« ZurückWeiter »
“Didn't I tell you so ?" replied Mr. sure Mary Porter is a very sweet, taking Brown ; "you women have always got girl, and" some nonsense in your heads as soon as “I am quite of the same opinion,” your boys have a hair on their chin or said Mr. Brown, “and am very glad your girls begin to put up their back you have written to ask them here." hair."
And so the worthy couple went "Well, John, say what you will, I'm happily to bed.
(To be continued.)
BY THE AUTHOR OF JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN." I was walking along a rather lonely My friend started, but immediately road, humming a tune to myself—a most recognised the voice. “Oh yes, thank indefensible habit, which I only name
I'm all right. Very much as it accounted for my being suddenly obliged. Good morning." stopped by a civil voice
He recommenced his stopped tune, "Ma'am, if you please—"
and pursued his way with such deterI turned, and now first noticed a mined independence, that I felt as if young man who had just passed me by, more notice of him would be taking stepping out quickly and decisively, an unwarrantable liberty with his miswith a stick in his hand and a bundle on fortune. But his cheerful face quite his shoulder.
haunted me, and I speculated for a long “Ma'am, if you please, would you time what “business” he could be about, direct me to - ?” naming a gentle- and how he dared trust himself alone, man's house close by, which I was pro- in the great wilderness of London and ceeding to point out to him, when I per- its environs, with no guide except his ceived that the young man had no fyes. stick. At last I remembered he might It was a well-featured and highly intelli- be one of the “ travellers” belonging to gent countenance, with that peculiarly an institution I had heard of (and the peaceful expression that one often sees foundress of which, by an odd coinci. on the faces of the blind; but of his dence, I was going that day to meet) calamity there could be no doubt : the — the “Association for Promoting the eyes, as I have said, were gone : the General Welfare of the Blind." eyelids closed tightly over nothing. Yet I proceeded to pay my visit to this his step was so firm, and his general ap- lady-whose name, having been often pearance so active and bright, that a before in print, there can be no scruple. careless passenger would scarcely have at mentioning here-Miss Gilbert, thedetected that he was blind.
blind daughter of the Bishop of Chi-. Of course I went back with him to chester. To her superintendence and the door he named-in spite of his endowment, in conjunction with the polite protestations that there was not design and practical aid of another blind the least necessity—" he could find it
person, Mr. W. Hanks Levy, this instieasily”-how, Heaven knows :-also, I tution owes its existence. had the curiosity to lie in wait a few Laudatory personalities are odious. To minutes, until I watched him come praise a good man or woman for doing cheerily out, shoulder his big bundle, what he, she, or any other good person plant his stick on the ground, and walk recognises as a mere matter of duty, briskly back—whistling a lively tune, which, when all is done, leaves us still and marching as fast and fearlessly as “unprofitable servants," is usually annoythough he saw every step of the road. ing to the individual, and injurious to “Have you done your business ?”
the cause. And yet the root of every noble cause must be some noble person- from the other houses in this neighbourality—some one human being who has hood, except that outside its shop-door conceived and carried into execution there hung a picture not badly painted, some one idea, and on whose peculiar representing a room occupied by busy character the success of the whole un- blind work-people. The shop itself was dertaking mainly depends.
entirely filled with baskets, mats, brushes, Therefore, without trenching on the &c. And there one of the only four sacred privacy which ought above all to persons in the establishment who is not be observed towards women, I may just blind, was engaged in serving a few-far say that it was impossible to look on this too few-customers. little gentle-spoken, quiet woman, who, No "sighted "--to use the touching out of her own darkened life, had origi- word which they seemed to have coined, nated such a light to the blind, without these fellow-sufferers, in speaking of a feeling of great reverence and great us, as if the light of the eyes were humility. We, who can drink in form a great, peculiar gift-no “sighted” and colour at every pore of our being, to person can enter this house of busy whom each sunset is a daily feast, each darkness without a strange, awed feel. new landscape a new delight, who in ing. To be in a place where everybody pictures, statues, and living faces beloved is blind! a blind housemaid to sweep have continual sources of ever-renewed and clean—and very well it is done too : enjoyment-God help us, how unthank- a blind porter to carry messages: a blind ful, how unworthy we are !
attendant to show you through dim Miss Gilbert and myself arranged that passages, where you meet other blind I should visit her institution, in order people quietly feeling their way, into say anything that occurred to me to tent on their various avocations, and say about it in print. “For," added she, taking no heed of you. It is like being “we want to be better known, because brought into new kind of existence, we want help Without more customers in the which at first you doubt if you to our shop we must lessen the work we are not an unwarrantable intruder. You give out, and refuse entirely the one feels shy and strange.
The common hundred and fifty applicants who are phrases, “ Yes, I see," or, “It looks so eagerly waiting for more, and meantime · and so," make you start after uttering living as they best can, in workhouses them, as if you had said something unor by street begging. And winter is natural and unkind. Only at first. Soon coming on, you know.”
you are taught to recognise that unWinter to these poor—not necessarily doubted fact, recorded by both sufferers belonging to the hardened pauper class, and observers, that of all God's afflicted in many cases neither unrefined nor un- ones there are none whom His mercy educated, since of the thirty thousand has made so cheerful, so keenly and blind in the United Kingdom nine-tenths easily susceptible of happiness, as the are ascertained to have become so after blind. the age of twenty-one. It was a sad We went to the little parlour, furthought-these one hundred and fifty nished, like the rest of the house, with poor souls waiting for work—not for the utmost simplicity--no money wasted, wealth, or hope, or amusement, simply as charities often do waste it, in useless for work : something to fill up a few elegancies, or in handsomely-paid officials. hours of their long day in the dark, The only official here is Mr. Levy, the something to put food into their mouths director, to whose intelligence and ingeof their own earning, and save them from nuity the working of the whole scheme eating the bitter duty-bread of friends, or -- which, indeed, he mainly plannedthe charity-bread of strangers. I arranged is safely consigned. Under his guidance to meet Miss Gilbert the next day, at -the blind instructing the seeing-we 127, Euston Road,
examined various inventions, some of It was a house in no wise different them his own, for conveying instruction
in writing, reading, and geography, both and women employed in the house from to those born blind and to those who nine to six daily. In the latter were have since become so. He likewise about a dozen women busy over brushshowed us a system of musical notation, making, bead-work and leather-work. by means of which the blind can learn The brush-making was the most sucthe science as well as the practice of cessful, since in all ornamental work this their great solace and delight. the blind cannot hope to compete with Simple as these contrivances were, they those to whom the glory of colour and would be difficult to explain within the the harmonies of form have been familimits of this paper; besides, persons liar unrecognised blessings all their interested therein can easily find out all lives. But it was a treat to see those for themselves by application at 127, poor women, some old, some young, all Euston Road, London: where, also, any so busy and so interested in their work ; collector of objects of science, fossils, and to know that but for this Association minerals, stuffed animals, and the like- they would be begging in the streets, or not subject to injury from handling, sitting in helpless, hopeless, miserable may give entertainment and information idleness—the lowest condition, short of to many an intelligent mind, to whom actual vice, to which any human being otherwise the wonderful works of God in nature must for ever remain un- More strongly still one felt this among known. The delight his little museum the men: in some of whom it was easy affords is, Mr. Levy told us, something to read the history of the intelligent, quite incredible.
industrious respectable artizan, from Beside it, and more valuable still, is whom sudden loss of sight took away the circulating library of embossed his only means of subsistence, dooming books, for the use of the blind; among him for the rest of his days to dethese is an American edition of Milton. pendence on his friends, or How the grand old man would have honest man's last horror, the workhouse. rejoiced could he have foretold the day One guessed how eagerly he would come when, without interpreters, the blind to such an establishment as this in Euston Fould be taught to behold all that he Road, which, offering to teach him a beheld when, although
blind man's trade, and to supply him
with work after he had learnt it, gave him “So thick a drop serene had quenched those orbs,"
a little hope to begin the world again.
The skill attainable by clever fingers he was able, perhaps all the more unguided by eyes is wonderful enough: through that visual darkness, to see clear but then the learning of a new trade into the
heaven of heavens. And in the dark requires of course double when, to show us how fast the blind patience and double time. Nay, at best, could read by touch only, Mr. Levy a man who has to feel for everything opened at random a Testament, and read cannot expect to get through the same as quickly as any, ordinary reader some amount of work in the same number of verses—they happened to be in Revela- hours as the man who sees everything tions—one felt how great was the blessing his tools, his materials, and the result of by which this (to us) blank white page his labour. The blind must always work was made to convey to the solitary blind at a disadvantage, but it is a great thing man or woman innages such as that of to enable them to work at all. the City “which had no need of the could look round on these men, most of sun, neither of the moon, to shine on it, them middle-aged, and several, we heard, for the glory of God did lighten it, and fathers of families, without feeling what the Lamb is the light thereof.”
a blessing indescribable is even the Passing from this little sanctum, the small amount of weekly work and weekly centre of so much thought and ingenuity, wage with which they are here supplied, we went to the workrooms of the men to working-men, the chief element in
whose lives is essentially work : who in “accepting it, they reduce their honest that darkness which has overtaken them “independence in the least possible at noon-day, have none of those elegant “degree." resources for passing time away, which This principle of the cultivation of solace the wealthy blind: to whom there independence, is the greatest and best is no pleasure in idleness—or, bitterer feature of the Association. Charity is still, to whom enforced idleness is simply sed thing, when all other modes of another word for starvation.
assistance fail : but till then, it should And here, to make clear the working never be offered to any human being; for of this part of the Association, let me it will assuredly deteriorate, enervate, copy a few lines from notes that were and ultimately degrade him. Let him, furnished to me by its foundress :- to the last effort of which he is capable,
“ Those workmen who know a trade work for himself, trust to himself, edu“are employed at their homes, and cate and elevate himself. Show him “receive the selling price for their work, how to do this—help him to help him“ buying their materials of the Associa- self
, and you will every day make of “ tion. No extra charge is made to the him a higher and happier being. “public upon their work. ... Those who So thought I, while watching a lad of “are learning trades at Euston Road re- only twenty-one, who three years before “ceive a portion of their earnings for had lost first sight and then hearing. “themselves: the rest pays for materials Totally deaf and blind, his only com“and goes as profit to the Institution. munication with the outer world is by “The teaching of trades is a costly part the sense of touch. Yet it was such a “of the work. Many of the learners bright face-such a noble head and brow “cannot be supported by their friends, -you saw at once what a clever man he
and are therefore boarded in houses would have made. And there was such “connected with the Association—the a refinement about him, down to his
money being provided by those inter- very hands, so delicately shaped, so quick, “ested in the individual, or by his flexible, and dexterous in their motions
parish, or in both these ways. The -the sort of hands that almost inva“weekly terms are 9s. for each man, riably make music, paint pictures, , 6 and 7s. 6d. for each woman-at which write poems. Nothing of that sort, alas “ rate the managers and matrons of each would ever come out of the silent dark. “ house undertake to make it pay. They ness in which for the remainder of his “have no salary. In proportion as the days lay buried this poor lad's soul. Yes “pupil's earnings increase, the sum con- when Mr. Levy, taking his hand, began to
tributed for his board diminishes. In talk to him on it—the only way by which some instances the Association bears the blind can communicate with the deaf. “ the chief cost. When he has learnt blind-he turned round the most affec. “ his trade, the Association may or may tionate delighted face, and caught the “not employ him, or he is at liberty to sentence at once. “start on his own account: but practi- “P-l-a plane. Lady wanting to see “cally he is sure to ask for employment. me plane? I'll get the board in a minute."
“The great object is to enable the The voice was somewhat unnatural, and “blind, as a class, to earn their own the words slowly put together, as if “livelihood, and to elevate their condi- speech, which he could still use, but “tion generally. If the sighted would never hear, were gradually becoming a dif“help the blind by acting to them the ficulty to him. But he set to his carpen
part of levers, to raise them out of tering with the most vivid delight; and “their present state, rather than of props having planed and sawed for our benefit, " to support them in it-the blind would again lent himself to Mr. Levy's con“most thankfully recognise that aid versation. “which they cannot well dispense with, “Lady wishes to see my toys ? I'll " but which they most prefer, because, in get them in a minute.” And as nimbly
as if he had eyes, the lad mounted to a “ Seventeen shillings a week, and high shelf, where were ranged, orderly could earn much more if we only had it in a row, a number of children's toys, to give him. But even that makes a manufactured in a rough but solid style great difference. When he came, he of cabinet-making—the last made, which was so moping and down-hearted, chiefly, he brought down and exhibited with he said, because it grieved him to be degreat pride, being a tiny table with a pendent on his two sisters. Now he is movable top and “turned" feet. all right, and the merriest fellow possible. table that would be the envy of some I asked him the other day if he were ambitious young carpenter of seven years happy. 'Happy!' he said, “to be sure old, and the pride and glory of his sister's
What have I to make me otherdolls' tea-party; as it may be yet—to wise? It would be a great shame if I bairns I know. How its maker's face were anything but happy.' kindled at the touch of the silver coin, Poor soul-poor simple, blessed soul ! and the shake of the hand, which was the greatest man on earth might be less the only way in which our bargain could enviable than this lad, totally deaf and be transacted.
blind. “She's bought my table. Lady's I have thus given a plain account of bought my table.” And then, with a what I saw and heard that day. Any sudden fit of conscientiousness,
one with more time, more money, and shall I give the money to ?" evidently more practical wisdom to spare, could thinking it ought to be counted among hardly expend them better than in behis week's wages, paid by the Association. coming eyes to the blind” by a few
I inquired how much he earned. visits to 127, Euston Road.
THE GOLDEN ISLAND: ARRAN FROM AYR.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN.”
DEEP set in distant seas it lies;
The morning vapours float and fall, The noonday clouds above it rise,
Then drop as white as virgin's pall.
And sometimes, when that shroud uplifts,
Sparkle adown the hill-side bare.
Whether on seas dividing toss’d,
Or led through fertile lands the while, Better lose all things than have lost
The memory of the morning Isle !
And all is calm in earth and air,
The lonely Island rises fair ;
And clear, as noble lives nigh done ;
The broad sea-pathway to the sun. He wraps it in his glory's blaze,
He stoops to kiss its forehead cold; And, all transfigured by his rays,
It gleams—an Isle of molten gold. The sun may set, the shades descend, Earth sleep—and yet while sleeping
But ah ! mists gather, more and more ;
The lovely Island disappears.
O vanished Island of the blest !
O dream of all things pure and high ! Hid in deep seas, as faithful breast Hides loves that have but seemed to
smile; But it will live unto life's end
That vision of the Golden Isle.