A monologue from the play by Guy de Maupassant

NOTE: This translation by Alfred de Sumichrast was first published in 1910 by The Pearson Publishing Co., London. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

MADAME DE SALLUS: Oh, how annoying you are! Understand that this man has me in his power, that I belong to him more than his valet, even more than his dog, that he has over me the most horrible rights. The Code, your Code for savages, gives me to him defenseless, without possible rebellion; except kill me, he can do anything. Do you understand that? Do you comprehend the horror of this law? He can do anything but kill me. And he has the strength, the strength and the police to demand everything! And I--I have no means of escaping this man whom I hate and despise! Yes, that is your law! He took me, married me, and left me. I have the moral right, the absolute right, to hate him. And yet, notwithstanding this legitimate hatred, notwithstanding the disgust, the horror with which he fills me, this husband, who has despised and deceived me, who has run before my eyes from one girl to another, at his will he can demand of me a shameful, an infamous surrender! I have not the right to hide myself, for I have not the right to a key to lock my door. Everything is his, key, door, and wife! It is monstrous! To be no longer mistress of oneself, to have no longer the sacred liberty of defending one's flesh from such defilement--is not that the most abominable law that you men have established?

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