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The Necklace - Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)

Her hands trembled as she took it. She fastened it around her throat, outside her high-necked dress, and remained lost in ecstasy at the sight of herself (1134).

The woman lends Mathilde the necklace without hesitation and she wears it to the ball. Mathilde was the hit of the ball, coming alive in her dress and necklace as never before. She is admired by all the men. She is "crazy with joy" and "danced with intoxication, with passion, made drunk by pleasure, forgetting all, in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success" (1134).

Her husband falls asleep in an anteroom while his wife parties until four in the morning. It is time to leave, but she is ashamed of the wrap she has to wear, which is not new and fancy like the dress and the necklace. She doesn't want the other people to see her old wrap, so she rushes outside in the cold ahead of the others to quickly find a carriage so they can leave the ball. But they cannot find a carriage and find themselves walking through the cold, late night streets looking for a ride home.

They finally find "one of those ancient noctambulant coupes" (1135) which takes them home and back to the real world for both of them: "It took them to their door . . . and once more, sadly, they climbed up homeward. All was ended for her. And as to him, he reflected that he must be at the Ministry at ten o'clock" (1135).

Mathilde takes her wrap off and discovers, to her horror, that the "diamond" necklace she had borrowed from her rich friend is no longer around her neck. They look everywhere for it. Her husband hunts for the carriage that drove them home, but he cannot find it. He goes to the police, to the papers, offers a reward, but nothing is heard of the necklace.

The husband tells her to write to the friend and tell her the clasp is broken and that she will return it after the clasp is fixed. They lose hope of ever finding the necklace, so they decide to replace it with one of the same w...

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