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most earnest endeavours, she found that the small sum she earned was wholly insufficient for her increased expenses; and although she carefully refrained from letting her father know this, she was on different occasions compelled to accept the loan of several small sums from kind and charitable persons of her acquaint
When her father died, at the end of two years, the debt she had thus contracted amounted to a sum of 500 francs (£20). With a view of relieving her in her distress, as well as of publicly honouring such exalted and yet modest virtue, the French Academy included Henriette Garden among those
per. sons who, in the year 1827, received the medals their conduct had so nobly earned.
ABOUT twenty-five years ago a poor peasant girl of Normandy, named Jeanne Jugan, left her native town of Cancale for the small burg of Saint-Servan, situated on the coasts of Brittany. She had come to Saint-Servan in the hope of finding a situation, and as she bore an excellent character with her, she was not long without one. The mistress of the last family she entered was a singularly pious and benevolent lady, by whose example Jeanne was much benefited, and who was unconsciously the occasion of good, which those who forget the power of faith and charity, even in the most humble instruments, could never have foreseen. This lady was in the habit
of relieving the poor, and of visiting them in their own houses. She was on such occasions frequently accompanied by Jeanne Jugan, on whom the scenes she then witnessed produced a deep and lasting impression. Jeanne naturally possessed a kind and benevolent heart; the sight of poverty or suffering deeply affected her, and immediately inspired her with the wish of administering relief; and in thus going about with her mistress, she not only gratified her benevolent propensities, but also acquired much useful knowledge and experience, by which her after-conduct was regulated. She, moreover, conceived the first idea of a plan, through which she thought that a single individual might effect more good than by the means her mistress adopted, although she could not at the same time conceal from herself that the expense this plan would require was above what her present circumstances would allow. But Jeanne Jugan, who was not of a temper to be deterred by either time or difficulties, resolved to wait patiently for a favourable opportunity of putting her project into execution. This opportunity was not long without offering itself, although it was the source of much grief to Jeanne. She had been living for several years with her mistress, when that excellent person died in 1839.
All those who had known her, and especially the poor, whose benefactress she had been, bewailed her loss; but none, though
she said less than any, mourned for her like Jeanne. Her grief, though deep, was not, however, of that nature which incapacitates from exertion; on the contrary, the death of the exalted woman, who had ever set so noble an example to her, inspired her with the courage of which her poverty might have otherwise deprived her. The poor had now lost their best friend; Jeanne felt, therefore, that it was time for her to act. She resolved on the execution of her long-cherished plan; and whilst the heirs of the deceased lady divided her, wealth amongst them, she took the noblest legacy her mistress bad left-namely, her love of the poor.c;
Jeanne was too truly charitable to have laid up much money; she, however, owned a small sum, and, by practising rigid economy, she hoped to make it last for some time. For her future support she relied on her industry and on Providence. Having already resolved to enter no more into service, she began looking out for needlework; and was successful in finding some, although the sum she thus earned was very trifling. It may be seen from this that she was indeed poor, and that in the strictest sense of the word; but she was both patient and unwearied, and, moreover, had a strong will of her own, which was not to be shaken by adversity or worldly considerations. Her plan was this to take into her own house, and maintain some poor helpless creature in need not only of food and shelter, but of proper attendance. If, on trial, she found this plan successful, she meditated taking in another, and, in short, as many as she could afford to keep. This was a bold and hazardous project; but Jeanne's mind was replete with holy faith, and she was not one to allow herself to be deterred from an undertaking because it might possibly fail, And yet what had she to accomplish this? Nothing but the will. What this produced will now be seen.
Her first act was to receive beneath her humble roof a poor old blind woman, who had lately lost, with her aged sister, her only support. Her years and infirmity precluded her from work; a severe winter was drawing on; and she was entirely destitute. What was to become of the poor creature? So everybody said, but none proposed to lend her any assistance, until Jeanne appeared. She had heard of her by chance, and now, seeing her distressed state, she immediately took her home, and cheerfully began her noble task-working for the support of two, as she had hitherto done for that of one. Jeanne could not have chosen a more helpless being to succour than her guest. Not only was the poor woman incapable of the least exertion, but she required to be waited on in a manner which entailed much loss of time, and, consequently, curtailed Jeanne's slender earnings, besides trying her patience in no slight degree. But these were evils which she had anticipated, and to which, since they were unavoidable, Jeanne submitted without a murmur; and far from relaxing in her charitable endeavours, she only the more eagerly
sought out another opportunity of doing good, and worked more Tassidubusly than ever to meet the necessary expenses.I s 592689
"It was not long before she heard of an old servant whose masters had lately died, leaving her destitute. The history of this poor woman deeply moved Jeanne ; and indeed it wasiofia nature to excite both respect and compassion. After having for
years faithfully served her masters whilst they were in affluent circumstances, she had experienced the grief of seeing them suddenly fall into great distress. She had been with them in their prosperous days, and in their misery she would not forBake them. l At tirst she refused to receive any wages then pas
their poverty increased, she forced them to accept of those slender "savings she had made in their service; and when even this last resource was exhausted, she had, notwithstanding her syehus and growing infirmities, worked for their supporto But now they were dead, and she remained old, intirm, and alone in the world, thrown on the charity of strangers. Jeanne did not knowoher; but such a character was too congenial to her own for her to hesitate long about the line of conduct i she had best pursue. Moved with pity and admiration, her humble home. The proposal was gratefully accepted, and she now found herself with another guests Jeanne earned but little, and her house was small enough, but what of that, she firmly believed that since it was on her that those two helpless buing's were now dependent, the means of supporting them would not be denied her. Nor was she mistaken. She had more work than she could do ; charitable persons assisted her; and although from that time forward her house became the acknowledged asylum of the poor of Saint-Servan, and the number of her guests constantly increased, yet she found room enough for all ; nor did they ever, whilst beneath her roof, once lack their daily food.'
In Saint-Servan Jeanne was enabled to find ample opportunities of exercising her charitable zeal. Being situated near the sea, this town is chiefly inhabited by fishermen or sailors, and the disastrous accidents so frequent in either mode of life, will but too frequently carry off the head and sole support of a family, by whose death not only a wretched wife and children are left destitute, but also those unfortunate parents who, in their old age and infirmities, had trusted to a son for the support of their declining years. To these unhappy beings Jeanne's house was ever open; indeed such was her hospitality, that it soon became too small; and on the 1st of October 1841 she was obliged to leave it for a larger one. A month afterwards, her second abode was full; twelve persons had found a shelter in it. But now the whole town began to talk of, and praise the poor servant girl, who had taken on herself so heavy a burden, and who, by means that seemed almost miraculous, succeeded in keeping in food and clothing so large a‘number of persons. Filled with admiration, and desirous of helping Jeanne in her noble task, the townsmen
of Saint-Servaneraised a subscription, and with its proceeds purchased a larger house. It was solemnly given to Jeanne, but Twith the express intimation, that the donation of this house was tall, she had to expect, and that on her alone rested the responssibility of providing for its inmates the number of whom she was advised not to increase too much often spisy of 1. On such iterms Jeanne accepted of the house, and set about filling it with dependants. To those already on her list, new ob
jects of charity were from time to time addedet Jeanne learned one day that an old seaman, seventy-two years of age, had been zabandoned by his relations in a damp cellar, where he was lying "on a litter of straw, with a few tattered rags for covering, and scoarse brown bread for food.. She hastened to visit the cellar therself, and found all in the state which had been described. Arpoisome vapour met her at the entrance; but not discouraged by this, she advanced, and at last perceived, in the surrounding gloom, a human form stretched on a wretched pallet. This was othe seamanma feeble, emaciated old man, broken down by a life
of toil and fatigue. He seemed hardly conscious of her presence, rand could but faintly thank her for the provisions which, accordsing to her charitable custom, she had brought with her. Jeanne savý, however, that he was not seriously ill, but merely suffering from the want of fresh air, and proper food and raiment. She
immediately caused him to be removed from the wretched hole jin which he was, and conveyed to her own house, where, with siproper care, be soon recovered. 110 A poor lame child, not more than five years of age, suddenly u lost her parents, and having no other surviving relations, was
left alone on earth. Neither her helplessness, tender years, nor infirmity, could induce any of those around her to receive her, and give her a home to replace that which she had lost. Many of the neighbours were too poor themselves, and already burdened with large families; whilst those who might otherwise have been
willing, were deterred by her infirmity, Jeanne alone was - moved with compassion for the poor helpless orphan whom all abandoned ; she took her home, and adopted her.
Two boys, about nine or ten years of age, had fled from Lower Brittany, where their parents lived in a state of great distress.
They reached Saint-Servan on a cold winter night, and, faint - with hunger and fatigue, knocked at the first door they saw, in the hope of finding food and shelter. They were rudely refused, j and driven away as thieves and vagabonds, who sought to enter
under false pretences. It was in vain that they protested their innocence, relating how misery had compelled them to leave the house of their parents : this statement only procured them everywhere a worse reception., The younger and weaker of the two at length declared that he could go no farther; and although shivering with cold, he sat down on the pavement, and began crying bitterly, whilst his brother vainly endeavoured to comfort
him. It was not long before a crowd gathered around them. On learning the cause of their distress, many pitied them; but more blamed them, saying that they had no more than they deserved, for leaving their parents as they had done; but nothing was proposed for their relief; until at last a person, more sensible or humane than the rest, exclaimed,“ Let us take them to Jeanne.” The suggestion was adopted, and the good Jeanne kindly received the fugitives, and kept them until they were taken back to their father and mother.
A poor girl, aged fourteen, had been abandoned by her parents, who were compelled, for some offence, they had committed, to leave Saint-Servan precipitately. - Unprotected and alone, she was exposed to every temptation which the unprincipled well know how to lay in the path of poverty and distress. Jeanne came to her aid, and rescued her from vice and misery.
In the town of Saint-Servan a woman, notorious for her bad conduct, had an aged mother, who was afflicted with an ulcer of the worst description. Disgusted with the attendance which this poor woman required, and the expense she occasioned, the unnatural daughter informed her unhappy parent that she would no longer support her; and suiting the action to the words, she immediately proceeded to turn her out of doors. Yet, as though to render a tacit homage to Jeanne's well-known benevolence, this wretched creature took her unfortunate mother before the door of Jeanne Jugan's house, and left her there. She was not mistaken in her anticipations. Jeanne received her.
In this way, the number of Jeanne's dependants increased from twelve to twenty, and finally the number of inmates was sixty-five-almost all infirm and aged persons of both sexes, many of them afflicted with incurable illnesses ; and all rescued by Jeanne from the vices, degradation, and misery attendant on beggary-the only resource which was left them when she came to their aid, there being neither poor-houses nor poor-law in France.
Such a noble example was not without its effect. Three persons of Saint-Servan joined Jeanne, to assist her in gratuitously attending on the sick, as well as to help her in the necessary business of such a large establishment. A doctor volunteered his services, and furnished the requisite medicines : in short, Jeanne Jugan has founded a real hospital. It is needless to dwell on the immense benefit which Saint-Servan must derive from it; the fact speaks for itself. But this singular hospital is much more simply administered than any
official one. Jeanne employs no supercilious overseers;
nor is it necessary to go through dilatory forms and petitioning in order to obtain admittance. If she hears of any sick or distressed person, she immediately sees herself into the truth of the case; and on ascertaining it, has the individual forthwith transported to her house.
Such are the wonders achieved in less than six years by the