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By Georges Simenon

Simenon spins a masterful story of noblemen fallen on demanding instances and of a profligate son who within the ultimate hour reveals unforeseen energy of personality, regaining the consideration and the the Aristocracy of his ancestors.

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Sample text

Monsieur Maurice,” Marie Tatin said. And, to Maigret she said: “You ought to take care too. I heard you coughing last night…” The peasants went off. The stove was red hot. ” said Marie Tatin. And because of her squint, it was impossible to say whether she was looking at Maigret or the count. “Won’t you have something to eat? ” She had simply tied an apron over the black dress she put on only to go to Mass. Her hat had been left on a table. Maurice de Saint-Fiacre drank a second glass of rum, and looked at Maigret as if to ask him what he was to do.

He had already seen those faces. But then, that man who had a child in his arms, for example, and was accompanied by a pregnant woman, had been a boy of four or five… Maigret had no flowers. The tombstone was dirty. ” He did not feel like returning to the château. Something there distressed him, made him indignant even. Admittedly, he had no illusions about humanity. But he was furious that his childhood memories had been sullied. The countess, above all, whom he had always seen as a noble, beautiful person, like a picture-book heroine … Now she turned out to be a crazy old woman who kept a succession of gigolos.

You saw what a scolding I gave him! ” He caught sight of the boy in his underpants, trying to hide. “Let him get dressed,” said Maigret. ” The woman went on preparing the lunch. Her husband was presumably at Marie Tatin’s having his apéritif. At last the door opened, and Ernest came in, with a sly look on his face, wearing his weekday suit, the trousers of which were too long. ” exclaimed the woman. “But in that case… Ernest … go and put your best suit on quick … ” “It isn’t worth it, madame. ” The street was empty.

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