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The evangelical author writes bitterly about the disobedience and ingratitude of an orphan she has tried to raise. Autograph Letter signed: "Charlotte - Elizabeth/deaf & dumb authoress", 4p (integral leaf), 8x9¾. 5 Park Place, Blackheath (London), 1840 August 11.

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The evangelical author writes bitterly about the disobedience and ingratitude of an orphan she has tried to raise.
Autograph Letter signed: "Charlotte - Elizabeth/deaf & dumb authoress", 4p (integral leaf), 8x9¾. 5 Park Place, Blackheath (London), 1840 August 11. No addressee. In full: "It was very kind of you dearest Miss [illegible] to write to me so fondly! It has taken a heavy weight off my mind. I know no more of the school that its name, and that my beloved friend Mr. Shaw was one of the Committee. I now see its invaluable character, and so far from reproaching myself for casting off this poor little orphan I am blessing God for opening to her such an asylum. I cannot believe that I should have been so enabled to persevere had not the Lord a purpose of meaning towards her. And surely I may now feel doubly confident. Miss [illegible] was a most sullen, skinny, discontented woman. The most so that I ever met with in all my life. I paid her rent, allowed her an abundant sum for her own and the children's food, clothed them all, and when I found she wanted not to go to the trouble of selling the little books and other small things that I filled her window with, I got a basket, and stocked it well. She was too indolent even to sell in the street. A laundress in the same house offered her a share in her earnings to do a trifle towards the mangling, & she would not. She was always disguised with dirt until I prohibited it, adorned with trinkets -- I was forced to pay another person to keep Kitty clean. Every Saturday the Mother, after I left Edmonton, received her allowance from a lady for me - three in succession took the office, and complained it was almost to much for their temper to have her regularly uttering complaints and reproaches against my stinginess, while receiving an ample provision out of my earnings. I doubt not this had an injurious effect on the children and I mention it as a palliative circumstance. Contrary to an express agreement with me, she went into St. Giles' to a wake, took this child, slept there, & died of the fever then taken. She also left the infection in the house & the woman, the laundress, who had taken such care of them all, died of it too. You can hardly think how it has sometimes gone to my heart to see this little creature whom I would have been a Mother to, studying to distress and worry me. She first took offense that she was not called 'Catherine' as she chose to have a boy name; and I found she was in the habit of daily [9 words crossed out here by Tonna] to make her a fine complexion. This turned the stomach of my servant, who tried to reason her out of it. She was a most respectable, amiable, gentle Christian woman, but she got only insolence and soon left me. The next was a rough but most kind hearted Highland girl, of excellent character. She tried to dissuade Kitty from such a disgusting habit but fared no better than Jane had done. She called in the help of my good landlady, who was staying in the house for a few weeks. And she, finding the circumstances vain, all commands laughed at, informed me. I tried everything, till it came to a birch rod, and bread and water, and finally 20 minutes locked up in the coal cellar. This last prevailed. Neglect of personal cleanliness with the love of the external finery, she learned from her poor Mother. Your discipline is just the thing to meet this; but it is not the external cleansing I look to: spiritual instruction is the great thing that I long to secure for her; and this I am satisfied she will enjoy. I have told her more than now that she will do justice to my care of her when it is too late to make any returns. But I bless the Lord I have done it all as unto Him not to the creature."
Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna (1790-1846) was a prolific English author who wrote on many topics to many audiences: children's stories with a Christian moral, gardening, social reform and theology. Her memoir, Personal Recollections, appeared in 1841. Deaf from age ten, she took a special interest in the education of deaf children. Her writing combined sympathy for the oppressed (the Irish people, industrial workers, women) with a fervent hatred for Catholicism. She rejoiced when her works were placed on the Vatican's Index of Forbidden Books. She wrote under the name Charlotte Elizabeth to insure that her first husband, a British army officer, would not profit from them. Her most successful book was a (1841). Tonna was the name of her second husband, a happy marriage also begun in 1841. Mounting tape remnants on last page obscure a few letters. Light folds. Otherwise, fine condition.

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