The Countess Of Orkney

The following curious anecdote is related of Mary, Countess of Orkney.

She was deaf and dumb, and was married in 1753, by signs. She lived with

her husband, who was also her first cousin, at his seat, Rostellan, on

the harbour of Cork. Shortly after the birth of her first child, the

nurse, with considerable astonishment, saw the mother cautiously

approach the cradle in which the infant was sleeping, evidently full of

me deep design. The Countess having perfectly assured herself that the

child really slept, took a large stone, which she had concealed under

her shawl, and to the horror of the nurse--who, like all persons of the

lower order in her country, indeed in most countries, was fully

impressed with an idea of the peculiar cunning and malignity of

"dumbies"--raised it with an intent to fling it down vehemently. Before

the nurse could interpose the Countess had flung the stone--not,

however, as the servant had apprehended at the child, but on the floor,

where of course it made a great noise. The child immediately awoke, and

cried. The Countess, who had looked with maternal eagerness to the

result of her experiment, fell on her knees in a transport of joy. She

had discovered that her child possessed the sense which was wanting in