Checkmate (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man attempted to seduce a married woman during a journey to Corsica, but she fiercely rejected his advances and later pretended nothing happened when they arrived and met her husband.

A man was traveling to Turin via Corsica and noticed a charming young woman on the ship. He observed her closely, trying to deduce her personality and background.

The Narrator — narrator; observant, flirtatious, and manipulative.
The Young Wife — married woman; curious about Parisian society, initially friendly but ultimately strong-willed and defensive.

They began talking and he learned that she was the wife of a captain of dragoons stationed in Ajaccio, and she was going to join him.

The Husband — young wife's husband; captain of dragoons, tall and strong.

The woman expressed her love for Paris and the man entertained her with stories about the city and its society.

It’s only the middle-class women who lead a dull, monotonous life for the sake of their virtue, a virtue for which no one thanks them.

As night fell, they continued their conversation in the darkness. The man began to make subtle advances, touching her hand and foot, and eventually tried to kiss her neck. However, the woman suddenly pushed him away and began to hit him repeatedly. He retreated to the other side of the coach, and she began to cry.

The next morning, as they approached Ajaccio, the woman pretended to have been asleep and acted as if nothing had happened. When they arrived, her husband was waiting for her, and she enthusiastically greeted him. Before the man could leave, she introduced him to her husband and thanked him for his kindness during the journey. The husband shook the man's hand and thanked him, while the young wife watched with a smile.