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so indisputable, as to leave him nothing more to desire on that particular point; for it would immediately strike, even a sailor, that, among barbarous and savage tribes, parents always know their children, and are known by them, and that there is no law, custom, or hypocritical morality existing among Heathens and Indians, to prevent such a personal knowledge of their kindred. In other words, that it is only in the most polite communities, that benevolent institutions for the care of children are so imposed on, or perverted, as to afford the greatest conveniences to concubinage and illegitimacy, and thereby to sanction and establish the entire concealment of relationship!
Having thus (in the language of musicians) given you the overture, I must now inform you, that I am only one among many thousands in our highly onlightened country, who have been doomed by human ingenuity to pass through the world, and through life, without the knowledge of a single relation! Poor forlorn unfortunates that we are! When we look a. round us, at the cheering relationships and family endearments which we behold on every side, we appear to ourselves amputated from the whole family of man ! Miserable outcasts! The sins of our parents are indeed visited upon us,
cot by the Divine Being, for he is infinite in mercy, but by the artful frauds of our parents themselves, or the dark contrivances of their abettors and comforters, all carried on and accomplished under the mask of charity! It is thus that we have been made like " the heath in the desert,” the object of no one's care! u Excuse, Sir, these emotions of regret; and now let me tell you, I am passed the zenith of life, and the only intimation I ever received of my fatber's name, (if it can be depended on,) was “ in a vision of the met meer's upon the bed." I thought a female
at me with much attention, and then asked me, if I was not brought up in an asylum for young children? which she named." I replied, “ Yes." & Then," said she, " I will tell you who your father is; your father is the ear) of-,"mentioning a nobleman whose arms and titles are to be found in the map of Ireland. I know what Shakespeare has said
of " the baseless fabric" of visions; I also know that such nocturnal visitors as this female cannot be proceeded against for libels ; I therefore think it best to conceal the name here: but the circumstance impressed my mind, and I applied with great earnestness to the secretary and directors of the institution by which my infancy and childhood were protected, humbly entreating them that they would please to tell me all they could about my parents. I received various answers: as, that the regulations of the asylum prohibited the giving of the information I sought; that it would be a breach of confidence towards my parents; that the conditions of my parents might now be dif. ferent to what they were in my infancy.--they might then be single persons, and now each of them married, and I might be the means of disturbing the peace of several families; that if my parents had applied to obtain the knowledge of me, and it turued out that they were able to provide for me through life, then no difti. culty would exist to a mutual introduction; but under all circumstances I must be content to continue as I was, &c. All the information I gained was from old servants in the charity, and which was of little service. One of them assured me, that the nobleman alluded to, was one of the most active of the Committee about the time of my admission, a very gay young man, und unmarried ; and the secretary, wearied with my iniportunities, referred to books and documents, and, as a matter of favour, which I was not to reveal to any one, gave me my mother's name, but no clue by which she might be traced; for that, he said, was still more beyond his province.
Who would think it ? after a lapse of some years, when many miles from the institution by wbich I was fostered, and double the number of miles from my place of abode, in reading the monuments lately in Bristol ca. thedral, Í met with one having the precise whole name of my mother, as it was given me by the secretary. Struck with astonishment, I swiftly read the contents" of the beautiful tablet, and found she died at the age of thirty-five, which, admitting she was my mother, was four years after my birth. Some elderly persons standing near the monument, remembered the decease of
this lady at Clifton, and said it was her maiden name which was on the monument, for she was never married. May I then (thought I) venture to hope that I am come at last to my mother's monument? O! how hard is my lot! only to hear of my father in a dream, and now to see my mother's name and decease together inscribed on the shining marble! I was riveted to the spot for some time, and like a tender parent at the grave of a beloved child, seemed unwilling to quit it; but in the midst of my reflections and regrets, my heart was called to mourn over another very affecting scene. The organ and the choir commenced " I know that my Redeemer liveth,”and the corpse of a lady of fortune slowly entered the cathedral for interment. I made enquiries concerning her, and was soon informed she had been an affectionate mother of several children, since her marriage, and had died in child-bed. Poor dear creature ! thought I, how affecting, even to total strangers, is thy pitiable separation from all that was delightful and valuable in the present life! But, whatever were thy sins against Heaven (for there is no human being that sinceth not,) surely thou didst not “ hide thine eyes from thine own flesh;” surely thy dear babes enjoyed the caresses and kisses of their own mother, and were not consigned to the cold hands and hearts of unfeeling nurses; surely this dear mother's face, in smiling health, and surely that dear face, in still pale death, is imprinted on each of their memories, never to be erased to the latest moment of their lives! O! how intinitely preferable is honourable virtuous marriage, with all its pains and sorrows, to dark and detestable concubinage! May He who died on Calvary's Cross, for the redemption of the world, and who is now sovereign proprietor of the living and the dead, smile poor mother! on thy disembodied spirit, and mercifully preserve and save thy poor weeping orphans !
Mr. Editor, if I am in my senses when I am upon my death bed, I mean to call my poor children around me, and to tell them, I think my father's name was once revealed to me in a dream: and I think I saw my mother's monument in Bristol cathedral; but I have no certainty of the truth of these matters; and that this is all their poor father has to tell them about his parents! Glory be to thee, O Charity!
I am, Your's, &c. &c. Bristol, March 22, 1821.
CLAUDINE: A SAVOYARD TALE.
Resumed from page 83. EIGHTEEN months passed away thus, and Benjamin could go quite alone. Claudine had so well profited by the instructions of the good Madam Felix, ihat she was now competent to educate her son, when the proper time arrived for her to do so. That son became every day more amiable, Claudine was never tired of admiring him; she was wholly occupied with him; and she thought of nothing but loving him ; when, one morning, the rector of Salenches came to call upon her.
“My dear daughter,” said he to her, "when I received you, when I covered your fault with the mantle of charity, my plan was, to put your child out to nurse, to have him brought up in a village, and afterwards to furnish him with the means of gaining a livelihood. During this time I should, I hoped, be able to soften the avger of your father, and induce him to take yon back into his house, where your penitence, your modesty, and your love of prudence and labour, might have made him forget the vexation which you had oecasion. ed to him. This was the only rational mode of proceeding ; the only one which could restore to you the affection of your father, and the esteem of your friends. You alone stand in the way of it. Your passionate tenderness for your child, and your resolution not to quit him, banish you for ever from the paternal roof. With what feelings, think you, must Simon look upon this child? What can he be, in his eyes, and in those of all your village, but a perpetual subject of shame and sorrow? You have sense enough, goodness of heart enough, and discernment enough, to know that you must either give up your child, or your · father, your family, and your country. I read in your eyes ihat you have already made your choice. But it is my duty to point out to you that you cannot remain here
always with a poor good woman, who is, I know, tenderly attached to you, and who perhaps will beg that you will never leave her, but whose poverty does not allow of her keeping you for nothing. I myself cannot continue to you the trifling assistance which I have hitherto given; because it is the property of all who are unfortunate; and, after haviug performed with respect to you the duties which your situation claimed, I should be culpable were I to abandon other unfortunate persons to indulge a love which I excuse, which affects me greatly, but which I ought not to encourage. You will tell me, perhaps, that you can live upon what your sister sends you. But that money is taken from the means of subsistence of herself, her husband, and her family. Nanette works laboriously, while you are caressing Benjamin; Nanette sends you the fruit of her labours, and Nanette has committed no fault. Let me ask your heart, my dear daughter, whether you ought to receive these favours any longer? There is only one resource left you : it is, to go into service, either at Geneva, or at Chambery. At your age, and with your person, surrounded perhaps by bad examples, this step may expose you to many dangers. Besides, with a child, which you are determined not to
uit, I doubt very much whether you will find any one willing to take you. Weigh all this well-reflect upon it seriously. I give you two days to make up your mind. You will then tell me what plan you have adop. ted; and I promise you that every thing which it is possible for me to do for you, shall cheerfully be
After he had finished his speech the rector went away, leaving Claudine in a state of great irresolution, and of still greater affliction. She felt the propriety of all that the prudent rector had urged to her, and she likewise felt yet more strongly that it was impossible for her to live without Benjamin. She spent the whole of the day, and of the following night, in meditating upon, and turning in her head, all the various means of being no longer a burthen to her sister, and of not parting from her child. At length she decided in favour of a scheme which, though it might not be without danger, was calculated to accomplish both No. 41.