One-minute review: M Lantin, a clerk in a government office, marries a woman who loves both jewelry, even if artificial, and the theater. Her husband likes neither. She begins to collect jewelry, apparently artificial, because M. Lantin does not make enough for anything else. And, because her husband dislikes the theater, she goes by herself accompanied by, he thinks, a lady friend. She dies. M. Lantin mourns deeply.
One day, needing some money, he takes a pearl necklace made of artificial pearls from his late wife’s collection to a jeweler, who tells him that they are real pearls and worth a great deal of money. Her other jewels turn out to be worth great sums of money. She apparently had had a lover and these jewels were all gifts to her—and all real.
Now, independently wealthy because of his late wife’s collection of jewels, M. Lantin decides to marry again. His second wife makes his life miserable.
75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman.