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the "godfather," as he stroked his moustaches, which he always did when he felt pleased; “ and you are an excellent girl, Manon. Come here, my good Marie, look here; I am the 'godfather' of all these children here, and now I will be yours too-have you any objection?”
Joyful, grateful tears, were the only reply the happy Marie could return to this benevolent man, intermixed with some bitter sobs of lamentation at the recollection of her mother and brother.
Monsieur Dupart, being told of the loss she had sustained, and having made every inquiry respecting his appearance, age, size, &c., assured them that he would lose not a moment in applying to the proper authorities, to institute every possible search for him. And now the moment arrived for the distribution of the various presents; and amongst the happy ones who received them, the adopted stranger was not forgotten, for each of them had generously arranged beforehand, with their mother, that she should take something from their own portions, and give it to Marie; and which the matron, with gratified feelings, had not failed to do.
The good “godfather" then took an affectionate leave of all; and thus was spent an evening full of love and gratitude to God!
With these good people Marie lived to see very happy days. They treated her as their own child and sister; and she saw punctually and carefully after whatever was given her to do, profiting, at the same time, by the instruction she received in their business.
One day Manon came home highly delighted, for she had just received a very large order, amounting to several hundred
francs, from a lady of great wealth and distinction. And now the good girl made her calculation how long the job would take her to execute and complete, and how long they could all live upon the profit. Amidst her joy, however, she had forgotten to purchase something still necessary; and so she said to Marie: “ Go, my dear Marie, run and fetch me some ribbon like these patterns; here's the money."
Marie bustled along, looking neither right nor left, when she felt herself suddenly clasped by two arms. As she looked up, the simultaneous exclamation was: “Marie !” “ Seppi!”and, rushing into each other's arms again, they affectionately hugged one another closely, and shouted and wept for joy: and then they had so much to ask of each other—they had so much to tell—that Marie naturally quite forgot all about her dear Manon's commission. The latter, finding she did not return, became very anxious, and fearing something serious might have happened to her, she determined to seek for her, and was just leaving the house, when she was met by Marie, safe and sound, happy and joyful, with her brother and Monsieur Dumenil. She perceived at once the happy cause of the delay; for she had not the slightest doubt but that it was Seppi, the lost brother.
“ Yes, mademoiselle,” said Monsieur Dumenil, “it is indeed Seppi ; and, thank God, the dear and affectionate brother and sister have at length been restored to each other!”
They all went up stairs, and there the good mother and her family expressed the most affectionate delight at this happy event. The “godfather” was sent for, and soon came running down the street in his diessing gown and slippers, and joined cordially in the happy feelings of all present.
The worthy Monsieur Dumenil was much affected by the genuine friendship and sympathy shewn by all the members of this good family towards Seppi and his sister; and he said within himself: “I cannot increase by my money the happiness enjoyed by these cheerful, industrious people, but it shall be my study to reward them for their kindness, by supplying them constantly with profitable employment.” And thus did this truly philanthropic man ever think and act; for he knew the art of assisting the needy in such an ingenious way, that his aid appeared more as the reward of their own merits, than as an act of mere charity.
And now, in conclusion, we have only to add, that Marie remained in the happy circle of those who had taken her by the hand on the eve of the Christmas festival ; and Seppi stayed with his benefactor, who set out himself for the Savoyard's home, and brought the delighted mother of these good children with him to Paris. He there also made the acquaintance of the worthy Thomas, who could not sufficiently congratulate himself on finding that his advice had met with such a happy result.
In the course of a few years afterwards, Manon and Marie became happy mothers of families; Seppi flourished as an opulent tradesman, having adopted and followed the motto of Monsieur Dumenil—“Want nothing but what God grants!" and that good man now rests in peace under the green turf, his memory cherished and revered by all !