From a story by Guy de Maupassant
Mathilda is pretty and charming. However, she is poor. She hates being poor. She is a little superficial. She wants to marry a rich and distinguished man. She flirts with many rich men … but it’s impossible. She can not get a rich man to marry her.
One day, she meets a middle-class man, Monsieur Loisel. He is respectable and he works hard. Mr. Loisel loves her very much. He proposes with a big diamond, and Mathilda says yes. Mathilda wants an extravagant ceremony, but she does not have money. They get married, but the ceremony is very modest.
Afterwards, Mrs. Loisel wants a big apartment in Paris, but the couple does not have money. The couple lives in a small, simple apartment. Mathilda hates being poor. She is not satisfied with her life.
One day, she sits miserably at the table. Her husband returns from work and he is very happy. He has a large envelope. Joyfully, he says, “Look! Here’s an invitation! It’s an invitation to a ball, Monday, January 18th. I know you love to dance.”
Mathilda throws the envelope in his face. She says, “I can’t go to a ball. I do not have a pretty dress! We are too poor.” She is resentful.
Mr. Loisel adores his wife. He gives her 400 francs. It was a lot of money for the poor family. He says, “Here is money for a pretty dress. “
Mrs. Loisel was happy! She bought a beautiful dress. The day of the ball arrives. Suddenly, she is anxious and sad. She says, “I do not have any jewelry. “
Her husband says, “Go to Madame Forestier’s. She’s a good friend. Borrow jewelry from her. “
She says, “That’s right! What a good idea! “So she goes to Madame Forestier’s house. She borrows a superb diamond necklace. She’s very happy.
On the day of the ball, Mrs. Loisel is very pretty. She is the prettiest girl at the ball. She dances and dances. Mathilda is finally happy! She leaves the ball at 4:00 in the morning, and she returns home.
At home, she looks in the mirror. Suddenly, she panics! She does not have on any jewelry. The jewels are all gone. She says, “My love – it’s terrible! My jewels are gone! “
“What! Impossible!” cries Mr. Loisel.
Immediately, they search high and low. They search the street; they search the ballroom; they search the entire house. They search and search, but they can not find the lost jewelry.
After 7 days, they go to a jewelry store. They must buy identical jewelry for Mrs. Forestier. They find a set of identical jewels, but they cost 40,000 francs. The couple does not have enough money. Sadly, Mr. Loisel goes to the bank. He borrows 40,000 francs. Finally, Mrs. Loisel buys the jewels. She gives them to Madame Forestier.
With this debt, they are truly poor. For 10 years, they have a terrible life. They worry about money constantly. Mathilda gets a job and works a lot. Her husband works all the time, too. They are miserable. Mr. Loisel loved his wife, but he is resentful about the debt.
At the end of these ten years, their debt is paid. Now, Mathilda is older. She is no longer beautiful. She has gray hair from working and worrying all the time.
One day, Mathilda sees Mrs. Forestier. Ms. Foresteir is still very beautiful and very young. Mrs. Loisel says, “Hello, Jeanne.” Madame Forestier said, “But, madame! I do not know you”. She does not recognize her friend, because Ms. Loisel has changed a lot.
Mrs. Loisel says, “I am Mathilda Loisel.”
Surprised, Mrs. Forestier says, “Oh, my poor Mathilda, you look different!”
“Yes, my life is very difficult … .and it’s because of the horrible jewels,” she says.
“What?” said Mrs. Forestier, very surprised.
“Your jewels… 10 years ago, I lost them. I had to pay 40,000 francs for another set. My life has been miserable because of the debt,” said Mathilda, who started to cry.
Ms. Forestier says seriously, ” Oh! My poor Mathilda! They were fake. They cost only 50 francs! “