Friend Joseph (Maupassant)

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Friend Joseph
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A couple invited their old friend to their country home, but his strong republican views and behavior clashed with their traditional values, eventually leading them to leave their own home to avoid conflict.

Monsieur de Méroul and Joseph Mourador were great friends in their youth but lost touch after college. They met again when they were older, with Monsieur de Méroul living a quiet life with his wife in their château at Tourbeville, while Joseph Mourador became a District Councillor and a Republican.

Monsieur de Méroul — married man; calm, methodical, and conservative; regrets the past and decries the current government.
Madame de Méroul — Monsieur de Méroul's wife; kind, respectful of tradition, and shares her husband's conservative views.
Joseph Mourador — old friend of the couple; jovial, outspoken, and a staunch republican; challenges the couple's traditional values.

Despite their differences, they remained friends and Joseph was invited to visit the Mérouls at their country home. Joseph arrived at the château dressed in a casual manner and acted in a way that shocked the conservative couple. He was outspoken and disrespectful towards their priest, who was invited to dinner in his honor.

Your God is a God to be respected, but also one to be discussed. My god is called Reason and has always been the enemy of your God.

Joseph also brought Republican newspapers into their home and threw the couple's preferred newspapers out the window. As the week went on, Joseph took control of the household, banning the priest and their preferred newspapers. The couple, expecting more conservative friends to visit, decided to tell Joseph they had to leave for a few days on business and asked him to stay at the château alone.

Very well, I don't mind. I will wait here as long as you like. I have already said that there should be no formality between friends.

Joseph agreed, saying he would wait for their return. The couple left the following day, and Joseph continued to wait for them to come back.