Only the wife of the young couple participates in the conversation, giving only vague or ambiguous responses, particularly to the question of “good” American husbands. Only once does she extend the conversation by asking directly if the daughter has recovered from her lost love. She also volunteers the information that she and her husband once honeymooned one fall in Vevey; they had lived in Paris for several years before “the Great European War” forced them out. They are now returning to Paris for the first time since the war.
The young husband, who speaks aloud only once, seems satisfied to be isolated from the women’s conversation. Almost incidentally the reader discovers that he is the first-person narrator of the story, for he steadfastly looks out the train windows during the journey. He reports in such a flat, unemotional tone that the reader almost forgets that he is a character in the story until the last sentence of the story. Only as the train is pulling into Paris does he wonder whether even trivial points of existence have remained the same after the war. As the train enters the station, he finally reveals the truth of his condition and the point of the story: He and his wife have returned to Paris, the city of light and love, to begin their divorce.