Maupassant's Short Stories Vol. 9 HTML version

Old Mongilet
In the office old Mongilet was considered a type. He was a good old employee, who had
never been outside Paris but once in his life.
It was the end of July, and each of us, every Sunday, went to roll in the grass, or soak in
the water in the country near by. Asnieres, Argenteuil, Chatou, Borgival, Maisons,
Poissy, had their habitues and their ardent admirers. We argued about the merits and
advantages of all these places, celebrated and delightful to all Parsian employees.
Daddy Mongilet declared:
"You are like a lot of sheep! It must be pretty, this country you talk of!"
"Well, how about you, Mongilet? Don't you ever go on an excursion?"
"Yes, indeed. I go in an omnibus. When I have had a good luncheon, without any hurry,
at the wine shop down there, I look up my route with a plan of Paris, and the time table of
the lines and connections. And then I climb up on the box, open my umbrella and off we
go. Oh, I see lots of things, more than you, I bet! I change my surroundings. It is as
though I were taking a journey across the world, the people are so different in one street
and another. I know my Paris better than anyone. And then, there is nothing more
amusing than the entresols. You would not believe what one sees in there at a glance.
One guesses at domestic scenes simply at sight of the face of a man who is roaring; one is
amused on passing by a barber's shop, to see the barber leave his customer whose face is
covered with lather to look out in the street. One exchanges heartfelt glances with the
milliners just for fun, as one has no time to alight. Ah, how many things one sees!
"It is the drama, the real, the true, the drama of nature, seen as the horses trot by.
Heavens! I would not give my excursions in the omnibus for all your stupid excursions in
the woods."
"Come and try it, Mongilet, come to the country once just to see."
"I was there once," he replied, "twenty years ago, and you will never catch me there
"Tell us about it, Mongilet."
"If you wish to hear it. This is how it was:
You knew Boivin, the old editorial clerk, whom we called Boileau?"
"Yes, perfectly."