I am trying to find a short story whose title and author I forget.

The story is written in English and it is about a newly-wed (or soon-to-be-wed) man who scams his wife/fiancée out of her money (or some other asset) by escaping with it on a bus. Basically, the story starts with the couple getting on a two-story bus. The man tells the woman to wait on the first story while he goes to the rooftop to smoke. Time passes, but the man never comes down. Eventually, the woman becomes the only person left on the bus. She realizes that the man left without her; he was a scammer who was after her money and never intended to be her husband. Devastated, the woman goes to her cousin's house, where the story ends.

I think the story takes place in France or Belgium during the 19th century.

1 Answer 1


The Dowry by Guy de Maupassant

It can be read on www.classicshorts.com The beginning is a description of the couple, their marriage and first week of marital bliss, but the rest matches: They go on trip to Paris (his idea) with her dowry money in a portfolio he carries. Once there they take omnibus (his idea again) to go to a restaurant:

The heavy carriage stopped. And the young lawyer, pushing his wife, said to her quickly:

"Go inside; I'm going up on top, so that I may smoke at least one cigarette before lunch."

She had no time to answer. The conductor, who had seized her by the arm to help her up the step, pushed her inside, and she fell into a seat, bewildered, looking through the back window at the feet of her husband as he climbed up to the top of the vehicle.

People get in and get off, and at the end she is all alone and understands from the conductor he left her:

The man began to laugh:

"A big portfolio! Oh, yes! He got off at the Madeleine. He got rid of you, all right! Ha! ha! ha!"

After wandering in bewilderment, she remembers her cousin Barral and takes a cab to his house with her only two francs.


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