Short Story #135: Count Mortier the Madman by Victor Hugo

Title:  Count Mortier the Madman

Author: Victor Hugo


Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943Count Mortier has kidnapped his two children and threatening to kill himself and the two children.  It is clear from his ex-wife and others that he is not of sane mind.  Chancellor Pasquier reads the letter about Mortier's impending murder-suicide and proceeds to the Court's house.  The police and others are there already but the room is barricaded.  Pasquier attempts to use his relationship with Mortier to gain entrance but to no avail.  They call upon a school friend, Delessert to possibly help.  Delessert manages to calm Mortier and even disarm him.  The rest rush into that part of the house to try to find the children. The daughter reveals how she tricked the father into leaving the room and then locked the door from the inside to protect her and her brother.  The narrator explains that on that same day another count, Count Bresson had also slit his own throat.  The narrator remarks that the agreeable weather and serene nature seems to have some fault in this run of suicides.  That is, a gray sky feels more in line with a gray and depressing mood, but a clear and beautiful sky mocks those who are depressed and sends them into killing themselves.  


It's a curious story by Hugo.  It starts in the middle really with the reader following the narrator to find Mortier ready to kill himself and finishes on a depressing note about how beauty itself can serve as the catalyst for the dark and depressed.  

Short Story #135 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  5/11/2014
Source:  Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943.  You can find this story and others in this anthology at this resource. 

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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