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Under this kind treatment, a shade of reason returned, and Jules Lécuyer was able to resume the business of teaching in a provincial lyceum. Marianne went with him, studying to protect that feeble flame of intelligence which she alone had been able to revive. Alas! Lécuyer was obliged a second time to give up all occupation, and retire to a remote corner of Bretagne, where he lived on a little pension allowed him by the creditors of his family. God only knows, and no one will ever learn from Marianne, what she added to this insufficient allowance by her labour and self-denial. She even sacrificed the expectation of a small fortune which was to come to her, discounting it for the sum of twelve hundred francs. One fatal day, Jules Lécuyer, escaping from her vigilance, took into his head to go to the neighbouring shore and bathe, in spite of the stormy weather. In the evening, Marianne looked for him in vain ; she only learned that a fisherman had heard a loud cry; and next day a corpse was washed ashore. Though thus deprived of the object of her existence, Marianne continues to live without murmuring at the divine will which detains her here.
To this self-sacrificing woman, the Academy, in 1864, awarded a prize of two thousand francs (£80).
PIERRE GUILLOT AND LOUIS BRUNE. PIERRE GUILLOT was one of the men employed on board of the river steamboat, the Vulcain, when she was going down the river Loire, towards Nantes, on the 15th of September 1837. Amongst the passengers on board was a lady with her five children, and their maid. Whilst he was on deck, Guillot heard some of the children crying below; and although he has none of his own, Pierre feels a natural fondness for the children of others, and he no sooner heard their cries, than he immediately went down to the cabin to see what was the matter. A childish dispute had occasioned their tears. Guillot endeavoured to comfort them, and began playing with them. Whilst he was thus engaged, a terrible shock was felt throughout the vessel, and he instantly rushed up to learn the cause. On reaching Ingrande, the Vulcain had stopped to receive some passengers, but the necessary maneuvre having been unskilfully executed, the wheels of the machinery became entangled, the boiler burst, and the burning steam spread all around. Although he was severely burned, Guillot's first thought was not of escape : he recollected the children, and would have rushed down to save them; but on endeavouring to retrace his steps through the scalding mist which surrounded him, he found that the stairs which led to their cabin had already disappeared. It was in vain that, by covering his face with his hands, he hoped to advance ; on attempting to do so, he found that it was impossible. And yet, to quote his own words when
relating this event, the idea that five children and their mother were there being burned to death was killing me.'
Through the lower range of windows, Guillot succeeded in observing the mother of the children. Immediately suspending himself from the iron railing which goes round the deck, he succeeded in snatching her up; but the hapless woman was already dead. He next endeavoured to save the servant; but, though almost burned to death, she cried out, with the most touching devotedness : 'No, no—not me; save the children. But Guillot looked for them in vain; they were nowhere to be seen. Not deterred by the burning atmosphere of the cabin, and the severe injuries he had already received, he entered it, hastily snatched up three of the children, bore them away, and returned for the servant and the other two; but although he succeeded in carrying them to a place of safety, he had the grief to find that, of the five children, two alone survived; the rest, with their mother and the maid, had perished. A prize of 4000 francs (£160) was the reward of this brave action.
The same year, 1838, his relation and friend, Louis Brune, received from the Academy the sum of 3000 francs (£120) for a series of actions no less brave and remarkable.
Louis Brune was by profession a porter on the quays of Rouen; but it might almost be said that his trade consisted in saving lives at the risk of his own. It has been legally attested that he saved the lives of forty-two persons previously to the year 1838. Being constantly near the river-side, he had necessarily numerous occasions of exercising his benevolent propensities; but how many, having the same opportunities, would, like Brune, have risked their own life to save that of others. Who would, like him, have eagerly watched on the shore in the hour of danger for some noble deed to accomplish? One of the most striking instances of this ardour for doing good is to be seen in the following anecdote.
On the 28th of January 1838, the river Seine, which had been frozen for several days, was covered with skaters. It was in vain that they were told of the expected tide, which must certainly break the ice; neither the danger which they ran, nor the warnings and efforts of the local authorities, succeeded in producing any effect upon them. Brune, whose wife and aged mother were then ill, remained all day on the quay, in expectation of the disaster, which he knew to be inevitable. In vain pressing messages to return home came from his family; he firmly refused to leave the spot; and not even for his meals could he be induced to desert the post he had assigned to himself. Nor was it long before a rushing noise was heard ; the ice was breaking in every direction ; and the precipitate fight of the imprudent crowd increased the disaster. A gentleman and his lady, who were enjoying the pleasures of skating, suddenly disappeared in a large opening which the breaking ice had formed beneath them. Brune, who was eagerly looking out, rushed over the ice that bent beneath his tread, plunged into the river, seized the gentleman, and brought him safely to the shore. No sooner had he accomplished this, than he once more precipitated himself into the river, and was fortunate enough in seizing the lady, who had already disappeared under the ice; but, benumbed by the cold, and his strength failing him through this unwonted exertion, he in vain endeavoured to rise to the surface ; he laid hold of the masses of ice, but merely cut his hands in the attempt. Notwithstanding the most desperate efforts, he was on the point of perishing with her whom he endeavoured to save, when a rope was thrown to him ; he seized it, and, though not without difficulty, reached the shore with his burden amidst the applause of the assembled crowd.
That the heroic Brune was appreciated by his countrymen, may be seen from the fact, that the town of Rouen erected him a house at the public expense, with an inscription simply stating that this house had been offered to Louis Brune by the town of Rouen.
HYACINTHE FORCEL. HYACINTHE FORCEL is a sailor belonging to the port of Blainville in the department of La Manche, who, living in the midst of constant dangers, with heroic simplicity, sacrifices his own safety to the passion of saving his fellow-creatures. This course he has pursued without interruption since 1841. Trustworthy witnesses from the port of Blainville and the town of Coutances, relate the successful struggles he has had with the sea in disputing its victims. In 1841, he rescued a poor child, and by friction and rolling it on the sand restored it to life. In 1852, the master of a bark and his two sailors were cast on the breakers at the north of Blainville, and to save them, he had to expose himself to the same danger without much chance of success. * Forcel did not hesitate, however, and he was fortunate enough to bring them ashore. In 1857, seven men had gathered wreck on the rocks at Chaussey, and made a large raft of it, which they were steering towards the coast ; but a sudden squall got up, the fragile raft was carried out three miles from the shore, and the death of those who were on it was almost certain. Forcel saw the danger, threw himself into his boat with two of his comrades, and saved the seven unhappy men, who had given up all hope of human assistance. No one will be surprised to learn that this courageous sailor is also the best of men. Late in life he married a woman who had a son by a former marriage. Hyacinthe was the kindest of fathers to that child, and thought he could not do better than bring him up to the rough and noble occupation in which he himself had spent his life. In 1863, when his son was thirteen years old, they had one day to return from the light-house of Sénequet, while the fog was so thick that they could scarcely see from the one end of the boat to the other. Forcel directed his course, partly by chance, towards the entrance to the bay, and was fortunate enough to get in ; when suddenly cries of despair were heard amid the roar of the breakers, and a vessel, it was clear, had just been wrecked. In spite of all remonstrances, he set out with his son. He directed his course through the rocks towards the spot whence the cries came, and where he found a vessel overset, and two men and a woman, tossed by tremendous waves, clinging to the mast and awaiting death. Unable to persuade them to leave hold of the mast and make towards his boat, he was obliged to leap to the perishing vessel, seize one of the doomed creatures, and leap back with him to his own boat. Three times he performed this dangerous feat, and brought them in triumph to Blainville. The admiration excited on this occasion among the whole coast population was such that the government sent him a medal of the first class.
What a man he would have made of his step-son! But his hopes were cruelly disappointed. On the 6th August 1865, when the boy was bathing in the harbour of Blainville, Forcel suddenly heard cries of distress. Not seeing the lad, he threw off his coat, dived three times without finding him ; and supposing that the current had carried him out, he put off with his boat from the shore, dived again, and found him. But the sea this time had taken its revenge; the poor old sailor only brought home a corpse. The profoundest sympathy for his misfortune, and the admiration long felt for his conduct, were expressed in the memorandum sent to the Academy, which in 1866 granted him a prize of 3000 francs (£120).*
* In imitation of M. de Montyon, a M. Souriau has founded an annual prize of a thousand francs (£40), for virtuous actions; and a Madame Marie Lasne has founded six medals' of three hundred francs each. The former came into operation in 1866, the latter in 1869. The awards are made by the Academy in the same way as for the Montyon prizes.
LIVING WITHIN THE MEANS. ND so, Frank, you are really going to be married ?' asked Uncle Joshua. 'I really am, sir,' replied Frank.
And live on broth?
'Yes, sir ; and if I cannot afford that, on water-gruel.' And pray, have you persuaded Jane to starve with you?' 'I have persuaded her, sir, that we can be happy on the bare necessaries of life ; and those my industry will always procure us.'
How do you know that you will always have health to labour in your profession?'
I certainly do not; it would be presumption in me to speak securely on that subject.'
Yet you are going to act as if this were a certainty
And is it wrong, my dear sir, that I should ? I have health and strength—these, to me, are positive wealth. I possess them now,
* The present story (a few alterations excepted) formed a small volume of unpretending appearance, and of anonymous authorship, published some years ago at Boston, United States, and which had there gone through several editions. We were so much pleased with the production, as a contribution to good morals, virtuous habits, and domestic and social comfort-in which respects it reminded us of some of the early popular works of Miss Edgeworth-as to feel satisfied that we should be doing a duty to our readers, and a benefit to society, by its republication in our Miscellany.- ED.