at the end of the story when they both just know the truth.
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Mathilde won't admit that she has made a mistake, and her husband..... henpecked, tolerates his wife's refusal to tell her friend the truth about the necklace. In the end, Mathilde is still broke, exhausted, aged, and dwelling upon what might have been.
Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become like all the other strong, hard, coarse women of poor households. Her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry, her hands were red. She spoke in a shrill voice, and the water slopped all over the floor when she scrubbed it. But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down by the window and thought of that evening long ago, of the ball at which she had been so beautiful and so much admired.
She realized what she has lost broke her friends' heart... Greatly. Madame Loisel approaches her friend 20 years later and tells her the truth.