“What a naughty boy, he has never told me one word of it. When I go home I will punish him severely. This then is your mother? She suffers from rheumatism, you say? Sad malady! but this room is a perfect dungeon, enough to kill a strong man. Poor people! The stove smokes, too—wretched stove that it is, made before the flood, I should think. I must speak to the landlord; it is inexcusable to let such a hole for any one to live in.”
Whilst examining the stove, Master Teuzer had almost fallen over Raphael, who was sitting behind it unravelling some pieces of silk: “What!” he exclaimed, “some one else? My little fellow, you will lose your sight in this Egyptian darkness.”
Madelaine sighed, and Madame Tube said in a voice of deep grief, “He has lost it already.”
Teuzer started! “Bl—blind, did you say?” he stammered, and quite shocked, he led the poor boy to the light—“Look at me, my child,” he said.
“I cannot see you,” spoke Raphael, softly as he turned his blind eyes towards Teuzer.
There is something very touching in such a look. Teuzer was deeply moved, and turned away as if to examine the stove but in reality to hide the tears which filled his eyes—“What a misfortune,” he said at last, “and you have not told me of this, Madelaine. Has he been long blind?”
“Since his second year,” replied Madame Tube.
“How did it happen?” asked Teuzer.
“We do not know; we perceived it when too late to have anything done; and in a short time he became quite blind.”
“My boy,” inquired Teuzer, “do you remember anything of the brightness of the sun, the blue of the sky, or the face of thy mother?”
Raphael shook his head slowly, and with a pensive air.
“You know nothing, then, of the beauty of the spring—the colors of the flowers—the whiteness of the snow—the—?”
Here the mother made a sign to Master Teuzer, who, seeing the boy look very sorrowful, ceased his lamentations, and said, “What is there, then, that gives you pleasure, my poor boy?”
Raphael’s face brightened up, as he answered,—“Oh! I am very happy when my mother is pleased with me—when Madelaine caresses me—and when I hear my Jacot sing.”
Teuzer reflected a moment—“You are happier, although blind, than thousands who possess all their faculties. You can hear the kind and gentle voices of your mother and sister—can tell them of your wants and sorrows—sure of finding affection and sympathy in their hearts. Compare yourself, then, my boy with those less happy than yourself; but above all, raise your heart to Him who has promised to be a Father of the fatherless, for he will never forsake you.” Thus saying, he slipped some money into Raphael’s hand, and took leave of the poor family, who blessed this benevolent man.