Our furniture consisted of two wooden chairs, a box turned upside down for a toilet-stand, a rickety bedstead, with unmusical creak, a tumble-down lounge, and dismal, but genuine tallow dip. In these quarters we spent four days, during which time the rain poured with unremitting constancy.
In the parlor of the same edifice was an elegant piano, and magnificently dressed ladies, and our constant amazement was, how, in this strange country, extremes could so amicably meet.
I found in Arkadelphia two blind gentlemen, who were prosperous merchants; and to me, this spoke volumes for a community who would so generously sustain the afflicted rather than allow them the condescension of beggary.
We next visited Hope, a town of three thousand inhabitants, yet having numbered but three years of existence; and while these people are considered so slow in progression, this fact indicated a considerable degree of Yankee go-a-head activity. This town is one of the important cotton markets of the State, which branch of trade imparts an additional business activity.
We turned toward Hot Springs, the Baden of America, and when within twenty miles of this wonderful place we encountered a throng of that class of human pests known as "hotel runners," thick as bees, and more stingingly annoying, for they especially abounded in low jests and ribald stories which grate so harshly upon sensitive ears. It would certainly be an act of philanthropy, both to the hotels and their patrons, to take some measure for the suppression of this nuisance.
The approach to Hot Springs, and the first glimpse of the stream, smoking as if its bed rested upon some subterranean fire, are in themselves awe-inspiring. The valley is narrowed to the limits of three hundred feet, and the road winds gracefully around the base of the mountain, upon whose top the cold spring furnishes a better beverage than iced champagne; while close by its side bubbles the boiling spring, in which eggs can be cooked to perfection; and with a little seasoning of salt and pepper, the most luscious soup can be improvized, while the boiling water au naturale can be drunk in copious, life-giving draughts.
The hotels are ranged upon either side of the road, and have all the necessary bathing appointments. Among the many novelties to a stranger was the process of dressing chicken, which was their staple article of food. The hot stream was the only necessary cauldron for the scalding process, while the feathers were thrown into the swift current, and rapidly carried away by the natural sewerage, a decidedly labor-saving process, and somewhat characteristic of the locality and its native cooks.
The various forms of treatment consist of hot, cold, vapor and mud baths, and have been so often described that a repetition would be monotonous; their efficacy being almost unfailing, except in cases of pulmonary disease, in which they would soon prove fatal. One who has ever enjoyed these baths will always long for the luxury years after leaving them behind.
We reluctantly left this valley, teeming with rich quarries of valuable stone and various ores, luscious fruits, and the trifling drawbacks of rattlesnakes, centipedes and tarantulas, and went to Texaskana, which is located at the junction of the three States of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, hence its name.
It is a great railroad centre, and it is very curious to visit the depot amid the rushing thousands who daily pass through this place on their way to Texas. It is a wildly romantic place, built upon a clearing of forty acres without any decided plan, streets running at random very much like the old cowpaths of Manhattan, and houses grouped in picturesque confusion. Finding the main hotel crowded, the proprietor manifested an unheard-of disinterestedness in a two hours search to find us suitable accommodations elsewhere, an act of magnanimity worthy of especial note and remembrance.
"Oh, ever thus from childhood's hour, I've seen my fondest hopes decay; I never loved a tree, or flower, But it was first to fade away. I never nursed a dear gazelle, To glad me with its soft black eye, But when it came to know me well And love me, it was sure to die."
We reached Jefferson, Texas, when the excitement was rife over the murder of Bessie Moore, the terrible details of which sent a thrill of horror over the entire United States. It rained during the several days of our stay there; but thanks to the earnest endeavors of Mrs. Frazer, of the Frazer House, I did very well in my business. Many of the fairest portions of the town had been laid waste by the destructive ravages of incendiary fires, and had never been rebuilt.
Marshall is one of the most enterprising towns in the State, being a great railroad centre, and settled almost exclusively by Northern people.
We had a most delightful visit to Shreveport, Louisiana: It lies at the head of Red River navigation, and is the port of entry for New Orleans steamers, being a place of great wealth and equal generosity. The editors worked with great zest to aid me, and among the many people I met very few failed to buy books. The genial skies and bright sunshine made it hard to realize that it was the winter season; and I shall ever revert to its warm-hearted people not only with pleasure but with gratitude.
At Longview—in the dilapidated prison-like room of my hotel, I received tidings of the death and burial of Hattie. My surroundings were in such sad accord with my feelings, that I wondered if the sun would ever shine, or the flowers bloom again, so much light went out with her dear life.
At Longview we took a branch of the International Railroad to Palestine—Mr. Smith, the Vice-President of the road, not only largely patronizing me, but presenting me with a six months' pass and the assurance that if I ever again visited the State a letter addressed to him would ensure a repetition of the favor.
Thence we went to Galveston, where Mr. Arms had been for three months trying the efficacy of sea-bathing. This city is beautifully located upon a fertile island in Galveston Bay. The streets are lined upon either side with oleander trees, which, arching over at the top, form a very bower of bloom, while every breath of the clear bright air is balmy with the odor of orange blossoms.
The Mesquite trees, with attenuated leaves and gracefully drooping pods, adorn all the parks of the city, the beans forming a delicious dish either cooked or raw.
No wonder Texas is called "The Happy Hunting Ground," for the five delightful weeks we spent in Galveston seemed like a dream of Paradise. Its many pleasures were varied by sailing and bathing, every morning finding us upon the pure, white beach, where the waves whispered the sweetest melodies.
We went back to Houston in the month of bloom, and no "vale of Cashmere" could have been more beautiful in its "feast of roses."
The street car ran to the depot, and we found in it but one passenger, a gentleman who carried a rose in his hand. Noticing at once that I was blind, he arose and said to me, "Although you cannot see the beautiful flowers you can inhale their sweetness," at the same time asking me to accept the rose. His delicate kindness and urbane manner struck a deep chord in my heart, and I never think of Houston without recalling the gentle touch and tone.
I must not omit to mention an act of generosity upon the part of the railroad office at Galveston. Leaving there I had paid fare to Houston, and the agent refunded five dollars, adding that I should never be allowed to pay railroad fare.
After remaining two weeks at Houston I took the Sunset Route to San Antonia, and stopped at the Central House on the main plaza. This is the oldest town in Texas, and is called "The Stone City," its antique buildings and narrow winding streets giving it a quaint, time-worn air.
San Antonia River rises from a low spring, four miles distant from the city, and gracefully winds through its streets, and is here and there spanned by beautiful rustic bridges.
The "City Gardens" are one block distant from the main plaza, and are located upon an island of great natural beauty, romantically approached by a floating bridge. The air is cool and refreshing from the river breeze, fair flowers, bloom and sweet voiced birds rival the musical instruments which lead the merry feet of the dancers.
A mile from the city are the San Pedro Springs, a lovely park often acres in area, where springs flow out into crystal purling streams, forming islands, lakes, and ponds white and fragrant with their lily bloom, while shining green lizards and other reptiles peep curiously out from the rocks and glide away into the stream.
Just across the main plaza stands the old Spanish cathedral, with its musical chime of bells sending out on the perfumed air melodies sweet as vesper songs.
We went to the old Alamo, felt the antique cannon used by the Mexicans, were shown the room in which Bowie died and the spot where fell the brave Colonel Crockett, who, with his handful of men, so gallantly held the citadel, at which time he was taken alive, together with five other prisoners, and ordered by Santa Anna to be killed.
Just before the fatal sword-thrust, which ended a life so fraught with daring and danger, he sprang like a tiger at the throat of Santa Anna, his face wearing even in death this expression of fiendish, scowling hatred.
San Antonia being the great market for the frontier, is a place of great business activity. While there I was struck with amazement to see a dirty, ragged man mounted upon a jaded, dilapidated horse, a very Sancho Panza and Rezinante, smilingly asking alms of the passer-by.
I had often heard of, but never before saw a veritable "beggar on horseback."
"Light, warmth, and sprouting greenness, And o'er all Blue, stainless, steel-bright ether Raining down Tranquility upon the deep hushed town The freshening meadow and the hillside brown."
We went from San Antonio to Austin, the capital of Texas, where I had a delightful interview with Governor Hubbard, who, although much engrossed with the cares of State, seemed for the time to lay them all aside, and gave me his undivided attention. Certainly if "all the world's a stage, and men and women merely players," this versatile gentleman appeared as well in the role of courtier as in that of the statesman.
The Government Buildings are of finished architectural art, and stand amid cultivated grounds, upon a commanding eminence. At the State House door is a monument to the memory of Colonel David Crockett and the brave companions who foil with him at St. Alamo.
The public Institutions of Austin are a credit to "The Lone Star" State, especially that for the Blind, at which I spent a day, and was charmingly entertained by Dr. Raney and his accomplished wife. The matron also dispensed hospitalities with so much true dignity and grace, and I never visited an institution in which the inmates were so pre-eminently refined, its sixty-five pupils numbering so many accomplishments.
In response to a solicitation from Dr. Raney I addressed the school. This was done through a social chat, in which the little group circled close around me, and while I never so longed for "the poetry of speech" to render the deep emotion of my heart, I really believe no elocutionist, with all "the charm of delivery," could have had a more attentive audience.
Waco is known as the Athens of Texas, and among its many Institutions of Learning is the Baptist University, open to both sexes. It is under the charge of Doctor Burlison, who extended to me an invitation to meet the school at their chapel exercises.
The "sweet hour of prayer" being over, he disposed of many of my books and baskets among the pupils. This gentleman was deeply engrossed with the educational interests of the State, and had traveled over its length and breadth to enhance its prosperity, being more especially engaged in the public school system. The next day twenty-five of the young lady pupils, chaperoned by their teachers, called upon me at the McLennan House. They were all characterized by discreet and lady-like deportment, and as there was a fine toned piano in the parlor, there was no lack of artistic music. We had also an equally kind reception from the Reverend Mr. Wright and lady of the Methodist College.
Waco is on the Brazos River, which is spanned by a graceful suspension bridge, the pride of the town. During my visit they held their celebrated fete known as "The Maifest," which lasted two days, and the gay and fantastic procession in which all professions and trades were represented made it almost as gorgeous as a carnival.
From Waco we went to Dallas, which is located upon Trinity River, and is the Metropolis of Northern Texas. There was little to note in my stay there, except the amusingly antagonistic reasons assigned by two men for not giving me their patronage. Their business houses were upon the same side of one street, and not very remote from each other. One refused because my book was not sufficiently religious in its tone, and the other because he saw the name of the Lord upon one of its pages. It was plainly evident in both cases that the name of the "Almighty Dollar" as its price was the most probable impediment.
It was now the last of May, and the intense heat induced me to go northward; indeed those who hope to enjoy a visit in that part of Texas must go at some time between the months of September and May, for during the remainder of the year the inhabitants do nothing but "try to keep cool."
We stopped over one train at the beautiful town of Sherman, and then hurried on to St. Louis, where I found my old friend Mrs. Anderson, who, having visited Baltimore the previous summer, had learned all the particulars of the death of the beloved Superintendant of our Institution during my life there.
Mr. Charles H. Keener was the son of Christian Keener, the founder of Greenmount Cemetery of Baltimore, a sweet resting place which could fitly receive the appellation given their cemeteries by the Turks—"A City of the Living." He was the brother of Bishop J.C. Keener, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, who is quite celebrated as a Divine. His life was characterized by a succession of shining acts of self-sacrifice and affection, and his nature, so quiet and unobtrusive, shrunk so sensitively from ostentation, that greatness must have been "thrust upon him" ere he held a name emblazoned upon the roll of fame. His character in contrast with publicly great men has been most graphically told by the German poet, who sang—
"One on earth in silence wrought, And his grave in silence sought; But the younger, brighter form, Passed in battle, and in storm."
As the Superintendent of our Institution, he held the hearts of every inmate. His younger brother, in a letter of response to some queries, said—"He was an Engineer in the United States Navy during the War of the Rebellion, a devoted son, a true patriot, and an earnest Christian man." He was afterward stationed on the "Island of Navassa," one of the West India Group, within one hundred miles of Cuba, and was acting as Superintendent of a Phosphate Company which owned, and worked the Island. He had been there during eighteen months, when, in September, 1872, the yellow fever broke out in the Island. After several weeks' resistance he, too, succumbed to this terrible scourge, and, after a six days' illness, died on the 9th of November, 1872.
His brother also feelingly makes mention of his last letter, written upon the day of his attack, as "a marvel of calm resignation." It runs thus: "I am fast getting ready to be counted among the sick. When you know I am really dead write to—(here follow the names of many friends) and tell them to meet me in Heaven. One by one we are passing over, why should we hesitate? why should I with no one to care for? Surely I have seen trouble enough in this life! May I feel as little dread of dying at the last moment as I do now."
His last words were addressed to his second officer, who had been addicted to dissipation, but who had pledged himself to reform. As he was carried out to look upon the sea which he loved so well, he said: "Mawson, remember your pledge," when his head immediately dropped and he entered into the life eternal.
So did the life of this good man pass gently away while he was still in the prime of manhood. He was carried to beautiful Greenmount for burial, near the city in which his name will be coupled with loving memories for long years to come.
"Alas for him who never sees The stars shine through his cypress trees! Who hopeless lays his dead away, Nor looks to see the breaking day Across the mournful marbles play! Who hath not learned in hours of faith The truth to flesh and sense unknown, That Life is ever Lord of Death, And love can never lose its own!"
A short time after our return home, Miss Tyson, having become weary of traveling, I accompanied her to Morrison, and after spending a few days there left her with friends and went alone to Pecatonica, when Ida again accompanied me in my travels. On my return I stopped at Winnebago, Illinois, to visit the hallowed spot in which Hattie lay buried. As I approached the cemetery mingled memories of her beautiful life came surging through my soul, and a deep silent awe stole over me. I sent my friends away to another part of the grounds that I might be entirely alone with my dead, and as I knelt in the stillness of that sacred hour I felt that the grave held only the precious clay, and that the sweet spirit-presence was there trying to comfort me as it had always done in earth-life, while, as the soft sound of the June wind stole through the trembling evergreen near by, it seemed to whisper a sweet song, whose burden sighed—
Love will dream and faith will trust, Since he who knows our needs is just; That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
As I turned away I felt the strong ray of sunshine which fell upon her grave, and rested there a halo and a promise!
Our first stop going Westward was at Kansas City, and as it was the first of August we found the colored people out in a well-filled procession, celebrating this, one of their great Emancipation days. Ida having seen very few colored people during her life was furnished an amusing entertainment. We also visited Lawrence, which is so marked in Kansas annals, and Topeka, the capital, but as my experience in this State differs so materially from that in any other (not making sufficient through my sales to cover expenses), I will hurriedly pass it by.
We took the sleeping car at Topeka, but, as a "washout" had destroyed the track for some distance, I left the train with the other passengers, and walked with precision over culverts and places of danger with ofttimes only a narrow plank for my track. A gentleman who kindly led me smilingly said this was indeed "walking by faith," and it was true blind eyes never have aught but faith "as a lamp to their feet and a guide to their path."
After leaving Salina there was nothing to be seen but a blank, desolate plain, as monotonous as a silent, sailless sea, grimly varied by an occasional station, with a few "dugouts" for houses. The mail on this train was most unceremoniously delivered by being thrown from the cars, and it was very amusing to witness the confusion and rush for its contents, for the love-laden and business-burdened missives are as dear to these people as to the most cultured members of society.
The frequent recurrence of the little sand-hill communities, known as prairie dog cities, was of novel interest to us, and the habits of these creatures a curious study. They build their sand-hill habitations as skillfully as the beaver erects his dam, and are so untiring in following their instinct of self-preservation that they stand as constant sentinels at the entrance of their homes, and in any case of danger play to such perfection the role of "the artful dodger" that they are never caught.
It is a singular fact that these animals are very rarely killed, and if by chance some "unlucky dog" should lose his life he is hurried out of sight by his devoted companions with so much celerity that his body is never found.
Fifty miles before reaching Denver the snow crowned tops of Gray's and James' Peaks are clearly revealed, while from one point alone will Pike's Peak allow the traveler a glimpse of his glorious grandeur. We were told that the former mountains were more frequently visible at a distance of one hundred miles. We neared Denver just as the sun was sinking, enthroned in purple and amber and gold, with a faint, delicate rosy flush tinging the edge of the more royal hues. Its truly Italian beauty was so vividly pictured to me by Ida, that I could almost realize the regal splendor of a Colorado sunset. Completely tired out and covered with alkaline dust, we were grateful for the rest and comfort afforded by the elegant Wentworth House.
We spent a week in Denver, fraught with interest, for while it is a city destitute of the charm of historical associations and musty memories, which add so much interest to most foreign cities and many American localities, it so abounds in youthful life with its warm and bounding currents, its vim and vigor, that it teems with varying attractions. Its broad avenues, softened by shade, its stately residences and mammoth business blocks, render it as imposing as many old cities, and indicate but little of its real primitive struggles for life, and the dangerous aggressions of the "Red Man;" its truly western pluck having ranked these among the things that were.
The elliptical basin in which Denver is built, sloping north and east, gives it a picturesque and extended view; the mountains losing themselves in one direction in the now historic "Black Hills," and in the other merging into the "Spanish Peaks" and "Sangre de Christo Range," so named from a natural symbol of the Christian faith, a snowy cross grandly gleaming in the distance.
Taking the Colorado Central Railway we went through the Clear Creek Canyon, with its rich and fertile fields to Golden, so beautifully sheltered in the valley at the base of the mountain, and whose air was more life-giving to me than that of any other portion of Colorado. In the vicinity of this little Eden we climbed a rock seven hundred feet high, and while two laborious hours were occupied in the ascent, we were amply recompensed when we stood upon the smooth rock which crowned its summit, where the merry picnicers pause amid their pastimes, absorbed in the sublimity of their surroundings, for while they are basking in the soft sunlight the sound of the distant thundering and lightning in the mountain tops recalls the story of Sinai, where the multitude below stood silent and breathless, and from the roar of Heaven's artillery above issued the written tables of stone.
From this our lofty site the clear ether of the intervening fourteen miles revealed the city of Denver looming up like a lonely vision.
Turning toward the "Gold Centres," whose wealth, if the half were told, would seem as fabulous as an "Arabian Nights Story," we visited "Central City" and "Black Hawk,", which are so close together that it has been facetiously said "It is impossible for a citizen to tell where he lives without going out doors and looking at some landmark."
These two places are really built upon foundations of gold, and many of the houses constructed of gold-bearing quartz.
The depot at Black Hawk might justly be denominated "Porter's Folly," for this magnificent structure was built by a reckless miner for a quartz-mill, at an expenditure of one hundred thousand dollars, and the miner was General Fitz John Porter.
At Central City we stopped at the Teller House, and received marked kindness from Mr. Bush, the proprietor. Mr. Rhodes, editor of the daily paper, aided me greatly in his well-written notices, and invited us to dine at his house, where we were delightfully entertained by himself and his accomplished wife.
We crossed the country by stage to Idaho Springs, over a region not only grand and diversified in scenery, but rich in mineral wealth, the road winding through intricate mountain heights and wild canyons. The springs are the chief resort of this portion of Colorado, and, aside from their wildly beautiful surroundings, furnish great facilities for the exhilarating hot soda baths and swimming bath-houses, in which elegantly costumed bathers of both sexes hold high carnival.
The hotel was quite romantically situated near a meandering creek, which murmured by its side and made my pleasant room upon the ground floor musical with its rippling flow. Days of dreamy beauty, and nights of cool, invigorating rest, render this a watering place of remarkable attraction.
Georgetown stands next in size to Denver, and is an outgrowth of the rich mining wealth with which it is environed. Indeed, it seemed as if some geni had touched all around it with a magic wand. Silver-ore was strewn in rich profusion, piled like cord-wood in huge masses at every step; was talked of in the street, the hotel, and the home, until it seemed as if we thought, ate, and breathed silver.
At the beautiful town of Boulder we stopped at the prominent and luxurious hotel known as the American House, and after a short stay took the stage for Caribon, then the most elevated town in the State, standing considerably over nine thousand feet above the sea-level. A romantic and ever-ascending ride of a day's length was required to reach this eyrie, and at noon-day the driver allowed us to stop for our dinner, when our wayside inn was improvized from the sheltering shade of grand old trees, our table a rock, our chairs the same.
No ambrosia could have been sweeter to the gods than was our sylvan feast, with the appetite induced by mountain air and exercise; no nectar finer than the crystal draught, dipped from the little stream; no orchestra more musical than its varied tones. Although it was yet September, there was a severe snow-storm, and, the next day, when it had subsided, a party went out to pick raspberries, which were sweet and delicious in flavor, while beside the deep snow-banks bloomed flowers as beautiful as the rarest exotics.
Ladies are so vigorous in that country that they think nothing of a walk of many miles, but the intensely rarefied air of the mountains made my own respiration very difficult.
We returned to Denver, where our few days' visit was all too short, for it was with painful reluctance we yielded to the demands of business interest, and left a city which to us was fraught with so much pleasure, and went to Colorado Springs, a place of five thousand inhabitants, and one of the most stirring towns in the State. It is very level, being symmetrically laid out in broad and shaded streets, and derives its name from the fact of being the station from which tourists take the stage for the springs at Manitou, six miles distant. It is also the point from which pleasure parties daily leave for Pike's Peak.
One of the main features of interest in our visit to Colorado Springs, was the presence of the great "Man of the Period," over whom the stupendous heart of Barnum throbbed with exultant pride, and scientists waxed wondering and eloquent. This august personage, who was no other than the since sensational "Stone Man of Colorado," was lying in state, in all the majesty of his marbleized grandeur, and was the magnet toward which throngs of wonder-seekers were irresistibly drawn, all of whom, as if entering the presence chamber of the King of Terrors, seemed awed by this silent "representative of the dead past," and with hushed voices and bated breath, lingered over the lineaments of one, which, if it had been known at that time was not a real petrifaction, would perhaps have excited only feelings of ridicule and words of derision. We were willing to be humbugged with the rest for the sacred emotions experienced under the silent potency of this phenomenon of the nineteenth century; nor can we even in the light of subsequent revelations deny the fact that he was "fearfully and wonderfully made."
We next visited Pueblo, where this giant was exhumed, but were not at all pleased with the town or its surroundings, and suffered greatly from thirst rather than drink the offensive water for which the residents are so heavily taxed. It was so apparently poisonous in odor, that if it had been in the malarious climate of Chicago, instead of the exhilarating atmosphere of Colorado, all would have died from its effects.
We have never visited a State which held such diversified interest as that of Colorado, a fitting resort for the invalid, the pleasure seeker, artist, scientist or poet. No place but some haunt of the Muses could boast the ethereal beauty of a "Glen Eyrie," and no wonder the "Garden of the Gods" is supposed to have once been the abode of "Great Jove himself," and that there fair Venus bathed her beauteous form, and girdled with the fabled "Cestus," held her court amid the immortal beauties of the sacred spot.
We came through Kansas via the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, meeting with no better success than that which marked our former trip in that region of country, and could only conclude, that while their crops were at that time large and lucrative, the grasshopper raid had taught them a lesson of economy which they were rigidly observing.
Before returning home we visited the only surviving sister of my mother, who lived in Salsbury, Missouri, and who not having heard from me since the Chicago fire, concluded that I might have perished in its flames. She and her husband were both over seventy years old, and strange to say, were like so many of the old people I have met in my travels, that my readers might suppose my heroes and heroines had found the "fabled fountain" and secured immortal youth. Be this as it may, it could certainly be said of her husband, as of the father of Evangeline:
"Stalwart and stately of form Was the man of seventy summers; Hearty and hale was he As an oak that is covered with snow-flakes."
I had a delightful visit of two days with this aged couple, during which my aunt rehearsed to me many incidents in the early life of my mother, and presented me with a lock of her hair, which, as a memento, is ever magnetically associated with the "loved ones gone before."
Returning to Chicago, I found my husband, whose health was far worse than when I saw him in Galveston. This, together with a combination of surrounding circumstances, suggested the project of writing up "The World as I have found it," and I spent the greater part of the winter of 1877-8 in this work.
If it should appear to my friends and readers, that I found only the "sunny side" of life, and they should wonder why I so seldom saw the shadow, or received the thrust of unkindness, I can simply say that I was almost universally so well received, that the few cases of unkind treatment became the exception and not the rule, and these were generally so bitterly repented, and so amply amended, that I felt it would be an act of ingratitude to note them in my experiences.
Hoping that these last missives to my kind and noble patrons will be as well received as was the first humble effort of my girlhood—"Incidents in the Life of a Blind Girl," I can only add in conclusion, that if any one of the patient followers of my wanderings has found aught of sufficient interest to while away the tedium of an otherwise weary hour, or gleaned from the dross a single "golden grain," I will be amply recompensed.
HELP THE BLIND TO HELP THEMSELVES.
Throughout the entire length my unpretending offering my aim has been, as far as was compatible with a personal history, to make my pages interesting to the general public, but I cannot close without addressing some especial words to those, who, like myself, must be content to live with vision veiled from the world's transcendant beauties, and whose life-paths from a variety of causes seem ofttimes utterly rayless.
Blindness has been universally regarded as one of the most terrible afflictions of an adverse fate, nor can it be denied that it is one which requires a great amount of grace, and all the reason and judgment one can command, to bear the burden with any degree of patience, much less with perfect resignation.
It is so often the result of impaired health, while the severe test of maltreatment or even the most skillful treatment, tends to deplete the system and depress the spirits.
Again, the blind are in the majority of cases the children of poor parents, and subject to all the neglect and exposure incident to poverty, while, if they are born in affluence, they are so petted and pampered, in consequence of their affliction, that they become utterly dependent and useless, and contract habits that should be and which under other circumstances would be broken.
It is no more necessary for a blind child, with proper instruction and careful training, to become awkward and ungainly, than for one in full possession of all the senses, the drawback of blindness simply demanding a little more patience and perseverance to attain the ease and grace, which is as inevitable as in other children.
In all the category of first instructions for the period of childhood, from the muscular education by which a babe is taught to take its first tottering step or the voluntary movement necessary to grasp and hold an object, to the lisping language of love intoned in the first sweet prattle, the all-pervading spirit, from the first to the last lesson, is that of self-reliance. While blind children of wealth are waited upon until they become utterly incapable of helping themselves, and through a mistaken kindness are so constantly ministered to, they lapse into passive, pantomimic puppets, void of the vitality and sparkle which, by their natural endowments, is attainable.
I have made it a guiding rule, throughout my life, never to consider there was anything which, with the proper effort, I could not do, and my experience proves a confirmation of the fact that there were very few things I could not accomplish. I would fain impress this lesson upon my blind friends, feeling as I do that it would prove of untold service to them.
It is not at all necessary that the blind should so lose their dignity or individuality, as to allow themselves to be addressed in word or tone at all different from that directed to other people, and, as an illustration of this point, I may be pardoned for relating an incident of my school life.
A gentleman once called at our Institution in Baltimore, and, immediately after his introduction to a group of blind girls, of which I was one, he said: "Ladies, how would you manage to select a husband?"
Flaming with indignation, I impulsively replied: "Sir! We do not deal in such merchandise?" and smarting with a sense of the indignity, I immediately left his presence.
I was afterward called to account by our worthy Superintendent to whom the person in question preferred a complaint of rude treatment. Begging permission to explain the situation, I respectfully enquired of our official in case this same gentleman were thrown for the first time in the presence of an equal number of society ladies, who could see if it would be possible for him to address a similar remark to them, without being charged with rudeness and presumption, or if it were not even questionable whether he would dare to address them in such a way at all—and we, although blind, felt that we had the right to demand the same deference and respect. It is almost needless to say that I was fully exonerated from all blame, and honorably discharged from the presence of my interrogator.
In the course of my travels I am ofttimes asked if I desire my meals sent to my room, presupposing, as would be naturally inferred, the possibility of great awkwardness in my manner of eating; hence I invariably decline this offer of privacy, as there need be nothing in our manner of eating at all outre or disagreeable.
It is of course necessary to have a graceful attendant, and my first great care is to instruct my guide in all the phases of table ministration, which are more varied and important than is discernible to those who can see.
I also take great pains to instruct them in the art of walking with me properly; never allowing them to tell me how to proceed, but to give me a tacit understanding of their movements in order to direct my own, and this system in my own experience has been reduced to a science.
Many persons feel that it is far more sad and terrible to have once possessed sight, and afterward to become blind, than never to have seen at all, but I cannot agree with them, and will never cease to be grateful that until I was twelve years old, I could grasp, through sight, the unfolding beauties of nature and art, which are now so often reproduced that I can see all the manifold loveliness spread out before me, and for a season forget that I am blind. Those who are born in blindness, are, to a great extent, denied this pleasure, for it is almost impossible through the imagination to form any adequate conception of "things seen."
One of the most deplorable results of blindness is the fact that so many of its victims condescend to the degradation of beggary, thus bringing disgrace upon those who try to make an honorable living. I once had occasion to go into a prominent Express Office of Chicago upon important business of my own. The agent discovering that I was blind, and in evident anticipation of a draught upon his pocket, resorted to it and drew out fifty cents. After learning my business he manifested considerable embarrassment, and as slyly as possible deposited his money in its original place, and no doubt hoped the movement was not observed. Thus it so often becomes as apparent to us as to others, that the majority of people jump at the conclusion, that if one is blind, they must of necessity resort to begging, and I deeply regret that so many establish this belief by their conduct.
It has been to me a serious source of annoyance that so large a number of persons endeavor to impress upon my mind the idea that it is an act of charity to patronize me to the extent of the purchase of a single book, while just after me a strong man, with faculties unimpaired, a man amply able to do other work, may enter, and they buy from him anything he may have to sell without ever dreaming that it is a charity to do so.
But I am truly grateful to the majority of those with whom I come in business contact for their appreciation of my energy and enterprise, as they almost invariably consider mine a laudable way of making a living.
A great many blind persons offer as an excuse for inactivity that they have no capital to do with, but even this obstacle may be removed, as is so often the case with impediments in the paths of those who see.
In Marysville, California, I became acquainted with a gentleman who lost his sight in middle life, and exhausted all his means upon oculists and other measures intended to restore his eyes. Finding the case hopeless, and having a family dependent upon him for support, instead of sitting down in despair or resorting to begging, he went to a friend and borrowed two dollars and a half. With this he bought a basket, filled it with fruit and went out to sell it. This basket became the nucleus of an extensive business for some years after, and, at the time I met him, he was a highly respected citizen, possessing a comfortable home and a considerable bank account, though still holding a large fruit-stand as a permanent resource.
Another instance could be cited in the case of a young man of the same State who became suddenly blind, when some friend told him he had better go to San Francisco and hold out his hat, "for he would certainly do well." Wounded to the quick at such advice, he replied that, in case he accepted such a suggestion, he would solicit enough to buy a dose of strychnine and close out his business. Soon after an artist made him a proposition to travel for the sale of chromos in the interest of a gallery. He accepted it, and by that means soon became successful and independent.
We do not feel it necessary to work for the sympathy of the public, for we are already conscious of having that; but we do sincerely desire their respect, and, if freely extended, their patronage, as do any other class of people plying a legitimate vocation.
Among the throng with whom. I have come in contact in the course of canvassing, the vexed question, paramount in the minds of the majority, and one frequently addressed to me in person. It is: why I do not avail myself of an Institution for the Blind, or—as they almost universally dub it—an Asylum in which I will be taken care of for life, almost invariably adding that they are taxed for this purpose.
I desire here to correct an impression which, in the main, is utterly false. These institutions are (together with others) supported by the States in which they are located, and in so far as every property holder has a larger or smaller amount of State tax, they help to sustain the Institutions for the Blind among others. These State institutions are intended only for the education of the blind, and not for their support. For the purpose of education there are a certain number of years allotted to each pupil, according to their age at the time of admission. At the expiration of this term they have no alternative but to go back to the poor homes of their respective counties, more unfitted to endure their privations than before they were permitted a taste of a better mode of life, and no matter how sad their sacrifices, or how bitter their trials, they are never looked after by the Institutions in which they graduate.
In their new life, however high may be their excellence in music or any other accomplishment, or how great their effort to make them available, their surroundings are all against them, consequently they lapse into a condition even worse than before their education, because their enlightenment renders them more keenly sensitive to their affliction.
But I am thankful there are so many who have courage to rise above all these obstacles, and, with a heroism known only to those who have passed through the crucible, to become noble men and women.
Another question so often arising is, can the blind distinguish colors by the sense of feeling? To this my invariable answer has been, "I believe it to be an impossibility." Many insist upon the point that it is not only possible, but that they can substantiate it as a fact—having seen it with their own eyes.
This I have, of course, no right to dispute, but in illustration of the point in question, and in proof that one can be mistaken therein, I will cite an incident that occurred in the Baltimore Institution.
Three gentlemen visitors to that place having completed their inspection, were about taking leave, when they were attracted by "little Joe," a bright, intelligent boy pupil, and immediately asked him if he could distinguish colors in the above-mentioned way. The quick-witted little fellow assumed the serene dignity of a sage and calmly answered, "Of course I can," whereupon the gentlemen stood in a row and offered Joe the tempting bait of one dollar if he would tell each one the color of his pants. Two of them were dressed in broad cloth, and the other in a coarse, grey suit. The boy naturally inferred that the smooth, textured fabric was broad cloth, and would most probably be black, and being aware of the then prevailing style of grey business-suits, he, with great ease, hit the truth exactly.
They freely gave the promised dollar, and left fully satisfied that he did it by the sense of touch. As soon as the door was closed, the mischievous urchin exclaimed, "Golly, boys, suppose I hadn't guessed right?"
Upon this matter I can only say in conclusion, that I have met during my life many blind persons, and have made this question an especial study, while not one instance has come under my observation in which the blind could distinguish colors by touch. By a systematic method of arrangement, association, etc, as well as through a remarkable recollection of certain distinguishing characteristics in objects around us, we attain to that which serves us much the same purpose as distinction of color. Indeed, in this, as in all things, the blind must, of necessity, be very methodical in everything they undertake to do.
I sincerely hope that in my heterogeneous and apparently random remarks, I may have uttered some word of comfort to the blind, some hint which may truly aid them, some sentiment which may sustain, for my heart goes out to them in the sympathy of a common affliction.
"SIGHT OF THE BLIND."
Since closing my preceding article I have received from the author, who is one of the most distinguished blind writers, an essay Which I take great pleasure in introducing below, not only because of its eminent source, but from its confirmation of some of the points I have attempted to illustrate, and which, together with many original and suggestive thoughts, are given with the plenitude and the power of eloquent rendition.
"HOW DO THE BLIND SEE?"
BY L.V. HALL.
This may be regarded by some as a paradoxical question; and yet it is not, if we accept the word see, in its fullest and broadest sense. Webster defines the verb see, as follows: "To perceive by mental vision; to form an adequate conception of; to discern; to distinguish; to understand; to comprehend." True, we do not see through the same medium that you do, who have perfect organs of sight, but we certainly perceive and comprehend the relation and condition of things about us. The Creator has so wisely made, and beautifully adjusted the external organs of sense, one to another, and each to all, that when one is lacking the others are made able, by greater exercise, to perform the functions of the missing one. For example, if one loses his hearing, sight is rendered keener, and the nerves acquire a sensitiveness almost painful. Dr. Kitto, who was deaf from twelve years of age, speaks of this peculiar sensitiveness as follows: "The drawing of furniture, as tables or chairs, over the floor, above or below me, the shutting of doors, and the feet of children at play, distress me far more than the same cause would do if I were in actual possession of my hearing.
"By being unattended by any circumstances or preliminaries, they startle dreadfully; and by the vibration being diffused from the feet over the whole body, they shake the whole nervous system in a way which even long use has not enabled me to bear."
In the same interesting article on percussion, he says: "A few days since, when I was seated with the back of my chair facing a chiffonier, the door of this receptacle was opened by some one, and swung back so as to touch my hair. The touch could not but have been slight, but to me the concussion was dreadful, and almost made me scream with the surprise and pain; the sensation being very similar to that which a heavy person feels on touching the ground, when he has jumped from a higher place than he ought. Even this concussion, to me so violent and distressing, had not been noticed by any one in the room but myself."
This physiological phenomenon is analagous to the sensation experienced by the blind on approaching any tall or broad object. We feel their presence when we are several yards from them. I have sometimes been startled by the sudden impression produced by a lamp-post, or tree when in fact it was a yard or more from me. The sensation is somewhat like receiving a smart blow in the face. I am frequently aware of passing a building while riding along a country road, and the proximity of trees, fences and other objects is quite perceptible.
This is not a latent sense, developed by circumstances, as some have supposed, but a wonderful acuteness of the nerves of the face, and more particularly of the nerves of the eye-lids. These phenomena may, I think, be explained in this way. When one of the superior senses is absent, the perceptive force that has watched at the eye, or listened at the ear, is now transferred to other nerves of sensation. In other words, a deaf person is all eyes, and extremely alive to tangible percussions, as will be seen in the case of Dr. Kitto and others. The blind are all ears and fingers, and certain of the inferior animals are all ears and heels; I am not sure but there is some neck in both cases. Since it has been shown that new perceptions and conditions have been developed in the absence of one or more of the superior senses, that the deaf are so keenly cognizant of vibration or jar, which is the father of sound; that the blind can feel the presence of objects at short distances, which is analogous to sight, it should not be thought strange that we make such frequent use of the word see, or that the deaf should make use of the word hear, and that these words are not without significance or import. Besides this there is a mental perception (doubtless through a magnetic medium,) of the presence or nearness of other minds. This accords with the experience of many persons. I have frequently entered rooms that I supposed to be unoccupied, judging from the silence that reigned, but on taking an inventory of my feelings I found a consciousness of some one's presence, and this I have done when not the slightest sound aroused my suspicions.
A little incident that occurred while I was a teacher in the New York Institution for the Blind will, perhaps, better illustrate this point.
I called one evening at the matron's room to ask her to read a letter which had just been handed me. Supposing it to be a confidential one, and wishing to make sure that no one else was in the room, I enquired of the matron if she was alone. On receiving an affirmative answer, I handed her the letter, requesting her to read it. But, feeling a consciousness that some other mind was present—a strange mind, with which I had no sympathy—I walked round to the other end of the table and placed my hand on a lady's shoulder, remarking to the matron that I felt sure there was some one in the room beside herself, and asked that the letter might be returned to me unopened.
From the long experience of this perception, or intuition, has grown the old adage, "The devil is always near at hand when you are talking about him." I am not sure that this magnetic condition is more largely developed in us than in those who see, but I am led to think it is for this reason, eyes are of paramount importance to those who have them, and we who have them not search for other media of communication. Mental presence is either inspiring and assuring, or depressing and embarrassing. I have observed that when in the presence of some people I have felt comfortable and assured, while in the presence of others I have felt diffident and uneasy, I allude here to persons with whom I had no previous acquaintance. Minds are felt in a ratio proportionate to their will-power. Shallow, conceited minds are not magnetic. I have been told by blind preachers, public lecturers and concert singers, that they always feel the difference between an intelligent and appreciative audience and one made up of coarse and uncultured people, and this consciousness they have felt before any demonstrations of applause or disapprobation were made. I have had many opportunities to experiment on my own feelings in relation to this magnetic influence or mental recognition. I was a concert singer in my younger days and could always tell whether I was singing to a large or small house, and whether my audience was in sympathy with me or not.
If it is argued that I gained this knowledge through the ear, and not through the magnetic medium that I suppose to exist, I will add other experiences that will be more convincing to the reader.
In pursuing my business as itinerant book-seller for many years, I have frequently called at offices when their occupants were out, and on entering have often said to my guide, "Oh, there is no one here, let us go, and call again." On the other hand I have often been conscious when entering a room that there was not only one mind but several minds present. If I should be asked to describe this consciousness, or mental recognition, I should not know what language to employ. These are some of the compensations which the blind receive for the great loss they have sustained. The sense of smell is ranked as the least important of all the senses, yet it is of great value to the blind. Through this avenue to the mind come many pleasurable sensations. By it we are aided in the selection of our food, in choosing ripe and healthful fruits, in detecting decomposition, dirt and filth, and in ascertaining much that eyes discover to those who have them. Without it flowers would have no attraction for us, and life would lack many of its pleasures. At the risk of being classed among dogs and vultures. I acknowledge that I am often guided by my olfactories in doing things that seem so very unaccountable to my friends.
In passing along the business streets my attention is continually attracted by the odors that issue from stores, shops, saloons, etc., and these peculiar smells often direct me to the very place I wish to find. From groceries come the odors of spices, fish, soaps, etc. From clothing and dry goods stores the smell of dye-stuffs. From drugs and medicines, the combined odor of many thousand volatile substances, such as perfumes, paints, and oils, asafaoetida, etc. From shoe stores comes the smell of leather; and from books and stationery the smell of printer's ink. Hotels, saloons and liquor stores, emit that unmistakable odor of alcohol, the prince of poisons. To me the smell of alcohol, wines, etc., has always, since my earliest recollection, been grateful and fascinating; and had I cultivated an appetite for strong drink, it would be as difficult for me to pass a liquor saloon as for a man whose eyes are tempted by a magnificent display of mirrors and bottles. I have often been made aware of open cellar doors by a damp, musty smell that commonly proceeds from underground rooms, and have, I think, been saved from falling by this odd warning. I should have fallen, however, only a few days ago, into one of these yawning horrors had it not been for my ever watchful wife who was providentially near and called to me in time to save me from injury. Some workmen were laying a patch of side-walk on Main street, in the town in which I reside, and had opened a cellar-way near which some of them were at work, but did not warn me, doubtless because they did not see me, for workmen are always very kind to me.
I am guided and governed more by the ear, however, than by either of the other organs of sense. If I wish to cross the street it tells me when teams are coming, how far they are away, at what rate of speed they are traveling, and when it will be safe to cross. If I find a group of men conversing, it tells me who they are. If I wish to enter a store, or any place, it tells me where the door is, if open, by the sounds that issue therefrom, but in this I have sometimes been misled by going to an open window, which always makes me feel awkward. Sound to me is as important as light is to the seeing, and brings to the mind a great many facts that are gathered through the eyes when sight is made the prime sense.
Much of my information, however, is received through the fingers. They are properly the organs of touch. Although this sense is distributed over the whole body, even to the mucous membrane that lines the mouth and covers the tongue. When the finger's ends have been hardened by labor, or from any cause, the lips and tongue are the most sensitive, and are often used in threading needles, stringing beads, etc, very innocent uses surely to put the tongue to. This sense of touch is of necessity cultivated by the blind until it often reaches a state of perfection seldom, if ever, found in the seeing. Of course its development is gradual, as is the growth of all the faculties. When I was quite a little child, and my fingers were soft, I could readily distinguish all the variety of flowers that grew in my sister's flower garden, and could call them by name. From touch I knew all the common fruits, from the peach with its velvet skin, to the strawberry in the meadow, for which I used to search diligently with my fingers, and sometimes find, as I remember, thistles, which were never quite to my taste. One thing among my childish sports and amusements, for they were limited, always gave great pleasure; and does even now. I loved to play along the brook or lake shore, to feel for smooth and odd shaped stones, for pretty shells, etc. Their beauty to me existed only in the great variety of shapes they presented, and in their smooth, pearly surfaces, as they never suggested to my mind any idea of color. Winter afforded me few opportunities for cultivating my love for the beautiful. Summer was my heaven, with its singing birds, its tinkling brooks and its fresh and delicious fruits.
I took great pleasure in examining, with my fingers, flowers, leaves and grasses, because their great variety of shape and texture fed an innate longing after something that I could not then comprehend.
When but an infant, I am told nothing amused me so well as a branch of green leaves.
My early boyhood was spent in rambling through the woods, hunting nuts, squirrels, chipmunks, etc., with other boys of my own age, in climbing trees, digging for wood-chucks, skating, coasting, and in performing all the feats common to boyhood, such as standing on my head, hopping, jumping, whistling, shouting, &c. I shall regret to have this page come under the eyes of my boys, for in noisy mischief they already exceed my most sanguine expectations, and need not a record of their father's boisterous childhood to encourage them.
This kind of life, however, has fitted me to enter upon a systematic course of study, which I did at the age of sixteen. I was received as a pupil of the New York Institution for the Blind in 1844. I entered in a good, healthy condition of body and mind. Found there boys and girls like myself, without sight, yet earnestly engaged in pursuing the various branches of English education. Many of them were like myself, full of life, fond of fun and mischief. Many laughable incidents and anecdotes characteristic of such an institution are fresh in my memory, which, I should be pleased to relate, did they illustrate the subject in hand. Here I found sight, which I had always supposed so necessary, somewhat at a discount. I discovered that books, slates, maps, globes, diagrams, &c., could be seen through the fingers, and that children could learn quite as rapidly in this way as with sight. I was not long, either, in discovering that the older pupils and graduates were intelligent, accomplished and refined; that they were treated more as equals by the officers, and that they were trotted out to show off the merits of the institution, while we young blockheads were kept in the background. This, I think, did much toward inspiring me with ambition. My progress at first was slow, having to learn how to use the appliances. My fingers must be trained, my memory disciplined and my habits of inattention corrected.
No effort was made, however, to take the mirthfulness out of me, and I doubt if anything could have succeeded in this. My first introduction to tangible literature was in placing my hand on a page of the Old Testament in embossed print. At first I could feel nothing like letters or any regular characters, only a roughness as though the paper had been badly wrinkled. A card was then placed in my hand on which the alphabet was printed in very large type, and my attention called to each letter. My fingers, then soft and supple, were not long in tracing the outlines of each character, and, my memory being naturally retentive, I was soon able to distinguish each letter, and give its name as my finger was placed on it. Another card was then given me in smaller type, which I mastered in the same way, and so on till I could read our smallest print.
I have been thus minute in describing the rudimentary process of finger training, that my readers may understand how it is possible for the fingers to be made useful to the blind. To show how quick is the perception through this avenue to the mind, it should be known that we cannot feel a whole word at once, but a single letter. And yet some of us are able to read more than a hundred words per minute, and to trace on raised maps boundary lines, rivers, mountain chains, lakes, straits, gulfs, bays, to find the location of towns, islands, &c.
It would seem that the fingers are capable of grasping almost everything that the eye embraces, though of course more slowly, and from the wonderful acuteness of which they are susceptible has grown the popular impression that the blind can feel colors. I have been asked this question many thousand times, and have invariably replied that we can no more feel colors than the deaf can see sounds or the dumb sing psalms. I am aware that it is stated by some eminent writers that the sense of touch in some persons has reached this perfection, but I have many reasons to doubt it. I have no personal object in contradicting this statement, other than to correct a popular error. Should be glad if it were true. It has been accounted for by scientific men upon this hypothesis: that colors differ in temperature, that red is warmer than yellow, and yellow warmer than green, and so on through the spectrum. That violet is a cold color as its rays are less refracted, that these differences are appreciable to delicate fingers. I have tried many experiments both with my own fingers and with persons at our several institutions, who, like myself, were born without sight, and, have never yet found one who could form the faintest idea of colors from impressions received through the fingers. Indeed there is nothing in tangible qualities that suggests color, except differences in texture. We may feel that a piece of broad-cloth has a harsh texture, and call it black, or a soft texture, and call it drab or brown. In this we may guess right, for it is only a guess after all. Wool buyers and dealers in cloth judge frequently of their quality by touch; and it is true that we who are without sight come to be very expert in judging of the quality of cloths, furs, &c. But, to one who has never seen light, there is no suggestion of color through finger perception.
Between sound and color there is a much closer analogy traceable, as both are the result of vibration. The same language is used to express the qualities of each.
We talk of harmony in sounds and harmony in colors, of lights and shades, of chromatics, blending, softness, sweetness, harshness, high, low, bright, dull, &c.
May not a grand anthem or chorus be to the mind of one who has never seen the light, what a fine picture is to one who has never heard sounds. I should not be surprised to hear that some blind Yankee or Frenchman has invented a telephone through which we can hear in the rippling brooks and bubbling fountains the color of their waters, in the song of birds the gorgeous tints of their plumage, and in the distant roar of Niagara, the mighty grandeur of its scenery. To an imaginative mind a well tuned, well voiced organ may be made to represent all the colors of the rainbow, from the faintest violet of the piccolo to the darkest crimson of the sub-bass. Some blind person on being asked what he supposed red to be like, answered "Like the sound of a trumpet." He might have said "Like a flame of fire." I once asked a blind boy, who had never seen light, if he could imagine a house on fire and how he supposed it would look. He answered, "If it was a big fire it would look like a thousand trumpets all blowing in a different key." I then asked him what a picture is like. "Like anything in shape you may wish to paint," he said, "but in color (if it is a fine picture) like one of Mozart's grand symphonies." I have many times asked my blind lady friends how they knew in what way to arrange their colors so as to make their fancy work look tasty and attractive. How they knew what colors blended and what were discordant, and I have often received this answer: "By associating the names of the seven primary colors with the seven sounds of the diatonic scale, placing red as No. 1 or key note, orange next, yellow next, then green, and so on to violet. Thus red will not blend with orange, being the first and second of the scale, but red and yellow harmonize better, being third in the scale, red and green still better, and so on to red and deep violet, which are sevenths in the scale and do not harmonize. Thus we get the tetrachord red, yellow, blue and violet, which may be represented by the flat seventh of the chord C." But I leave this theory for some one to elaborate or refute, who has seen color, and return to my institution life.
The ear and voice are also trained at these schools for the blind, and music is made one of the chief arts. Piano tuning is also taught in a practical way. If this business is not taught in all the institutions, it ought to be, for it comes fairly within the scope of our capabilities. And I will here say for the benefit of my brothers in the dark that I have been very successful as a piano tuner, and the business is a practical one for the blind. Any one with a good ear may learn to tune well, but no one should undertake to repair so delicate a piece of machinery as a piano action without long experience, mechanical ingenuity, great caution and good judgment, having had no opportunity to acquire the requisite skill.
It was not my intention at the outset to write a sketch of my own life, but to demonstrate by my own experience that the inferior senses may be made to perform many of the offices of sight. The eyes have some functions, however, which the ears and fingers cannot perform.
For example, if a piece of silk or woolen goods be handed me for examination the nerves of my fingers will tell me whether it is fine or coarse, whether it has a harsh or soft texture, whether it is highly finished or rough and uneven, but they bring me no intelligence of color.
I may pronounce the goods beautiful, because I find in it certain qualities that address themselves to my taste, but it is not beauty addressed to the eye. Light and color, to one who has never seen, is as inconceivable as music to the deaf. We may get some faint idea of what light is as a medium of communication, or why color pleases the eye as qualities of texture please the touch, but the conception is vague and unsatisfactory.
I have often had the remark made to me, "Well, if you have never seen, it is not so bad after all, you have less desire to see." This, I think, is a mistake and a poor consolation. Has the man who has never visited the great Niagara cataract, but has many times heard and read of its wonders, less desire to see it than one who has witnessed those grand displays of God's power in the flood? Has the boy who loves to read of travels and strange adventures less desire to see the glaciers of the Alps, the skies of Italy or the jungles of Southern Africa, than the traveler who described them? However well we may see with our mental vision, however well suited to our taste may be our surroundings, however pleasant may be our family relations, and however kind may be our companions, we cannot help that irrepressible desire to know what there is about light and color, about the indescribable beauty of a sunset, the splendor of an evening sky, the glory of a cloudless day, and the awful grandeur of a storm. There is yet one thing we greatly desire to know, which the fingers cannot grasp.
We are told in poetry and romance that the human face divine is the index of the spirit. That its ever changing lines express every mood of the mind and every emotion of the soul, from a smile of ineffable beauty to a midnight frown, from the sunshine of hope, and joy, and gladness, to clouds of wrath and hatred. That the spirit looks out through the eye and melts you with a beam of tenderness, or pierces your heart with a flash of electric love, or charms you by revealing in its crystal depths the pearl of purity, or transfixes you with a glance of displeasure. Is all this talk about sunlit faces and starlit eyes, fine sentiment only, or does the face really express feeling as unmistakably as we hear it in voices? To show that the deaf have as great a desire to hear the music of the human voice as we to see the language of the face, I quote from Dr. Kitto the following touching passages of personal history:
"Is there anything on earth so engaging to a parent as to catch the first lispings of his infant's tongue, or so interesting as to listen to its dear prattle, and trace its gradual mastery of speech? If there be any one thing arising out of my condition, which, more than another, fills my heart with grief, it is this: it is to see their blessed lips in motion and to hear them not, and to witness others moved to smiles and kisses by the sweet peculiarities of infantile speech which are incommunicable to me, and which pass by me like the idle wind."
Although there are but few experiments in common between the deaf and the blind, I am able to sympathize fully with this eminent deaf author in the intense desire he feels to hear the sweet voices of his children. There is no other object this side of heaven I so ardently wish to see as the faces of my family. A feeling sometimes comes over me akin, I fancy, to the impotent rage of a caged lion, who vainly tries to break his prison bars and gain his liberty. The moral certainty that I must finally leave this world of beauty without having enjoyed many of its highest blessings and purest delights often oppresses—so oppresses me, that I can only find relief in prayer for grace to say—"Thy will be done, O God." I hear the merry voices of my children, know their step, figure, contour of their heads and faces, and in my day dreams I see them around me, full of life and health, fun and frolic, and I know their little hearts are full of love for me; I know, too, God has given them to me as some compensation for other blessings he has withheld. Let me trust, then, in His great mercy, that in the far future I may see the faces of my dear ones in the light of eternity; of her who gave me birth, but whose fond look of affection and yearning tenderness I was never able to return; and the face of her who is now to me even more than a mother, who helps me to bear my many burdens with Christian patience and fidelity. Then, if I am permitted to behold the glorified face of Him who hath redeemed us, I shall rejoice that I have lived and suffered, and wept and wept, and prayed that I might dwell with Him forever.
INVOCATION TO LIGHT.
BY MRS. HELEN ALDRICH DE KROYFT.
Oh, holy light! thou art old as the look of God and eternal as God. The archangels were rocked in thy lap, and their infant smiles were brightened by thee! Creation is in thy memory. By thy touch the throne of Jehovah was set, and thy hand burnished the myriad stars that glitter in His crown. Worlds, new from His omnipotent hand, were sprinkled with beams from thy baptismal font. At thy golden urn pale Luna comes to fill her silver horn, and rounding thereat Saturn bathes his sky girt rings, Jupiter lights his waning moons, and Venus dips her queenly robes anew. Thy fountains are shoreless as the ocean of heavenly love; thy centre is everywhere, and thy boundary no power has marked. Thy beams gild the illimitable fields of space, and gladden the farthest verge of the universe. The glories of the Seventh Heaven are open to thy gaze, and thy glare is felt in the woes of the lowest Erebus. The sealed books of heaven by thee are read, and thine eyes like the Infinite can pierce the dark veil of the future, and glance backward through the mystic cycle of the past.
Thy touch gives the lily its whiteness, the rose its tint, and thy kindling ray makes the diamond's light. Thy beams are mighty as the power that binds the spheres. Thou canst change the sleety winds to soothing zephyrs, and thou canst melt the icy mountains of the poles to gentle rains and dewy vapors. The granite rocks of the hills are upturned by thee, volcanoes burst, islands sink and rise, rivers roll and oceans swell at thy look of command. And oh! thou monarch of the skies, bend now thy bow of millioned arrows, and pierce, if thou canst, this darkness that thrice twelve moons has bound me.
Burst now thy emerald gates, O Morn, and let thy dawnings come! Mine eyes roll in vain to find thee, and my soul is weary of this interminable gloom. The past comes back robed in a pall which makes all things dark. The present blotted out, and the future but a rayless, hopeless, loveless night of years, my heart is but the tomb of blighted hopes, and all the misery of feelings unemployed has settled on me. I am misfortune's child and sorrow long since marked me for her own.
IS IT MORE TO LOSE THE EYES THAN THE EARS?
(From Mrs. De Kroyft's forthcoming work, entitled "My Soul and I.")
Ah no! dark and empty and lonely as the world may be to us, no intelligent blind person could be found who would exchange hearing, and its attendant gift of speech, for a pair of the brightest eyes in the world; while, for myself, I have sometimes even wondered if, after all, it be, in the strictest sense of the word, a misfortune not to see.
All of our other senses are certainly not only immeasurably quickened, but is not our whole nature improved, and our immortal being greatly elevated through this darkest of human privations?
Just imagine for a moment a touch like Cynthia Bullock's, so exquisite as to feel with ease the notes, lines and spaces of ordinary printed music; then add to that a hearing that almost notes the budding of the flowers, and you will see how little one must possibly lack, even in the scale of pleasurable existence, while perception in us becomes verily a new sense. Indeed, what shade of thought or feeling ever escapes us? Almost quicker than a thing has been uttered we have felt or perceived it. What marvelous power, too, memory comes to possess, and how tenaciously she clings to everything, often astonishing even to ourselves; while imagination, that loftiest and most winged attribute of the soul, not only becomes more fleet, but literally turns creator, reproducing before our spirit eyes not only all that we have lost, clothed in the beautiful ideal, but unbars the gates to every new field of intellectual research, often enabling us to compete even more than successfully with those who see.
Alas! if there could be only a seat of learning for the blind, with all its lessons oral or in the form of lectures, as at most of the German Universities, what could we not achieve?
But, as it is, enough renowned have arisen from our ranks to prove that, while blindness fetters the hands and the feet, it verily adds wings to thought. Indeed, the world has but one Homer, who sits forever shrouded in darkness, the veiled god and father of song; and but one Milton, who gave to the world its "Paradise Lost" and its "Paradise Regained," while he bequeathed to the blind of all ages the glory and the beacon light of his name.
EDUCATION OF THE BLIND.
A brief description of the methods employed in their literary, artistic and industrial education.
I should not consider this work finished without a chapter on the mode of educating those who have been so unfortunate as to be deprived of the readiest medium through which education is imparted—the sight. The systems, although some of them are in use in nearly every State in the Union, are very little understood, and are always inquired into with every evidence of interest by visitors to the institutions, where they often express quite as much surprise as gratification at what they see. I have therefore, in the following, endeavored to give as full a description as possible of the various methods and appliances employed to convey through the sense of feeling, information to which our eyes are closed.
On entering the schools the children are generally wholly uneducated, and have first to be taught the form and value of letters. To effect this the letters are raised, and the pupil learns their form by passing the fingers over them till their forms, names and their use are fully understood. With some this is a long and tedious task, but others master it in a short time. I mastered the alphabet in one day, but I was not a child and had a mind sharpened by experience. By constant exercise the sense of feeling becomes so acute that very slight differences of form are readily detected, and reading by the touch becomes an easily mastered art. Having thus the key of knowledge the subsequent progress of the student is in his own hands, and, to the credit of the afflicted, it must be said it is generally very rapid, one reason for which is that loss of sight shuts off one fruitful source of distraction, and the mind is more easily concentrated. Another reason is that the necessity for education is generally appreciated, and the student is eager to acquire it.
The form and use of figures is taught in a similar manner, but the teaching of arithmetic is largely mental, on account of the difficulty of producing raised figures with sufficient rapidity, and the study of higher mathematics is pursued even more strictly from oral teaching.
The art of writing, which, to those not acquainted with the educating of the blind, is considered the most difficult task, becomes comparatively easy. It is a two-fold art, including the art of writing for blind readers and the ordinary Roman script. Of the "blind writing" there are several systems, but in this I shall be content to describe but two—the pin type and the "New York Point System." The first consists of movable types, the letters on which are formed of pin points, and with which the writer impresses the paper one letter at a time, producing the letter raised on the opposite side of the paper, which, on being reversed, may be read with eye or fingers. The point system is the arrangement and combination of six dots on two lines. Those on the upper line are numbered 1, 3 and 5, and those on the lower 2, 4 and 6. These are made within spaces about three-sixteenths of an inch square each, by a styles which resembles a small, dull awl or centre punch. To prevent the dots being confused the writer uses a writing board, to which the paper is clamped by a metallic guide-rule perforated with two or more rows of these squares. The pupils make these punctured letters with great precision and rapidity, and frequently conduct their correspondence with their friends by that means, giving them the alphabet and key by which to learn to read them.
The writing of ordinary script is performed with more difficulty. A grooved pasteboard is used for the purpose, the grooves being of the width of the smaller letters. The letters extending above or below the line are gauged by the ridge. The right hand is followed close by the left, which guards the written lines from a second tracing of the pencil, and marks the spaces. By these methods correspondence is maintained between the blind and their distant friends, and it is even possible for a blind merchant to keep his own books if necessary.
In writing the common script the pencil is always used, the pen never. Care has to be taken to keep the pencil pointed, or much care and labor may be lost. An incident which Mr. Loughery, founder of the Maryland Institution, used to relate of himself, shows how necessary it is to observe great care in this matter. When a student he wrote a long, gossipy letter to a friend, and in a short time was surprised, and for the time greatly annoyed, at receiving a reply asking him if he had gone mad. It enclosed his own letter, and on examination of it the two words "Dear Ed." were found to be its sole contents. In his absorbed condition of mind he had not noticed the breaking of his pencil, and had proceeded with his writing, as the scratched paper, on which the traces of the wood of the pencil were visible, but not legible, indicated.
The most interesting things seen in an Institution for the Blind are the apparatus for teaching geography, philosophy and physiology. For geography miniature continents, states, hemispheres, etc., are used, in which, the political divisions, the physical conformation and characteristics, the rivers, lakes, seas, etc., etc., are reproduced as nearly as possible. The boundaries are described by rows of raised dots, the capital cities by studs of peculiar shape, the larger cities by studs different in size or shape, the rivers by grooves in the surface, deserts by spaces being sanded on the surface, the lakes, seas, etc., by depressions, and the islands by spots elevated above the seas' surface. Mountain ranges are shown by raised models or miniature mountains, and that volcanoes may be fully understood, separate models of these and of other remarkable formations are used, that the student, by a thorough manual examination, may get a correct knowledge of them. In nearly every school I have visited there were maps, the sub-divisions of which consisted of movable blocks. Supported like a table, these maps would be studied by the pupils taking out the blocks and returning them to their places as they learned their names, etc. It is no uncommon thing to see a pupil throw these blocks into a confused heap, mix them all up, and, then picking them up one by one, put each in its place with as much accuracy as the most accomplished pianist will strike each key in a simple march or polka.
The philosophical apparatus consists of miniature machinery: the spring, the simple and compound lever, the wheel, the cog, the cam, etc., even to the miniature engine are brought into use, and the pupils examine them by themselves, and in their various applications and relations to each other. In teaching those who never could see great difficulty is experienced in conveying the nature and properties of gases, vapors, etc., but with those who have any recollection of what they have seen the task is comparatively easy.
Where the apparatus is possessed the teaching of physiology and natural history are comparatively easy, the pupil handling and examining skeletons, skulls and models of the various parts of the human system, learning their various offices, etc., but many schools do not possess them, while others have fine collections including busts of eminent or notorious personages, zoological collections, plaster models, etc., by which the loss of sight is largely compensated for.
Music is taught by raised notes until the rudiments are mastered. It forms a great part of the course in all the institutions, and is cultivated with great assiduity. When the rudiments have been mastered and the pupil is familiar with the instrument, the music is read to them, the notes indicated by names and value, and they memorize the music. So thoroughly do many of the blind master the art that several are now, within my knowledge, successful teachers of the art to large numbers of seeing pupils. On the other hand much valuable time is wasted in the effort to teach music to those who have no talent for it, and whose time might be more profitably employed in the pursuit of other studies.
In the education of the blind the greatest care is given to the cultivation and strengthening of the memory and the success that is met with is truly marvelous, for the amount and variety of knowledge with which some minds have been stored is to many almost incredible.
The industrial education of the blind is perhaps the most important of all, and all the institutions are provided with workshops, in which the inmates learn some useful mechanical or domestic art. The female pupils are taught to make all kinds of ornamental bead-work, to crochet and knit woolen and worsted goods, to sew by hand and with machines, and some of them acquire surprising skill, though my own experience does not give me a high opinion of the efficacy of attempting to teach sewing, so very few ever practice it after leaving school, though I have found it convenient to sew on a button or repair a rent on occasion. Sewing by the blind, though it may surprise the beholder for the skill acquired under difficulties, will seldom claim their admiration for its own merit.
I have more faith in the efficiency of the industrial education of the boys and men, because, in the course of my travels, I have found numbers of them prospering in the pursuit of the trades learned in the institutions, and some of them carrying on quite extensive operations. Boys are taught to make brooms, brushes, cane seats for chairs, mattresses, door mats, to weave carpets and do many other forms of useful work. It looks strange to be shown a brush in which black and colored bristles are formed into lines of beauty—initials, flowers, etc., and to be told that a blind man made it. It looks like a miracle, but when you learn that the forms were traced on the block by cutting grooves in its surface to form the figures, and that the black bristles were kept in a round box, and white ones in a square box, near the maker's hand, the mystery disappears.
Connected with the Philadelphia Institution are extensive manufactories, in which large numbers of workmen are employed. They are the largest in the United States that are operated almost exclusively by the blind. These shops enable numbers of men to support themselves and their families in decency and comfort.
The great interest manifested in the education and training of the blind, by thousands of noble people and earnest workers throughout the country, deserves the gratitude of not only those who suffer the great deprivation, but of the whole people; for the benefits they have conferred on us by educating and rendering us useful and independent, rank in the scale of beneficence next to giving us sight.
POEMS BY THE BLIND.
I take the liberty of introducing a few poems by blind authors, feeling that they will be appreciated by the public. Poetry seems to possess peculiar charms for blind people, who, deprived of material sight, seem to love to revel in the beautiful visions presented by the imagination. Among blind poets and rhymesters there are, of course, as many different grades of merit as among the more favored writers, but the proportion of doggerel writers is fortunately much smaller among the blind, and they cannot so readily inflict their scribbling in such volume on a patient public. The poems here presented are selected from among a number of the best productions of the best writers.
LUCY A. LITTLE.
I take great pleasure in introducing into these leaves the following simple poem from the pen of Miss Lucy A. Little, a young blind girl, toward whom I have been drawn by deep sympathy and affection. She was educated in the Wisconsin Institution for the Blind, where she graduated with high honor.
She possesses great personal attractions and much intrinsic merit, being the household pet in the home of her grand-parents; and, as the blind have missions, it seems to have been especially hers to minister to those who regard her with doting fondness, and to whom she is a bright prismatic ray, making the shortening path of the old people radiant with, its light.
A JUNE MORNING.
Early one morn in leafy June, When brooks and birds were all in tune, A maiden left her quiet home In meadows and in fields to roam. She wandered on, in cheerful mood, Through verdant fields and leafy wood. At length she paused to rest awhile Upon a little rustic stile. She made a pretty picture there, With her bright, curling, golden hair, And dress of white, and eyes of blue, And ribbons of the self-same hue. And while she sat absorbed in thought, A form approached. She heeded not Until a hand was gently laid Upon the shoulders of the maid. Then, looking up in sweet surprise, She saw a pair of jet-black eyes, A perfect form of manly grace, A handsome, open, honest face. Then said the maid, in voice so clear: "How did you know that I was here?" Said he: "I sought you at your home, They told me you had hither come, And so, I came, this bright June day, To say what I've so longed to say. When first we met in by-gone days, You charmed me with your winning ways. Since then the time has quickly flown, Each day to me you've dearer grown, And you can brighten all my life If you will but become my wife." She raised her eyes unto his own, And in their depths a new light shone, While in a voice so soft and low She said: "I will; it shall be so." And then they homeward took their way, While birds were singing sweet and gay, Now oft they bless that day in June When brooks and birds were all atune.
BY L.V. HALL.
Within a faded volume, dim and old, I find this musty maxim tersely given: "The magic key to human hearts is gold, But love unlocks the crystal gates of heaven."
Our homes are not so happy as of old, Our hearts are not so merry as of yore, We find that nought can purchase love but gold, That virtue begs a pittance at the door.
There was a time when Beauty bore the sway; There was a time when Wit the world controlled; There was a time when Valor won the day; But now the noble knight that wins, is Gold.
The ancient Ghebers worshipped light and fire; The Brahmins bowed to gods of wood and stone; But now, 'neath marble dome and gilded spire, The deity adored is gold alone.
It overlays the altar and the cross; It dignifies the monarch and the clown; The wealth of moral worth is counted dross; The million miser wears the golden crown.
'Tis time this mad idolatry should cease; 'Tis time her prophets and her priests were slain; Let earth do homage to the Prince of Peace, And the reign of gold shall be the golden reign.
The Christ came not with pomp and princely show; His followers were lowly and despised; He courted not the high, nor shunned the low; A very God in human flesh disguised.
He brought a marvelous message from above: A gift of grace and pardon from the King. He claimed no tithe or tribute but of love— A penitent and contrite heart to bring.
He banished brokers from the house of prayer; He raised the dead and made the dumb to speak; Unsealed the blinded eye, unstopped the ear; He fed the poor and lifted up the weak.
The way to life, He said, is plain and straight, It leads to joy, and peace, and heavenly light The way to death is through a golden gate And broad the way that leads to endless night.
Shall we accept the sacrifice he made And enter in the Shepherd's sheltering fold? Or, like the Judas who his Lord betrayed, Sell soul and hope of Heaven for miser's gold?
Say, which is best, true piety or gold? This metal worship or the living God? Ye cannot have them both, so we are told, See to it then which pathway shall be trod.
Array your idol in his robes of state! Set up his image on his golden throne! Throw open wide the temple's gilded gate, And thus proclaim that gold is God alone!
Or else array yourselves in plain attire; Set up the love of Christ in every heart Let each affection feel its fervent fire, And in this money-worship bear no part.
Now make your choice between your gold and heaven; Buy all the sinful pleasures wealth can bring; Increase them through the years to mortals given And die, at last—a beggar—not a king.
Yes, make your choice between your gold and heaven; Find peace and pardon in a Saviour's blood; Freely bestow what, free to you, is given, And meet, at last, the welcoming smile of God.
THE DOUBLE NIGHT.
BY MORRISON HEADY,
Of the Kentucky Institution for the Blind.
To the shades of Milton and Beethoven.
"Silence and Darkness, solemn sisters, twins From ancient Night, who nursed the tender thought To reason, and on reason build resolve— That column—of true majesty in man— Assist me—I will thank you in the grave."—
Go, bring the harp that once with dirges thrilled, But now hangs hushed in leaden slumbers, Save when the faltering hand untimely chilled Steals o'er its chords in broken numbers. It hangs in halls where shades of sorrow dwell, Where echoless Silence tolls the passing bell, Where shadowless Darkness weaves the shrouding spell Of parting joys and parting years. Go, bring it me, sweet friend, and ere we part, A lay I'll frame, so sad 'twill wring thy heart Of all its pity, all its tears
As fitful shadows round me gather fast, And solemn watch my thoughts are holding, Comes Memory, Panoramist of the Past. The rising morn of life unfolding, Now fade from view all living toil and strife; Time past is now my present; death, my life; All that exists is obsolete; While o'er my soul there steals the pensive glow Of sainted joys that young years only know, And past scenes, looming dimly, rise and throw Their lengthening shadows at my feet.
I see a morn domed in by pictured skies; The dew is on its budding pleasures, The gladsome, early, sunlight on it lies, And to it from this dark my pent soul flies, As misers nightly to their treasures. And, as I look, I see a glittering train, In airy throng, across the dreamlit plain, Come dancing, dancing from the tomb; Flitting in phantom silence on my sight; In silence, yet all beautiful and bright, The ghosts of joy, and hope, and bloom. But passed me by; their lines of fading light Tell of decay, of youth's and beauty's blight; Then, like spent meteors shimmering through the night, The vision melts in closing gloom.
Another day in sable vesture clad, All drear with new blown pleasures blighted, Comes blindly groping through the twilight sad, As one in moonless mists benighted. O! Day unhappy! could oblivion roll Its slumberous billows o'er my shrinking soul, Thee scarce I could, e'en then, forget: A life, bereft of light, no memory need To tell of night that ne'er to morning leads, Of day that is forever set.
From yonder sky the noonward sun was torn, Ere day dawn's rosy hues had banished; A starless midnight blotted out the morn, Ere childhood's dewy joys had vanished. No slow paced twilight ushered in the night; A spangled web, the Heavens were swept from sight; The full moon fled and never waned; And all of Earth that's beautiful and fair. Became as shadows in the empty air— A boundless, blackened blank remained!
I heard the gates of night, with sullen jar, Close on the cheerful day forever; Hope from my sky sank like the evening star, Which finds in darkness, zenith never, For scarce she knew, blithe offspring of the day, How there to shine, where night held boundless sway; And shapes of beauty, grace and bloom, And fair-formed joys that once around me danced, Bewildered grew, where sunbeams never glanced, And lost their way in that wide gloom.
Pensylla, o'er me many sunless years Have flown, since last the beams of heaven, The soft ascent of morn through smiles and tears, The sweet descent of dreamy even— Or sight of wood and fields in green arrayed, Vernal resplendence or Autumnal shade, Or Winter's gloom or Summer's blaze; Bird, beast or works that trophy man's abode, Or he divine, the image of his God, Met my rapt gaze.
Look, gentle guide! Thou see'st the imperial sun Forth sending far his ambient glory, O'er laughing fields and frowning highlands dun, O'er glancing streams and woodlands hoary. In orient clouds he steeps his amber hair, With beams far slanting through the flaming air, Bids Earth, with all her hymning sound, declare The praise of everlasting light. On my bared head I felt his pitying ray, He loves to shine on my benighted way; But ah, Pensylla! he brings to me no day— Nor yet his setting, deeper night.
Prime gift of God, that veil'st His sovereign throne, And dost of Him in sense remind me— Blest light of Heaven, why hast thou from me flown? To these sad shades, why hast resigned me? On pinions of surpassing beauty borne, When Nature hails the glad advance of morn, In thine unsullied loveliness. Thou com'st; but to my darkened eyes in vain— My night, e'en in the noon of thy domain, Yields not to thee, since joy of thine again Can ne'er my dayless being bless.
Next, Silence, fit companion of the Night, In drearier depths my being steeping, Like the felt presence of an unseen sprite, With muffled tread comes creeping, creeping. Before me close her smothering curtain swings, And o'er my life a shadeless shadow flings; Sinking with pitiless weight, and slow To shroud the last sweet glimpse of Earth and Man, And set my limits to the narrow span Of but an arm's length here below.
O, whither shall I fly, this stroke to shun? Where turn me, this side death and heaven? Almost I would my course on earth were run, And all to Night and Silence given! I turn to man: can he but with me mourn? Alike we're helpless, and, as bubbles borne, We to a common haven float. To Him, th' All-seeing and All-hearing One, Behold, I turn! More hid than he there's none, More silent none, none more remote!