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greatest accuracy, then another girl sung to us with an exquisite soprano voice, thrilling and thrilling the sweetest cadences, then came a mezzosoprano, very true and tender ini expression. A dictation followed in the numerals which represented the notes and the children pricked and dotted assiduously on the frames upon their knees. When this was over Mr. Campbell bade them read what they had written down, and they turned their pages, ran their fingers over the marks at the back. “Well,” said he smiling, "what is it?” A pause; he plays one note upon the piano ; a sort of sudden flash along the little line, " The BLUE BELLS of Scotland,” cries a little eager girl, and all the others begin to laugh and exclaim, and the master's face brightens too in sympathy with their eagerness.
In another room the young men were receiving instructions two at a time from a pianist who seemed thoroughly to understand his business.
“ He is a teacher after my own heart,” says Mr. Campbell, when he comes to call us away. The whole working of the house strikes one at once as homely and efficient. I have seen them at all times at their tea, at their evening service, or again filing off to lectures or suitable entertainments. All is quietly and quickly organised, although there do not seem to be half-a-dozen persons in the house who can see. One day they were at prayers, some one read a chapter from the Bible, the young folks sang a hymn; it was a very simple, very tranquil act of worship at the end of the day. There was a sense of peace in it all, and a blessing, I am sure, upon the cheerful and contented labourers.
Mr. Campbell dwelt very much upon the success be had had in America in teaching his pupils to tune pianos, and here too in England the effort seems likely to succeed. Dr. Armitage, in a valuable little book upon
the education of the blind, says that the average earnings of the blind at their various trades scarcely exceeds five or six shillings a week; but there are some occupations in which the blind possess a positive advantage over the seeing, from their greater power of concentration. Piano-tuning is one of them. He gives an interesting account of the origin of this profession as a profession for the blind :
“About the year 1830, Claude Montal and a blind fellow-pupil attempted to tune a piano on which they practised. It, as well as the other pianos in the institution, was kept in very indifferent tune by a seeing tuner. This man complained to the directors, who administered a sharp reprimand to the two blind pupils, forbidding them ever again to touch the works. Nothing daunted, however, the two friends procured an old piano, and obtained permission to keep it in the institution. They practised themselves in taking it to pieces and remounting it; nor did they rest content until they had thoroughly repaired it and brought it into good tune.
“The next step was to begin regular instruction in tuning, and then commence the tuning classes which have made the Paris School famous throughout the civilised world. Montal soon left the institution and
endeavoured a private tuning connection, but the same prejudice which now exists in London against blind tuners was then in full force in Paris. No one liked to trust a piano to the blind man, and for some time he was glad to be allowed to tune gratuitously. During all this time he was steadily working at the theory of tuning. He eagerly studied everything that had been published upon the subject, and his own talent and thorough knowledge of the theory of music soon led him to adopt a better and more scientific system of tuning than that generally in use. A circumstance now occurred which was the turning point of his fortune. One of the professors of the Conservatoire having heard of the skill of the blind tuner, sent for him and showed him two pianos which he had in his apartment. They were of different construction, and from different makers. It was important that they should be in exact accord, and none of the numerous tuners who had attempted the task had been able to succeed. Montal said he would make an attempt. He first carefully examined the differences in the construction, and making allowance for them, set to work in a scientific manner, and the result of his tuning was a perfect
He was now patronised by the other members of the Conservatoire, and soon was employed by some of the leading professional musicians of Paris, by whose recommendation alone his fame as a tuner rapidly increased. In 1832 he gave a course of lectures. He began on a small scale to repair and to make pianos. This was the commencement of the well-known manufactory of which he was long the head.”
This is only one out of the many stories one reads of what perseverance and genius can accomplish. Genius is the very power of abstraction, say some philosophers. There is an interesting book by Mr. Johns, the chaplain of the Blind School of St. George’s-in-theFields, which gives the usual short biographies of Hubner, Saunderson, John Metcalfe, and others, with extraordinary instances of perception, but these are, after all, exceptional. The book also contains an interesting account of the education and mental characteristics of the blind, but the result seems, as far as a mere reader with but little experience can form an opinion, to leave an impression of aroused instinct and cultivated memory, rather than of that completer education of the reasoning powers at which the American systems aim.
It is not only among the blind that a different theory of education is daily gaining ground; the same influences seem to be reaching different necessities, and to be working, let us hope, for much ultimate good.
There is a book by a blind biographer, called Wilson, in which he describes his own experience when he was sent, some seventy years ago, to an asylum in Belfast, where he was taught upholstery work, and given a little education. “Although my pecuniary circumstances were not much improved," he says, “I now experienced a greater share of happiness than I had ever enjoyed before. One of the children generally read to me while I was at work. I improved my mind while labouring for my support; time glided pleasantly away, no room being left for idle speculations or In this way
gloomy forebodings." These few words seem to tell the whole story. But although the systems have certainly improved since those days, perhaps even a little less enterprise might have been found desirable.
Dr. Armitage says, “The usual plan hitherto has been for some one who is in comparative ignorance of what has been done by others, to start a new system, which is taken up by philanthropists. Subscriptions are raised, and the Babel of systems is increased by one more. it has come to pass that the Bible has already been printed in English in five different systems, while there is scarcely any other standard work published. Another evil is that the blind have to learn to read the character in favour at the institution where they happen to have received their education, and if they are to obtain the benefit of the few books which have been embossed, they must learn two or three fresh systems, and perhaps discard altogether the one which has taken them years to acquire."
He answers very pertinently the objections which have been made to the use of a special character for the blind, which would perhaps at first seem to be a mistake, as tending to make a still greater separation between those who have and those who have not sight. This is a question, he says, which must be settled, not for, but by the blind for themselves ; a council of blind gentlemen has been formed for determining this and other important questions. They have decided, on the whole, in favour of a special type. “Where the difficulty lies between a character, in which the blind man requires and can receive assistance, and one which is so simple that he can read it by himself, there ought to be no doubt as to the choice."
Lucas, Frere, Moon, and Braille seem to be the types usually employed.
“ It is much to be regretted,” says my authority, “ that the same arbitrary signs used by Lucas, Frere, and Moon stand for different letters, -, for instance, represents 8 in Lucas, n in Frere, and t in Moon; I means severally f,d, and r, in the three systems; , p, m, d ; U, n, l, u; n, m, p,w; and so on, to the utter distraction of the unfortunate students.” M. Louis Braille, a pupil of the Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, invented a system which is now being received into more universal favour; it has the great advantage of being easily written by the blind themselves; it answers for musical notation, as well as for the letters of the alphabet.
I have before me a page of miscellaneous dots from Braille's different alphabets :Do. Re. Vi
A very few moments' attention will suggest a meaning. These signs represent something that no signs or annotations could give if those who mark and those who read had not some mutual understanding by which one human being can express and put on record some of those realities that charm the bitterness of life away. The music through which we pass on our way is as surely as real an expression to some as the influence of nature to others. Whatever may come, whatever silence may fall hereafter, these things will have been. Mozart, with wistful sympathies, will have called to us, melting, irresistible; Mendelssohn's human voice will have reached our hearts; Spohr's hymns of hope and wonder will have soared heavenwards; Beethoven's waves of sound will have flowed in their mystic tides, sweeping how many shores and distant arid sands, bearing life to what lonely places.
The College at Norwood stands high upon a hill, with a whole worlu of
green, of villas, and shrubberies, and cultivated fields, and other signs of life dazzling round about. The windows of the large pupil-room in the College look due west, and when we were last there the sky was all saffron in the sunset, bare trees cut black upon the blaze; the valley was over-flooded with the light, the hill-side and big room and the faces all shone sadly, brightly strange in the winter light. A man sat at the piano, striking the notes with a sympathetic hand, and listening attentively to the voices ranged on either side; as the sunset faded, the music did not cease. It was Mendelssohn again-one of his four-part songsadmirably given, in exquisite tune. Some one lit the gas for the use of those who were listening to the music, not for those who made it, and who sang so admirably, with such clearness and precision, that, as my companion said, it would be impertinent to praise what was so good. And so the voices sang on to us, striking notes as true and sweet and unfaltering as those of the wordrous violin itself.
The Hand of Etbelberta.
KAOLLSEA-AN ORNAMENTAL VILLA.
ER energies collected and fermented
anew by the results of the vigil, Ethelberta left town for Knollsea, where she joined Picotee the same evening. Picotee produced a letter, which had been addressed to her sister at their London residence, but was not received by her there, Mrs. Chickerel having forwarded it to Knollsea the day before Ethelberta arrived in town.
The crinkled writing, in character like the coast-line of Tierra del Fuego, was becoming familiar by this time. While reading the note she informed Picotee, between a quick
breath and a rustle of frills, that it was from Lord Mountclere, who wrote on the subject of calling to see her, suggesting a day in the following week. “Now, Picotee," she continued,
we shall have to receive him, and make the most of him, for I have altered my plans since I was last in Knollsea."
“ Altered them again? What are you going to be now-not a poor person after all ? "
“ Indeed not. And so I turn and turn. Can you imagine what Lord Mountelere is coming for ? But don't say what you think. Before I reply to this letter we must go into new lodgings, to give them as our address. The first thing to-morrow morning we must look for the gayest house we can find, and Captain Flower and this little cabin of his must be things we have never known.”
The next day after breakfast they accordingly sallied forth. Knollsea had recently begun to attract notice in the world. It had this year undergone visitations from a score of professional gentlemen and their wives, a minor canon, three marine painters, seven young ladies with books in their hands, and nine-and-thirty babies. Hence a few lodging-houses, of a dash and pretentiousness far beyond the mark of the