"The Necklace," a Maupassant masterpiece renowned for its pathos and shocking ending, tells of Mathilde, who aspires to high society despite being married to a low-paid clerk. When her husband manages to cadge an invitation to a grand ball at the Ministry of Education, Mathilde refuses to attend unless she can look the part. She obtains a splendid gown, but then demands a necklace to go with it. Thus she borrows a diamond necklace from a friend - and so their troubles begin. This volume also includes two more Maupassant classics: "The Piece of String," in which an indignant villager is wrongly accused of stealing a pocketbook, and "Mouche," a poignant portrait of five merry bargemen and the woman who joins them on their journeys up and down the Seine, loving each of them freely.