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The Necklace part 2

The Necklace

Part 2
They looked in the folds of her dress, in the folds 
of her cloak, in her pockets, everywhere. But they 
could not find it.
“Are you sure you still had it on when you left 
the hall ?” he asked.
“Yes. I touched it in the hall at the Ministry.”
“But if you had lost it in the street we would have 
heard it fall. It must be in the cab.”
“Yes. That’s probably it. Did you take his 
number ?”
 “No.”
They stared at each other, stunned. At last Loisel 
put his clothes on again. “I’m going back,” he said, 
“Over the whole route we walked, and see if I can 
find it.”
He left. She remained in her ball dress all night, 
her mind blank. Her husband returned at about seven 
o’clock. He had found nothing.
He went to the police, to the newspapers to offer 
a reward, to the cab companies, everywhere the tiniest 

glimmer of hope led him.
She waited all day, in despair at this frightful 
disaster.
Loisel returned in the evening, a hollow, pale 
figure; he had found nothing. “You must write to your 
friend,” he said, “tell her you have broken the clasp 
of her necklace and that you are having it mended. It 
will give us time to look some more.”
She wrote as he dictated.
At the end of one week they had lost all hope. 
And Loisel, who suddenly looked aged, declared, “We 
must consider how to replace the jewel.”
And so, they went from jeweller to jeweller, 
looking for a necklace like the other one, consulting 
their memories, both sick with grief and anguish.
In a shop at the Palais Royal, they found a string 
of diamonds which seemed to be exactly what they 
were looking for. It was worth forty thousand francs. 
They could have it for thirty-six thousand. So they begged the jeweller not to sell it for three 
days. And they made an arrangement that he would 
take it back for thirty-four thousand francs if the other 
necklace was found before the end of February.
Loisel had eighteen thousand francs which his 
father had left him. He would borrow the rest.
And he did borrow. He gave notes, made ruinous 
agreements, dealt with every type of money-lender. 
Then he went to get the new necklace, and laid down 
on the jeweller’s counter thirty-six 
thousand francs.
When Madame Loisel took the 
necklace back, Madame Forestier 
said coldly, “You should have 
returned it sooner, I might have 
needed it.”
From then on, Madame Loisel 
knew the horrible life of the very poor. But she played 
her part heroically. The dreadful debt must be paid. 
She would pay it. They dismissed their maid; they 
changed their lodgings; they rented a garret under the 
roof.
She came to know the drudgery of housework, the 
odious labours of the kitchen. She washed the dishes, 
the dirty linen, she carried the garbage down to the 
street every morning, and carried up the water, stopping 
at each landing to catch her breath and dressed like 
a commoner. She had to bargain at markets, quarrel 
and face insults over every miserable sou.
Each month they had to pay some loans, renew 
others, get more time.
Her husband worked extra, every evening, doing 
accounts for a tradesman, and often, late into the 
night, he sat copying a manuscript at five sous a page.
And this life lasted ten years. At the end of ten 
years they had paid off everything, even the interest.
Madame Loisel looked old now. Often, she brooded 
over the past - What would have happened if she had 
not lost that necklace ? How strange life is, how fickle ! 
How little is needed for one to be ruined or saved!
One Sunday, as she was walking in the Champs 
Élysées suddenly she saw Madame Forestier, still 
young, still beautiful, still charming.
Madame Loisel felt emotional. Should she speak 
to her ? Yes, of course. And now that she had paid, 
she would tell her all. Why not ?
She went up to her, “Good morning, Jeanne.”
The other, astonished to be addressed so familiarly 
by this common woman, did not recognise her. She 
stammered:
“But-Madame -I don’t know. You must have 
made a mistake.”
“No, I am Mathilde Loisel.”
Her friend uttered a cry, “Oh! ... my poor Mathilde, 
how you’ve changed ! ...”
“Yes, I have had some hard times since I last saw 
you, and many miseries ... and all because of you! ...”
“Me ? How can that be ?”
“You remember that diamond necklace that you 
lent me to wear to the Ministry party?”
“Yes. Well ?”
“Well, I lost it.”
“What do you mean? You brought it back.”
 “I brought you back another exactly like it. And 
it has taken us ten years to pay for it. It wasn’t easy 
for us, we had very little. But at last it is over, and 
I am very glad.”
Madame Forestier was stunned.
“You say that you bought a diamond necklace to 
replace mine ?”
“Yes; you didn’t notice then? They were very 
similar.”
And she smiled with proud and innocent pleasure.
Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took both her 
hands.
“Oh, my poor Mathilde ! Mine was an imitation ! 
It was worth five hundred francs at most! ...”
- Adapted from ‘The Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant


English workshop of The Necklace part 2

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