This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text.
Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book
(without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.
1894 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER V Parallel between the State of the Blind
and that of the Deaf and Dumb People are constantly asking us,
which are the most unhappy, the deaf and dumb, or the blind? To
what is the gaiety of the one and the profound melancholy of the
other owing? We shall resolve this question to the advantage of the
blind, because we really think them less unhappy. Strangers to all
that passes around them, the deaf and dumb, who see everything,
enjoy nothing. Like Tantalus, whom fiction represents as devoured
by an inextinguishable thirst in the midst of water, they are
continually subjected to cruel privations. An insurmountable
barrier separates them from the rest of mankind; they are solitary
in the midst of us, unless we know that artificial language which
the talent and charity of their ingenious teacher has created for
them; and the habit which they have of reading the countenance is
even very often a subject of anxiety to them. They do not always
guess right; doubt and uncertainty increase their impatience and
suspicions: a serious cast, like melancholy, then invades their
countenance, and proves that with us they are in a real state of
privation. Obliged to concentrate their thoughts in themselves, the
activity of their imagination is thus greatly increased; and as
attention and judgment necessarily follow the perception of ideas,
they fatigue themselves prodigiously. Few deaf and dumb persons,
therefore, are to be found in the lists of longevity, because the
frictions are too lively, and to use a common, but exact
expression, the sword wears the scabbard. The blind, more favoured
than these children of silence, enjoy all the means of
communication with other men. No obstacle hinders them from hearing
or being heard, since the ear, which has been so philos...
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