“But I would not let you go,” he replied, “you must never leave us again, and besides I cannot fancy that sight is such a very precious thing—describe to me what it is.”
“I will explain it as well as I can,” answered a stranger, who had entered unperceived, with the king’s minister. Raphael was going to run behind the stove, but the minister prevented him. “Stay, my dear boy,” he said, kindly, “this gentleman is the king’s physician, and he wishes to be of use to you and your mother, it is with that view he has come here.”
“You wish to know what sight is, my boy,” said the doctor. “The wisest men cannot tell exactly, but I will try to explain it to you in some degree. The eye is most wonderfully formed, it resembles a round mirror, on which, all objects, whether near or distant, are reflected—this mirror is called the crystal, and is scarcely so large as a cherry stone, and yet the largest objects as well as the smallest, are exactly reflected on it; for example, our cathedral, with its fine towers, its doors, and windows; how impossible would it be for the most skillful painter to represent these on so small a space as the pupil of the eye; but God has so formed that wonderful organ, that it can receive the reflection of the whole in an instant.”
“How wonderful!” exclaimed both mother and daughter, who had listened with much greater interest than Raphael, who could not understand what was said in the least.
“But why is it,” asked Madelaine, taking courage, “that my brother cannot see? Why are not objects reflected upon his eyes as they are upon ours?”
“My child,” replied the doctor, “light is a necessary condition for sight, and this is what your brother’s eyes want, because there is a thick skin formed over them, which excludes all light.” The physician then examined Raphael’s eyes carefully, and found the cataract (as this skin is called) nearly ripe.
“My advice,” he said to Madame Tube, “is, that you and your son should go, as soon as the weather is warm enough, to Toeplitz for the benefit of the baths, which will be of much service to you both; and I shall see you there in the course of the summer.”
The poor family warmly thanked the physician, and the king’s minister, who then took leave, the latter promising to provide means for the proposed journey.
THE JOURNEY AND THE BATHS.
As soon as summer had arrived, the minister sent a comfortable char-a-banc a sort of jaunting car, to convey Madame Tube and her children to Toeplitz; he also sent her a present of money for her expenses.