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snuff at long intervals, and sat cross-legged
with his handkerchief always on his knees,
and liked to look at his broad shoes, which had
bumps all over them, like the top of a plum-
pie. He was rather slow and prim in his
ways; but he told anecdotes of the volunteers,
and of old actresses, and bucks of long ago,
which amused us very much. Miss Furbey
told me he was a very old friend; the
faithfulest friend that ever was (she said this
with tears in her eyes) although they
had not seen each other for many years,
and that he was a stockbroker, and that his
friends were highly respectable; and by
degrees I came to the knowledge that he was
courting, and to find out, when he laughed, a
slight resemblance between his features and
those of the portrait in the casket. Miss
Furbey used to dress specially to receive him,
for she had a large store of dresses of Irish
poplin and brocaded silk, rather out of date;
but, as she said, "very good," and I several
times saw her arranging her two cork-screw
curls in the looking-glass, and picking out a
grey hair with a pair of tweezers. She was
rather fond of talking about her lover. She
admitted to me that he was much changed
since she first knew him; but, she added, "so
am I, I dare say." I believe she still liked the
stockbroker very much indeed, in a quiet way.
It was arranged, after a while, that he should
visit her on three stated nights per week; but
he dropped in accidentally one morning, just
after Miss Furbey had stepped out, and
waited to see her in the back room. He
talked with me on that occasion a good deal,
and asked me whether we were very busy,
and whether I was a little apprentice, and
whether we were always as busy as we
were then, and other questions which I have
forgotten, but which I think I answered at
the time to his satisfaction. Soon after that,
Miss Furbey told me, in great agitation, that
they were about to be married, and I went
home for a week's holydays. When I came
back, the stockbroker was living in the
house, and Miss Furbey was no longer Miss
Furbey, but Mrs. Parmenter. I know her
husband always treated her kindly; but he.
sat about a great deal with his handkerchief
on his knees; and beyond muddling
in the garden behind the house, or knocking
a nail into the wall, or putting up a
shelf when required, he was evidently no
great assistance to her. She kept him well
supplied with white neckcloths of a better
colour than he used to wear, for she starched
and ironed them herself. He went up to
town now and then. He called it going on
Change; but whether he really went on
Change, or had anything to do there, I do
not know. I fancy his friends gave him a
little money now and then; and that his
stockbroking business (if he had any at all)
was not lucrative.

On the whole, I am inclined to think that
in her matrimonial venture, as in everything
else, Miss Furbey was, to some extent, the
victim of the selfishness of others; though
she always spoke well of her husband, and as
she survived him, kept the oval portrait
hanging on the wall, years after she had put
off her widow's cap, and had dropped again
into her old, prim, quiet way of life.


IT is a curious speculation why so much
more compassion and sympathy are shown
to the blind than to any other class of
sufferers from personal imperfection or
infirmity. Their case is sad enough, no doubt,
and their privations are great and constant.
But their disadvantages are not to be
compared with those of persons of deficient intellect,
or with those of the deaf, while their
personal suffering is much less than that of
the deformed or maimed. Those who
suppose blindness to be a worse misfortune
than deafness, are thinking, we suspect, of
total blindness in comparison with partial
deafness; whereas we must have both total or
both partial, in order to a true comparison. The
full power of communication with other minds
enjoyed by the blind gives them all that is
necessary for the development of every essential
faculty; while the deaf and dumb must
remain radically deficient in mental power
and training all their lives, for reasons which
have been assigned in our former account of
that class.* Accordingly, no deaf and dumb
person has ever yet excelled in any matter in
which intellectual power, a vigorous and
sound mind, was required; while there is
scarcely anything that some blind person or
other has not excelled in, except painting
and decoration. Yet the blind obtain by
far the readiest and most genial sympathy.
They are picturesque and affecting on the
stage, where the deaf are made simply
ridiculous. The deaf are abundantly quizzed;
their mistakes being eminently quizzable.
But who quizzes the blind? The commonest
remark in the world is that the blind are
cheerful and agreeable in company, while the
deaf are morose and unhappy; yet it does not
seem to occur to observers that, to make the
comparison complete, they should follow the
two into solitude. If they could peep through
the keyhole, they would see the counterpart
of the contrast; the deaf busy, unembarrassed
and happy; and the blind, not necessarily
idle or unhappy, but without the animation,
inspired by social pleasures, which are the
delight of their lives. Now this superior
sympathy in the case of the blind must be
natural, or it would not be so general. It is
no doubt owing to the smaller essential differences
between the blind and the generality of
persons, together with the very evident and
appreciable nature of their privations. In
proportion as the case of the deaf becomes

* See page 134 of the present volume.