BOOK I. CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY.
6. Chapter vi. Mrs Deborah is introduced into the parish...
Mrs Deborah is introduced into the parish with a simile. A short
account of Jenny Jones, with the difficulties and discouragements
which may attend young women in the pursuit of learning.
Mrs Deborah, having disposed of the child according to the will of her
master, now prepared to visit those habitations which were supposed to
conceal its mother.
Not otherwise than when a kite, tremendous bird, is beheld by the
feathered generation soaring aloft, and hovering over their heads, the
amorous dove, and every innocent little bird, spread wide the alarm,
and fly trembling to their hiding-places. He proudly beats the air,
conscious of his dignity, and meditates intended mischief.
So when the approach of Mrs Deborah was proclaimed through the street,
all the inhabitants ran trembling into their houses, each matron
dreading lest the visit should fall to her lot. She with stately steps
proudly advances over the field: aloft she bears her towering head,
filled with conceit of her own pre-eminence, and schemes to effect her
The sagacious reader will not from this simile imagine these poor
people had any apprehension of the design with which Mrs Wilkins was
now coming towards them; but as the great beauty of the simile may
possibly sleep these hundred years, till some future commentator shall
take this work in hand, I think proper to lend the reader a little
assistance in this place.
It is my intention, therefore, to signify, that, as it is the nature
of a kite to devour little birds, so is it the nature of such persons
as Mrs Wilkins to insult and tyrannize over little people. This being
indeed the means which they use to recompense to themselves their
extreme servility and condescension to their superiors; for nothing
can be more reasonable, than that slaves and flatterers should exact
the same taxes on all below them, which they themselves pay to all
Whenever Mrs Deborah had occasion to exert any extraordinary
condescension to Mrs Bridget, and by that means had a little soured
her natural disposition, it was usual with her to walk forth among
these people, in order to refine her temper, by venting, and, as it
were, purging off all ill humours; on which account she was by no
means a welcome visitant: to say the truth, she was universally
dreaded and hated by them all.