she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that. She would so have liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after.
She had a friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, who was rich, and whom she did not like to go and see any more, because she suffered so much when she came back.
But, one evening, her husband returned home with a triumphant air, and holding a large envelope in his hand.
"There," said he, "here is something for you."
She tore the paper sharply, and drew out a printed card which bore these words:
"The Minister of Public Instruction and Mme. Georges Ramponneau request the honor of M. and Mme. Loisel's company at the palace of the Ministry on Monday evening, January 18th."
Instead of being delighted, as her husband hoped, she threw the invitation on the table with disdain, murmuring:
"What do you want me to do with that?"
"But, my dear, I thought you would be glad. You never go out, and this is such a fine opportunity. I had awful trouble to get it. Every one wants to go; it is very select, and they are not giving many invitations to clerks. The whole official world will be there."