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Books And The Blind
by [?]

Strange as the confession may appear coming from one who, week in, week out, writes about books, I am not a great book-lover! I infinitely prefer to watch and think, think and watch, and listen. All the same, I would not be without books for anything in this world. They are a means of getting away, of forgetting, of losing oneself, the past, the present, and the future, in the story, in the lives, and in the thoughts of other men and women, in the thrill and excitement of extraneous people and things. One of the delights of winter–and in this country winter is of such interminable length and dreariness that we hug any delight which belongs to it alone as fervently as we hug love to our bosoms when we have reached the winter of our lives!–is to snuggle down into a comfy easy-chair before a big fire and, book in hand, travel hither and thither as the author wills–hate, love, despair, or mock as the author inveigles or moves us. I don’t think that most of us pay half enough respectful attention to books seeing how greatly we depend upon them for some of the quietest pleasures of our lives. But that is the way of human nature, isn’t it? We rarely value anything until we lose it; we sigh most ardently for the thing which is beyond our reach, we count our happiest days those across the record of which we now must scrawl, “Too late!” That is why I always feel so infinitely sorry for the blind. The blind can so rarely get away from themselves, and, when they do, only with that effort which in you and me would demand some bigger result than merely to lose remembrance of our minor worries. When we are in trouble, when we are in pain, when our heart weeps silently and alone, its sorrow unsuspected by even our nearest and dearest, we, I say, can ofttimes deaden the sad ache of the everyday by going out into the world, seeking change of scene, change of environment, something to divert, for the nonce, the unhappy tenor of our lives. But the blind, alas! can do none of these things. Wherever they go, to whatever change of scene they flee for variety, the same haunting darkness follows them unendingly.