Money is a good mirror to peer into human nature. It can see clearly whether a person values “righteousness” or “profit” when encountering problems. In “The Umbrellas”, Maupassant, the king of short stories, portrayed Mrs. Olay, a miser, through delicate and vivid brushwork. Originally from a well-off family, she showed a stingy and mean image just because of trivial matters such as buying an umbrella and changing the cover. Because of money, her soul became obscene and twisted; because of money, she lost her heart and happiness. Money is a double-edged sword. Some people live better because of it, while others become its slaves. Life is full of seas, and the easiest way to see a person clearly is to talk about money.
01 Talk about money and expose the pattern
Mrs. Olay is a housewife, forty years old, tidy and quick-tempered. Her home was often filled with smoke, mainly due to her losing her temper over money. She regards money as her life, and in order to keep her money growing, she has formulated a set of strict rules and regulations. Not only is it delusional for the maid to overpay for herself, but even for Mr. Olay to have some pocket money, it’s hard for him to do so. She was excessively frugal, resulting in the fact that her home was often short of things, and the things she should have were not there.
Mr. Olay was dissatisfied with this and repeatedly advised her to be more generous. But she still insisted on going her own way, insisting that more money was better than less money. In order not to use the family’s capital, she allowed Mr. Olay to stay in the position of chief clerk in the War Department. For two years, she made Mr. Olayi always bring a patched umbrella to work, which attracted countless ridicules. Mr. Olay couldn’t bear it anymore and urged her to buy a new umbrella.
She went to buy a cheap umbrella from a thousand shopping malls, but it was soon scrapped, and Mr. Olayi became the laughingstock of his colleagues. Mr. Olay’s self-esteem was completely hurt. When he returned home, he strictly demanded that she buy a large umbrella made of finely woven satin. She reluctantly spent eighteen francs to buy a new umbrella, but angrily ordered her husband to use the new umbrella for five years. Unexpectedly, Mr. Olay’s colleagues always liked to play tricks on him and burned a hole the size of a coin in the cover of his new umbrella with cigar smoke. Seeing the hole in the new umbrella, Mrs. Olay seemed to see the silver coins flowing out of her purse. She immediately became angry and started to make a fuss with Mr. Olay.
The gentle Mr. Olayi had no choice but to bring a new and patched umbrella to work, but he was still pranked by his colleagues. A storm hit the family again, and the couple fell into a vortex of quarrel again. I have read a sentence: Money is a chain or a tool. Depending on the heart of the user, it can reflect a person’s pattern. Some people work day and night and accumulate countless amounts of money, but they are like iron roosters. They only have money in their eyes. How can the pattern be big?
Some people have a meager income but little rice in their bags, but they have affection and righteousness in their hearts. The road is getting wider and wider, so how can the pattern be small? Money serves people. In addition to it, life also needs friendship, family affection, and love. Although money is important, friendship is even more important. Rather than being enslaved by money, it is better to look at its use in a far-reaching way. Once you talk about money, you can see clearly a person’s personality.
02 Talking about money, exposing your mind
Is it really that Mrs. Olay’s house is almost in trouble? No. Her family is considered well-off, with a large amount of savings and no children. But whenever she sees the white silver coins coming out of her hand, it feels like a piece of her heart has been torn out, and she can’t sleep at night. This led to her often fussing over small amounts of money, which caused a lot of chaos in the family. She reluctantly bought a new umbrella of eighteen francs for Mr. Olay, but it was broken by Mr. Olay’s colleagues.
Time and time again, she knew it was her colleagues who did it, but she still got into trouble with Mr. Olayi over it. She threatened to make Mr. Olay pay the price, and Mr. Olay would never get a new umbrella. A friend was invited to her home for dinner, and she angrily confided her grievances to her friend. Friends advised her not to let a small thing cost her a fortune, but if she couldn’t, it wouldn’t be too expensive to replace the umbrella. When she heard this, the anger in her heart burned even more intensely. It would cost eight francs to replace the umbrella cover. It was really crazy to spend twenty-six francs for this umbrella.
She asked Mr. Olayi to bring a coarse picnic umbrella to work from now on, but Mr. Olayi resisted. She was constantly fussing over a small amount of money, but she never expected that this time Mr. Olay would refuse to give in for the sake of his own dignity. Mr. Olayi dropped his rhetoric and said he would resign if only he was allowed to go to work with a rough cloth umbrella. Mrs. Olay was knocked awake instantly by this bold statement. If her husband resigned, wouldn’t it be a bigger loss? She was stunned, and sorted out her chaotic thoughts, believing that there was always a way out, and there must be other good ways.
French writer Hugo once said: The broadest thing in the world is the ocean, wider than the ocean is the sky, and wider than the sky is the human mind. A narrow mind brings many troubles; a broad mind brings blessings. A person’s view of money can reveal his mind. A person who is too stingy is like working behind closed doors, and even hurts blood relatives and close friends for money, and it is difficult to lead a heroic life. A truly powerful person faces money, knows how to make choices and be altruistic, and his life will naturally be brighter. After all, besides money, there are more important values and meanings in life worth pursuing.
03 Talking about money exposes character
Money quality is character. The way a person treats money can reflect what he is like inside. Mrs. Olayi was advised by her friends that as long as things were burned at home, the insurance company they insured could pay for them. Her anger immediately disappeared. After thinking about it for a while, she asked Mr. Olayi to go to the insurance company the next day to apply for compensation. Mr. Olay was startled by his wife’s rude request. It was just an eighteen-franc umbrella. As for alerting the insurance company?
The next day, Mr. Olay took a cane and went to work, but Mrs. Olay kept wandering around the umbrella at home. In her heart, she was rejecting the mocking gazes of the insurance company personnel, and at the same time she was in great pain for the eighteen francs she had lost. After hours of inner tug-of-war, she transformed from a coward into a warrior, determined to fight for the insurance company. Before going out, in order to make the umbrella look like it was badly burned, she deliberately used a match to burn a hole as big as the palm of her hand between the two ribs. After making these preparations, she quickly walked to the insurance company with her umbrella, mustered up the courage to move her feet and walked into the office lobby.
She was also worried about lying in her heart, but when she thought of eighteen francs, she unconsciously walked to the disaster and loss department room. The director of the loss department looked at her umbrella and sympathized with her serious injury. Seeing the situation, she immediately told the director of the loss department sadly that she had bought this for twenty francs. The director of the loss department not only questioned the amount she paid for the umbrella, but also didn’t understand what it had to do with the insurance company. She started talking nonsense and never gave up until she achieved her goal. She bluntly said that all she wanted was money to change her umbrella. The director of the loss department saw her true face and did not want to continue to entangle with her, so he took the approach of calming down the matter. After Mrs. Olay received the compensation form as she wished, she turned to the umbrella repair shop and boldly asked the clerk to use the best silk noodles.
I read a sentence: You can be cunning, you can be smooth, you can play dumb, but you must adhere to a bottom line, and this bottom line is called character. In order to keep their own wallets, they do not hesitate to frame the blame and let others foot the bill; they feel heartbroken when they pay for themselves, and they arbitrarily exploit others when they pay for it. A person’s character is hidden in the details of “talking about money”. When others choose to have a long-term relationship with you, it has nothing to do with wealth, ability, appearance, and body, but only your character. Time can verify people’s hearts, and money can verify character. The last wall you must protect yourself is your character.
04 To see if a person is worthy of deep friendship, just talk to him about money.
Some people are good at everything when they don’t talk about money, but once they talk about money, their friendship is zero; some people, even if they have money, don’t look down on others, don’t take advantage, and care about friendship. Money is like a magic mirror, from which we can best see through human nature. The difference between people is not about money, but about structure, mind and character. Mrs. O’Reilly’s insistence on the money led to unrest in the family, tension between the couple, and greed for ill-gotten gains.
Her life is dominated by money. Every day she opens her eyes, she has to spend every penny and rack her brains. She completely forgets that there are many important parts of life. Although money is the foundation of life, if you lose yourself, your heart, and your righteousness because of money, you will lose more than you gain.