Short summary - My Uncle Jules - Guy de Maupassant

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - My Uncle Jules
Guy de Maupassant

I was born in Le Havre into a poor family, where the economy was economical in everything. Uncle Jules, my father's brother, apparently led a dissolute life. First, he squandered his share of his father's inheritance to the last sous, and then some of the savings that my father had counted on. He was sent to America on a cargo steamer sailing from Le Havre to New York.

In America, Uncle Jules took up some commercial business and wrote that the circumstances were favorable for him, and that he hoped in time to compensate for the loss he caused my father. This letter raised great hopes in our family.

In a second letter, received two years later, he wrote that things were going well for him and that he was leaving for South America for a long time. Perhaps there will be no news from him for several years. He will return to Le Havre as soon as he gets rich.

After the wedding of the younger sister, it was decided to make a two-hour sea trip with the whole family to the island of Jersey, the cherished dream of the poor people. On the boat, my father noticed two men who were treating their ladies to oysters. A very poorly dressed old sailor deftly opened shells with a knife and served them to the men, who brought them to the ladies. It seemed to my father that the old man who sold the oysters looked very much like Jules.

The father questioned the captain. It turned out that this is really Jules. At one time in America he was rich, but then he went broke. To avoid meeting him, we returned home in a different way. I never saw my uncle again.