half-mansion, in a broad valley through which a river flowed.’

The narrator further goes on to describe the surroundings. Woods covered the hills on either side, with magnificent trees, in which were to be found, rare examples of game-birds than in any other district close by. Sometimes eagles were shot, and also birds flying south, which hardly ever came near the over-populated parts of the country.

The valley was covered with huge pastures, irrigated by ditches and divided by hedges. The river narrow at first, spreads out at a distance way into an immense marsh. This marsh, was the best bit for shooting I have ever known, and was my cousin’s biggest love. He looked after it, as he would look after a treasure.

The narrator further describes the scenery around. I love water passionately and whole-heartedly. The sea, although it is too vast, too turbulent, impossible to call one’s own, rivers on the contrary are so pretty, but then they hurry by and vanish forever. A marsh is a world of its own upon this earth of ours.

There is at times nothing more disturbing, disquieting, or more terrifying, than a bog-land. Whence, comes this fear which hovers over low-lying tracts of land covered with water? Is it in the whispering of the reeds, the weird will-o-the-wisps, the deep silence in which they were wrapped on still nights, or the fantastic mists which cover the rushes as with a shroud, or the barely-noticeable noises. So light, so gentle, yet, at times, more terrifying than the thunder of man or of the gods? Do these give marshes the appearance of some dreamland, of some dread country, which hides some secret, harmful and not to be known by mortal man?

It was freezing hard enough to split stones. We were to leave at half-past three in the morning so as to arrive about half-past four at the place chosen for our shooting expedition. At this place a hut had been constructed out of blocks of ice to shelter us a little from the terrible wind which rises just before dawn.

I woke up at 3’o clock. I put on a sheepskin and found my cousin Karl clothed in bearskin. After two cups of hot coffee and a couple of glasses of cognac, we set out with our game-keeper and our dogs, Plongeon and Pierrot.

It was freezing and I felt frozen to the bones. It was one of those nights when the earth seemed to be frozen to death. The icy air rose as a veritable wall which one could feel horribly and painfully. No breath of wind moves it. There it is, solid and immovable. It bites, pierces, withers, kills trees, plants, insects, even little birds, which fall from the branches on to the hard ground, and themselves become hard in the embrace of the cold

With bent backs, hand in pockets, and guns under our arms, Karl and I strode along. Our boots, wrapped round with wool to prevent us slipping on the frozen brooks, made no noise. I noticed how our dogs’ breath turned into steam in the cold air.

We soon reached the edge of the marsh, and we entered one of the avenues of dry reeds leading through the low forest.

Suddenly, at the bend of one of the avenues, I saw the hut made of ice, which had been set up as a shelter for us. I went in, and as we had still an hour to pass before the birds awakened, I rolled myself up in my sheepskin to try to get warm.

My cousin Karl was alarmed. ‘It will be a great nuisance if we don’t shoot something today’, he said. ‘I don’t want you to catch cold, so we must have a fire.’

He then ordered the gamekeeper to cut some reeds for the fire.

Slowly the day broke, clear with a blue sky. The sun came up over the bottom of the valley and we were thinking of going home, when two birds, with necks and wings out stretched, suddenly glided over our heads, I fired, and one of them, a teal with a silver breast, fell almost at my feet. Then, high above me, the cry of a bird was heard—a shrill heart rending wail, which it uttered again and again. And the little creature, the survivor of the two, began to circle around in the blue sky above us, watching its dead companion which I was holding.

Karl was watching it keenly, waiting till it came within range.

‘You have killed the hen,’ he said, ‘the cock won’t go away.’

Indeed it did not go away, but continued to circle and to cry piteously over our heads. Never has the groan of one in pain harrowed my heart so much as that call of distress, as that wail of reproach from the poor creature high up in the sky.

Once or twice it fled as it saw the threat of the gun which followed its flight, and it seemed prepared to continue its journey across the sky, all alone. Then as if unable to make up its mind, it would soon return to look for its companion.

‘Put the other one down, as it will return by and by,’ said Karl.

In reality, it came back, indifferent to the danger, maddened by its wild love for the creature I had killed.

Karl fired. It was as if the cord which was holding the bird above us had been cut. I saw a black thing come down. I heard the noise of its fall in the reeds. And Pierrot the dog brought it to me.

I put the two, already cold, into the same bag … and I went back to Paris that very day.

After knowing the narrator’s story, one can see why the newspaper story—where a man kills his lover, then kills himself— appeals to the narrator. The two stories are about love, the only difference being that one talks about love between humans, and the other about love between animals. In both, the surviving lovers choose death over life.

The narrator shoots down a duck, and its mate remains, crying piteously over his dead love. The male duck the drake “does not fly away, instead, he circles over their heads continually, and continues his cries.” The narrator and his cousin Karl, don’t even spare the mourning drake. They shoot him down, using its dead mate as an emotional bait.

The story has a long build up but at the end it delivers a great message of deviousness that a man is used to. The description of the jungle, woods and the birds is par-excellence. I would give the story seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

Book Review: ‘A Sale’ by Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    This is a unique and interesting story with a lot of tongue twisting French names. The story picks up only after the first half. It opens in the courtroom.

    There are two defendants, Cesaire-Isidore Brument and Prosper-Napoleon Cornu. They appear before the Court of Assizes of the Seine-Inferieure, on a charge of attempted murder, by drowning, of Mme (Madam)Brument, the lawful wife of Brument mentioned earlier.

    The two prisoners are seated side by side on a traditional bench. They are two peasants. The first one Brument is small and stout, with short arms, short legs, and a round head with a red pimply face, planted directly on his trunk, which is also round and short, and with apparently no neck. He is a raiser of pigs and lives somewhere in France at Cacheville-la-Goupil, in the district of Criquetot.

    On the other hand Cornu is thin, of medium height, with enormously long arms. His head was on crooked, his jaw awry, and he squinted. He wore a blue blouse, as long as a shirt that hung down to his knees, and his yellow hair, which was scanty and plastered down on his head, gave his face a worn-out, dirty look, a dilapidated look that is was frightful. He was nicknamed “the cure” because he could imitate to perfection the chanting in church, and even the sound of the serpent. This talent attracted people to his cafe — for he was a saloon keeper at Criquetot — a great many customers who preferred the “mass at Cornu” to the mass in church.

    The court scene begins with Mme. Brument. She is seated on the witness bench. She is a thin peasant woman who seems to be always asleep. She has been sitting there motionless, her hands crossed on her knees, gazing fixedly before her with a stupid expression.

    The judge continues with his interrogation.

    “Well, then, Mme. Brument, they came into your house and threw you into a barrel full of water. Tell us the details. Stand up.”

    She rose. She looked as tall as a flag pole with her cap that looked like a white skull cap. She said in a drawling tone:

    “I was shelling beans. Just then they came in. I said to myself, ‘What is the matter with them? They do not seem natural, they seem, up to some mischief.’ They watched me sideways, like this, especially Cornu, because he squints. I do not like to see them together, for the two collectively are good-for-nothing when they are in the company of each other. I said: ‘What do you want from me?’ They did not answer. And with that I had a sort of mistrust ——”

    The defendant Brument interrupted the witness hastily, saying:

    “I was full.” (Full means drunk here).

    Then Cornu, turned towards his accomplice and said in a deep tone … like the deep tone of an organ:

    “Say that we were both full, and you will be telling no lie.”

    The judge, intervened:

    “You mean by that that you were both drunk?”

    “There can be no question about it.” replied Brument.

    “That might happen to anyone.” said Cornu.

    The judge said to the victim: “Continue with your testimony, lady Brument.”

  Lady Brument continued, “Well, Mr Brument said to me, ‘Do you wish to earn a hundred sous?’ (French coins) ‘Yes,’ I replied. Then he said: ‘Open your eyes and do as I do,’ and he went to fetch the large empty barrel which was lying under the rain pipe in the corner, and he turned it over and brought it into my kitchen, and kept it in the middle of the floor, and then he said to me: ‘Go and fetch water until it is full.’

    “So I went to the pond with two pails and carried water, and still more water for an hour, seeing that the barrel was as large as a huge tank.

    “All this time Brument and Cornu were drinking, drinking and drinking—a glass, and then another glass, and then another. When they were finishing their drinks I said to them: ‘You are full, fuller than this barrel.’ Brument answered. ‘Do not worry, go on with your work, your turn will come, each one has his share.’ I paid no attention to what he said as he was full.

    “When the barrel was full to the brim, I said: ‘There, that’s done.’

    “And then Cornu gave me a hundred sous, and not Brument.

    Brument said: ‘Do you wish to earn a hundred sous more?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, for I am not accustomed to presents like that. Then he said: ‘Take off your clothes!

    ‘Take off my clothes?’ I reacted.

    ‘Yes,’ he said.

    ‘How many shall I take off?’

    ‘If it worries you at all, keep on your chemise on, that won’t bother us.’

    “A hundred sous is a hundred sous, even if I have to undress myself. But I did not fancy undressing before those two, good-for-nothings. I took off my cap, and then my jacket, and then my skirt, and then my sabots. Brument said, ‘Keep your stockings on, as we are good fellows.’

    “And Cornu added, ‘We are good fellows.’

    “So there I was, almost like mother Eve. And they got up from their chairs, but could not stand straight, they were so full, your honour.”

    “I said to myself: ‘What are they up to?’

    “Brument asked: ‘Are you ready?’

    “Cornu replied: ‘I’m ready!’

    “And then they lifted me, Brument by the head, and Cornu by the feet, as one might take, for instance, a sheet that has been washed. Then I began to bawl.

    “And Brument said: ‘Keep still, wretched creature!’

    “And they lifted me up in the air and put me into the barrel, which was full of water. I had a check of the circulation, a chill went to my very insides.

    “Brument said: ‘Is that all?’

    “Cornu said: ‘That is all.’

    “Brument said: ‘The head is not in, that will make a difference in the measure.’

    “Cornu said: ‘Put in her head.’

    “And then Brument pushed down my head down as if to drown me, so that the water ran into my nose. He pushed me down further and I disappeared.

    “And then he must have been frightened. He pulled me out and said: ‘Go and get dry, carcass.’

    “I took to my heels and ran to my father as far as M. le cure’s. He lent me a skirt belonging to his servant, for I was almost in a state of nature, and he went to fetch Maitre Chicot, the country watchman who in turn went to Criquetot to fetch the police who came to my house with me.

    “Then we found Brument and Cornu fighting each other like two rams.

    “Brument was bawling: ‘It isn’t true, I tell you that there is at least a cubic metre in it. It is the method that was no good.’

    “Cornu bawled: ‘Four pails that is almost half a cubic metre. You need not reply, that’s what it is.’

    “The police captain put them both under arrest. I have nothing more to tell.”

    She sat down. The audience in the court room laughed. The jurors looked at one another in astonishment. The judge said:

    “Defendant Cornu, you seem to have been the instigator of this infamous plot. What have you to say?” Cornu rose in his turn.

    “Your honour Judge,” he replied, “I was full.”

    The Judge answered gravely:

    “I know it. Proceed.”

    “I will. Well, Brument came to my place about nine o’clock, and ordered two drinks, and said: ‘There’s one for you, Cornu.’ I sat down opposite him and drank, and out of politeness, I offered him a glass. Then he returned the compliment and so did I, and so it went on from glass to glass until noon, when we were full.

    “Then Brument began to cry. That touched me. I asked him what was the matter. He said: ‘I must have a thousand francs by Thursday.’ That cooled me off a little, you understand. Then he said to me all at once:

    ‘I will sell you my wife.’

    “I was full, and I was a widower. That stirred me up. I did not know his wife, but she was a woman, wasn’t she? I asked him: ‘How much would you sell her for?’

    “He reflected, or pretended to reflect. When, one is full one is not very clear-headed, and he replied: ‘I will sell her by the cubic metre.’

    “That did not surprise me, for I was as drunk as he was, and I knew what a cubic metre is in my business. It is a thousand litres, and that suited me.

    “But the price remained to be settled. All depends on the quality. I said: ‘How much do you want for a cubic metre?’

    “He answered: ‘Two thousand francs.’

    “I jumped like a rabbit, and then reflected that a woman ought, not to measure more than three hundred litres. So I said: ‘That’s too dear.’

    “He answered: ‘I cannot do it for less, as I would lose.’

    “You understand, one is not a dealer in hogs for nothing. One understands one’s business. But, if he is smart, the seller of bacon, I am smarter, seeing that I sell them also. Ha, Ha, Ha! So I said to him: ‘If she were new, I would not say anything, but she has been married to you for some time, so she is not as fresh as she was. I will give you fifteen hundred francs a cubic metre, not a sou more. Will that suit you?’ said Cornu.

    “He answered: ‘That will do. That’s a bargain!’

    “I agreed, and we started out, arm in arm. We must help each other in times of need.”

    “But a thought came to me: ‘How can you measure her, unless you dip her in liquid?’

    “Then he explained his idea, not without difficulty for he was full. He said to me: ‘I’ll take a barrel, and fill it with water up to the brim. I’ll put her in it. All the water that comes out we will measure, that is the way to fix it.’

    “I said: ‘I see, I understand. But the water that overflows will run away; so how will you measure it? How will you gather it back?’

    “Then he began stuffing me and explained to me that all we will have to do would be to refill the barrel with the water his wife had displaced as soon as she comes out of it. All the water we pour in would be the measure. I supposed about ten pails; that would be a cubic metre.

    “We finally reached his house and I took a look at his wife. She was certainly not a beautiful woman. And anyone could see that, for there she is. I said to myself, ‘I am disappointed, but never mind, she will be off value handsome or ugly, it is all the same, is it not monsieur le president (your honour)?’ And then I saw that she was as thin as a rail. I said to myself: ‘She will not measure four hundred litres.’ I understand the matter better, being in liquor trade.

    “She has already told you about the proceeding your honour. I even let her keep on her chemise and stockings, to my own disadvantage.

    “When that was done she ran away. I said: ‘Look out, Brument! She is escaping.’

    “He replied: ‘Do not be afraid. I will catch her all right. She will have to come back to sleep, I will measure the deficit.’

    “We measured. It was not four bucket fulls. Ha, Ha, Ha!”

    At this Brument began to laugh so hysterically that a cop was obliged to punch him in the back. Having quieted down, he resumed:

    “In short, Brument exclaimed: ‘Nothing doing that is not enough.’ I shouted, and shouted and shouted again, he punched me, I hit back.

    That would have kept on till the Day of judgment, seeing we were both drunk.

    “Then came the gendarmes (policemen)! They stared at us, and took us off to prison.”

    Cornu finally He sat down after his long statement.

    Brument corroborated the statements of his accomplice. The jury, in consternation, retired to deliberate.

    At the end of an hour they returned a verdict of acquittal for the defendants, with some severe strictures on the dignity of marriage, and establishing the precise limitations of business transactions.

    Brument went home accompanied by his wife.

    Cornu went back to his business.

    I would give the story seven out of ten. As always if reflects how some perverted men get away with ghastly crime on women. And it happens even today.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

LIT-CORNER VIDEO: THE PIECE OF STRING BY Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER: THE PIECE OF STRING by Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

 

THE PIECE OF STRING

By Guy De Maupassant

    The story is set in the little village of Norman. It is about several months into the life of Maitre Hauchecorne, an old peasant. On an autumn market-day in Goderville, Hauchecorne is about to enter the square when he sees a piece of string on the ground. And he being of the saving kind, picks the string and keeps it with him. As he does so, he becomes aware that an enemy of his, M. Malandain, the local harness maker, is watching him. Ashamed to be seen picking up a remnant of string, the protagonist furtively hides it in his clothing and then pretends to be looking for something of value on the ground. With his head bent over in his intent search, he moves on towards the market.

    A few hours later, Hauchecorne is having his noon meal at the local tavern, Jordain’s, which is filled with local peasants, their gossipy chatter, and the powerful odour of food cooking. Twice the meal and the chatter are interrupted. First, by the voice of the town crier, who gravely announces the loss by M. Houlbreque of a pocketbook containing five hundred franc. Second, by the appearance of the chief of gendarmes, who summons Hauchecorne to see the mayor on business.

    Leaving his meal, the protagonist hurries to the mayor’s office. Where, he is unofficially confronted with the charge of having found Houlbreque’s pocketbook and of keeping it. The sole witness to the incident is Malandain, says the mayor. Hauchecorne sputters in rage at the accusation coming from his enemy. His defense—one that he shouts over and over—is that no one could seriously mistake a pocketbook for a piece of string. Those present do not believe him, and they say so, which enrages Hauchecorne even more. Malandain appears, and his reiterating of the charge against the protagonist leads to a lengthy and bitter exchange between them. To prove his innocence, Hauchecorne insists on being searched. But no pocketbook or large sum of money is found on him. The mayor dismisses him with a warning that as mayor he will consult a higher authority in the matter.

    Out in the village again, old Hauchecorne finds that many of the peasants have already heard of the event. But to set the record straight Hauchecorne begins to restate what he told the mayor and the others. That he found a piece of string and came across no pocketbook. To dramatize his points he turns his pockets inside out. Both his friends and strangers boldly tell him that they place no faith in his story, and that he is indeed an old rascal and a rogue.

    On his way home that night, and after his evening meal, he again stops his neighbours and strangers and again goes over his litany of facts in relation to the string and the pocketbook and the mayor’s false accusation. But sadly no single peasant steps forward to support his claim of innocence.

    The day’s events have made him ill. The next day, however, the pocketbook and its contents are found on the road and returned to their rightful owner. In his hour of triumph, Hauchecorne goes into the village and endlessly recounts the charge made against him the previous day and then the good news that fully exonerates him. Indeed, he spends the rest of the day on the road, returning often to the square to spread the news. At first he is convinced that his big adventure has ended most favourably for him, but as the day wears on, he senses that something is still wrong. He was easy now, yet something was worrying him without his knowing exactly what it is. People had a joking manner while they listened to him. They did not seem convinced. He seemed to feel their remarks behind his back.

    A week later, having brooded over the collective reaction to his supposed vindication, the protagonist returns once more to the Goderville market and once more confronts his peers with the details of the found string and the lost and returned pocketbook. On the streets and in Jordain’s, the response to Hauchecorne is the same: That he is guilty and both he and they know it. From time to time that day, he is even told that he had an accomplice who gave back the pocketbook, once Hauchecorne’s name had become implicated in the theft.

    Angry, dejected, and confused, he is unable to finish his meal at Jordain’s and is forced to return home amid the sound of mocking laughter. Going over and over in his mind the events that began one week before, Hauchecorne tries to come to terms with what has happened to him. He is positive of one thing. He is unable to prove his innocence because his reputation in Goderville for being crafty is well-known. He is, perhaps, capable of having done what they accused him of and even of boasting of it as a good trick. In other words, his reputation has preceded him—and that did not stand him in good stead now.

    Once he had prided himself on these tricky business practices. But now he had understood that those practices had predisposed his peasant neighbours and friends to doubt his innocence. The Norman peasant, suspicious by nature, was ready to think the worst of old Hauchecorne, and what all he could do.

    The gross injustice weighs heavily on the protagonist’s mind. He sees himself as being alone in the community (in fact, Guy de Maupassant does not mention Hauchecorne’s family, if he does have one). He knows, he has no defenders and many accusers. His brooding continues. His mind begins to get affected by his need to convince them that he is no dissembler. Hauchecorne goes forth every day in the village, redoubling his efforts to persuade any and all that he spied a piece of string in the road and put it in his pocket, but about the pocketbook, he knows nothing. The cruelty of the peasants is such that Hauchecorne becomes in short order, a butt of public jokes. The more they ask him to recite his tale of woe, the more elaborate and the more subtle his argument for his innocence becomes; as always, he is never believed.

    The protagonist falls ill in late December and is bedridden for some time. Early in January, he dies. In his deathbed delirium, his denials of wrongdoing are focused in a single phrase uttered repeatedly: “A little bit of string—a little bit of string.”

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****