The Deaf and Dumb Mother





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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