LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
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LITTLE BLUE MANTLE;
THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND.
A TRUE STORY.
"Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the
land, and verily thou shalt be fed" (Ps. xxxvii. 3).
" It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts xx. 35).
THOMAS NELSON & SONS,
42 BLEECKER STREET.
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
NE winter's evening, many years
ago, at the hour when all had
gone to rest, in a little village
of Burgundy, a loud knock was heard at
the door of a lonely cottage on the banks
of the river Yonne.
"Who is there?" said a gentle voice
from within the cottage.
"Open the door at once, I entreat you,"
was the reply, in a voice tremulous with
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
NE winter's evening, many years
ago, at the hour when all had
gone to rest, in a little village
of Burgundy, a loud knock was heard at
the door of a lonely cottage on the banks
of the river Yonne.
"Who is there?" said a gentle voice
from within the cottage.
"Open the door at once, I entreat you,"
was the reply, in a voice tremulous with
4 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
Push the door and come in," replied
the gentle voice within.
And scarcely were these words uttered,
when a woman, dressed in coarse clothing,
hastened into the cottage, hiding under
the folds of her cloak a large bundle. She
stopped in surprise, to see only a child,
apparently little more than eight years
old, sitting alone beside a cold hearth,
near which a solitary candle was burn-
"Are you alone ?" asked she.
"Yes," replied the child sorrowfully.
"Once we were a large family, but now
my brother Mark and I are all that is left."
"I was told that I would find a boat-
"Well, yes; my brother Mark is a
"Then, make haste, and call him
quickly, for I am in great haste. I am
pursued. There is not a moment to be lost.
I want to get on the other side of the
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
SSo saying, the woman looked fearfully
Stewards the door.
"Mark is not here," replied the child.
Then, God have mercy on us We are
lost!" cried the unfortunate woman, fall-
ing, as if exhausted, on the bench near
which she stood.
As she moved, her cloak opened, and a
charming child appeared, about five or six
years old, whom she was holding close to
S her breast. He struggled out of her arms,
"Why are we lost, Petronilla? Are
the brigands there ?"
"Brigands ? There are none in our coun-
try," said the little inhabitant of the cot-
tage, bursting into laughter at such an idea.
"If there were none, we should not be
here," replied the woman gravely. "If
we cannot reach the opposite bank of
the river in an hour, this child is lost.
What has become of your brother, that he
is so late in coming home ?"
"I don't know; but since you are so
6 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
very anxious to cross the river, I can be
your boatman. It will not be the first
time that I have ferried people over, when
Mark was absent. Everybody knows
Edme Champion. Come with me; don't
There is nothing else for it, I will go
with you, and trust in the protection of
God," said the woman rising.
She carefully covered the child with
the folds of her cloak, and went out very
quietly, accompanied by young Champion.
The stranger lightly stepped into the
boat, whilst her little guide was busy
in unloosing the rope which fastened it.
The frail skiff soon glided swiftly over the
surface of the water, dimly lighted by the
feeble ray of the moon, then in its first
quarter. The woman's courage seemed to
revive as the boat receded from the shore;
and, as if she forgot the age of the boy
to whom she was addressing herself, she
"You are saving the life of a noble-
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 7
S man's son, and you will be rewarded as
S you deserve."
"Did the robbers want the fine clothes
of the young gentleman?" asked little
"They wanted much more than that-
they wanted to seize himself," replied the
"How can that be possible ? What
can they want with a child of his age ?"
"A child of his age like you would run
no risk," replied she; but he-you have
no idea to whom you are speaking, my
The tone, the circumstances, and the
appearance of this woman were so impos-
ing that they reminded the little Champion
of the wonderful stories he had heard re-
lated during the long winter evenings in
the village. Disturbed in mind, and
leaning on his oars, he sat gazing on the
stranger, thinking on her coarse dress and
the mystery that surrounded her; his
confident manner was changed, and, under
8 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
the influence of superstitious fear, he
"Are you disguised, madam ?"
"Did you, then, mistake me for a
peasant, little boy? said the unknown, in
a tone of surprise.
"Perhaps, then, you are a princess?"
replied the little rower.
"No questions," said she. I intend to
keep my incognito, as the prince said."
At these words, uttered in an im-
perious tone, Edme opened his eyes
wider and wider. He could not compre-
hend what incognito meant, and therefore
as little understood what the prince and
the unknown lady desired so much to
keep; but as he did not dare to ask her
any more questions, he contented himself
with gazing at her in silence. All at
once he saw her countenance change.
She trembled, and pointing to something
in the distance, murmured-
"Do you see that black speck down
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
Edme looked in the direction in which
she was pointing. After a short pause, he
"Yes; it is the boat belonging to Jean
"Who are those men on board ?"
"Jean Carrouge and three men whom
I do not know. The boat is at a great
distance from us, and is coming on
"Ply your oars, and row as fast as you
can!" exclaimed the woman in tones of
Alas madam, it will be of little use.
Row as fast as I can, these men will over-
"Boy," said the woman, in a low but
quick voice, this child is the son of a
nobleman. Some of his enemies have
conspired to carry him off, to revenge
themselves of a fancied injury. The dear
child is innocent, and we must save him."
"How can we do it?" said Edme per-
10 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
Hide him! oh, hide him !"
Wait a moment," said Edme, putting
his hand to his forehead, as if he had dis-
covered some way of escape from the
difficulty. I am young and slight; the
dress of the young nobleman is full and
easy; I may be able to put it on. Let
me change dresses with him; he must
take my place. I will hide myself under
your cloak, and they will take me for the
young lord. You must then do your
best to reach the opposite shore."
No sooner said than done. Whilst
Edme was undressing, the woman was
trying to console the child, who angrily
resisted being stripped of his clothing.
At last the change was made, and the
woman said to the little Champion, as she
rolled him in her cloak:
If you ever reach Paris safely, ask for
the Hotel de Lauzun, in the street Tique-
tonne, and be sure, you will be welcome
Scarcely had she said these words, when
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 11
the boat of Jean Carrouge came alongside
that of the fugitives. A man immedi-
ately leaped on board, and, seizing the
child who was wrapped up in the woman's
arms, he leaped back to the other boat,
without even casting a glance on the boy
- who was seated at the oars. When he
had rejoined his companions, he ironically
Tell your master to look for the heir
of all his wealth-in the mines of Pont
THE ORPHAN BROTHERS.
HE boat belonging to Mark Cham-
pion, in which the fugitives were
seated, reached the opposite shore
in safety. There they easily procured a
hired carriage, and were soon out of the
reach of their pursuers. The boat of Jean
Carrouge landed near ChAt leCensoir.
12 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
Edme did not move from the time that he
had been captured; his captors believed
him to be asleep, therefore he had been
able to listen attentively to their conver-
sation about the success of their enter-
prise. He thus learned their objects and
their plans. Although courageous and re-
solute for his age, it was impossible that
he should not feel uneasiness about his
future fate. Fortunately for him, his good
mother had early taught him in whom he
ought to trust; therefore, instead of giving
way to childish fear, he raised his heart to
God in prayer, asking Him to deliver him
from these wicked men.
He now learned that the Duke de Lau-
zun, who was obliged to be absent from
the kingdom in the service of the King of
France, had left his only son in a castle
near Sens; but when he returned to Paris
he had sent for his son to join him. The
enemies of the Duke de Lauzun, who knew
of this arrangement, had conspired to carry
off the child. They intended to take him
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 13
to the mines of Pont d'Aroux, near Autun,
where these brigands were lurking, and
they were already calculating the amount
of the ransom which they should demand
from his father. This conspiracy was dis-
covered by one of those providential dis-
pensations which people often erroneously
call chance. The brigands had appointed
a rendezvous at the village churchyard,
and there they were conversing about their
villanous projects, not suspecting that a
woman, who was hid behind a tombstone,
was an attentive listener to their consulta-
tion. This woman was the nurse of the
little De Lauzun. Passing through the
churchyard, she had been terrified by some
threatening words which reached her ear.
She hid herself as near as she dared; and
listening attentively, she soon learned the
evil design which they were preparing to
put in execution that very night. She
hastened to the castle, taking the child in
her arms, and rushed through the fields,
hoping to reach Chatel Censoir and cross
14 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
the river before the brigands could overtake
her. We have seen that but for the pre-
sence of mind of little Edme Champion it
is probable that the young De Lauzun
would have been the victim of his father's
When the boat of Jean Carrouge reached
the shore, one of the men who had seized
the boy put him into the arms of the
boatman, who was not a little surprised to
hear himself called by his name.
"Who calls me?" asked he; and turn-
ing his head, he looked all round him, but
he could not make out from whence came
this voice which he thought was familiar
"It is I," said the voice; and Edme
Champion, throwing aside the folds of the
cloak, showed the boatman the pleasant
face of the little orphan boy.
"Ho! ho!" said he, "what are you
doing here ?"
Before the boy had time to reply, the
brigands had gathered round him.
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 15
"You are awake at last," said one of them.
"Is it possible that you know the boat-
man ?" said another, very much surprised
to see the young lord, as they supposed
him to be, conversing with Carrouge.
"What nonsense are you talking ?" said
Jean; "certainly, we know each other well."
"How did you become acquainted with
the little De Lauzun ?" asked a third.
I don't know what you mean by little
De Lauzun," replied the boatman.
"Come, come, no more idle words," in-
terrupted the chief of the robbers, leading
up a horse, on which he was going to lift
Let me alone, will you," cried the little
boy, struggling to escape from the man's
"Come, come, child, you had better not
try to escape from us; it will be best for
you not to resist," said the brigands,
threatening to strike little Edme; but the
boatman interfered, and came between the
robbers and the child.
16 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
"Stop, my friend," said he; "I cared
little what you wanted to do with the
young De Lauzun, but as to this boy, hU
is the son of one of my neighbours. I
will not allow you to put a hand upon
him; and if you try it, you had better
look out for yourselves, for he is among
plenty of friends here."
"Come, no jesting," said the robbers.
"Pray, who is this child ?"
"He is the orphan child of Peter Cham-
pion, whose cottage is close by."
At the same moment, Mark, who had
heard the noise, came out of the cottage,
uneasy at his brother's absence, and won-
dering what had become of him. Edme
threw himself into his brother's arms, and
Mark looked extremely surprised at the
rich dress which the boy wore.
"Come home," said Edme; "I will tell
you my adventures when we get in." And
then, turning to the disappointed robbers,
he said, Thanks to God, sirs, your wicked
plans have failed. He has used one of
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 17
the weakest of his creatures to confound
the strong. Little De Lauzun is now safe."
The rage of the robbers may be better
imagined than described. They would
willingly have vented their fury on little
Edme, if he had not been protected by
men able to resist them. Cowards when
opposed, as are all men who have an evil
conscience, they went off muttering angry
words, of which Edme and his brother
took no notice.
FTER the adventure we have just
related, the character of little
Edme Champion underwent a
singular change. Active and quick in his
work as ever, yet when in the evening he
was seated alone with his brother, he was
silent and sad, and as if plunged in deep
18 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
thought. Mark aroused him one day
from his waking dream, by asking what
he was thinking of.
I should like to be far away from here,"
replied Edme, with a sigh.
"Far from here, far from me! What
can you possibly mean, my boy?"
"Mark, listen to me," said Edme ear-
nestly. "Although I am but a boy, I
well remember how hard my father had to
work even to get bread enough for his
family. I remember our good mother's
tears, and how she constantly deprived
herself of comforts that her children might
have enough to eat; and you, dear Mark,
how many times have I not heard you say
that you were not hungry, because you
thought I had not had enough? Have
I not seen our father and mother, my
brothers and sisters, die in poverty ?
Now, we two are left alone in the world.
The great lady that I helped to cross the
river asked me to go and see her in
Paris. 'Come,' said she, 'to the Hotel de
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 19
Lauzun, street Tiquetonne, and you will
be welcome!' .. I shall never for-
get her words if I live a hundred years.
You see, Mark, I have saved this child's
life, and the lady must be grateful for it.
Don't interrupt me," continued he, seeing
that Mark was about to speak; "let me
first explain to you my plans, and then
you may make what objections you like.
I want to go to Paris. I shall go to the
lady, who, doubtless, will welcome and
protect me. I shall not be unreasonable
in my demands, and shall ask her only for
two things, which, I think, you will agree
with me are not too much. Of course, the
first is, that she should enable you to join
me in Paris, for without you there would
be no. happiness for Edme; then, that she
should put me in the way of learning a
trade-the meanest trade would be better
than being a boatman. I shall work hard,
and shall become rich; we will live toge-
ther, and will be so happy, Mark, so happy!
One thought alone distresses me-that our
20 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
parents will not be there to enjoy our hap-
Here the boy stopped with a tear in
his eye, which the remembrance of those
gone before had caused. Mark could
scarcely help smiling when he listened to
the dreams created by his young brother's
bright imagination. Considerably older
than Edme, he was better able to appre-
ciate the value of promises sometimes
thoughtlessly made by the rich, and he
knew by experience that many of the
wealthy in this world have little sympathy
for sufferings which they have never felt.
Nevertheless, he could not bear to dis-
courage altogether the enthusiasm of his
little brother. He resolved to try persua-
"Edme," said he, "here our father and
mother; brothers and sisters are buried;
would you like to go far away from their
graves, and far from all which could re-
mind you of them ?"
"Their bodies only rest here," replied
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 21
Edme; "their souls are, I trust, in heaven.
I shall be as near heaven in Paris as at
"Then do youwish to leave me ?" said
Mark, taking his little brother's hand in
his. "Would you like to leave this cot-
tage where you were born, and the boat
which has given you bread all your
"Oh, as to the boat, I shall be glad
enough to leave that. Only think, Mark,
of the splendid Hotel de Lauzun, and the
lady who is, perhaps, expecting me every
day to arrive."
"But you do not know," replied his
brother, "whether she has not already
"Impossible !" said Edme, indignantly.
"How could she forget any one who has
delivered her from such danger ? But for
me, and God's blessing on what I did, her
S child would now be in the hands of the
"But do you remember that you are
22 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
only eight years old, and that I promised
our mother on her death-bed to watch over
you and care for you ? I cannot allow you
to go alone to Paris."
"Oh! don't be afraid of that," said Edme.
"I am thankful to say I can read, write,
and count, and I shall easily make my
way. I am sure that if I had not some-
thing in me, the village people would not
continually come and ask me to help them
in their perplexities. It is always,' Edme,
read this letter for me;' 'Edme, help me to
write an answer;' and so on. I am sure I
should get on in Paris. And now, Mark,
confess that my plan is a most reasonable
It is true," replied Mark, that we are
very poor, and have no hope of being better
off, and perhaps you are right to try to get
on better if you can. It is possible that
you may meet with a favourable reception
at the house of the Duke de Lauzun;
and if not, you know that your father's
cottage, is always open to you, as it has
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 23
ever been. But it is getting late now; let
us go to rest. To-morrow we will visit
the tomb of our parents together, before
you go away, and in the meantime let us
both pray that God will guide us aright."
On the following morning the two or-
phans visited the cemetery at an early hour.
Edme wept over the graves of those whom
he had loved so much; but the remem-
brance of all they had suffered only con-
firmed him in his resolution to depart.
Accompanied by Mark, he went to the
schoolmaster's house, and consulted him
as to what he was about to do. His former
master approved of his plans, and gave
him a pair of new boots and a five-shilling
piece. Edme took leave of his friends
and of the neighbours, by whom he was
greatly beloved, and made his simple pre-
parations for leaving home. A carrier,
who was acquainted with him, offered him
a place in his cart, without payment, as
far as Paris. This good man was, besides,
generous enough to give Edme a share of
24 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
his meals; and thus he reached Paris
without breaking into the five-shilling
piece, which was all he possessed in the
world. When he reached the capital, the
kind carrier did not leave the orphan boy
till he had seen him safely at the door of
the Duke de Lauzun's house in Tique-
DAY DREAMS AND REALITIES.
DME had bade adieu to his kind
protector. Timid, yet hopeful,
when thinking of the brilliant
prospects which he thought awaited him
in the great mansion before which he
stood, he timidly raised the heavy knocker
at the gate. The gate was opened; he
entered, and found himself in a large
court. He was about to proceed across
the court to the mansion, when he heard
a voice exclaim-
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 25
Come, come, boy how is it that you
venture to go beyond the gate without
leave from the porter ?"
Edme, turning round, saw a woman
looking out of a little window, almost
hidden by one of the folding-doors of the
gate. It was his unknown friend!
It is I," said he, preparing to enter.
The woman looked at him with as-
tonishment. She was puzzled who this
child could be, of whom she had a con-
"0ou don't recollect me," said the boy;
"and yet I know you well. Were you
not the lady that I took for a princess?
Where is the young lord ? There are his
So saying, the child opened a little
bundle and showed the clothes of the
little De Lauzun in which he had been
The face of the old woman suddenly
changed its expression.
"What! are you our young boatman ?"
26 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE,
exclaimed she, throwing her arms around
him, and kissing him. How glad I am
to see you again; if you will stay with
me I will keep you till my master comes
home. Unfortunately he has just gone
to join his regiment; and his son, whom
you saved, is with his grandmother at
her house in the country. But it is no
matter; you shall be treated as if you
were my own child; I will let you want
for nothing. Let me see. My little
message-boy is just going away, and you
may take his place. Your work will not
be heavy; it will only be to open the
door, to keep the steps clean, and to go
errands. Keep your mind easy, you will
be very happy with me."
On hearing these words the brilliant
hopes of the poor child vanished one by
one. What had become of his castles in
the air,-his dreams of glory and pro-
sperity ? His disguised princess turned
out to be but the wife of a porter at a
nobleman's gate. The future to which he
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 27
S had looked forward with such earnest
hope consisted in opening a gate, in
sweeping the steps, and, in short, of being
the servant of a servant. The orphan's
eyes were filled with tears; but making
a great effort to bear his disappointment
courageously, he subdued his emotion, and
You are very kind, madame !"
The porter's wife soon went out to call
on some of her neighbours, whom she had
told of her adventure at Chatel Censoir;
she wished to show them the little boat-
man whose presence of mind had saved
the life of her master's son. Whilst she
was gossipping from house to house, the
young traveller was talking with the
message-boy, whose place he was to take.
He thus learned that the Duchess de
Lauzun was dead; that it would be a long
time before the Duke would return to
Paris, and that he intended to let his
mansion to strangers.
Although the poor child was bitterly
28 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
disappointed, he still endeavoured to do
his duty, and faithfully to execute the
unaccustomed work which now devolved
upon him. The old woman was charmed
with his intelligence and willing obedi-
ence. Yet, notwithstanding all his efforts
to appear happy, he could not repress a
few unbidden tears which from time to
time would start from his eyes. He
thought of his brother, of the pleasant
cottage where he was born, and of all the
bright plans which he had formed before
he left the paternal roof. A lady who
lived near chanced to see him in one of
these melancholy moods. Having daily
remarked the gentleness and good temper
of the little boy, she was interested in
him, and touched by his silent grief.
She asked him why he was in tears. The
boy related to her the adventure in the
boat, his journey to Paris, and his bitter
"And what are you going to do now ?"
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 29
r "I should like to learn a trade madame."
What trade would you like best ?"
"It is no matter; I should like any
trade, if I could only make enough money
to get my brother with me again."
The lady thought for a moment.
"I do not live in Paris," she said; "and
I shall only be a few days here; but I
should be glad to leave a remembrance of
my short visit. Tould you like to be
apprenticed to a jeweller ?"
"Oh, I should like it very much,
Madame," replied the child joyfully.
His new friend gave him her address,
and fixed an hour for him to call on her
next day. Edme was punctual to the
hour. The lady took him to a well-
known jeweller, and paid his apprentice
fee for three years, in advance. She
signed the contract with the name, "De
Tessier," and this was all that little Edme
ever heard of his benefactress.
30 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
THE TRIALS OF THE YOUNG APPRENTICE.
RIEATER trials still awaited our
hero. It is unfortunately too
often the case that the first years
of a boy's apprenticeship are spent in
going on errands for his master, instead of
learning his trade. Poor little Edme soon
experienced this. When his master found
out that the poor boy had no relations or
protectors in Paris who could exercise any
control over his conduct, he made a mere
message-boy of him, and took no trouble
to teach him anything more, although he
had engaged to do so. Although much
disappointed, Edme bore it patiently; he
was daily expecting that his master would
take him into the workshop. But his
hope was in vain; on the contrary, when
the poor boy occasionally went in and
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 31
wished to learn something, he was rudely
and often cruelly sent away. He knew
not what to do. He had no friend but
the porter's wife, to whom he related his
troubles. She advised him to remain with
the jeweller until the Duke's return, when
she felt sure that he would not allow any
one to ill-treat him who had saved his son's
life. Edme listened to her good advice,
and resolved to follow it /but a short
time after, having been unjustly and
cruelly treated by his master, he yielded
to a sudden impluse, and fled from the
house. He knew not where to go; but
he did not care, he only thought of escap-
ing from the hard treatment he had re-
We pity Edme very much for the suffer-
ings he endured; but, at the same time,
we cannot approve of his conduct; for we
ought never to use wrong means to escape
from the trials which it pleases God to
When Edme left his master's house he
32 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
rushed out of the city, and walked on
without caring whither he was going. At
length, exhausted with fatigue, he threw
himself down under the shade of a tree to
rest. As he had fasted since the evening
before, he began to feel exceedingly hungry.
He looked around him, but there was no
human habitation in sight, and no pros-
pect of supper and a bed. There was no-
thing for it but to walk on. In a little
while he came to a field of carrots, towards
which he rushed, impelled by hunger.
He pulled one up, and scraping it a little,
was eating it eagerly, when he felt him-
self seized by the arm.
"Ah! I have caught you at last, you little
thief," said the stern voice of a policeman.
"Come on! You must go to prison !"
Surprised and terrified, the fugitive let
fall the carrot, but he never thought of ex-
cusing himself, for he did not think that
he had done anything very wrong. He
merely answered in a frightened voice:
"Me, sir me a thief ?"
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 33
Oh! perhaps you want me to believe
that this field is your own property ?"
"Oh! no, sir," replied the boy.
"Then what do you mean by taking
the carrots ?"
"Oh! sir, I was only taking a single
carrot to eat it."
"Well, that is good; you are not
ashamed to confess it."
"But why, sir ? Have I done anything
"My fine fellow, you were stealing
your neighbour's goods,-that is what you
"Stealing!" replied Edme, excessively
terrified. "Oh! sir, do not say that, I
would rather die than be a thief."
"Well, I don't know what you call
taking a thing that does not belong to
"Oh! sir, I was so very hungry!" said
the boy, bursting into tears. I had
eaten nothing for a long time, and I did
not think it was doing any harm. I beg
34 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
your pardon, dear sir, for what I have
done. I have only taken one carrot; and
if you will be so kind as to wait a few
days, I will write to my brother, and I
know he will pay you for it."
Edme thought the policeman's face
looked less stern, and that the grasp on
his arm was slightly relaxed. He began
to hope for pardon. He said in a voice of
earnest entreaty: Good, kind sir, do have
pity on me!"
"Tell "me honestly what brought you
here, and what you were going to do, and
then I shall see whether I ought to take
an interest in you."
Edme told the sad tale of his disappoint-
ments and misfortunes with so much frank-
ness and simplicity that the kind-hearted
policeman could not doubt his sincerity.
He took him home with him, gave him
supper with his family, let him sleep in a
good bed, and next morning took our little
hero back to Paris, and put him again
under the protection of the porter's wife
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 35
S in the house of the Duke de Lauzun.
This kind old friend wrote to the Duke,
who was touched by the story of the little
orphan, and resolved to provide for him,
remembering what he had done for his
son. Not long after, Edme was placed
with M. Martial de Poilly, one of the first
jewellers in Paris. We need scarcely add
that the engagement with his first master
was cancelled through the interest of the
Edme soon became a favourite in M. de
Poilly's establishment. Honest, intelli-
gent, industrious, and attentive to his
work, he gained the confidence of his
master more and more every day. He
also obtained the kind approval of the
Duke de Lauzun, who, when he returned
to Paris, wished to see him and acknow-
ledge the service he had done to his only
son. Not satisfied with paying the money
for his apprenticeship, the Duke allowed
him a small sum for his personal expenses.
M. de Poilly was a kind-hearted, judicious
36 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
man. He soon discovered the noble qua-
lities and talents of the orphan committed
to his care, and resolved to cultivate them
to the utmost. Edme kept up a regular
correspondence with his brother; he hoped
and longed for the time to come when he
would be able to bring him to Paris; in
the meantime, he showed his regard to
him by sending him presents out of his
little savings. Thus all went well for a
THE FIRST ACT OF CHARITY.
SEARS passed away, and Edme, con-
stantly rising, found himself in
a situation of prosperity and
happiness. One day, when he was return-
ing from a business engagement, he was
crossing the Pont Neuf with hasty steps,
when his eyes fell upon a poor boy look-
ing pale and miserable, who was lying
upon the pavement, as if thoroughly ex-
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 37
hausted, without even stretching out his
hand to ask charity from the passers-by.
Edme was passing rapidly, for the cold
was intense; but all at once the thought
struck him that the poor boy might be
hungry. He remembered the poverty of
his own parents; he thought of the day of
his flight, and of all the misery he had un-
dergone, and he drew near to the lad. The
poor wanderer appeared to have slept from
exhaustion. After having looked at him
attentively, Edme thought that he had
fallen into a fainting fit.
Edme bent over the child, and took his
"Poor child," said he, "you are suffer-
ing from cold and hunger."
Without a single movement, the child
opened his eyes, and looked at his new
found friend. Edme took him in his arms,
and carried him to a restaurant on the
other side of the bridge, and insisted on
his swallowing a few drops of warm wine.
Before long, life was again circulating
38 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
through the veins of the young boy; but,
instead of accepting the food that was
offered to him, he burst into tears.
Noble natures have a penetration pe-
culiar to themselves, which enables them
to read into the hearts of others. Edme
at once understood the reason of the boy's
refusal of food.
"Perhaps you would prefer to take this
food to your own home," said he, in a low
The child did not reply, but a ray of
joy lighted up his pale face.
"Is your familynumerous ?"asked Edme.
"There are four of us-my mother, my
two little brothers, and myself."
"And your father, where is he ?"
"He is in the Infirmary," replied the
"Show me the way to where you live,"
said Edme; and, desiring a servant carry-
ing provisions to follow him, he accom-
panied his little protege. In the poor
garret of a house, situated in one of the
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 39
most miserable localities of the capital,
they found a sick woman, who, pale and
exhausted, was lying on a heap of straw,
with two little children apparently as ill
as their mother. When the sick woman
saw her eldest son come into the room,
followed by a gentleman and his servant,
her first impulse was to exclaim:
"Oh! Antoine, have you been beg-
"No, no! make your mind easy," said
Edme, who was putting down the food
which he had brought, and of which( they
stood so much in need. I saw that your
son was fainting from want of food, and I
The story of the misfortunes of the
family was then told. The husband was
a stone-cutter. A few weeks before, he
had had the misfortune to fall from a
scaffolding, and had broken his leg. Now
that he was lying in the Infirmary, he
could not tell when he should be able to
leave it. His sick wife was not able to
40 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
provide for the wants of the family. She
said she had been obliged to sell one by
one the few articles of furniture which
remained in her humble habitation, till,
at length, having nothing more with
which to buy bread, both mother and chil-
dren had fallen into complete destitution.
Antoine in vain tried to gain a few pence
here and there by going on messages, or
carrying parcels. These opportunities
were very rare, and the poor boy sufl
feared from hunger, as did the rest of the
At the sight of so much misery, the
heart of Edme was much moved. He
tried to cheer these poor people, and pro-
mised them abundant help.
Antoine advanced timidly towards him,
and said, Oh sir! permit me to work for
you-you are so kind."
"Willingly," said Edme. "Therefore,
I take you into my service. I should wish
you to be regularly with me to receive my
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 41
He then gave his address to the boy,
and went away.
As he descended the tortuous stair of
the old mansion, Edme could scarcely re-
sist exclaiming, "Oh, how happy are the
rich; they may give as much or as little
as they like !"
With his heart lighter for having been
able to relieve the suffering of these poor
people, he was, notwithstanding, a little
uneasy about what his master would say
when he should see the little Antoine
take his place in the house as the servant
of the orphan Edme. Next morning he
was preparing to relate his adventure to
M. de Poilly, and was considering how he
could make the best of the affair, when
the door opened abruptly, and M. de Poilly
entered the shop, followed by the innocent
cause of Edme's uneasiness.
"Edme," said he, "here is a boy who
says he is your servant."
"He says the truth, sir," replied Edme,
42 LITTLE BLU MANTLE.
How long have you required a servant,
if you please ?" asked his master.
I do not require him; it is he who has
need of me," replied Champion.
"Oh! that is quite another matter.
The tone of M. de Poilly was so gentle
as he said this, that Edme instinctively
raised his eyes, which till then had been
fixed on the ground.
"Tell me what wages you have pro-
mised him ?"
"Why do you ask me this question, sir?"
"That I may help you in your good
work," replied the excellent man.
Edme threw himself into his master's
arms, which were held out to receive him.
Oh, sir !" said he, "the mother and the
brothers of this poor boy would have been
dead of hunger had I not been able to help
"You have done well; but remember
that in future I wish to have a share in
all your alms-giving, and you shall have
a share in the profits of my trade."
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 43
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE'S CHARITIE8.
OME years later, M. de Poilly, hav-
ing retired from business, went
to England. Edme Champion
then found himself at the head of a very
good business as a jeweller. He married
Mdlle. Jobb4, the daughter of a jeweller
in Versailles, who had no other dowry than
the excellent qualities of her heart and
The Revolution of 1798 brought num-
berless calamities on France, from the
effects of which Champion could not
escape. He lost in a short time all the
fortune that he had amassed during long
years of industry. He resolved to begin
again to work, without asking assistance
from any one. He was surprised one day
by a visit from M. Bellancourt, a celebrated
engraver, whom he scarcely knew.
M. Champion," said the engraver; "I
44 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
hear that you have suffered in the general
misfortunes, and that you are ruined. You
must require fresh capital to begin your
work again. I have 80,000 francs which
are at your disposal.
"But, sir," replied Champion, touched
by the generous offer, "I am not in a
situation to give you security.".
"Sir, you have the best security that
I could desire, that is your honourable
character. Permit me to solicit your
friendship as the interest of the sum
which I offer you."
Napoleon ascended the throne. The
imperial court soon became the centre
of a numerous circle of ladies, rivalling
each other in elegance. Commerce pros-
pered again, and Champion was in a short
time richer than he had been before.
Incessant activity, exemplary uprightness,
and constant economy, united in gaining
for him a considerable fortune, of which
he made a noble use.
There were few persons in Paris at the
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 45
time who had not seen or heard of a
mysterious personage, wrapped in a mantle
of blue cloth, who was to be seen daily
upon the Pont Neuf, during the rigorous
cold of winter, distributing food, clothing,
and wood to all the needy people whom
he met. This person in the blue cloak
was Edme Champion. He had chosen
this spot for his works of benevolence as
a remembrance of the day, when, for the
first time he had been able to assist his
fellow-creatures in this very place. The
name of Edme Champion will live long in
the hearts of a multitude of unfortunate
people, whose existence he has rendered
more happy. The blessings of those
whom he has saved from certain ruin
have ascended to God, and Edme has had
his reward. He has experienced the
truth of the Scripture text, "It is more
blessed to give than to receive." More
courageous than the swallows, who fly
away at the approach of frost, he went
out in all weathers, wrapped in his little
46 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
blue mantle, and was for many long years
constantly at his post.
Whilst other prosperous men spent
their time in pleasures and amusements,
Champion, following the example of his
Divine Master, went to visit the suffering
and the needy. Having become the pro-
prietor of a large part of the forests which
surround Chatel Censoir, he caused them
to be cut down in portions, to distribute
the wood to the poor. Persons of all
ages shared in his munificence: all were
delighted to see the little blue mantle;
they knew that frozen feet and shiver-
ing bodies were going to be warmed and
covered. Champion was reverenced as if
he had been an angel from heaven.
Young mothers brought their children to
be blessed by him; even thieves and bad
characters treated him with reverence.
Known and respected by all, he could
go anywhere without danger or molesta-
M. Champion died in the beginning of
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 47
June 1852, at the age of eighty-nine years.
The little blue mantle was thrown over
his coffin, as he was carried to the tomb,
followed by a long crowd of the poor
people, whose benefactor he had been.
The translator of this story was told by
a friend who was in Paris at the time,
that his funeral created a great sensation,
and that the long procession of true
mourners who followed him to the grave,
was a sight almost unexampled. His life
was a commentary on the Scripture texts.
"He that giveth to the poor shall not
lack" (Prov. xxviii. 27).
"He that hath mercy on the poor, happy
is he" (Prov. xiv. 21).
"There is that scattereth, and yet in-
creaseth; and there is that withholdeth
more than is meet, but it tendeth to po-
"The liberal soul shall be made fat;
and he that watereth shall be watered
also himself" (Prov. xi. 24, 25).
Honour the Lord with thy substance,
48 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
and with the first fruits of all thine in-
"So shall thy barns be filled with
plenty, and thy presses shall burst out
with new wine" (Prov. iii. 9, 10).
He that hath pity upon the poor
lendeth unto the Lord; and that which
he hath given will He pay him again"
(Prov. xix. 17).
"He that hath a bountiful eye shall be
blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the
poor" (Prov. xxii. 9).
Is not this the fast that I have chosen?
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo
the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed
go free, and that ye break every yoke ?
"Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry,
and that thou bring the poor that are cast
out to thy house? when thou seest the
naked, that thou cover him; and that
thou hide not thyself from thine own
"Then shall thy light break forth as
the morning, and thine health shall spring
LITTLE BLUE MANTLE. 49
forth speedily; and thy righteousness
shall go before thee: the glory of the
Lord shall be thy rereward.
"Then shalt thou call, and the Lord
shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He
shall say, Here I am. If thou take away
from the midst of thee the yoke, the
putting forth of the finger, and speaking
"And if thou draw out thy soul to the
hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul;
then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and
thy darkness be as the noon-day:
"And the Lord shall guide thee con-
tinually, and satisfy thy soul in drought,
and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt
be like a watered garden, and like a spring
of water, whose waters fail not" (Isaiah
Iviii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
Jesus said: "Go thy way, sell whatso-
ever thou hast, and give to the poor, and
thou shalt have treasure in heaven" (Mark
"But to do good and to communicate
50 LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
forget not: for with such sacrifices God is
well pleased" (Heb. xiii. 16).
"Trust in the Lord, and do good: so
shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily
thou shalt be fed" (Psalms xxxvii. 3).
GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
OW I wish I were rich, that I
might do good like little Blue
Mahtle," said Julia to her
mother. "It must be very pleasant to
help people as he did; or I wish I were
learned that I might go to be a missionary
among the heathen. I wish I were of
some use in the world.
"You may be of use, my dear Julia,
without being so rich as Mr Champion, or
so learned as a missionary," replied her
mother. "Every one may do good to
others, if they watch for the opportunity."
"But we have not much to give away
Mother," said Julia.
52 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
"What appears little to you, is a great
deal to poor people," replied her mother.
"And I cannot be a missionary in our
village. There are no heathen to convert,
no idols to be destroyed, no savages to be
"You forget, my dear, that those who
do not obey the commandments of God,
or love our Lord Jesus Christ, are really
heathens; that everything which takes
the place in our hearts which belongs to
God is an idol, and that those who are
dirty and vicious in their habits, and who
use bad language, are not really civilised."
"Now I understand what you mean,
mother. I wish I had thought before of
taking an interest in the village children."
At this moment the gate bell rang.
Julia looked out, but there was no one to
"I know who it is," said she; "it is
that naughty little Sally." She likes to
torment poor Susan, by making her go
needlessly to the gate. She gives a run-
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 53
away ring every day as she passes the
house on her way to school. I can see her
from the window running off as fast as she
can. How dirty she is! and how disagree-
able she always looks I cannot bear her.
I saw her the other day, throwing stones
at Mrs Wilson's beautiful pear tree, and
when I asked her not to do so, she said
she would serve me the same."
"Well, my dear Julia, this is a good
opportunity for you to try if you have a
true missionary spirit. Sally is almost
like a child of the desert; poor, ignorant,
and neglected, for her mother neither cares
for her nor gives her a good example. She
is growing up in evil, and who can say
what she may become if no one takes a
real interest in her."
"Oh, mamma," said Julia, throwing her
arms round her mother's neck, "I will
really try to put in practice what you have
Next morning Julia went to the garden
and seated herself near the gate, with a
54 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
book, before the hour when Sally usually
passed on her way to school. She was so
absorbed in reading that she did not see
Sally coming, till some rude words caused
her to look up, and there was Sally stand-
ing at the gate, making faces at her.
"How is your mother to-day, Sally ?"
said Julia, kindly.
I suppose she is just as usual," was the
"When you come out of school, dear,
ring the bell and ask for me. I should like
to take something to your mother for her
supper, and I will go home with you."
Sally looked at her in astonishment;
her face brightened a little, then she said,
"If you like I will go with you now. I
don't care to go to school, it wearies me."
Oh no, Sally" replied Julia, "you must
go to school. You know you ought to
learn to read and sew. If you will be a
good girl and learn your lessons well, I
will ask mamma to give you one of my
dresses to wear on Sunday."
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 55
"I shall be glad of that, for I have no
other frock than this," said Sally, holding
up the skirt of her dirty torn dress.
"When you get another you may wash
and mend that one," said Julia.
"I don't know how to wash; and if I
did, what is the use of it ? Things jst get
Well, Sally, go to school now, and if
you are a good girl I will keep my pro-
mise about the frock."
Not long afterwards Sally returned look-
ing much ashamed. The sorrowful expres-
sion of her face made Julia pity her, and
she asked her what was the matter.
They would not let me into the school.
They said I was too dirty, and, besides,
they say that I have been learning nothing,
and they don't want to have anything
more to do with me."
As Sally said these words she burst into
a flood of tears.
"Well, Sally, if you will let me be your
friend, I will try to make you happy
56 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
again, and I think that if you will do as I
tell you, you will soon be taken back to
the school, and they will all like you
there. But now wait a little for me; I
am going with you to see your poor
Julia returned to the house to put on
her hat, and to get a little basket of pro-
visions which her mother had given her.
She went with Sally, who walked beside
her, half sulky, half pleased.
Julia had never before been in so
miserable a hut as the cottage which she
now entered. She was painfully surprised
to see the squalid misery and fearful dis-
order amid which the poor woman was
lying. Her husband was absent all day,
and when he returned in the evening he
brought little comfort. His temper was
soured by continual privation. The low
wages he received were barely sufficient to
purchase the commonest necessaries of life.
Everything in the house denoted the
extreme of poverty-ragged clothing, dirty
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 57
plates and dishes, and broken chairs were
to be seen in horrible confusion.
Julia was shocked. She wondered how
people could fall into so miserable a state
as this. She grieved to think how often
she had passed and repassed this dwell-
ing, without once having thought \f
going in to relieve the poor sick woman.
She felt vexed and ashamed that she had
cared so little for the sufferings of others*
Many luxuries and indulgences which
she had freely enjoyed, and which she had
thought right and proper for her to have,
now rose up before her conscience as if to
accuse her of self-indulgence and thought-
After having cleared a space on the
only table which was in the miserable
room, she placed upon it the contents of
her basket. She then conversed for a few
minutes with the poor woman, whose
weakness was so great as apparently
to leave little hope of her recovery.
It was difficult to know whether her
58 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
illness was caused by disease or by priva-
Julia carefully observed all that she saw
in the cottage. She felt that mere tem-
porary relief would be of little use; that
unless more substantial assistance were
given to these poor people, her help would
produce no real or durable result But as
she was sure of her mother's approval and
sympathy, she ventured to promise further
I should like to love you, Sally, and
I wish you to be happy; I know what
you ought to do to make you so; but you
must do your part, for without you I can-
"Could you love me ?" said tie poor
child, with an air of astonishment. "Could
you love Sally, naughty Sally, who threw
stones at you the other day, near Mrs
Wilson's pear tree?"
"Yes I could love you, Sally, but I do
not love your naughty and wicked ways,
and you ought not to love them either. I
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 59
love your soul, and I love it because God
loves it; I know that poor Sally may one
day go to heaven, if she learns to love
Jesus, and if she becomes gentle like
"Oh! if I had thought that any one
would love Sally, I don't think I would
have been so naughty, but I did not believe
"Well, dear Sally, you must come to
our house, to get everything you need to
make you look a tidy, respectable girl. To
please me, you must comb your hair and
wash your face and hands. Before your
father comes in you must light the fire and
get his supper ready for him. To-morrow
I will come with our kind nurse, Dorothy,
to show you how to put your house in
order, and make it more comfortable.
Be sure to be kind and gentle to your
mother, and remember that if you can
make her more comfortable, you will please
Julia's mind was so full of her new plans
60 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
that she could speak of nothing else all
the rest of the day.
Next morning, obliging Dorothy, who
never grudged trouble when she could do
good, put on her working dress, and pre-
pared to accompany Julia to the cottage,
taking with her all that was necessary for
a complete cleaning. When they got there
she set to work herself, and showed Sally
how to work under her. They cleaned the
room thoroughly, made Margaret's bed as
comfortable as they could, washed the pots
and crockery, and cleaned the windows.
The transformation was complete. The
once wretched room was so much improved
that it was not like the same place. Julia
was delighted with the change. She went
out to the neighboring wood and gathered
some wild flowers to ornament the chim-
The poor invalid, who had been reduced
to a state of utter prostration, opened her
eyes and looked round her with surprise.
When she saw the improved state of things,
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 61
a faint smile that played upon her pale
lips showed how thankful she was.
As for Sally, whenever she succeeded
in doing anything well which Dorothy de-
sired her to do, her sunburnt face beamed
with pleasure; she worked well, and the
encouragement and praise which she re-
ceived incited her to fresh efforts.
What was the astonishment of Sally's
father when he returned in the evening
from his'work! As he entered the cot-
tage, a savoury smell surprised him. He
was not accustomed to the luxury of a
hot supper. Coarse bread and a morsel
of cheese or bacon, was his usual repast.
But now he saw a bright fire blazing; by
the cheerful light of which he could dis-
tinguish the order and cleanliness of the
whole room. Had it not been for the
sight of his poor wife lying in bed, he
would have believed that he had mistaken
"Thank God," said he, "what angel has
been here ? How has all this come about ?"
62 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
"Father!" said Sally, with an air of
triumph, "there has really been an angel;
even two angels have been here. And do
you know, one of the angels has told me
that God loves Sally, and that poor Sally
may one day go to heaven, if she loves
Jesus, and learns to be good and gentle
Well, I must say you are not like the
same girl. Where have you been ? What
has happened to you ?"
"Oh, I have learnt many things that
I did not know before, father. I really
think that I shall become good, because I
love her so much."
"Whom do you mean by her ?"
Miss Julia, the young lady that lives
in the large white house."
Sally then told her father all that
had passed between her and Julia,
all the plans they had made, and how
in future she meant to employ her time
in taking care of her mother, learning
from Miss Julia how to read and sew,
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 63
and from kind Dorothy how to manage
They were talking so earnestly that even
Dorothy's good soup was almost forgotten,
but its savoury smell soon reminded them
of it. Sally put upon the table clean
plates and bright spoons, and when they
sat down, she said to her father:
"Miss Julia told me that I ought al-
ways to thank God for the food which He
gives us. Will you do it, too, father "
Her father made no objection, and the
little girl said aloud the form of words
that Julia had taught her: "For what we
are going to receive, Lord, make us truly
thankful, for Christ's sake. Amen." Her
father looked thoughtful, and began to eat
the best soup that he had tasted for many
Sally had given her whole heart to
Julia, who had drawn her to herself by
the cords of love. With this influence
over the little girl, Julia succeeded in
time in making her all that she wished to
64 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
see her become. Sally grew up to be a
young woman, fit for an example even to
those who had been more favourably
situated in their early years than she had
Thus Julia's wish was realized. She
had not to wait long or to go far from
home in order to find work to do for her
Heavenly Master. She continued to work
in the same cause, and although the means
at her command would not permit her to
do so much as little Blue Mantle had
done, still it might be said of her, in the
words of our Lord, She has done what
Reader, will you go and do likewise ?
Look around you, and you will find plenty
of work to do.
Edinburgh: Printed byI Schenck & M'Farlane.