Short summary - The Unconquered
William Somerset Maugham
Two German soldiers - Hans and Willy - went to a French farm to ask how to get to Soissons (one of the districts of France). The door was opened to them by a young girl who replied that she did not know the way. Then the soldiers entered the house and got an answer from the girl’s parents.
After drinking a bottle of wine, Hans, wounded by the fact that the girl does not pay the slightest attention to him, and is extremely hostile to them, asked her for a kiss, which he received a decisive refusal. Then Hans, fueled by wine, put her hand in her arm and dragged her into another room. Parents tried to stop him, but Hans was stronger. He hit the old father so that he fell. The girl’s mother threw the German to the wall, where she remained standing, frozen in fear. Hans raped the girl, then she and Willy left, leaving one hundred francs for a new dress instead of the torn one and twenty francs for the wine they had drunk.
Three months later, Hans was again in Soissons. He remembered that farm girl and decided to go to her. He wanted to explain that he was not angry with her. Having bought her silk stockings as a present, Hans found that farm. The girl recognized him, her face “kept a harsh expression, her eyes looked hostile.” Hans realized that the girl’s family was starving, and ten days later he visited them again, not with stockings, but with food. Parents accepted the gift, but Annette refused to touch his food.
Hans began to come to this house often. Why - he himself did not know. Maybe because in the service he was ordered to establish relations with the inhabitants of the defeated France? Maybe because this girl seemed special to him? Outwardly Annette was completely not in his taste, but in her there was an education and a French charm. Maybe because during the war, Hans yearned for normal human relations? He did not understand why.
With Annette's parents, he still managed to establish a more or less normal relationship, but suddenly he found out that Annette was carrying his child. At that moment, he realized that he loved her, and it was because of love that he came to this house.
Annette hated Hans and wanted to inflict the same pain that he had once inflicted on her. Hans was happy - he wanted a son. Meanwhile, a terrible thought arose in Annette's head.
Soon, the girl became a mother. She had a boy. Hans arrived
to visit the beloved woman and son, but did not find them in the room. Parents Annette and Hans, anticipating trouble, rushed in search, but did not manage to prevent trouble. Annette returned and said that she had kept the child under water in a stream until he suffocated.
“Hans screamed wildly - it was the cry of a mortally wounded beast. He closed his eyes with his hands and, staggering like a drunk, rushed out of the house. "Annette collapsed into a chair and, head down on clenched fists, sobbed passionately, passionately."