Maupassant's Short Stories Vol. 4
Theodule Sabot's Confession
When Sabot entered the inn at Martinville it was a signal for laughter. What a rogue he
was, this Sabot! There was a man who did not like priests, for instance! Oh, no, oh, no!
He did not spare them, the scamp.
Sabot (Theodule), a master carpenter, represented liberal thought in Martinville. He was a
tall, thin, than, with gray, cunning eyes, and thin lips, and wore his hair plastered down
on his temples. When he said: "Our holy father, the pope" in a certain manner, everyone
laughed. He made a point of working on Sunday during the hour of mass. He killed his
pig each year on Monday in Holy Week in order to have enough black pudding to last till
Easter, and when the priest passed by, he always said by way of a joke: "There goes one
who has just swallowed his God off a salver."
The priest, a stout man and also very tall, dreaded him on account of his boastful talk
which attracted followers. The Abbe Maritime was a politic man, and believed in being
diplomatic. There had been a rivalry between them for ten years, a secret, intense,
incessant rivalry. Sabot was municipal councillor, and they thought he would become
mayor, which would inevitably mean the final overthrow of the church.
The elections were about to take place. The church party was shaking in its shoes in
One morning the cure set out for Rouen, telling his servant that he was going to see the
archbishop. He returned in two days with a joyous, triumphant air. And everyone knew
the following day that the chancel of the church was going to be renovated. A sum of six
hundred francs had been contributed by the archbishop out of his private fund. All the old
pine pews were to be removed, and replaced by new pews made of oak. It would be a big
carpentering job, and they talked about it that very evening in all the houses in the
Theodule Sabot was not laughing.
When he went through the village the following morning, the neighbors, friends and
enemies, all asked him, jokingly:
"Are you going to do the work on the chancel of the church?"
He could find nothing to say, but he was furious, he was good and angry.
Ill-natured people added:
"It is a good piece of work; and will bring in not less than two or three per cent. profit."