A priest—celibate, of course—in the Guy De Maupassant short story, “Clair de Lune,” is suspicious of the frequent tenderness of women. “According to his belief,” the author writes, “God had created woman for the sole purpose of tempting and testing man.” But this is false, and what occurs with the priest’s pretty niece becomes the impetus for his realization that it is false. In the beauty of the night she is with a man and . . . “Perhaps [the priest thinks] God has made such nights as these to idealize the love of men.”

An interesting concept in a sublime story. “Clair de Lune” is included in the Everyman’s Pocket Classics anthology Love Stories (2009), and a unique and incisive love story it is.