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banks of the beautiful river Wye, without a servant or a guide. I had to ford the river, at a place where, according to the instructions given me at the nearest hamlet, if I diverged ever so little from the marks, which the rippling of the current made as it passed over a ledge rock, I should sink twice the depth of myself and horse. While I stood hesitating on the margin, viewing attentively the course of the ford, a person passed me on the canter, and the next instant I saw him plunge into the river; presuming on his acquaintance with the passage, I immediately and closely followed his steps. As soon as we had gained the opposite bank, I accosted him with thanks for the benefit of his guidance; but, what was my astonishment, when, bursting into a hearty laugh, he observed, that my confidence would have been less, had I known that I had been following a blind guide. The manner of the man, as well as the fact, attracted my curiosity. To my expressions of surprise at his venturing to cross the river alone, he answered, that he, and the horse he rode, had done the same every Sunday morning for the last five years; but that, in reality, this was not the most perilous part of his weekly peregrination, as I should be convinced, if my way led over the mountain before us. My journey had no object but pleasure; I therefore resolved to attach myself to my extraordinary companion, and soon learned, in our chat, as we wound up the steep mountain's side, that he was a clergyman, and of that class which is the disgrace of our ecclesiastical establishment; I mean the country curates, who exist upon the liberal stipend of thirty, twenty, and
sometimes fifteen pounds a year! This gentleman, aged sixty, had, about thirty years before, been engaged in the curacy to which he was now travelling, and, though it was at the distance of eight long Welch miles from the place of his residence, such was the respect of his flock towards him, that, at the commencement of his calamity, rather than part with him, they sent regularly, every Sunday morning, a deputation to guide their old pastor on his way.
The road, besides crossing the river we had just passed, led over a craggy mountain, on whose top innumerable and uncertain bogs were constantly forming, but which, nevertheless, by the instinct of his Welch poney, this blind man has actually crossed alone for the last five years, having so long dismissed the assistance of guides. While our talk beguiled the way, we insensibly arrived within sight of his village church, which was seated in a deep and narrow vale. As I looked down upon it, the bright verdure of the meadows, which were here and there chequered with patches of yellow corn; the moving herd of cattle; the rich foliage of the groves of oak, hanging irregularly over its sides; the white houses of the inhabitants, which sprinkled every corner of this peaceful retreat; and above all, the inhabitants themselves, assembled in their best attire, round their place of worship: all this gay scene, rushing at once on the view, struck my senses and imagination more forcibly than I can express. As we entered the churchyard, the respectful how do you do ?' of the young the hearty shakes of the old, and the familiar gambols of the children, shewed how their old pastor reigned in the hearts of all. After some refreshment
at the nearest house, we went to the church, where my veteran priest read the prayers, psalms, and chapters of the day, and then preached a sermon, in a manner that could have made no one advert to his loss of sight.* At dinner, which it seems that four of the most substantial farmers of the vale provide in turn, he related the progress of his increased powers of memory. For the first year, he attempted only the prayers and sermons, the best readers of the parish making it a pride to officiate for him in the psalms and chapters ; he next undertook the labour of learning these by heart, and, at present by continual repetition, there is not a psalm or chapter, of the more than two hundred appointed for the Sunday service, that he is not perfect in. He told me also, that having in his little school two sons of his own, intended for the university, he has, by hearing them continually, committed the greatest part of Homer and Virgil to memory."
* The late Dr. Guyse lost his eye-sight in the pulpit, while he was in prayer, before the sermon. Having finished his prayer, he was, consequently, unable to make use of his written papers, but preached without notes. As he was led out of the meeting, after service was over, he could not help lamenting his sudden and total blindness. A good old gentle. woman, who heard him deplore his loss, said to him; “ God be praised that your sight is gone; I think I never heard you preach so powerful a sermou in my life. Now we shall have
I wish, for my own part, that the Lord had taken away your eye-sight twenty years ago, for your ministry would have been more useful by twenty degrees.”
Toplady's Works, vol. 4, page 166.
po more notes.
MR. JAMES HOLMAN, R.N.
THE WONDERFUL BLIND TRAVELLER.
“Hither he wandered, anxious to explore
This sightless and enterprising individual is a native of Exeter; he lost his sight at the age of twentyfive years, while on service on the coast of Africa, as a lieutenant in the royal navy, in the year 1811. He was subsequently appointed one of the Naval Knights of Windsor. In 1820, strange as it may appear, he travelled through France and Italy, and, in 1822, favoured the public with an account of his interesting travels; which work was favourably received. In the same year, he undertook an arduous journey through Russia, Siberia, Poland, Austria, Saxony, Prussia, and Hanover; these travels he published in 1825, in 2 vols. 8vo. His proposed objects in travelling were of so extensive a character, as to startle us in the outset, especially when we recollect bis blindness. He was unfortunately prevented from executing his plan, by his being apprehended as a spy, after travelling some thousands of miles, and spending some months in the midst of Siberia, and was conducted from thence a state prisoner, to the frontiers of Austria. Indeel, in Russia, Mr. Holman was called the “blind spy;" rather a whimsical and paradoxical appellation, for a person totally deprived of the use of his visual organs. The object which Mr. Holman had, in undertaking this arduous journey, is developed by
himself in the following words: “On the 19th of July, 1822, I embarked in the Saunders Hill schooner, commanded by Captain Courtney, then lying in the London docks, and bound for St. Petersburgh, with the ostensible motive of visiting the Russian empire; but my real intention, should circumstances prove propitious, was to make a circuit of the whole world. My motives for concealing so important a part of my views, it will not be difficult to explain; they are attributable to the opposition my kind friends have always been inclined to make against what, under my peculiar deprivation, they are disposed to regard as quixotic projects; a feeling on their parts which I am desirous to suppress, since, on various occasions, I have to charge it with the disappointment of my most anxious wishes. Alas! how little are they able to appreciate my true sentiments and powers, as developing themselves in an intense desire to occupy the mind, to acquire solid information, and triumph over those difficulties which others might deem insurmountable. That my views are not chimerical, may be inferred from the success which, as far as my own powers are concerned, has hitherto attended my exertions."*
* The following brief notice of this extraordinary man appeared in one of the St. Petersburgh newspapers, during his stay in that city.
“ Mr. Holman, a blind gentleman, about thirty-five years of age, and possessed of an agreeable countenance, arrived in this city, (Petersburgh,) in July last; and we understand that he intends to visit a great part of the world. He enquires into every thing, and examines most bodies by the touch ; which astonished us so much, that we could not have believed it, had we not seen it with our own eyes. When he visited my