Two days later the procureur-general, Grossetete, the archbishop, and the mayor, holding the corners of the black pall, conducted the body of Madame Graslin to its last resting-place. It was laid in the grave in deep silence; not a word was said; no one had strength to speak; all eyes were full of tears. “She is now a saint!” was said by the peasants as they went away along the roads of the canton to which she had given prosperity,—saying the words to her creations as though they were animate beings.
No one thought it strange that Madame Graslin was buried beside the body of Jean-Francois Tascheron. She had not asked it; but the old mother, as the last act of her tender pity, had requested the sexton to make the grave there,—putting together those whom earth had so violently parted, and whose souls were now reunited through repentance in purgatory.
Madame Graslin’s will was found to be all that was expected of it. She founded scholarships and hospital beds at Limoges solely for working-men; she assigned a considerable sum—three hundred thousand francs in six years—for the purchase of that part of the village called Les Tascherons, where she directed that a hospital should be built. This hospital, intended for the indigent old persons of the canton, for the sick, for lying-in women if paupers, and for foundlings, was to be called the Tascheron Hospital. Veronique ordered it to be placed in charge of the Gray Sisters, and fixed the salaries of the surgeon and the physician at four thousand francs for each. She requested Roubaud to be the first physician of this hospital, placing upon him the choice of the surgeon, and requesting him to superintend the erection of the building with reference to sanitary arrangements, conjointly with Gerard, who was to be the architect. She also gave to the village of Montegnac an extent of pasture land sufficient to pay all its taxes. The church, she endowed with a fund to be used for a special purpose, namely: watch was to be kept over young workmen, and cases discovered in which some village youth might show a disposition for art, or science, or manufactures; the interest of the fund was then to be used in fostering it. The intelligent benevolence of the testatrix named the sum that should be taken for each of these encouragements.
The news of Madame Graslin’s death, received throughout the department as a calamity, was not accompanied by any rumor injurious to the memory of this woman. This discretion was a homage rendered to so many virtues by the hard-working Catholic population, which renewed in this little corner of France the miracles of the “Lettres Edifiantes.”
Gerard, appointed guardian of Francis Graslin, and obliged, by terms of the will, to reside at the chateau, moved there. But he did not marry Denise Tascheron until three months after Veronique’s death. In her, Francis found a second mother.