What would any of us be without education? By education, I mean not
book-learning only, but the training in good habits which is given in
well-ordered homes and schools.
Can any one read the following true story of a deaf and dumb man without
feelings of the deepest pity for the poor fellow left untaught and
untrained, to wander at will over the wild though beautiful country of
his birth. Was he happy? Re
d the story, and judge for yourselves.
A few years since an artist visited Ireland to sketch the wild and rocky
scenery for which parts of the coast are celebrated. One of the places
he went to was so poor and uncivilized that there was no house better
than a cabin to be found in the whole district. In a cabin, therefore,
he took up his abode.
One day he was busily engaged sketching some high cliffs, at the bottom
of which the wild waves dashed in fury. His seat was in a position as
perilous as it was grand.
Presently he observed a creature approach, whose appearance at first
puzzled him exceedingly. A nearer view showed him that it was a man
clothed in a goatskin, but with the gait and manners of one wholly
unused to civilized society.
The artist thought that he was about to encounter an escaped lunatic,
and, although no coward, he confessed to a feeling somewhat akin to fear
passing through him as he looked down at the depths below, and
calculated how small a push might launch him into eternity. Then he
remembered something about the advantage of being civil to madmen, and
determined to try and ward off his impending fate by a show of
civility. Beckoning the poor creature to him, he commenced to talk to
him, to show him his drawings, and to offer him a share of his lunch.
The man made no reply, but apparently assured by the artist's manner
came up close, sat down beside him, and was soon deeply absorbed in
devouring his portion of the lunch and in admiring the pictures. Still
he never spoke, only uttered some unintelligible sounds.
The artist congratulated himself on the success of his experiments; but,
nevertheless, he thought that on the whole "discretion was the better
part of valour," and after a little he got up and returned to his
lodging, the man following him at a distance.
On arriving at the cabin he related his adventure, when the people
exclaimed, "Ah! it's only poor dummy!" and assured him the poor fellow
was perfectly harmless, but he was wholly untaught, had received no
training in a Deaf and Dumb Institution, and lived in this wild
neglected manner. He was never asked to work, but roamed about at will,
being fed by the neighbours, who would give bits to him as they would to
The artist was greatly touched by what he heard, and continued to be
kind to the poor deaf and dumb man, who, on his part, attached himself
to his patron in the most docile manner. Every morning he went to carry
the artist's drawing materials, waited on him during the day, and only
seemed too delighted if he could perform any little service for him. In
return the artist could only reward him by kind looks and a share of his
sandwiches. Once he offered him money, but it was received in such a
manner that showed plainly he did not understand its value. And the
neighbours said it was no use to give him money: food was the only
thing he seemed to care for.
At last the time came for the artist to return home. When it dawned upon
the poor deaf mute he was about to lose his friend, he set up the most
piteous wailing, and refused to be comforted, not even by the choicest
morsels of food.
The artist, when relating it afterwards, said "that he was never more
moved in his life than to see this unfeigned sorrow, and to feel himself
unable (owing to the man not having been trained in a Deaf and Dumb
Institution) to convey one single idea of suggestive consolation."