Narrator: Mathilde was one of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes, as if by a mistake
of destiny, born into a family of clerks.
She had no dowry, no means of being known, understood, loved and wedded by
any rich and distinguished man; and she let herself be married to a little clerk at the Ministry
of Public Instruction.
Mathilde: (Complaining) Uggh!! What have I done to deserve this suffering? I’m beautiful and
charming, am I not? Oh! And what’s this kind of a house, and the walls that look wretched,
and ...view middle of the document...
Mathilde: Why? No gorgeous dresses, no shining jewels to adorn! Oh, how would I want to please,
to be invited, to be charming, to be sought after. But, look at me, I’m undone!
Narrator: Mathilde had a friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, who was rich, Mme Forestier.
(Mme Forestier enters and passes by)
Mathilde: Oh! That friend, I don’t want to see her anymore. She is rich and it just make
more sad and jealous.
Narrator: One evening, her husband returned home with a triumphant air, holding a large envelope
in his hand.
Husband: ( in joyous sound) There, here’s something for you my love!
Mathilde: (staring her husband with annoyance) And what’s that?
Husband: Why? An invitation, my love!
Mathilde: (grabs the envelope) Give it to me!
Narrator: She tore the paper sharply, and reads after she drew out the printed card. But, instead of
being delighted as her husband hoped, she threw the invitation to the table.
Mathilde: And what do you expect me to do with that?
Husband: But, my love! I thought you would like it. You never got out and this is just a fine
opportunity. I even had trouble getting it. You see, everyone wants to go but not everyone
is invited and the whole official will be there.
Mathilde: (irritated) And what will I wear?
Husband: (stammered) Wh-why, the d-dress you go to the theatre. It, it looks very well to, to me.
Mathilde: (crying) uh-huh-huh!
Husband: Why? What’s the matter? What’s the matter?
Mathilde: (with much effort conquering her grief, replied in a calm voice) Nothing, only I have no
other dress to wear and therefore I can’t go to the ball.
Narrator: Her husband was in despair, but he resumed.
Husband: Come, let us see, Mathilde. How much would it cost, a suitable dress, which you could use
on other occasions, something very simple?
Narrator: She reflected several seconds, making her calculations and wondering also what sum she
could ask without drawing on herself an immediate refusal and a frightened exclamation from the economical clerk. Finally, she replied, hesitantly;
Mathilde: I don’t know exactly, but I think I could manage it with 400 franks.
Narrator: Her husband had grown pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre, with several friends who went to shoot larks down there, on a Sunday.
Husband: All right then, I will give you 400 francs. And try to have a pretty dress.
Narrator: The day of the ball was near , and Mme. Loisel seemed sad, uneasy, anxious. Her dress was ready, however. Her husband said to her one evening;
Husband: What is the matter? Come, you’ve been queer these last three days?
Mathilde: It annoys me not to have a single jewel, not a single...