A Cry of Alarm (Maupassant)

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A Cry of Alarm
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A naive man discovered the truth about his mistress's past and the boldness of other men when she got drunk and revealed her experiences with various lovers.

A man received a letter from a bachelor friend who wanted to share his experiences with women and relationships. The bachelor admitted that he was naive and trustful, making it difficult for him to recognize the true intentions of others. He believed that most people took appearances for reality and accepted people at their own valuation.

The bachelor had a mistress, a married woman, whom he thought he had won over through his love and consideration.

The Narrator — naive, trustful bachelor; easily deceived by women.
The Mistress — married woman; cunning, experienced with various lovers; gets drunk and reveals her past.

One day, when her husband was away, she came to his flat to dine with him. She had been obsessed with the idea of getting drunk and wanted to do so without any fear of being caught. As she drank glass after glass of champagne, she began to ramble on about her past experiences and feelings as a girl.

As she became more intoxicated, she started to reveal intimate details about her husband and their relationship. She also told the bachelor that when men make love to women, it is because the women are willing and that they should act quickly.

Ah! booby, what precautions you did take—but when men make love to us, you dear old stupid, it is because we are willing—and then you must do it quickly or else you make us wait.

She laughed at the bachelor's naivety and told him that there were two kinds of men: the shy ones like him and the bold ones who took risks and were more successful with women.

You know, the shy ones like you can't imagine what the others are like—what they do—directly—when they are alone with us.

The bachelor was shocked by her revelations and felt a strange sense of alliance with all the unsuspecting husbands who were being deceived by their wives. He asked her if women allowed such behavior from men, to which she replied that they did not, but they were amused by it and found it more exciting than the timid advances of men like him.

A few days later, the bachelor found himself at a reception with a woman his mistress had mentioned. He offered to take her home and, emboldened by his mistress's words, attempted to kiss her. However, she rebuffed him, saying that he was too forward and should be more considerate of her appearance. The bachelor was left feeling defeated and continued to ponder the differences between the two types of men and their approaches to women.