Madame Tube and Madelaine were delighted with the beautiful scenery through which they passed. When they had reached the top of the Saxon Erzgebirge, and had descended on the Bohemian side, they were charmed with all they saw. Blue mountains, across which light clouds floated, surround the flowery valley in which Toeplitz is situated. Rocks peeped out from amidst the dark pines on the wooded declivity of the mountain, inviting the traveller to enjoy the magnificent view. On the other side (gloomy as was the age in which it was built,) rose proudly the ruined towers of the strong-hold of some warrior chief. From the valley rose the blue smoke of the huts of a little hamlet, while the sweet chimes of the village church floated through the pure, sweet morning air. Passing under a green arch of lime-trees, they reached the pretty town of Toeplitz, where they soon engaged a little apartment. Having rested for some hours, they went out to view the wonderful waters which God in his goodness has provided for the relief of suffering humanity. Great was their astonishment to see in several places the springs bubbling up boiling out of the earth, and this astonishment was increased, when they remembered that from time immemorial without interruption, in winter as in summer, these health-restoring waters flow always equally abundant, and hot; prepared in the bosom of the earth. Here thousands come in search of health, arriving on crutches, or carried by their attendants to the baths; at the end of a few weeks they are able to walk without support. Madame Tube soon found benefit, each bath strengthened her, and relieved the pain from which she had so long suffered.
Madelaine led Raphael daily to the spring for the eyes, where much sympathy was excited for the children among the visitors, who observed their neat, although poor dress, and their modest behavior. One day, as Madelaine was applying the water to her brother’s eyes, and looking at him with the deepest anxiety, a gentleman stopped and asked if the little boy had weak eyes.
Madelaine’s soft eyes filled with tears as she answered, “My brother is quite blind, sir.”
“In that case, these waters will be of no use to him, but something else may be done,” he added; then asking Madelaine’s name and address, he left them. They then returned home, and related to their mother what had passed.
In about an hour after, their kind friend the physician from Dresden, entered the room, accompanied by the unknown gentleman, who proved to be the Prince Royal of Wurtemberg, who had just arrived with his physician at Toeplitz.
The doctor having examined Raphael’s eyes once more, fixed the following Thursday for the operation. The Prince spoke kindly to Madame Tube, and promising to see her again, left the room, followed by the doctor.
Thursday was come—before the sun had risen from behind the mountains, Madelaine was up, hope and anxiety had kept both her and her mother awake nearly the whole night.