Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a popular French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form's finest exponents. Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert and his stories are characterized by economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements (outcomes). He wrote some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. Pierre and Jean are the sons of Gérôme Roland, a jeweller who has retired to Le Havre, and his wife Louise. Pierre works as a doctor, and Jean is a lawyer. It recounts the story of a middle-class French family whose lives are changed when Léon Maréchal, a deceased family friend, leaves his inheritance to Jean.