PART III.

I.

When the blind are operated on for the restoration of sight, the same succouring hand which has opened to them the visible world, immediately shuts out the bright prospect again, for a time. A bandage is passed over the eyes, lest in the first tenderness of the recovered sense, it should be fatally affected by the sudden transition from darkness to light. But between the awful blank of total privation of vision, and the temporary blank of vision merely veiled, there lies the widest difference. In the moment of their restoration, the blind have had one glimpse of light, flashing on them in an overpowering gleam of brightness, which the thickest, closest veiling cannot extinguish. The new darkness is not like the void darkness of old; it is filled with changing visions of brilliant colours and ever-varying forms, rising, falling, whirling hither and thither with every second. Even when the handkerchief is passed over them, the once sightless eyes, though bandaged fast, are yet not blinded as they were before.

It was so with my mental vision. After the utter oblivion and darkness of a deep swoon, consciousness flashed like light on my mind, when I found myself in my father's presence, and in my own home. But, almost at the very moment when I first awakened to the bewildering influence of that sight, a new darkness fell upon my faculties--a

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