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THE ORPHAN AND THE FOUNDLING
THE KING'S PRINTING-HOUSE.
AN EDINBURGH TALE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
'JESSIE MELVILLE," "THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER," &c., &c.
LONDON: HOULSTON & WRIGHT,
THE ORPHAN AND THE FOUNDLING OF THE
It is light and cheerful without in the streets; for one of June's brightest days envelopes the city with its glory. But there is one spot iuto which the glad sunshine cannot enter, and that is the prison. And there, reader, must we for a little take you.
In a small, comfortless room, but dimly lighted by a long, narrow window, might have been beheld a group fit
for the painter's pencil. A pale, a very pale and emaciated woman, who was young, and must have been pretty ere want and care made her cheek wan and thin, sat upon a rude form, holding on her lap a child, thinner, paler, and more emaciated than herself. Over that mother and child bent a man, in a wild agony of grief and sorrow. gazing with burning, tearless eyes on his boy-his little suffering boy-as it lay upon its mother's knee, breathing out its young, innocent life.
It was not disease that was dimming the eye and paling the cheek of the little sufferer: it was want. He was perishing of hunger; and it added tenfold to the agony of that father, to know that his darling infant could be saved if he had the means of buying a little nourishing food. But he had not this means. He was a debtor, confined to that cheerless room by a merciless creditor. He was powerless, and so could only watch, but not lessen the dying struggles of his only child.
And who was the iron-hearted man that was so cruel? Who in that great, populous city, renowned for its civilization and refinement, could thus ruthlessly condemn a fellow-being to such misery? Surely it must be some stranger-one who knows not the pangs