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LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.

The fourth of this last past month of June,
1852, a modest funeral procession entered the
cemetery of Castel-Censoir, in France. The
defunct, to whom the last offices of humanity
were being rendered, and on whose plain
coffin a drizzling rain fell, had gained no
great victories, had conducted no intricate
negociations, had left no niche unoccupied in
the temples of literature or art. At very
nearly the same period, in Paris, was taking
place the funeral of Pradier, the famous
sculptor. Artists, savants, members of the
Académie and of the Institute in their official
costumes, and aide-de-camps of the Prince
President were there; the carriages of the
aristocracy followed the bier, and a battalion of
infantry formed a line on either side. But in
this procession, personages of no higher authority
than a parish priest, the mayor of a
humble French township, and a brigadier of
rural gendarmerie were present. The
spectacle derived its interest not from the rank,
the talents, or the riches of the deceased; but
from his blameless character, his many and
truly Christian virtues, his inexhaustible and
untiring charity, and the fact of his last home
being selected in the midst of a village he had
almost created, and the midst of a population
many of whom he had fed, and clothed, and
comforted for half a century.

On its way to the churchyard, the procession
wound through trees planted under his direction,
over roads paved at his expense, by
fields reclaimed, and wells dug by his orders.
It is no exaggeration to state, that his coffin
was followed by the whole population of the
place; by young and old, proprietors and
labourers, by the lame, the halt, and the blind,
bewailing in him the loss of a common
benefactor and a common friend. As the procession
neared the cemetery gate, the sun shone
for a moment on the bier, lighting up the cross
of the Legion of Honour, and a weather-
stained, threadbare LITTLE BLUE MANTLE.
These were his trophies, his shield and
scutcheon.

Edmé Champion, better known as le petit
manteau
bleu, from the short blue cloak he
constantly wore, was born, and died at
Castel-Censoir; he began life in 1768, and was,
consequently, eighty-four years of age at
the time of his death. His parents were poor
bargees; his mother, the daughter of a
small proprietor in somewhat easier
circumstances, had been discarded and disinherited
by her father for contracting an unequal
match, and from infancy the little Edmé was
the victim of her soured temper and of a spirit
chafed by ill-borne poverty. He was left an
orphan and perfectly destitute at a very early
age. The almshouse would have been his only
refuge, had it not been for a lady who
succeeded in getting extended to him the benefits
of a charity for apprenticing poor fatherless
children. He was consequently apprenticed
to a jeweller; who, however, chose rather to
teach him the art of peeling potatoes and
cleaning boots and shoes than that of
distinguishing between rose and table diamonds.
Outraged by a long course of neglect and ill-
treatment, he ran away, and remained
concealed for a whole day and night in the wood
of Vincennes, where he was found by a kind-
hearted garde champêtre, who not only relieved
his necessities, but made his peace with his
master, and succeeded in having his indentures
transferred to another jewellerthe famous
German, Baumerwho understood and
performed his duty towards his apprentice, and
taught him his trade conscientiously. In
course of time, Edmé Champion became an
expert workman and one of the most acute
judges of precious stones in Paris. In after
life, M. Champion used frequently to relate
that he himself, as a workman, carried the
great diamond necklace to the Cardinal de
Rohan, in the extraordinary history of which
that prelate, the Queen Marie Antoinette, and
Balsamo, better known as Count Cagliostro,
were implicated. The workman afterwards
became chief clerk to his master, and at
last head of an extensive establishment on his
own account. He was nearly ruined by the
Revolution; but the assistance of a friend,
who confided to him one hundred thousand
francshis whole fortune, and for which, so
much confidence had he in the honour of his
debtor, he would take neither acknowledgement
nor securityenabled him to weather
the storm. Those were bad times for jewellers;
and Napoleon, even in 1804, was rather at a
loss to find credit for his imperial crown, till
Biennais stepped forward to his assistance.
"In fact," the Emperor said afterwards

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