Maupassant's Short Stories Vol. 9
Madame Husson's Rosier
We had just left Gisors, where I was awakened to hearing the name of the town called out
by the guards, and I was dozing off again when a terrific shock threw me forward on top
of a large lady who sat opposite me.
One of the wheels of the engine had broken, and the engine itself lay across the track.
The tender and the baggage car were also derailed, and lay beside this mutilated engine,
which rattled, groaned, hissed, puffed, sputtered, and resembled those horses that fall in
the street with their flanks heaving, their breast palpitating, their nostrils steaming and
their whole body trembling, but incapable of the slightest effort to rise and start off again.
There were no dead or wounded; only a few with bruises, for the train was not going at
full speed. And we looked with sorrow at the great crippled iron creature that could not
draw us along any more, and that blocked the track, perhaps for some time, for no doubt
they would have to send to Paris for a special train to come to our aid.
It was then ten o'clock in the morning, and I at once decided to go back to Gisors for
As I was walking along I said to myself:
"Gisors, Gisors--why, I know someone there!
Who is it? Gisors? Let me see, I have a friend in this town." A name suddenly came to
my mind, "Albert Marambot." He was an old school friend whom I had not seen for at
least twelve years, and who was practicing medicine in Gisors. He had often written,
inviting me to come and see him, and I had always promised to do so, without keeping
my word. But at last I would take advantage of this opportunity.
I asked the first passer-by:
"Do you know where Dr. Marambot lives?"
He replied, without hesitation, and with the drawling accent of the Normans:
I presently saw, on the door of the house he pointed out, a large brass plate on which was
engraved the name of my old chum. I rang the bell, but the servant, a yellow-haired girl
who moved slowly, said with a Stupid air:
"He isn't here, he isn't here."
I heard a sound of forks and of glasses and I cried: