A doctor, Massarel, living in a town called Canneville represents, in Guy de Maupassant‘s short story “An Affair of State,” the political radical whom events make gleeful. Post-Napoleonic France will again be a republic! In fact, Massarel is prompted to call a couple of his patients “stupid” when they interfere with his activist activity.

But the doctor is in the midst of “listless villagers.” They couldn’t care less about France becoming a republic. For them, affairs of state are not affairs of the heart—or of the ailing body. The Canneville mayor and, apparently, the curate support the Regime. The radical’s enthusiasms are not the enthusiasms of others. Maupassant shakes his head over the fanatical partisan, blind to opposing positions, in this wonderful, even amusing story.