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The Deaf and Dumb Mother

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The late Countess of Orkney, who died at an
advanced age, was deaf and dumb, and was married in 1753 by signs. She
resided with her husband at his seat, Rostellan, near Cork. Shortly after
the birth of her first child, the nurse saw the mother cautiously approach
the cradle in which the infant lay asleep, evidently full of some deep
design. The Countess, having first assured herself that her babe was fast
asleep, took from under her shawl a large stone, which had purposely been
concealed there, and, to the utter horror of the nurse, who largely shared
the popular notion that all dumb persons are possessed of peculiar cunning
and malignity, raised it up, as if to enable her to dash it down with
greater force. Before the nurse could interpose to prevent what she
believed would bring certain death to the sleeping and unconscious child,
the dreadful stone was flung, not at the cradle, however, but upon the
ground, and fell with great violence. The noise awakened the child. The
Countess was overjoyed, and, in the fulness of a mother's heart, she fell
upon her knees to express her thankfulness that her beloved infant
possessed a blessing denied to herself--the sense of hearing. This lady
often gave similar indications of superior intelligence, though we can
believe that few of them equalled the present in interest.





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