Anecdotes of the Deaf A Deaf And Dumb Boy's Devotion
Under the trees standing by the left bank of the Thames, a...
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A Deaf And Dumb Boy's Devotion
Under the trees standing by the left bank of the Thames, and sheltered
from its waters by a mound of earth, is an old but comfortable
boathouse. A few roughly-hewn steps lead from the mound to the water's
edge, where some six or seven boats rock idly on the surface. Over the
door of this tottering mansion hangs a wooden board, with the words
"Timothy Gainsad" inscribed in large letters upon a black ground. A gush
of light and warmth issuing from the door guides the weary traveller to
a haven worthy of his choicest desires. Well can I remember the dark
outline of St. Paul's Cathedral, lifting its rounded dome in massive
grandeur to the skies, and the faint outline of the opposite bank
shining dimly in the distance. I remember, when a lad of seven, a rich
and influential lady coming down from Yorkshire to spend the winter
months in London. She brought with her a dumb boy attendant, whom she
had adopted and treated with the greatest kindness. One dark night she
hired a boat, and rowed out upon the river. Scarcely was she lost in the
river mist ere the flood gates of heaven were opened, the rain came down
in torrents, the waves dashed against our rude pier and threatened to
dislodge it, while now and then an occasional streak of lightning,
accompanied by a clap of thunder, lit up the dark surface of the river.
My friends had gone off in a boat in search of the lady, and I was alone
in the room. Seated on a stool by the side of a blazing fire, I was
reading an interesting novel, when the door was violently pushed, and
the dumb attendant of the young lady rushed in, seized a life belt from
the wall, and made for the door. I ran to intercept him; but guessing my
purpose, he raised the stool and brought it down with a crash upon my
head. I staggered back to the wall and fell, and he disappeared through
the door. With a reeling head I tottered to the door, and looked out
upon the river. "Great heavens!" I exclaimed, "he will be dashed to
pieces!" For there, revealed by a flash of lightning, was the dumb boy,
standing on the rail of the bridge, preparing to plunge into the surging
waters below. A short distance from the bridge was the boat occupied by
the terrified lady. It was fast sinking, and as he plunged from the
bridge it sank. I saw him come to the surface, stunned and bleeding; I
saw him raise the life-belt in his hand, and throw it to his mistress.
She caught it, and his face lit up with joy; then--he sank! His mistress
was saved, and some time after the dumb boy's lifeless body was washed
to the shore, and laid in an honourable grave. Over it stands a
beautiful angel of white marble, holding a scroll inscribed with these
words:--"Here lies Gustavus Arisild, who died in the surging waters of
the Thames to save his mistress."
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