The hospital for orphans is in the same building, and is well arranged. The orphan department and the foundling hospital, are under the special care of the sisters of charity.
There is, perhaps, no more strange sight in all Paris, than the assemblage of babies in the apartments of the Foundling Hospital. To see them ranged around the walls of the rooms in cradles, attended by the nurses, will excite a smile, and yet, when we reflect how sad is the lot of these innocents, the smile will vanish. They are deprived of that to which, by virtue of existence, every human being is entitled—a home, and the affectionate care of father and mother. To be entirely shut out from all these blessings, really makes existence a curse, and it were better if these thousands had never been born.
On visiting the hospital, I rang a bell and was admitted by a polite porter, and a female attendant conducted us through the various apartments. I was at once struck with the exceeding tidiness of everything. The floors were of polished oak, and the walls of plaster polished like glass. One of the first rooms we were shown into contained forty or fifty babies, ranged in rows along the wall. The cradles were covered with white drapery, and their appearance was very neat. Four long rows stretched across the apartment, and in the center there was a fire, round which the nurses were gathered, attending to the wants of the hungry and complaining babies. But if the sight of the cradles was pleasant, the noise which greeted my ear was far otherwise. At least twenty-five of the children were crying all at once, and one is as much as I can usually endure, and not that for any length of time. Among the children round the fire, there was one which was very beautiful. It had black hair and eyes, and when we stopped before it, it laughed and crowed at a great rate. I could not help wondering that any human mother could have abandoned so beautiful a babe—one that would have been “a well-spring of pleasure” in many a home.
I was next shown into the apartment for children afflicted with diseases of the eye. The room was carefully shaded, and the cradles were covered with blue or green cloth. There was quite a number of children in this department, and all of them seemed to be well cared for. I was shown into another apartment devoted entirely to the sick children, and its appointments were excellent. It was wholesome and clean, the air was pure as that of the country, and the rooms were high and commodious. Other apartments are shown to the visitor which contain the linen used in the hospital, and where all kinds of work are performed, and finally, the pretty little chapel which I have alluded to before.