Martin’s Girl (Maupassant)

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Martin’s Girl
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man fell in love with a woman who married someone else, but when he helped her during childbirth, his feelings for her disappeared, and he reconciled with her husband.

Benoist, a young farmer, found himself admiring Martin's daughter one Sunday after Mass. He became infatuated with her, thinking about her constantly and losing his appetite.

Benoist — young farmer; infatuated with Martin's girl; kind-hearted, helpful.

Dammit, she’s a rare fine wench after all, is Martin’s girl.

They began meeting secretly, and Benoist asked her to marry him, to which she agreed. However, she suddenly stopped meeting him and married another wealthy farmer, Vallin, instead.

Victoire-Adélaïde Martin — Martin's daughter; attractive, strong, and independent; marries Vallin.
Isidore Vallin — wealthy farmer; Victoire's husband; initially estranged from Benoist, but later reconciles.

Benoist was heartbroken and avoided her for months. One day, he heard that she was pregnant and felt a sense of relief, thinking that their relationship was truly over. Months later, he accidentally stumbled upon her in pain, going through childbirth alone. Overwhelmed with the desire to help her, he assisted her through the process and delivered a healthy baby girl.

Here I am, here I am, my lass.

When Vallin, the husband, arrived and saw what had happened, he was grateful to Benoist for helping his wife and offered his friendship. Benoist accepted, and the two men became friends, putting their past behind them.