Then courts of kings were held in high renown, Ere made the common brothels of the town. There, virgins honourable vows received, But chaste as maids in monasteries lived. The king himself, to nuptial ties a slave, No bad example to his poets gave: And they, not bad, but in a vicious age, Had not, to please the prince, debauch’d the stage.
John Dryden, “The Wife of Bath her Tale”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Of Gypsies and Foundlings: Facts observed from Fielding's 'Joseph Andrews' and other texts.


1. OF GYPSIES. That gypsies will frequently, contrary to all logic and often irrespective of any regard for personal interest, safety or gain, break into homes at their convenience and replace children with other children.  It must be stressed that:
a)  they will do this even when both children are equally healthy, therefore with no apparent gain to their own gene pool;
b) likewise, they will frequently exchange children already abducted for new abductees, and therefore we cannot assume that any particular child abducted will remain with his/her abductors in any permanent sense, as the nature of foundling statistics is such as to befuddle any attempt to determine precise percentages of children abducted and passed on relative to children abducted and retained;
c) we therefore cannot assume that gypsies retain any children at any point, as we have no evidence of their doing so, and everyone knows that lack of evidence is evidence of lack in the best logical tradition, and therefore:
d) gypsies stand to gain nothing from this remarkably frequent abduction of children (which appears indeed to be their sole function in all narratives in which they appear, and therefore occupies at least 100% of their time), and must therefore be acting from selfless motives.
A little consideration, and the observation of the fact that their activities are invariably focussed on small rural communities, will quickly reveal this motive.  Gypsies are concerned to stimulate, or we may say stir, the gene pool in order to prevent and counteract the effects of inbreeding.  The further consideration that the babes selected for this mixing process are inevitably the strongest, most beautiful, most healthy and frequently most noble of character available in the district further supports this theory, as it ensures a) that those most likely to find mates do so in a town that is not that of their birth and b) that the resulting children will be similarly perfect and amazing.

That gypsies devote their lives to these endeavours, for which they are frequently persecuted, must stand as a witness to the selflessness with which poor persecuted misunderstood minorities are always secretly jolly happy good-hearted folks, who probably burst into frequent highly coordinated dance routines to the tune of a Hammerstein song, if we could only see past our sad, sad prejudice.

As a side note, it should also stand that gypsies are therefore single- (well, multi-, but they only function as a single entity anyway, on account of the aforementioned minority thing) handedly responsible for the development and perfection of the Aryan race, which is probably why Himmler advised keeping a few of them around for experimental breeding purposes.  They serve a vital genetic function, after all.

2. OF FOUNDLINGS. That all foundlings have a strawberry mark somewhere about their person, but necessarily in such a position that it must be hidden from all other characters until the opportune moment.  This position may vary according to the whim of the author.

From this it logically follows that:
a) If your newborn has a strawberry birthmark anywhere on his/her body, he/she is destined to be lost for several years from an age young enough that he/she will not remember you.  You may choose to barricade the house, purchase a brace of fine Dobermanns and tattoo your name and address on your infant’s back if it makes you feel better, but it will not prevent the inevitable;
b) if you lose your child, do not hope to recover him/her until he/she would be at least fifteen/sixteen years of age and in the flower of man/womanhood.  You need not, however, fear for your child: they may have been raised in poverty, or occasionally servitude, but they will be honest and upright and an example to all neighbours, and also hot;
c) after this time has passed, if you discover a person of approximately the right age possessed of a strawberry birthmark, it is vitally important that you check its location, as otherwise you are quite likely delightedly embracing someone else’s foundling (they are rather common, after all);
d) that all this could be prevented if only parents of newborns with strawberry marks had the foresight to register those marks and their positions with the National Database of Strawberry Birthmarks for the Recovery and Return of Lost Infants.

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