A Simple Heart and Other Stories Summary

A Simple Heart and Other Stories Summary


Felicite is a humble servant. She serves Mrs Aubain, an old lady. The lady had once a husband, but he died, and she has sold everything, leaving only a small farm, which brings a small income. Felicite also has a love story, which she recalls.


Felicite's parents died when she was quite small. She experienced a lot of suffering, living as a shepherdess and servant - she was beaten and tortured. As a young girl, she came to the farm, where she was loved. Once the owners have taken her to the ball in Colleville. There she met a dapper young man, Theodore, who offered to accompany her, and on the way home rudely threw her on the hay. From fright she screamed and he left.

Later, they met on the road. She wanted to run away, but he suddenly started talking about the harvest and the fact that he wanted to find a wife. At first she could not believe her ears, but gave up. The following week, he persuaded her to go with him on a date.

He swore eternal love to her, but then he began to fear that soon he will be taken into the army. Finally he decided to find out everything himself in the prefecture. At the appointed time Felicite comes, but meets a friend of Theodore, who informs her that it's over - Theodore married a rich old woman, in order to avoid conscription. This is a real grief to Felicite. She goes to Pont L'Eveque.

There she meets the mistress, who she serves to this day. The lady has two children - Paul (7 years) and Virginia (4 years). The maid is so attached to the children that the lady made comments on the matter. The lady had an uncle, the Marquis Gremanvil who tried to appear-blooded aristocrat and a lawyer, Mr. Bure, who the maid and the children loved very much.

Once there was an accident: Madame Aubain and children in the presence of Felicite were attacked by a bull. Felicite had saved her mistress and children from him. This event really struck the local population. Virginia fell ill with fright. She was taken to the sea-bathing at Trouville. There the girl went to the recovery. Then Felicite start to lead Virginia to the lessons of God's law.


At the lessons of God's law Felicite did not really understand what they say. Soon, when Virginia understood the lessons, Felicite began to imitate her - prayed, fasted. Anxiously she prepared Virginia for her first communion.

The lady decided that the girl should get a better education, and decided to send her to boarding school of the Ursulines in Goflere. Felicite was sorry to leave Virginia. In order to dissipate the sadness of parting, she asked the mistress for permission to invite her nephew Victor. But Victor was taken into a long voyage. At this time came the holidays, and children returned home. Paul became moody and Virginia became a big girl. Children were drawn away from the maid who is so fond of them.

It was time to say farewell to the nephew, but Felicite was late, when she came to the dock, the ship has already sailed.

Virginia, having left for the guest house, wrote to her mother less and less. Once she did not write home for four days. Felicite was trying to console her mistress, saying that her nephew does not write to her for six months, but the lady was inconsolable.

Felicite had learned from the pharmacist that her nephew is in the harbor. She decided to find out where it is, and turned to Mr. Bure. He showed her the place on the map, and she asked to show her the house where Victor lives. Mr. Bure laughed at the naivete of the maid.

Felicite later learns that her nephew died. He was sick of yellow fever, which he tried to cure with blood-letting, as the result that he lost a lot of blood and died.

Virginia felt worse, and died too. Two days Felicite never left the dead body, thinking that it will revive: for her simple soul supernatural was a common occurrence. Ms. Aubain’s grief was boundless.

Years passed, similar to each other. But once the wife of the prefect Larsonera gave Ms. Aubin a parrot after the phrase of Felicite, who once said that the lady would not mind to have a parrot.


The parrot was named Lulu. Since it was a dirty bird, the lady decided to give it to Felicite. Felicite was very fond of the parrot.

The maid began to lose hearing. Soon she heard only the voice of her parrot. She dearly loved her pet: talked, caressed him. It became for her almost as the son, the beloved.

The terrible winter evening in 1837 Felicite found Lulu dead in a cell. The servant’s woe knew no bounds. The lady gave the order to make a stuffed bird.

Shortly an important event happened: Paul married and came to his mother with his wife. Daughter in law, supervisor’s daughter, behaved arrogantly and insulted Felicite.

The following week, Ms. Aubain received the news that Mr. Bure died. After checking the documents, the lady realized that all his life he cheated on her, forging documents and doing behind her back fraudulent manipulations. She became seriously ill and died. Felicite bitterly mourned her mistress.

Her health was getting worse - seeing falling, hearing was almost lost. Later, she became ill with pneumonia. On the eve of the feast of Corpus she asked for a priest. The maid was given the old stuffed parrot so she said goodbye to him.


Letting out her last breath, Felicite thought she saw in heaven a gigantic parrot hovering above her head.

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