Maupassant's Short Stories Vol. 3 HTML version
The lawyer had presented a plea of insanity. How could anyone explain this strange
One morning, in the grass near Chatou, two bodies had been found, a man and a woman,
well known, rich, no longer young and married since the preceding year, the woman
having been a widow for three years before.
They were not known to have enemies; they had not been robbed. They seemed to have
been thrown from the roadside into the river, after having been struck, one after the other,
with a long iron spike.
The investigation revealed nothing. The boatmen, who had been questioned, knew
nothing. The matter was about to be given up, when a young carpenter from a
neighboring village, Georges Louis, nicknamed "the Bourgeois," gave himself up.
To all questions he only answered this:
"I had known the man for two years, the woman for six months. They often had me repair
old furniture for them, because I am a clever workman."
And when he was asked:
"Why did you kill them?"
He would obstinately answer:
"I killed them because I wanted to kill them."
They could get nothing more out of him.
This man was undoubtedly an illegitimate child, put out to nurse and then abandoned. He
had no other name than Georges Louis, but as on growing up he became particularly
intelligent, with the good taste and native refinement which his acquaintances did not
have, he was nicknamed "the Bourgeois," and he was never called otherwise. He had
become remarkably clever in the trade of a carpenter, which he had taken up. He was also
said to be a socialist fanatic, a believer in communistic and nihilistic doctrines, a great
reader of bloodthirsty novels, an influential political agitator and a clever orator in the
public meetings of workmen or of farmers.
His lawyer had pleaded insanity.
Indeed, how could one imagine that this workman should kill his best customers, rich and
generous (as he knew), who in two years had enabled him to earn three thousand francs