I often wonder why Laurent worked as hard as he did to be a teacher of the Deaf. 51 years of teaching between Paris and Hartford, CT. However, James Denison reminds us in his address of the influences and role models that Laurent had growing up in France. While he was only 4 years old when the Abbe l’Epee died, this man had a tremendous impact on Laurent and his life choices. With l’Epee, Sicard and Massieu shining bright in his mind Laurent would go on and make his own sacrifices to change Deaf education in America.
Listen to this Abbe l’Epee legend. Who does this kind of thing? Dension recounts.
" My poor children, I have wronged you of a hundred crowns," said De l'Epée during the rigorous winter of 1788, when, yielding to the prayers and remonstrances of his little family of deaf mutes, he granted himself in his old age the indulgence of a fire in his apartment." Say to the Empress of Russia," said he to her ambassador, who had vainly pressed upon him valuable presents in the name of that sovereign, " that if my labors seem worthy of her consideration, the sole favor which I ask is, that she send me from her dominions some ignorant deaf mute that I may instruct him."
The Abbe l’Epee, always thinking of training others to spread the new language of the Deaf in France. Laurent was doomed to service growing up in the shadow of this man.