The Memoirs of Louis XIV HTML version

The Abbe Dubois
My son had a sub-governor, and he it was who appointed the Abbe, a very learned
person, to be his tutor. The sub-governor's intention was to have dismissed the Abbe as
soon as he should have taught my son sufficiently, and, excepting during the time
occupied by the lessons, he never suffered him to remain with his pupil. But this good
gentleman could not accomplish his design; for being seized with a violent colic, he died,
unhappily for me, in a few hours. The Abbe then proposed himself to supply his place.
There was no other preceptor near at hand, so the Abbe remained with my son, and
assumed so adroitly the language of an honest man that I took him for one until my son's
marriage; then it was that I discovered all his knavery. I had a strong regard for him,
because I thought he was tenderly attached to my son, and only desired to promote his
advantage; but when I found that he was a treacherous person, who thought only of his
own interest, and that, instead of carefully trying to preserve my son's honour, he plunged
him into ruin by permitting him to give himself up to debauchery without seeming to
perceive it, then my esteem for this artful priest was changed into disgust. I know, from
my son himself, that the Abbe, having one day met him in the street, just as he was about
to enter a house of ill-fame, did nothing but laugh at him, instead of taking him by the
arm and leading him home again. By this culpable indulgence, and by the part he took in
my son's marriage, he has proved that there is neither faith nor honesty in him. I know
that I do him no wrong in suspecting him to have contributed to my son's marriage; what
I say I have from my son himself, and from people who were living with that old
Maintenon at the time, when the Abbe used to go nightly for the purpose of arranging
that intrigue with her, the object of which was to sell and betray his master. He deceives
himself if he fancies that I do not know all this. At first he had declared in my favour, but
after the old woman had sent for him two or three times he suddenly changed his
conduct. It was not, however, on this that the King afterwards took a dislike to him, but
for a nefarious scheme in which he was engaged with the Pere La Chaise. Monsieur was
as much vexed as I. The King and the old woman threatened to dismiss all his favourites,
which made him consent to everything; he repented afterwards, but it was then too late.
I would to God that the Abbe Dubois had as much religion as he has talent! but he
believes in nothing--he is treacherous and wicked--his falsehood may be seen in his very
eyes. He has the look of a fox; and his device is an animal of this sort, creeping out of his
hole and watching a fowl. He is unquestionably a good scholar, talks well, and has
instructed my son well; but I wish he had ceased to visit his pupil after his tuition was
terminated. I should not then have to regret this unfortunate marriage, to which I can
never reconcile myself. Excepting the Abbe Dubois there is no priest in my son's favour.
He has a sort of indistinctness in his speech, which makes it sometimes necessary for him
to repeat his words; and this often annoys me.
If there is anything which detracts from the Abbe's good sense it is his extreme pride; it is
a weak side upon which he may always be successfully attacked. I wish my son had as
little confidence in him as I have; but what astonishes me most is that, knowing him as he
does, better than I do, he will still trust him. My son is like the rest of his family; he