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In the spring of 1797, Papa brought me to Philadelphia for what would be my last visit to our house. As we sat over dinner in the garden, he revealed the Church was opening a mission for expatriates in Paris. Because the French government at that time banned Christian denominations, the mission would be discreetly centered at an orphan asylum, which the presiding bishop himself had asked Papa to administer.
For the second time in four years, my father was separating himself from me with what I perceived as a passion that approached willful neglect of his only child. I regarded him as if he had just jumped from a hot-air balloon without a parachute. “Papa, this is your home! This is my home! How can you leave it? How can you leave me?”
Slowly, he cut his meat into tiny pieces. “Sweetie, I’d like you to understand that we…
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