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A veteran, worn out in the service of France, was left
without a pension, although he had a wife and three children to share his
wretchedness. His son was placed at _L'Ecole militaire_, where he might
have enjoyed every comfort, but the strongest persuasion could not induce
him to taste anything but coarse bread and water. The Duke de Choiseul
being informed of the circumstance, ordered the boy before him, and
enquired the reason of his abstemiousness. The boy, with a manly fortitude,
replied, "Sir, when I had the honour of being admitted to this royal
foundation, my father conducted me hither. We came on foot: on our journey
the demands of nature were relieved by bread and water. I was received. My
father blessed me, and returned to the protection of a helpless wife and
family. As long as I can remember, bread of the blackest kind, with water,
has been their daily subsistence, and even that is earned by every species
of labour that honour does not forbid. To this fare, sir, my father is
reduced; and while he, my mother, and my sisters, are compelled to endure
such wretchedness, is it possible that I can enjoy the plenty which my
sovereign has provided for me?" The duke felt this tale of nature, gave the
boy three louis d'ors for pocket-money, and promised to procure the father
a pension. The boy begged the louis d'ors might be sent to his father,
which, with the patent of his pension, was immediately done. The boy was
patronised by the duke, and became one of the best officers in the service
of France.





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