The day of the party arrived. Madame Loisel was a success. She was prettier than all the other women, elegant, gracious, smiling, and full of joy. All the men stared at her, asked her name, tried to be introduced. All the cabinet officials wanted to waltz with her. The minister noticed her.
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"Look," he said, "here's something for you."
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And he did borrow, asking for a thousand from one man, five hundred from another, five louis here, three louis there. He gave notes, made ruinous agreements, dealt with usurers, with every type of money-lender. He compromised the rest of his life, risked signing notes without knowing if he could ever honor them, and, terrified by the anguish still to come, by the black misery about to fall on him, by the prospect of every physical privation and every moral torture he was about to suffer, he went to get the new necklace, and laid down on the jeweler's counter thirty-six thousand .
"Why, yes. But I don't know what you like."
So they begged the jeweler not to sell it for three days. And they made an arrangement that he would take it back for thirty-four thousand if the other necklace was found before the end of February.
Then she asked anxiously, hesitating:
In a shop at the Palais Royal, they found a string of diamonds which seemed to be exactly what they were looking for. It was worth forty thousand . They could have it for thirty-six thousand.
"Would you lend me this, just this?"
And so they went from jeweler to jeweler, looking for an necklace like the other one, consulting their memories, both sick with grief and anguish.
"What is the matter?" asked her husband, already half undressed.
"You must write to your friend," he said, "tell her you have broken the clasp of her necklace and that you are having it mended. It will give us time to look some more."