Incognito, Venerable Pierre Toussaint Aids an Impoverished French Gentleman

August 10, 2023

A French gentleman, whom Toussaint had known in affluence, a white man, was reduced to poverty; he was sick and suffering, craving a delicacy of food which he had no means to procure. For several months Toussaint and Juliette [Toussaint’s wife] sent his dinner, nicely cooked, in such a way that he could not suspect from whom it came. “If he had known,” said Toussaint, “he might not have liked it; he might have been proud.”

“Yes,” said Juliette, “when Toussaint called to see him sometimes, he would say, ‘Oh, I am well known! I have good friends; every day somebody sends me a nice dinner, cooked by a French cook’; and then perhaps he would enumerate the different viands. My good husband would come home, and tell me, and we would laugh very much.”

Hannah Sawyer Lee, Memoir of Pierre Toussaint: Born a Slave in St. Domingo, 2nd rev. ed. (Sunbury, Penn.: Western Hemisphere Cultural Society, 1992), 43–44.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 890



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