Ça Ira (Maupassant)

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Ça Ira
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man unexpectedly reunites with a woman from his past, who shares stories of her life as a Parisian dressmaker and the schemes she and her friends used to make money.

A man arrived at Barvilles to visit a gallery, but found it closed. He wandered around the town and eventually entered a tobacco shop. The saleswoman seemed familiar to him, and he soon realized that she was Ça ira, a woman he had known years ago when they were both part of a bohemian group in Chatou.

The Narrator — narrator; curious about the woman's life; spent time in Chatou.
Ça ira (Zaira, Zara, Sarah, The Jewess) — tobacco shop owner; former dressmaker and river girl; stout, middle-aged, and turning grey.

Forgive me, Madame, for staring at you like this, but I seem to have known you for a long time.

They reminisced about their past adventures, and Ça ira told him about her life as a dressmaker in Paris. She and her friends would play tricks on wealthy men to get money, and she eventually had a son named Roger with a law student.

Roger — Ça ira's son; head clerk at the town hall; tall, serious, and self-conscious.

Years later, the law student became a deputy and helped Ça ira get a license to sell tobacco. Her son Roger grew up to be a head clerk at the town hall, with a promising future as an assistant prefect.

Now, Monsieur, this is my son, head clerk at the town hall. You know what that means … future assistant prefect.

The man greeted Roger respectfully and left the tobacco shop, reflecting on the unexpected reunion with Ça ira.