- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
82

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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it was a complaint of this kind brought before the
mayor which led me to a knowledge of the fact.

The wages are low, which is particularly unjust,
because the price of clothes is much higher than that
of provision. A young woman, who is wet nurse to
the mistress of the inn where I lodge, receives only
twelve dollars a year, and pays ten for the nursing of
her own child. The father had run away to get clear
of the expense. There was something in this most
painful state of widowhood which excited my compassion
and led me to reflections on the instability of the most
flattering plans of happiness, that were painful in the
extreme, till I was ready to ask whether this world
was not created to exhibit every possible combination
of wretchedness. I asked these questions of a heart
writhing with anguish, whilst I listened to a melancholy
ditty sung by this poor girl. It was too early for thee
to be abandoned, thought I, and I hastened out of the
house to take my solitary evening’s walk. And here
I am again to talk of anything but the pangs arising
from the discovery of estranged affection and the lonely
sadness of a deserted heart.

The father and mother, if the father can be
ascertained, are obliged to maintain an illegitimate child at
their joint expense; but, should the father disappear,
go up the country or to sea, the mother must maintain
it herself. However, accidents of this kind do not
prevent their marrying, and then it is not unusual to
take the child or children home, and they are brought
up very amicably with the marriage progeny.

I took some pains to learn what books were written

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