A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday Emergency Nickname
by John Yeo
“Meet Foundling,” said the man commonly called the Beadle, “Foundling has been in this institution for 20 years now, she knows no other life but this, a move would probably destroy her completely.”
I shook hands with a tall young woman, her hair was brushed but hung lank down to her shoulders. Dressed in the plain issue clothes of the Workhouse, her obvious charming beauty, shone through.
“Hello Foundling, you have an unusual name, I have never heard anyone answer to a name like that. How did you come by it?”
“I don’t know Sir, I have always had that name, I have never been called anything else.” At this moment the Beadle broke in and explained.
“Foundling was abandoned on the doorstep of the Workhouse, as a baby, we took her in and as is usually the case, we gave her an emergency nickname. We did try to get her officially named, but she refuses to answer to anything other than Foundling. It is not our policy to force our residents into anything they are not happy about so she has been christened Foundling Smith.”
“What an incredible story!” I gasped, turning to Foundling, I said, “Are you sure you are happy about this unusual name? It could label you for the rest of your life when you get away from here.”
“Yes Sir, it’s OK, I have no intention of going anywhere,” Foundling said.
I turned to the Beadle and said, “You will have to break the news to the residents that I am here to close this establishment down. The government has decided that Workhouses have outlived their usefulness.”
The Beadle shrugged his shoulders resignedly and nodded. “The results of this drastic action will be in the hands of God.” He said sullenly.
It was then I realised how the effect of the closure would resonate throughout the whole establishment. The Beadle would also feel the effects.
Over the next few years, the old Victorian Workhouses were closed in England.
I was enjoying a happy retirement in Dorset, when I was intrigued to read in the Daily Times an announcement of the marriage of a Miss Foundling Smith, to the Earl of Richester.
That unusual name brought the memories flooding back. I have often wondered what became of the Beadle. I have a sneaking suspicion he was more institutionalised than any of the inmates.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved