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about and play with his comrades; he cannot work in the open air, nor get the healthful movement which is necessary to bring the frame to the temper, that will enable it to wear well in after life ; and it consequently soon wears out.

Hence we see so many of the blind, who were comparatively intelligent and active in childhood, gradually drooping through youth into premature old age; becoming first inactive, then stupid, then idiotic, and finally going down to an early grave with the light of intellect completely extinguished, and enveloped in both physical and intellectual darkness. This is purely the effect of physical inaction ; and this inaction always must have this effect; hence so few strong men are found among the blind,-hence so many weak and helpless ones.

The development of some of the particular powers seems also to be affected by blindness : this is particularly observable in regard to the sexual propensity, which, while it is particularly strong in the deaf, is weak in the blind; and for the very obvious reason that the imagination is fed in the one case by the sight, and in the other is not. The same principle which causes the physical inability of the blind, contributes mainly to the perfection of the senses which they possess, for these are called into strong and continual action. The touch, the hearing, and the smell of the blind, sometimes become so acute that they differ as widely from the same senses in the state in which we possess them, as does the scent of the spaniel from that of the greyhound.

It is a popular, but unphilosophical saying, that when we are of one sense bereft, it but retires into the rest.' The blind man does not hear any better, merely because he has not the sense of sight; but because his peculiar situation and wants oblige him to cultivate his ear; just as the sailor acquires a power of descrying vessels at a distance, which is unattainable by the eye of a landsman. Few men are aware of the nature and extent of their own powers ; few are aware that they are endowed with senses capable of almost unlimited amelioration. When we reflect upon the astonishing change which culture and attention effect in the physical powers, we are inclined to believe stories like those of him who of old could rend the oak. We once knew a man, who had served for thirty years as a sort of telescope and telegraph for the island of Hydra; he used every day to take his post with a glass upon the summit of the island, and look out for the approach of vessels; and although there were over three hundred sail belonging to the island, he would tell the name of each one, as she approached, with unerring certainty, while she was still at such a distance as to present to a common eye only a confused white blur upon the clear horizon. We hardly dare recount some of the feats of vision performed by this man, or give the number of miles at which he could distinguish ships, for it would seem incredible to those who are accustomed to see through our heavy atmosphere · as through a glass darkly;' it convinced us however that the old Athenians might have been able, as is said of them, at twenty miles' distance from their city, to discern the point of Minerva's spear as it glittered from the Parthenon, the loftiest point of the lofty Acropolis.

The blind are obliged, both from inclination and necessity, to pay as much attention to the cultivation of their senses as our telescope of Hydra, and the result is still more astonishing. The hearing is the sense which seems to us the most changed in the blind, although we are aware that many people, and even many of the blind themselves, say it is the touch. May we not, however, call all the senses mere modifications of the sense of touch? What is touch? Lexicographers call it the sense of feeling ; now this sense of feeling is inherent in a greater or less degree in every part of the surface of the body'; in the lips it is very acute, in the ear it is still more so, and the undulations of the air, striking upon the apparatus of hearing, are felt, just as the pressure of a hard substance is by the rest of the body. Is not the power of vision, too, dependent on the touch ? The rays of light strike upon the retina, and we feel color. The taste is decidedly a modification of touch, though we are not aware that it is capable of such change by use as the other senses. The power of distinguishing the physical qualities of bodies by the lips and tongue is very striking in the blind, and the notorious fact, that they can pass a thread through the eye of a fine cambric needle, is much less surprising than some others which we shall have occasion to adduce: but, as we said, we do not know that the other kind of touch, which we call taste, is sensibly improved. Perhaps, however, it arises from the fact of the generality of mankind tasting so much, and drawing so much pleasure from the use of the sense, that the blind cannot outdo them. This at least is certain, the blind are not often gastronomes.

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Diderot, in his ingenious dissertation, remarks, that of all the senses the sight is the most superficial; the ear the most dainty ; * the smell the most voluptuous ; the taste the most whimsical and inconstant; the touch the most profound and philosophic.'

But we will leave metaphysical discussion, and consider the improvement of the senses, in the light in which it has the most direct bearing upon the situation and the education of the blind.

And first, of the hearing : people are not generally aware of the powers of the ear, and instances which we may quote of it in the blind may at first appear incredible ; we have known blind men, for instance, who could not only ascertain the shape and dimensions of an apartment by the sound of their voice, but who could, on entering one with which they were familiar, tell by striking their cane on the floor, and listening to the echo, whether any of the large articles of furniture had been removed from it, or shifted from their usual places. What seeing person would think it possible with his eyes bandaged, to tell which was the tallest, and which was the shortest of a number of speakers, merely by the direction in which the sound came from their mouths to his ear? Yet many blind

persons can not only do this, but can ascertain very nearly the ages of the persons. We have made this experiment in more than fifty instances with the blind, and in the great majority of cases they came as near the mark as we did, aided by the eyes. There is no doubt that the voice is changed with every changing year; we seize only upon the extremes of the chain ; we can tell the shrill scream of the child, from the rough firm voice of manhood, and the trembling tones of old age; but besides these,-besides the difference in the volume and pitch which exists between the voices of different persons, there is another produced by the course of years; and time stamps his impress upon the voice, as surely as upon the face. The blind man tests these by his practised ear, and not only can ascertain with tolerable correctness the age of the speaker, but pronounce upon his height, the dimensions of his chest, and so forth.

Nor is this the most extraordinary part of the discriminating

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* Diderot often used words for mere euphony, and sometimes for he could not tell what; this was probably the case when he talked about an oreille orgueilleuse. VOL. XXXVII. -NO. 80.


power of some blind men, who seize upon the slight variations of the intonation of the voice, as we do upon the changes of the countenance, and judge by them of what is passing in the mind of the speaker. We all of us wear at times a mask upon the countenance, and draw the curtain of hypocrisy over this window of the soul, to conceal what is going on within ; but we seldom think of the voice; and it is upon this that the blind man seizes, as upon a thread, to direct him to the seat of the passions. Hence it is, that some of them can ascertain on so short an acquaintance the disposition and character of persons: they are not imposed on by the splendor of dress, they are not prejudiced by an ungainly air, they are not won by a smile, nor are they dazzled by the blaze of beauty or led captive, as many are wonit to be, by the fascination of a lovely eye. The voice is to them the criterion of beauty, and when its melodious tones come forcibly stamped with sincerity from the soul, their imaginations at once give to the speaker a graceful form, and a beautiful face. It is recorded of the father of Fletcher the novelist, that he was long continued in the post of Judge in the Police Court of London, after he became blind ; and that he knew the voices of more than three thousand of the light-fingered gentry, and could recognise them at once when brought in.

The ear of some animals is surprisingly acute, and there is no doubt that it is improved by blindness, we know of a horse who, after becoming blind, evidently had his hearing very much sharpened, for when feeding in the pasture with others, far from the road, he would hear the sound of hoofs, and raise his head and whinny out his salute, long before his companions betrayed any consciousness of the approach of the passing stranger.

So with the blind man, when he is walking along the street he can tell whether it is wide or narrow, whether the houses are high or low, whether an opening which he may be passing is a court closed up at the end, or whether it has an outlet to another street ; and he can tell by the sound of his footsteps in what lane, or court, or square he is. He goes along boldly, seeming to see with his ears, and to have landmarks in the air.

The accuracy of the ear gives to blind persons a very great advantage in music; they depend entirely upon it; and hence they harmonize so well together, and keep such perfect accord in time, that Paganini, after listening to some pieces performed by pupils of the Institution for the Blind in Paris, declared that he never before had an adequate notion of what harmony was.

The touch is capable of being equally perfected, and many remarkable instances are given of this

. Saunderson, the blind Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cambridge, in England, became such a connoisseur of ancient coins, that he could detect the modern counterfeits, even when good eyes were puzzled about them. There lived a few years ago a blind man in Austria, who executed very good busts by feeling the faces of persons, and imitating them; and there is now a bust of the late Emperor, executed by this blind man, and preserved in the Museum in Vienna, which is considered a very good likeness. Persons who have witnessed exhibitions at the Institutions for the blind, have been surprised at the ease and fluency with which they can read books printed in raised letters, by passing the fingers rapidly over them: this, however, is by no means so extraordinary as many other instances which are notorious, though not well understood. A blind man, for instance, when walking in a perfect calm, can ascertain the proximity of objects by the feeling of the atmosphere upon his face; it would seem at first that the echo given back, were it only from his breathing, might be sensible to his ear; but we have ascertained by experiment, that a blind man with his ears stopped, could tell when any large object was close to his face, even when it was approached so slowly as not to cause any sensible current of air.

It is a common supposition that the blind can distinguish colors, but after much research we are convinced that this is impossible ; all the blind, whom we have consulted on the subject, have replied that they had no such power, and they did not believe that any blind person ever had it. Indeed what tangible quality can there be in a substance so ethereal, that it passes unobstructed through dense glass? There was an instance of a girl in England, who was generally believed to have this power; and the trials and tests which she successfully underwent somewhat puzzled us, until an explanation of the difficulty offered itself in the chemical properties of the different colored rays of light. She could ascertain the colors of different pieces of cloth by applying them to her lips in

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