The Patron (Maupassant)

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The Patron
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A newly appointed State Councillor offered his influence to everyone he met, but his eagerness to help led him to unknowingly support a disreputable priest, causing him embarrassment and criticism.

Jean Marin, a former law student and son of a provincial Sheriff, had become a State Councillor in Paris. He was very proud of his position and would often offer his influence to anyone he met, writing numerous letters of recommendation for various people.

Jean Marin — State Councillor; formerly a law student and lawyer; proud, eager to help others, easily deceived.

One rainy day, Jean met an old priest named Abbé Ceinture, who was seeking shelter from the rain.

Abbé Ceinture — old priest; white-haired; cunning, deceitful, controversial figure.

The priest mentioned that he was in Paris to deal with a personal matter involving his bishop. Jean, eager to help, offered to write letters of recommendation for the priest to his colleagues at the State Council.

You know I am State Councillor, and I am absolutely at your service. If there is anything I can do for you, I hope you will call on me unhesitatingly.

The next day, Jean read a newspaper article accusing the priest of being a former Jesuit and a conspirator against the government. The article also criticized Jean for supporting the priest. Shocked and embarrassed, Jean rushed to his colleague Petitpas and explained that he had been deceived by the priest. He then wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Paris, denouncing the priest and admitting that he had been misled by his lies.

Jean learned a valuable lesson from this experience: never to recommend anyone without knowing their true character.