Among the few individuals who accompanied James II. to France, when he was dethroned, was Madame de Varonne, a lady of good family, but of ruined fortune. She was compelled to part with all her servants successively, until she came to her footman, Ambrose, who had lived with her twenty years; and who, although of an austere deportment, was a faithful and valuable servant. At length her resources would not permit her to retain even Ambrose, and she told him he must seek another place. "Another place!" exclaimed the astonished servant; "No; I will never quit you, let what will happen; I will live and die in your service." In vain was Ambrose told by his mistress that she was totally ruined; that she had sold every thing she had, and that she had no other means of subsistence than by seeking some employment for herself. Ambrose protested he would not quit his mistress; he brought her his scanty savings of twenty years, and engaged himself to a brazier for tenpence a day and his board. The money he brought every evening to his mistress, whom he thus supported for four years; at the end of which time she received a pension from the French king, which enabled her to reward the remarkable fidelity of her old servant.
Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, relates the following circumstance, which shows that a sense of honour may prevail in those who have little regard to moral obligation:—After the battle of Culloden, in the year 1745, a reward of thirty thousand pounds was offered to any one who should discover or deliver up the young Pretender. He had taken refuge with the Kennedies, two
common thieves, who protected him with the greatest fidelity, robbed for his support, and often went in disguise to Inverness to purchase provisions for him. A considerable time afterwards one of these men, who had resisted the temptation of thirty thousand pounds from a regard to his honour, was hanged for stealing a cow of the value of thirty shillings.
A young woman, named La Blonde, was in the service of M. Migeon, a furrier, in the Rue St. Honoré, in Paris; this tradesman, though embarrassed in his affairs, was not deserted by his faithful domestic, who remained at his house without receiving any salary. Migeon, some years afterwards died, leaving a wife and two young children without the means of support. The cares of La Blonde were now transferred to the assistance of the distressed family of her deceased master, for whose support she expended fifteen hundred francs, the fruit of her labour, as well as the produce of rent from her small patrimony. From time to time this worthy servant was offered other situations, but to all such offers she replied by the inquiry, "Who will take care of this family if I desert them?" At length the widow Migeon, overcome with grief, became seriously ill. La Blonde passed her days in comforting her dying mistress, and at night went to take care of the sick, in order to have the means of relieving her wants. The widow Migeon died on the 28th of April, 1787. Some persons then proposed to La Blonde to send the two little orphans to the poor house; but the generous girl, indignant at this proposition, replied, "that at Ruel, her native country, her two hundred livres of rent would suffice for their subsistence and her own."
Under the ministry of Neckar in France, the receiver of taxes at Roye, in Picardy, had the misfortune to have his premises burnt,—cattle, furniture, and every thing became the prey of the flames, except two thousand livres of the king's money, the produce of the taxes which he had collected. These the courageous man rescued from the flames, and the next day lodged them in the hands of the provincial director. When Neckar was apprised of the fact, he laid it before the king, and afterwards wrote to the receiver with his own hand as follows: "His Majesty having been informed of the circumstance of your loss, and being pleased with the conduct you have displayed, returns you the 2000 livres, which he desires you will keep as a testimony of his esteem."