Finis (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man reconnected with a past love and met her daughter, who resembled her younger self, causing him to confront his own aging and the passage of time.

The Count of Lormerin, a handsome and distinguished man, received a letter from an old friend, Lise de Vance, whom he had not seen in twenty-five years. Lise had been his only love, and they had shared a brief but passionate affair before her jealous husband took her away to the provinces. Now a widow, Lise invited Lormerin to dinner to meet her eighteen-year-old daughter, Renée.

Count of Lormerin — narrator; middle-aged, elegant, and distinguished; nostalgic and emotional.
Lise de Vance — Lormerin's past love; aged, white-haired, and emotional; mother of Renée.
Renée — Lise's daughter; young, beautiful, and resembling her mother's younger self.

Lormerin eagerly accepted the invitation, hoping to rekindle his feelings for Lise and perhaps make her regret their lost love. However, upon meeting Lise, he was shocked to find her aged and unrecognizable.

Yes, it is I, truly it is I.—You would not have recognised me, would you?

Instead, it was her daughter Renée who bore a striking resemblance to the young Lise he had once loved.

Throughout the dinner, Lormerin struggled to reconcile his memories of Lise with the reality of the two women before him. He found himself falling in love with Renée, who seemed to embody the spirit of the young Lise he had lost. Confused and tormented by his feelings, Lormerin left the dinner early and went for a walk to clear his head.

As he returned home and caught sight of his own reflection in the mirror, Lormerin was confronted with the reality of his own aging. He realized that he could never recapture the love he had shared with Lise, as they had both changed too much over the years.

Finis, Lormerin!

With a heavy heart, Lormerin accepted the end of his romantic dreams and faced the reality of his own mortality.