The First Fall of Snow (Maupassant)

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The First Fall of Snow
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A woman suffering from a terminal illness finds solace in the warm climate of the South, but her husband's refusal to install a furnace in their cold, damp home in Normandy ultimately leads to her demise.

A young Parisian woman married a gentleman from Normandy for financial reasons. She moved to his castle in the countryside, where she found herself feeling lonely and cold. Her husband, a simple and content man, did not understand her desire for a change of scenery or her need for warmth. He dismissed her requests for a furnace and a trip to Paris, believing that she would eventually get used to their life in the castle.

The Young Lady — terminally ill; gentle, timid, and longing for warmth and happiness.
Henri de Parville — the young lady's husband; strong, healthy, and content with his simple life in Normandy.

One winter day, the woman decided to catch a cold to make her husband understand her suffering. She walked barefoot in the snow and rubbed it on her chest. The next morning, she was coughing and had congestion in her lungs. The doctor insisted on installing a furnace in the house and sending her to the South for her health.

I assure you, dear, I am frozen with cold.

The woman enjoyed the warm climate of Cannes and dreaded returning to the cold winters in Normandy. She continued to expose herself to the cold, hoping to remain sick and avoid going back. Eventually, she knew she was going to die and felt happy about it. She received a letter from her husband, who mentioned the cold weather and his refusal to light the furnace. The woman felt content that she had at least managed to get the furnace installed before her death.