Ten stories -- "The Lancer's Wife," "Hautot Senior and Hautot Junior," "No Quarter," "The Orphan," "A Lively Friend," "The Blind Man," "The Impolite Sex," "The Cake," "The Corsican Bandit," and "The Duel" -- from Guy de Maupassant complete this volume. Guy de Maupassant is regarded as one of the world's master short fiction writers. A civil servant, Maupassant spent most of his free time pursuing women; women figure in most of his stories -- as prostitutes, wives, servants, and catalysts for tragedy. Maupassant's own gradual descent into syphilitic madness probably influenced the paranoia and unreality of many of his tales. Few, if any, have ever mastered his economy of style, or ability to observe and record the human condition. The title story is strange and unnaturally moving. In twists of fate that are the hallmarks of Maupassant's work, an act of mercy emerges amid war and hatred and a Prussian woman and a Frenchwoman are linked forever.