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I Alleged Detention in a Convent.…


Alleged Detention in a Convent. A PENARTH GIRL IN SECLUSION PARENTS APPLY TO THE MAGISTRATES. The magistrates at Penarth Police Court on Mon- day Mr W. B. Gibbs and Councillor Morris—had a somewhat unusual application made to them by a woman named Mrs Mary Kelly, of 15, Maughan- terrace, Penarth. The woman stated to the Bench that hei daughter Elizabeth was aniumate of a Convent at Ileriylari, Gaidiff, and they desired her release. Her daughter, who was not yet 16 years of age, had begged and ci ied to return to the bosom of her parents, and although herhnsband and son bad visited the place they had refused to allow her to do so- She therefore made application to the Bench for an order compelling those at the Convent to restoie the child to the parents ■Mr W. B- Gibbs informed the woman that the magistrates had no power in such a case. Application should be made to a higher Court, and he advised the woman to consult a selicitor. INTERVIEW WITH THE SISTER. fn tin course of an iuferview which a press represnta- L a;, o I secured with another daughter of Mrs Kelly, she stated that her sister had become too intimately associ- ated with girls of disreputable character at Penarth, and in cousequence was taken to the Couvent against her will, The girl was nearly 16 years of age and her parents apprehended that unless they succeeded in obtaining her release before she was 10 years of age she would be detained at the.Couvent through- out the remainder of her lifetime. The excuse offered at the Convent for the refusal to grant the girlls release was that. the "father" of the iustitnliou was at the time a vay from home, and construing this to mean that they desiied to delay matters so that the girl might attain her 16th birthday, they had decided to make application to the magistrates. tn EXPLANATION BY THE LADY SUPERIOR In the afternoon a South Wales Daily News reporter called at the Convent, Penylau, and, after explaining the object of his visit, was readily accorded an inter- view with the Lady Superior. The Superior, in reply to a question as to whether tiie statements given above were correct, smiled, and said, "Ah they (the mother and sister) have made out a very funny story, but it is not hue. I'll tell you all about this matter. The father and step-sister brought the girl, whose name is Annie Kelly, here and asked us to take care of her as she was getting very wild, and they were afraid of her getting into mischief. We agreed to take her, and after she came sha appeared to be very happy. Shoitiv afterwards, however, the mother sent a mes- sage requesting us to send the gill home at once, but I told her I could not do so without the permission of the girl's father, as he had asked me to take her. I asked the girl it she would like to go home, and she said she pieferred to remain in the convent as her mother kept a lodging-house, and she felt it was not n a safe home for her. I told her I could not keep her against her will, and she said she would rather re- main. I had farther applications from the mother and the sister, but knowing the family, and the girl being willing to stay wirh us, I did not give her np. On one occasion the sister and a lady friend caliled, t c and made a great bother because I woald not give up the girl or let them see her, our rules being that visitors are allowed to see their friends once a month, and I could not disturb the house on their account. They stayed about the place half a day, and ulti- mately I had to send for a policeman to put them away." "Has the girl expressed any desire to return home ?'' No. She has herself told me that she wishes to remain here. She was not brought here against her will, and she is not detained here against her will. There would hava bpen no question about her being here, or about going home if it had not been for the intervention of some of her friends." Has the girl's father ever requested you to give her up?" No; and I haven't seen him since the day he brought her here." "Have yon any particular rule respecting the de- tention of children and girls of her age?" It is entirely against our rules to receive or keep girls against their will. This girl told me she wished to stay here." Do you know anything of the father? I have been told that be has since gone away." And you say you have no rule of arbitrary de- tention ? Yes. Of course in the case of little children brought by their parents we keep them until they are asked for, but even in those cases when they dislike being here, or feel unhappy, we ask the parents to take them home again. Girls of the age of Annie Kelley can go when they please; and the statement that the girl's parents apprehended she would be de. tained tor life, if not released before she was sixteen years of age, is absurd. There is no rule or custom which could allow us to detain any one for life against their will. The girl's friends may have got their idea from thill, that we have a few who have promised to remain foi life, but entirely of their own free will, and who have bep-n allowed to do go only as a very great privilege." Do many wish to remain for life ? "At present we havd three who have promised to do so. Bat we usually find situations for our girls after they have been with us for two years or so, if they wish it, and even sometimes before that. I have been here seven years, and I should say there are only about 30 at the outside of those who were here when I came remaining, and we have 150 in the house. It would be decidedly against the usefulness of the house to keep every girl for life. We have room for 160, but 150 is about the averag3 number we take in," ° THE GTRU STORY. "An,d now," added the lady superior frankly, "if you like to have the truth of my Statements regard- ing the girl confirmed, I sli;,Jl &end for her The interviewer assented, and presently Annie Kell*»y, a tall, good-looking young woman, was ushered into the ruom, .lid she answered the questions put to her freely aud intelligently. Have you been prevented from leaving the con- vent ? asked the Pressman. "No. Mother (the lady superior) would let rae go to-morrow if I wished. I Cdme hero of my own free will, and I do not want to leave. I came here with my father and step-sister on February Chh, an I first request; for my ret urn home was made the wees before Easter-" Did you wish to come here Yr, s. Did you not have a good home ? I liked home well enough, but I could not agree with my father." ° "Is he your stepfather ?" (I No. He is my father. Airs Kelley is my mother, but the sister you speak of is my step sister, a daughter by my mother's, first husband." In reply to further questions, she said uer people kept a boarding-house for seamen near the docks at Penarth that her father was a fireman and went to sea and that be had recently lsft home without having got a ship. I lid you tell your parents you wished to come here,?" Yes. Defore my father came home last time I told my mother that I wanted to go to Penylan Con- vent. After he came home I told him, too, and he brought me here." It will be gathered from these two last interviews that the girl has not been demanded by her father, b and that she prefers remaining at the convent a present. -=


Penarth District Goiliicil.