In the Wood (Maupassant)

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In the Wood
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An older couple was caught by a constable while being intimate in the woods, and the wife explained their actions to the understanding Mayor, who let them go without punishment.

A village constable, Hochedur, caught an older couple in a compromising situation in the woods and brought them to the Mayor.

Hochedur — village constable; serious and dutiful; caught the couple in the act.

The man, a draper from Paris named Nicholas Beaurain, admitted to the act but blamed his wife for the idea.

Nicholas Beaurain — elderly man; draper in Paris; submissive to his wife; embarrassed by the situation.

It was she who wanted it. I told her it was a silly thing to do. But when a woman gets an idea into her head—you know, sir—she has no room for anything else.

The wife, Mme. Beaurain, in her defense, explained that they had met in the same area many years ago when they were young and in love.

Mme. Beaurain — elderly woman; romantic and nostalgic; unashamed of her actions; persuasive.

They had since lost the habit of going to the countryside due to their struggling business. As their business improved, the wife found herself longing for the romance and beauty of the countryside. She convinced her husband to take a trip back to where they first met. Overwhelmed by nostalgia and the beauty of the surroundings, she embraced her husband and led him into the woods, where they were caught by the constable.

The Mayor, understanding the situation, let the couple go without punishment, advising them to avoid such acts under the trees in the future.

The Mayor — authority figure; understanding and humorous; not puritanical.