Maupassant's Short Stories Vol. 4 HTML version

The Story Of A Farm Girl
As the weather was very fine, the people on the farm had hurried through their dinner and
had returned to the fields.
The servant, Rose, remained alone in the large kitchen, where the fire was dying out on
the hearth beneath the large boiler of hot water. From time to time she dipped out some
water and slowly washed her dishes, stopping occasionally to look at the two streaks of
light which the sun threw across the long table through the window, and which showed
the defects in the glass.
Three venturesome hens were picking up the crumbs under the chairs, while the smell of
the poultry yard and the warmth from the cow stall came in through the half-open door,
and a cock was heard crowing in the distance.
When she had finished her work, wiped down the table, dusted the mantelpiece and put
the plates on the high dresser close to the wooden clock with its loud tick-tock, she drew
a long breath, as she felt rather oppressed, without exactly knowing why. She looked at
the black clay walls, the rafters that were blackened with smoke and from which hung
spiders' webs, smoked herrings and strings of onions, and then she sat down, rather
overcome by the stale odor from the earthen floor, on which so many things had been
continually spilled and which the heat brought out. With this there was mingled the sour
smell of the pans of milk which were set out to raise the cream in the adjoining dairy.
She wanted to sew, as usual, but she did not feel strong enough, and so she went to the
door to get a mouthful of fresh air, which seemed to do her good.
The fowls were lying on the steaming dunghill; some of them were scratching with one
claw in search of worms, while the cock stood up proudly in their midst. When he
crowed, the cocks in all the neighboring farmyards replied to him, as if they were uttering
challenges from farm to farm.
The girl looked at them without thinking, and then she raised her eyes and was almost
dazzled at the sight of the apple trees in blossom. Just then a colt, full of life and
friskiness, jumped over the ditches and then stopped suddenly, as if surprised at being
She also felt inclined to run; she felt inclined to move and to stretch her limbs and to
repose in the warm, breathless air. She took a few undecided steps and closed her eyes,
for she was seized with a feeling of animal comfort, and then she went to look for eggs in
the hen loft. There were thirteen of them, which she took in and put into the storeroom;
but the smell from the kitchen annoyed her again, and she went out to sit on the grass for
a time.