Confessing (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young woman became pregnant after accepting free rides from a coachman in exchange for intimacy, and her mother devised a plan to continue receiving free rides without revealing the pregnancy.

In a rural area, two women, a mother and her daughter, were walking towards a field of cows to milk them. They were both carrying zinc pails and walked in silence. Upon reaching the cows, they began milking them one by one, moving them to fresh patches of grass after each milking.

Suddenly, the daughter, Céleste, stopped and began to cry. Her mother, Madame Malivoire, asked her what was wrong, and Céleste tearfully confessed that she was pregnant.

Céleste Malivoire — young woman with red hair and freckles; naive, calculating, and submissive.
Madame Malivoire — Céleste's mother; angry, practical, and cunning.

I guess there's a baby on the way.

The mother was shocked and demanded to know who the father was. Céleste hesitantly revealed that it was Polyte, a coachman who drove her to town twice a week to sell their farm produce.

Polyte — coachman; stout, sunburned, and jovial.

Céleste explained that she had agreed to have sex with Polyte in exchange for free rides on his coach, as she found the fare too expensive.

I guess it was in Polyte's coach.

Her mother was furious and beat her, but eventually calmed down and told her not to tell Polyte about the baby as long as he didn't notice anything. This way, they could continue to get free rides from him for as long as possible. Céleste agreed, and they continued on their way home, both weighed down by the secret they now shared.