She was a poor servant-girl, of very humble birth, in Normandy, near Harfleur. At the age of eleven, she entered the service of a wealthy grazier of her village. A few years afterwards, an inundation of the Seine carried off, and drowned, all her master’s cattle; other misfortunes supervened, and the family were completely ruined. Margaret linked her fate to theirs; and, listening only to the dictates of her generous heart, she insisted on their accepting the whole of her little savings ($ 30), continued to serve them without wages, and, at their death, attached herself in the same way to their daughter, a widow, infirm, and entirely without means. She worked in the fields and brought home her gains to the widow. She married, and, her husband’s wages being added to her own, she still supported and served the unfortunate lady, whom she always called “her mistress.” She kept up this sublime sacrifice for nearly half a century.
The “Emulation Society” of Rouen, desirous of testifying its respect and admiration for this excellent woman, voted her a Medal of Honor and a gift in money; the Masonic Lodge of Havre took part in this testimony of esteem and also offered her a small sum; and, lastly, the local authorities of her village, wishing to spare her the necessity of earning her own bread in her old age, made, with kindness and delicacy, a provision for her simple wants.
A brain stroke carried off, instantaneously and painlessly, this woman, whose whole life had been passed in doing good. The cost of her funeral, simple, but decent, was defrayed by her village, the local official taking the lead in the procession.
Evoked by the Paris Society, on December 27th, 1861, she replied as follows:
A. I am happy to be allowed to come to you.
Q. We have wished to testify to you our admiration of the devotedness of your terrestrial existence, and we hope that your generous abnegation has had its reward.
A. Yes, God has rewarded His servant far beyond her merits. What I did, and that you think praiseworthy, was very natural.
Q. Can you tell us why you were placed in so humble a sphere upon the Earth?
A. I had occupied, in two successive existences, a high position, in which it was easy for me to do good; I gave, without self-sacrifice, because I was rich; but I found that, under these circumstances, I was advancing too slowly. I therefore demanded to come back in a humbler position, in which I should have to struggle, in my own person, with want and privation; and I prepared myself carefully, and through long effort, to bear this new trial. Through the spirit-help vouchsafed to me from God, I was enabled to attain the end I had in view.
Q. Have you met again with your old master and his family? And if so, please tell us what is your position in regard to them, and whether you still consider yourself as being their inferior?
A. I have met them again; they were awaiting me, on my arrival in the spirit-world. I must add, in all humility, that they consider me as being very far above them.
Q. Had you any special motive for attaching yourself to them, rather than to any others?
A. I was under no obligation to do so, for I could have attained my aim as well with any others; but I chose them, in order to pay off a debt of gratitude. They had been kind to me, and had done me a service, in a former life.
Q. What do you foresee in regard to your future?
A. I hope to be reincarnated in a world in which sorrow is unknown. Perhaps you may think this presumptuous on my part; but I leave the matter entirely to the Divine decision.
Q. We thank you for coming at our call, and we have no doubt that God will shower blessings upon you.
A. Thanks. May God’s blessing be with you, also; and may it be given to you all to share, on returning to the spirit-world, the unmixed felicity that I am now enjoying!