« ForrigeFortsæt »
good place. Immediately the school seemed transformed into a dressmaker's work-room, and continued so until a sufficient quantity of clothes had, by some means, been found or made. "If a poor family were in distress, and in want of food, things went on in much the same manner. Each scholar would take something from the provisions she had brought with her, until a sufficient, if somewhat heterogeneous, meal was provided for the unfortunate people. Such is the education which Pauline Copain gives to the children intrusted to her care. It needs no comment: nor can we better conclude these remarks than by giving the words of an inhabitant of the village, and which convey all that can be told on this subject: “A hundred times have I witnessed those occurrences-admirable lessons of benevolence, and far more capable of forming the heart of youth than all the exhortations in the world."
Facts like these might well draw the attention of those to whom they were submitted; and in the year 1845 the Academy, after bestowing high praise on the noble character and conduct of Pauline Copain, unanimously voted her a prize of a thousand francs (£40).
JEAN VIGIE R.
A POOR widow named Vigier, who resided in Aurillac, a small town in Normandy, had four sons, whom she with great difficulty succeeded in bringing up honestly. The three eldest were apprenticed to different trades; but Jean (or John), the youngest, who was then nine years of age, being both quick and intelligent, was, owing to the protection and friendship of the parish priest, and of the prefect of the department, brought up and educated in a college of the neighbouring town.
It may easily be supposed that this favour had not been lightly extended to Jean. Indeed the goodness of his heart, his docility, and, above all, his strong attachment to his mother, had long endeared him to every one, and had contributed, perhaps more than even his intelligence, to procure for him this valuable privilege. In the college where, through the kindness of his friends, he had been placed, Jean Vigier not only ardently prosecuted his studies, but he also distinguished himself among his schoolfellows by constant good nature, yet which, even then, was marked by a firmness and decision strange in one of his years.
In the meantime, Madame Vigier, after having been in decent and comfortable, if not affluent, circumstances for many years, now began to experience sudden reverses, and soon fell into the deepest misery. The efforts of her friends to rescue her from this unhappy position were unavailing; and as her three eldest sons, although they were even then each earning his livelihood, stated that they could not assist her, it was at length resolved to place
her in an hospital, where admission for her was procured. But before taking this step, it was thought necessary to apprise Jean with what was going to be done. His grief being apprehended, the good curate himself set out for the college where he in the most cautious and delicate manner intimated to him the state of his mother's circumstances, and how, no other course remaining free, it had been found expedient to place her in an hospital where aged and infirm persons were received, and properly attended to.
Jean Vigier heard his friend speak thus without shedding a single tear, but with a deep silent grief which strongly moved him who witnessed it. “ Monsieur le Curé," said he at length, in a calm but firm tone, "I thank you for all your kindness, but my mother shall never enter the hospital, where she would die of grief. I shall leave this college, to return to it no more. I will stay with my mother; I will support my mother," he proudly added, his eyes flashing through the tears with which, notwithstanding his efforts, they began to be filled. The curate was astonished at such a resolution, coming from a child who had not yet reached his tenth year. He uselessly endeavoured, by showing him the numerous difficulties which must attend the execution of his plan, to deter him from the attempt. Jean Vigier remained undaunted; and to all the curate's remonstrances, respectfully but firmly replied, “I will support my mother.”
Perceiving that his resolve was not to be shaken, the priest brought him home, sorry to see him lose the advantages of a good education, but full of admiration for the filial piety which dictated such conduct.
When it was known in the village that Jean Vigier meant to support his mother and himself by his own unaided exertions, the idea was much laughed at, and turned into ridicule; but Jean, though in years a child, had now the spirit and courage of
He did not heed those who, unable to comprehend the nobleness of his motives, could see in them only food for mockery; but, embracing his mother, and bidding her be of good cheer, since, whilst he lived, she should want for nothing, he earnestly set about looking for a trade. To say the truth, he was at first no little embarrassed; he felt that the knowledge he had acquired at the college could be of slight use to him now; and he was somewhat puzzled how to act, when luckily his school reminiscences came to his aid. He recollected, in the walks which he had been in the habit of taking with his companions, to have often met a child of his own age, who used to go about selling cakes, placed on a kind of wooden tray suspended from his neck. The thought was a flash of light. He resolved to imitate him; nothing doubting but that he could thus earn enough to support himself and his parent. He first communicated his resolve to his mother and to the curate. The former, who implicitly trusted in her beloved child, acquiesced; and the latter, with the help of a few friends, furnished Jean with the means of executing his plan. And who was prouder and happier than Jean on the first day that he went about the whole country, with nice tempting cakes symmetrically arranged on the tray which he carried before him, covered with a snow-white cloth? S+Jean "had confidently expected to realise at least respectable gains by his new calling the temptation of buying nice hot cakes seeming to him perfectly irresistible; but he unfortunately found that people were more stoically indifferent to the attractions of his wares than could have been reasonably expected. Some thought his hot cakes stale, others dear, and by far a larger number did not care for them good or bad. Alas! how often did
Jean ery bitterly when, after wandering through a cold wintry day, he did not succeed in procuring even a few halfpence! How often did he seem on the point of losing courage altogether, when the thought of his poor helpless mother, now dependent on him, would come and inspire him with strength and renewed trust in Providence !
Nor was that trust vain. Though, after many severe trials, yet through unwearied zeal, perseverance, and labour, which seemed beyond the power of a child, Jean Vigier succeeded—not indeed in making a fortune, but in securing for his mother some of the comforts of her former life, and in preserving her from what, as he had rightly conjectured, would have em bittered and shortened the rest of her days; namely, becoming the inmate of an hospital. But Jean was not without ambition. Even whilst going about with his cakes, he had conceived a hazardous project, yet which, if it succeeded, might certainly prove profitable. It was not, however, without certain inward misgivings that he was doing a very daring thing, that he determined to execute it. This was neither more nor less than to add to his cakes a small stock of toys. This plan may seem to the reader of very triffing importance, but to Jean it was of the deepest moment. He had for a long time been saving a small sum of money, which he now applied to the purchase of a few toys. The speculation, very fortunately, proved successful; and, in the intoxication of the moment, Jean almost thought of giving up the cakes altogether. Calmer reflection, however, showed him that this would be mere folly; and he determined, since it was practicable to do so, to sell both cakes and toys. It would be tedious to tell, after how long a space of time, and how many hard trials, Jean succeeded in gradually rising from this precarious position to a better and more lucrative one. He exchanged his toys for more substantial and more profitable wares; and as his strength and years increased, he travelled throughout the country with a pedlar's pack, visiting the neighbouring villages, where the honesty of his dealings, and his touching devotedness to his mother, gained him universal esteem, and secured him numerous customers.
THE MONTYON PRIZES.
Jean Vigier has now anonown up to 1
manhood. The child's noble task has also been that of both the youth and the man, and, with the blessing
of Providence, which followed him still, Jean has not only been able to support his mother, but, through the most humble means,
and in the most unexpected manner, to secure for himself a decent and honest livelihood. The whole tenor of his conduct has been such, that in the year 1837 the French Academy felt itself
bestowing on him
one of the medals distributed that year, as a slight reward of his honest efforts and industry, and, above all, of his touching behaviour towards his aged and infirm parent, so strongly contrasted by the unfeeling conduct of his elder brothers. Some regret may be entertained that the benevolent intentions of those persons who placed him in the college were frustrated, and that Jean Vigier has been
to abandon the search of knowledge for more humble pursuits. But though knowledge is assuredly one of the greatest earthly blessings, it is not the greatest : virtue will ever rank above it; and truly happy are those who, like Jean Vigier, are called upon to sacrifice it to duty and
11e 1992 asw ain't nove tedt viloyitib fratg fiontiw Jonas 1 dorodisArresto,9785 bHE NRIETTEGEM-190 vt botasera
HENRIETTE GARDEN SISTE 99812 | HENRIETTE GARDEN was only eight years of age when she unfortunately lost her mother. On finding himself a widower, her father confided her to the care of worthy and respectable persons, but who, from their incapacity, could only give her a very imperfect education. She was taught how to sew, and became very expert with her needle; but that, and the usual run of household work, was thought, both by her father and the persons with whom Monsieur Garden brought her home, and confided to her care she was, sufficient for her education. When she was fourteen, the management of his household. In this position she not only behaved with remarkable prudence and discretion for her years, but she also gave her father every proof of the most tender attachment.
As Henriette grew up, she received several advantageous offers of marriage; but she refused them all, having inwardly resolved that no motive should ever induce her to leave her parent. Such were her intentions, when Monsieur Garden abruptly informed her one day that he was going to marry again. Though surprised, and perhaps pained at this announcement, Henriette refrained from making any remark, and cheerfully submitted to an event which, she fervently hoped, might contribute to her father's happiness. The marriage took place; but what was her grief on learning, when it was over, that she was no longer to dwell beneath her father's roof. She was then twenty years of
age, and although in affluent circumstances, Monsieur Garden refused to do anything for her, but intimated to her that she was