Short summary - Looking back - Guy de Maupassant

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Looking back
Guy de Maupassant

Micro-narration: After many years of absence, the fisherman returns to his wife, who married another fisherman.

On the seashore, on the outskirts of a small village, Martin-Levekov lives. This is an adobe fishing shack. There is a tiny vegetable garden at the door. The owner is at sea, fishing, his wife is mending a large net in front of the house, a girl of about fourteen is mending the darned-darned linen of the poor. Another, a year younger, cradles a nursing infant. Two kids, three and two years old, are playing in the sand. Their souls are restless: an old man who looks like a beggar is wandering around the house. He looks miserable and sick. More often than not, he sits on the edge of a roadside ditch opposite their house.

Her husband's surname was Leveque, and hers was Martin. Therefore, they were christened Martin-Levekes. She was first married to the sailor Martin. For two years of marriage, she gave birth to a daughter and was again in the seventh month when the ship on which her Martin was sailing disappeared. There was no news of the barque, none of the crew returned, and everyone decided that the ship had died along with people and cargo. Aunt Martin had been waiting for her husband for ten years, raising two daughters with great difficulty. A local fisherman Leveque, a widower with a young son, approached her. They got married, and in three years she gave birth to two more. They lived hard, poor, although they worked a lot.

In the evening the stranger was again sitting near the house. The wife sent her husband to talk to the stranger. They returned to the house together. Pevek ordered his wife to bring the tramp a piece of bread and a mug of cider. After questioning, the woman recognized the stranger as her first husband, Martin.

He said that their ship ran aground and sank off the coast of Africa. Only three survived. Then they were caught by savages and kept for twelve years. Two of the three sailors died, and he was picked up by one traveler, an Englishman. He walked for a long time to his home.

The wife, sobbing, threw herself on his chest and told the girls to kiss their father. Leveque suggested that the priest judge them.