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felt the dead bodies of animals, and one day was seen amusing himself by attempting to make a dead fowl stand on its legs. On the day of the funeral a number of friends assembled to pay the last tribute to the honoured remains. The poor boy, unconscious of the full extent of his loss, glided about among the crowd, his curiosity excited by the unusual assemblage. Two of the observers state that when the coffin was first brought out containing his father's corpse, he clung to it, and seemed for the moment deeply affected. It is certain that he “afterwards repeatedly visited the grave, and patted the turf with his hands.
The death of his mother a few years later, after the family had removed to the neighbouring town of Nairn, was a new source of grief; and the suggestion naturally rose in his mind that he should lose his sister also, and for some time he shewed an extraordinary unwillingness to quit her even for an instant. His feelings of distress on this and other occasions were somewhat assuaged by a recourse to a new species of amusement. When he last visited London, he happened to be in the house of a friend of his father, who was in the habit of smoking; and a pipe being given to him, he smoked it and seemed much delighted. After his return home, a gentleman came on a visit to Ardclach, who was also in the habit of smoking, and having tobacco, wished for a pipe. Mrs Mitchell gave the boy a halfpenny, and permitted him to smell the tobacco. He understood her signs, went out to a shop in the neighbourhood where pipes were to be had, and returned with one in his hand. From this time the smoking of tobacco became a favourite indulgence, from which it was not considered necessary to divert him.
Numerous particulars are related of the subsequent life of Mitchell, but these it is unnecessary to repeat, and we confine ourselves to what follows, as interest in his conduct and habits in a great degree ceases from the time he obtained a view of the external world—a view which, however short, must have given him a distinct idea of light and colours, and also the appearance of animate and inanimate objects. His sister, in describing his condition after this period, mentions that'he continued to take an unabated interest in the employment of the various workmen in town; and in the progress of their work, particularly mason-work, examining minutely what has been done in his absence, and fearlessly ascending the highest part of their scaffolding, in which he has hitherto been most providentially preserved from any serious accident. While the addition lately made to a house was roofing, I remarked him ascending the slater's ladder and getting on the roof. Laying himself down, and fixing his heel in a rough part of the surface, he moved himself along, one foot after the other, until the fear of his slipping rendered me unable to remain longer to look at him. I believe such is his common practice whenever anything of the kind is carrying on. He is so perfectly inoffensive, that all classes contribute towards his safety and even to his amusement, allowing him to enter their houses and handle whatever he has a mind to, as he never attempts carrying anything away with him or injuring it while in his possession. Indeed, except in one instance, I never knew him exposed to any unpleasant treatment in these unceremonious visits. It was in the case of a family who came to reside in this neighbourhood about three years ago, and who were quite unacquainted with his situation. When he went out as usual to the house (where with the former occupants he had been accustomed to range at pleasure), and began feeling the umbrellas and other articles in the lobby, with the intent, as they supposed, of carrying them off, they first remonstrated with him, and getting no reply, they then proceeded to turn him forcibly out of doors, which they effected after receiving as many kicks and blows as he could bestow in the struggle. He was afterwards seen by two gentlemen who knew him, bellowing with rage. They wished to get hold of him and soothe him, but found it impossible from the furious rate at which he was going ; and although regretting his apparent irritation, they were not a little amused upon approaching the house to see a domestic peeping fearfully out at a half-opened. door, and the other members of the family, which consisted mostly of females, at the various windows, whence they could obtain a view of the person who had been the cause of so much fear and trouble to them.
In 1826, Sir Thomas Dick Lauder thus relates an interesting visit which he received from Mitchell at Relugas, a distance of seventeen miles from Nairn : 'It was one day about noon, in the month of May, that I saw him pass the window of the dining-room where I was sitting, and immediately recognising him, I hastened to the house door, and met him in the porch, in the act of entering. I took him by the hand, clapped him gently on the back, and led him to the room I had just left, and taking him towards Mrs Cumin, who was the only person with me at the time, he shook hands with her. I then conducted him to a sofa, where he sat down; and being apparently a good deal tired, he leaned back in expectation of finding support, but the sofa being one of those constructed without a back, he was surprised, and instantly made himself master of its form by feeling it all over. I then took his hand and put it to his mouth, with the intention of making him understand that he should have something to eat. He immediately put his hand into his waistcoat-pocket, where he had some copper, as if with the intention of taking it out. My impression was that he meant to express that he could pay for food if it was given him. Miss Mitchell seems to think that it was an indication of satisfaction merely. I confess, however, that his action appeared to me to be so immediately consequent on mine, that I cannot yet doubt that it resulted from it. He may have misinterpreted my signal, and imagined that it referred to a pipe and tobacco; and this may perhaps reconcile our
difference of opinion. I lost no time in ordering luncheon, and in the meanwhile I gave my interesting visitor a cigar. He took it in his hand, smelt it, and then put it into his waistcoat-pocket with a smile of infinite satisfaction. I took another cigar from the case, and having lighted it, I put it into his hand. He carried it alsó directly towards his nose, but in its way thither the red glare of the burning end of it caught his eye (which is perfectly aware of light, although not of form), and arrested his hand. He looked at it for a moment, turned it round, and having extinguished it between his finger and his thumb, he put it also into his pocket with the air of being much amused. I was then convinced that he had never before met with a cigar, and that he knew it only as tobacco. I therefore prepared another, lighted it, smoked two or three whiffs so as to make him sensible of the odour, and then taking his hand, I put the cigar into it, and guided it to his mouth. He now at once comprehended matters, and began whiffing away with great delight; but the funnes of the tobacco ascending from the burning end of the cigar stimulated his eye, and gave him pain ; yet he was not to be defeated by this circumstance, for, retaining the cigar between his forefinger and thumb, he stretched up his middle finger, and keeping his eyelid close with it, he went on smoking until I judged it proper to remove the end of the cigar from his mouth when it was nearly finished. By this time Lady Lauder came in, and I begged that the children might be brought. I took each of them to him in succession, and he patted their heads; but the ceremony, though tolerated, seemed to give him little pleasure. A tray now appeared, and I led him to a seat at the table. I put a napkin on his knee, and comprehending what he was to be employed in, he drew his chair very close to the table, as if to prevent accident to the carpet, and spread the napkin so as to protect his clothes. I helped him to some broth, and guided his spoon for two or three times, after which I left him to himself, when he leaned over the table, and continued to eat the broth without spilling any of it, groping for the bread, and eating slice after slice of it with seeming appetite. The truth was, he had been wandering for some days, had been at Ardclach, had had a long walk that morning, and was very hungry. I then cut some cold meat for him, and he helped himself to it very adroitly with his fork, drinking beer from time to time as he wanted it, without losing a drop of it. After he had finished he sat for a few minutes, and then he arose as if he wished to go. I then gave him a glass of wine, and each of us having shaken him by the hand, he moved towards the door, where I got him his hat, and taking him by the arm, I led him down the approach to the lodge. Having made him aware of the obstruction which the gate presented, I opened it for him, led him into the road, and giving his arm a swing in the direction I wished him to take, I shook hands with him again, and he moved away at a good round pace, as I had indicated. Some years ago Mitchell paid a visit to Relugas, but I was from home at the time, and as he was known to no one else, his awkward gait occasioned his being mistaken for a drunk or insane person, and the doors being shut against him, he went away.
He never repeated his visit until the late occasion, but I am not without hope that the kind treatment he last met with may induce him to come here the next time he takes a ramble. His countenance is so intelligent, and its expression in every respect so good, that he interested every individual of the family, and delighted us all.'
A gentleman who visited Mitchell in 1832, has thus described to us his interview: “When I called he was abroad, but in a short time he made his appearance, and was led into the room by his sister. His face was weather-beaten, but he had the appearance of robust health. He was of middle stature, and at this time thirtyseven years of age. His countenance was mild and pleasant ; with nothing of a vacant look, his features had that precise and distinct outline, especially his mouth, that indicates a reflecting mind. His head was well formed, round, and what would be termed large. He was plainly dressed, but with that appearance of neatness and cleanliness which shewed he had sufficient self-respect to take the proper care of his clothes ; indeed, as I afterwards learned, he is particularly nice regarding his dress. On examination, I found his eyes and his state of vision such as I had been led to expect—that is, he can distinguish bright sunshine from darkness, and perhaps white or brilliant objects from black ones, but this is the whole extent of his powers; he cannot distinguish the lines of form of bodies, or the lineaments or expressions of the human countenance. The left eye, which had been operated upon, is opaque and muddy over the whole pupil; with it I conjectured he saw little or none : in the other eye the opacity of the lens is somewhat circumscribed, especially on the inferior margin, and it is on this edge of the pupil that I could perceive an opening by which a few rays of light might enter. His sister thought that his vision had somewhat improved of late.
When an object is presented to him, if it be bright and glittering, he holds it towards the inferior edge of this eye ; but immediately after he puts it to the test of the organs of touch, taste, and smell, which evidently shews his still very limited extent of vision.
‘After having satisfied my curiosity regarding this highly interesting being, I rose to take leave. He seemed to be sensible of the movement, and also rose. His sister intimated that a shake of the hand would be acceptable, and I impressed upon him a most cordial adieu. I could not help thinking how different might have been my interview with this same person had it pleased God to have endowed him with the use of all his senses; how I might have been instructed by his intelligence, amused with his cheerful active fancy, and warmed with that tide of benevolent feeling and affection, of all of which so many unequivocal traces were visible, even as it was.'
To his inestimable guide and companion the following eulogium by the late Sir James Mackintosh is appropriately due : ‘His sister is a young woman, of most pleasing appearance and manners, distinguished by a very uncommon degree of modesty, caution, and precision in her accounts of him, and probably one of the most intelligent as well as kindest companions that ever guided a being doomed to such unusual if not unexampled privations. Her aversion to exaggeration, and her singular superiority to the pleasure of inspiring wonder, make it important to the purposes of philosophy as well as humanity that she should continue to attend her brother. Separation from her would indeed be an irreparable calamity to this unfortunate youth. By her own unaided ingenuity she has conquered the obstacles which seemed for ever to preclude all intercourse between him and other minds; and what is still more important, by the firm and gentle exertion of her well-earned ascendant over him, she spares him much of the pain which he must otherwise have suffered from the occasional violences of a temper irritated by a fruitless struggle to give utterance to his thoughts and wishes.'
Mitchell survived his sister, living to the age of seventy-four. In the prime of life he was possessed of great strength, and he continued to enjoy robust health until within a few weeks of his death, which took place at Nairn, August 1869.
We now turn to the case of a blind deaf-mute, who has excited a lively interest in this country and in America.
LAURA BRIDGEMAN was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, on the 21st of December 1829. For a few months after birth she was a sprightly infant with blue eyes, but being of a weakly constitution, and afflicted with severe fits, her parents had little hope of rearing her. When eighteen months old, her health improved, and she advanced considerably in intelligence; but soon she relapsed ; disease raged violently during five weeks; and her eyes becoming inflamed, they suppurated, and their contents were discharged. At the same time she lost the sense of hearing. She was now, at two years of age, blind and deaf. But this was not all her misfortunes. The fever having continued to rage, after a few months her sense of smell was almost destroyed, and her taste was much blunted. She was also so greatly reduced in strength, that it was a year before she could walk unsupported, and two years before she could sit up all day. It was not until she was four years of age that her health was