- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 7 Jan 1919, p. 1-19
- Pearson, Sir Arthur, Speaker
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- Item Type
- The gallant men who with courage, resolution and determination are learning or have learned to be blind under the speaker's care at St. Dunstan's, a generic term for a group of establishments. The original house of St. Dunstan's. Armistice Day at St. Dunstan's. The education at St. Dunstan's. Teaching men to be blind. A glance into the classrooms at St. Dunstan's. Learning Braille, typewriting, shorthand writing. Original skepticism as to the ability of a blind shorthand-typewriter by the business men of London who now ask for them. The workshops where massage is taught; another success story with initial opposition. Some salary figures. Trade workshops where the men learn a variety of trades: carpentry, cobbling, basket-making, art working, etc., with illustration. Other industries which are learned, such as poultry farming. Details about the carpentry and joinery programmes, which are absolutely new industries for blind people. A word about blind girls, a neglected group to whom the speaker and his colleagues want to turn their attention. The work of the Ladies' Association connected with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in this regard. Teaching blind soldiers to play as well as to work. Some operational details of the system at St. Dunstan's. Reasons for St. Dunstan's success. Examples of success in Toronto as well as in England. A personal anecdote from the speaker, who is also blind. The far-reaching ideals of St. Dunstan's, and the hope that they will have world-wide influence.
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- 7 Jan 1919
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- THE TRAINING OF BLIND SOLDIERS IN ENGLAND
AN ADDRESS BY SIR ARTHUR PEARSON, BART., G.C.B.E.
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
January 7, 1919.
PRESIDENT R. A. STAPELLS was greeted with three
cheers and a tiger on taking the chair for the first time since his election. He said: ".Permit me to thank you very sincerely indeed for your kindness in electing me as your president this year. I-am afraid that you have made a grave error, and mistaken enthusiasm and energy for efficiency and ability. However, I can but promise to do my best, with the hope that that best will prove satisfactory. (Applause.) I am not unmindful of the fact that during the past year the Empire Club has come into its own. In point of membership and influence I think it can be safely said to be the most important organization of its kind in Canada. (Hear, Hear, and applause.) I congratulate my predecessor, Mr. Coombs, upon bringing this about during his regime, and I thank him for handing over to me the reins of office of such a flourishing organization. I receive some comfort, coming here today, from my mentor in the affairs of the Empire Club, so to speak, the chairman of your nominating com-
Sir Arthur Pearson the eminent British newspaper proprietor and publisher is the Chairman of St. Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors, President of the National Institute for the Blind in Great Britain, and Honorary President of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. He has revolutionized the condition of the blind in Great Britain and has readapted and trained over twelve hundred British Soldiers blinded in the War, including over fifty Canadians. He is also the publisher of "The Standard of Empire" which has done "- much for the unification of the Empire.
mittee, Dr. Goggin, who said: 'You know, Stapells, we took . a chance in electing you president (Laughter.) but we took jolly good care to select an Executive Committee whose members had the ability and experience to guide you in the way that you should go.' (Laughter.)' So, gentlemen, I feel I am not unduly optimistic when I predict that with the experience of Mr. Sommerville, who has very kindly consented to act again as chairman of the Speakers Committee-and I think Mr. Coombs and last year's Executive will confirm my statement when I say that the magnificent meetings we had last year were largely due to Mr. Sommerville's indefatigable efforts, his personal popularity, and his inimitable ability in the matter of approaching prospective speakers-So , I say, with Mr. Sommerville's assistance and your own kind co-operation in the matter of attending regularly our weekly luncheons, and the guidance I shall receive from that excellent Executive Committee you have elected to support me, we can look forward with confidence to an enjoyable, and possibly a successful year. (Applause.)
Before the war broke out a great soldier-prophet went up and down through the length and breadth of England warning the nation of the German menace, and appealing for preparedness. Pacifists laughed at him, the rest of us ignored him; dear old Lord Roberts died, but the nation lived and the nation learned. War broke out; that prophecy became a stern reality, and another great soldier-prophet with a vision given to but few men predicted that the war would last three, four, if not five years. Again the pacifists laughed, and .through Norman Angell, in his great "Delusion," they claimed that the financial interests of the world would not permit a war to last that long. The rest of us were frankly dubious. The noble Lord Kitchener died, and the nation lived and the nation learned.
Today the war is over, and the German menace thank God, a thing of the past. Re-adjustment days are upon us, and thousands of sightless heroes from the battlefields of France would constitute a great and grave problem if another British prophet, with a vision given to but few men, had not foreseen the very thing that has come to pass. Five or six years ago Sir Arthur Pearson started out to preach the gospel that blindness was not a hopeless affliction, but simply a temporary handicap, and from that day on he has devoted his time.
--his means, and his wonderful ability to spreading that gospel. Today this prophet, not without honor in his own country, and greatly honored in all the civilized nations of the world, is with us to say something about the wonderful work which revolves and has its being around him.
I am sure Sir Arthur will bear with me for a moment while I refer to another guest we have here today. I have reference to Private Dies, of whom Torontonians are particularly proud, and of whom I think Sir Arthur speaks as one of his boys from St. Dunstan's -I believe he was there twelve months. Private Dies lost the sight of both eyes and his one arm at Vimy Ridge. Toronto before the war was proud of her sportsmen and their achievements, but during the war still more proud of her sportsmen and their achievements, and now that the war is over she acclaims more than ever her sportsmen and their achievements. Before the war no finer or cleaner sportsman stepped into the arena of athletics than sportsman Bill Dies. During the war, when the sterner game had to be played, no, braver, finer, or more courageous soldier stepped into the arena of battle than Private Bill Dies. Now that the war is over, no brighter, more cheerful, more optimistic man returns to the arena of private life than citizen Bill Dies. (Applause.) Yes, gentlemen, Toronto is proud of her sportsmen and their achievements, and I feel sure that Canada will never forget -the great work done by Private Dies and his comrades -others of them than are here today-in fighting for their King, their Flag and their Empire. (Applause.) It is particularly fitting that he should be here today, because after losing his sight at Vimy Ridge he went to St. Dunstan's in London. Now, gentlemen, it is a very great honor indeed to present to you Sir Arthur Pearson, who is to tell us something about his work and its wonderful results."
SIR ARTHUR PEARSON was received with loud applause, the audience rising. He said : I feel it a very great honor that I should be permitted to address the members of the Empire Club, particularly as the ideals and aspirations of the Club are and always have been wholly my own. I regard it as a privilege to be permitted to speak to so distinguished an audience of the great business and professional interests of this great Dominion. I should like to tell you something of the gallant men who with such courage, such resolution and such determination are learning or have learned to be blind under my care at St. Dunstan's-which is a generic term for a group of establishments. We started in the original house of St. Dunstan's, a very magnificent, mansion on the borders of Richmond Park. It possesses the largest grounds of any house in London in panoramic appearance, and was placed at my disposal by that eminent financier, Mr. Otto Cohen. He has been more than generous; he has permitted me to do absolutely as I liked with his lovely property. But St. Dunstan's has grown far beyond its original confines. It now includes half a dozen establishments in London, grouped closely around the parent house, and another in the country, where fellows are sent who need a period of recuperation, and also fellows after hospital, or those who are more seriously invalided than by mere blindness, have found a home there. I wish I could take you through the whole of that wonderful place. The thing that would amaze you most would be the air of cheeriness and happiness that pervades it all-to most people the most remarkable feature. There is no happier, gayer body of men in the world than the 700 blinded soldiers who are at the present moment in St. Dunstan's. (Applause.) As an indication of their spirit I will tell you what they did on Armistice Day. No arrangements were made. When the news came through about a quarter to eleven, every one threw down his tools or Braille book, or automatic typewriter, and stopped automatically; of course that was to be expected. In the afternoon the fire engine was brought out, and the motor-car was produced from the garage; the motor-car was harnessed to the fire engine; and St. Dunstan's Rag-time Band-a very good band, let me tell you- moved with fire engine and the men of St. Dunstan's, the fire engine letting out a column of fire behind, and those fellows to the number of 600 marched through the streets of London, all through the principal streets, with the band playing in front. I don't mind telling you they had some reception. (Applause.) A reporter of one of the London papers heard what was going on, and set out to chase them. He asked policemen, pedestrians and taxi-drivers and different people where the blind fellows were, and he said he always got the same reply-"All on their own"-and those are the words with which he ended his story that day. (Laughter.) And that was very typical of the experience of St. Dunstan's.
We teach many things at St. Dunstan's. First of all, we teach men to be blind. That is a hard lesson, but it does not take very long to learn, and the splendid spirit of optimism and cheeriness that pervades the place makes it infinitely less hard than could possibly be supposed. The place is not merely a joy house; it is a place of very serious business. One of the greatest compliments, I think, that has been paid to St. Dunstan's was paid by a very important business man a few weeks ago before I came away. After going through he came to see me in my office and said, "This place of yours gives me exactly the same impression that I have often received in going through a large, well-managed and prosperous business establishment." St. Dunstan's is well managed, and I was very glad to hear from him he thought it to be, and prosperous it has most decidedly become-prosperous in the fact that it transforms what to most people's minds would be human material of the most crude and hopeless description into the bright, happy outcome of human endeavor. (Applause.)
Let us take a glance into the class-rooms, a very large building put up in the grounds, capable of holding 300 men at a time. Here you find men learning Braille -a difficult art, but not impossible to anybody; it requires patience and concentration-two qualities that the loss of one's sight does not in any way diminish. Each one has his own individual teacher, and I cannot speak too highly of the services of those ladies who come twice every day, in all weathers-not to speak -of their other engagements-to teach their blinded soldiers to read again. They learn typewriting, too, all of them, simply as an ordinary accomplishment, just as they have to learn to read again, so they have to learn to write. One's handwriting deteriorates when one's sight goes, inevitably and more or less rapidly. The typewriter automatically prevents most of the mistakes of the blind writer, and all the men of St. Dunstan's learn to operate the typewriter, and learn it with amazing speed. One day I was going through the ranch, and heard a typewriter, and I said, "Who is it?" "Tom." I said, "Haven't you been here only four or five weeks?" "Five weeks yesterday." "You have never used a typewriter before?" He said, "I have never seen a typewriter." (Laughter and applause.) And the speed with which that typewriting is acquired is a tremendous incentive to tackle more difficult tasks set them as time goes on.
Before leaving the class-rooms I wish to speak to you of the highest development that is taught there, that is apparently impossible, and I am sure to practically all of you incomprehensible, and that is, the shorthand writing by blind operators.. It would take me too long to describe how it is done. An ingenious little machine has to be called into use, and you can take it from me that our fellows leave St. Dunstan's with an absolutely guaranteed speed of ,100 words a minute or more. (Applause.) The men who take up this as a profession, of course, require typewriting in its highest form, all sorts of typewriters' work, and they know all about the mechanism of a typewriter, so that if anything goes wrong there is no need to call on anyone for assistance. I want to dwell on this for you business men; because one or two have already returned to 300 men at a time. Here you find men learning Braille -a difficult art, but not impossible to anybody; it requires patience and concentration-two qualities that the loss of one's sight does not in any way diminish. Each one has his own individual teacher, and I cannot speak too highly of the services of those ladies who come twice every day, in all weathers-not to speak -of their other engagements-to teach their blinded soldiers to read again. They learn typewriting, too, all of them, simply as an ordinary accomplishment, just as they have to learn to read again, so they have to learn to write. One's handwriting deteriorates when one's sight goes, inevitably and more or less rapidly. The typewriter automatically prevents most of the mistakes of the blind writer, and all the men of St. Dunstan's learn to operate the typewriter, and learn it with amazing speed. One day I was going through the ranch, and heard a typewriter, and I said, "Who is it?" "Tom." I said, "Haven't you been here only four or five weeks?" "Five weeks yesterday." "You have never used a typewriter before?" He said, "I have never seen a typewriter." (Laughter and applause.) And the speed with which that typewriting is acquired is a tremendous incentive to tackle more difficult tasks set them as time goes on.
Before leaving the class-rooms I wish to speak to you of the highest development that is taught there, that is apparently impossible, and I am sure to practically all of you incomprehensible, and that is, the shorthand writing by blind operators. It would take me too long to describe how it is done. An ingenious little machine has to be called into use, and you can take it from me that our fellows leave St. Dunstan's with an absolutely guaranteed speed of .100 words a minute or more. (Applause.) The men who take up this as a profession, of course, require typewriting in its highest form, all sorts of typewriters' work, and they know all about the mechanism of a typewriter, so that if anything goes wrong there is no need to call on anyone for assistance. I want to dwell on this for you business men; because one or two have already returned to Toronto and several more are returning, and I want Toronto to feel that the same thing will be happening here as happens in London. The business men of London and great provincial towns are not, as they were originally, skeptical as to the abilities of a blind shorthandtypewriter, and are asking for him. (Applause.) The Executive of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, 36 King St., East, will always be glad to give an opportunity to any man who wishes to try the experiment-it won't be an experiment for long-to present the work of a blind shorthand secretary, and will always be glad to give the names of any who are already here, or who are coming; and I have not the slightest doubt that those men will all make good. Our fellows who have gone into it are today earning salaries the same as, or better than, their sighted compeers, and I think in the case of everyone of them, are earning more money than they did when they could see. (Applause.)
Now we pass out of the class-rooms along the covered way that leads to the workshops, and on the way is the place where massage is taught. Now, that, again, has been a very remarkable success in the case of St. Dunstan's. As with shorthand writing, the success is particularly gratifying to me because I started it in the teeth of the firmest opposition by those who thought' they knew. They said, "No, there have- been one or two blind shorthand writers ,before, but they are people who have always been blind." Again, with the massage, "There have been a few, I think to the number of three, blind masseurs, but those are men who were medical students, who are doctors, who already knew the amount of anatomy, physiology, and pathology necessary, and it was therefore comparatively easy, but it cannot be done." What are the facts? The facts are these. All our fellows passed the examination of the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseurs. There has not been a failure yet, not one, and everyone of the 62 men who have already passed and gone out are either employed in military hospitals or in civilians' apartments, or have already started out in private practice for themselves, and the poorest of those men started right away and has held his place from the start with a salary of 12,10 a week. (Applause.) You must remember, please, when I tell you the salary figures that fill me with pride, that I am talking of England, and that the sums that seem considerable to us are not so considerable here, and I always like to mention the salaries, not particularly because I am a money grubber, but because money is a very useful thing to have about the house, and I don't believe anybody need despise it. It is not from that point of view; it is because, after all, the salary a man earns that is a criterion of his capacity. It is very well for people to say, "Oh yes, the dear blinded soldiers are very wonderful, and it is remarkable how cheerful they are, and so on, but after all, when it comes down to hard tacks, what can they do?" Well, I like to tell them what they can do, and that means money.
From the Massage Department we will pass along to the work shops. Here the men learn quite a variety of trades-carpentry, cobbling, basket-making, art working-and at all of those they acquire proficiency in a remarkably short space of time. As illustrating that, I will tell you a thing that was very practical, that happened at St. Dunstan's about two years ago. The chairman of the largest workshops for the blind in England, in Manchester, wrote and asked if I would receive a deputation from his committee. I said, "Of course." I thought they had come to talk to me about funds, because most of those institutions are not very well off, and I do happen in the past to have acquired the knack of raising money for deserving places. However, it was nothing of the kind. They came to my room, five of them, and they said, "Now, we have been looking at 'the men you have trained here, who have settled in Lancashire, and we have come to ask you how it is that in a period of from eight to twelve months you can teach a man what. it takes us five or six years to teach him?" Well, I pursued the subject and showed that not only had the men learned the industry which had so much interested them, but they had also learned to read Braille and typewriting and learned to row, and swim, and learned to handle themselves, and all kinds of other things. Then came the answer to the question, and my answer was a longish one -I will boil it down to the two principal points-I said, "Abolish that revolting word 'Affliction,' try to realize comforts, and you cut the time of training by half at once." (Applause.) I then asked how many blind teachers they had, and they replied none. I asked how many had they ever had, and they said none. I said again, "Go back, and employ a few competent blind men among your own staff as teachers, and you will cut the time in half again, for a blind teacher is the great asset of St. Dunstan's." Think what it means. Let anyone of you get hold of a man that has lost his sight, and set him down to do something, and you say, "Come along, old chap, you do this, or that, or the other, and it is quite easy;" and he says, "What in the name of everybody do you know about it?" And you don't know anything. The blind man knows when he is shown right, and consequently he feels, "If he can do it, I can do it." And we develop the principle of blind tuition to its utmost capacity at St. Dunstan's. When a man in any of the departments shows unusual ability, I ask him if he will take the place of pupil-teacher. He is paid a wage, and he starts in instructing the newcomers in what they have to do. Imagine what that is to the newcomer, when he realizes that the man that is showing him was himself blinded in the trenches less than a year ago.
Poultry farming is another industry at St. Dunstan's. Again it seems curious for blind people, but it is a thing they acquire with great facility, and for people that live in the country and are accustomed to country pursuits it is a quite well-paying industry.
I should like to tell you more about the carpentry and joinery, for it is an absolutely new industry for blind people, and it is a thing that honestly seems impossible that a fellow who cannot see should be able to handle carpenter's tools and turn out the beautiful work that those fellows turn out-beautiful little tables, ornamental cupboards, photo frames, heavier stuff, such as wardrobes, tables, etc. As an instance, we saw a fellow putting in a floor in High Street, Eton. He was a photo framer, and the principal instructor, an extremely able blind man, said to him that he thought the work shops would like to fit the shop up-it was an empty shop-and I said "Certainly, let them go at it." He went down there with his little teacher, measured it, and set three of his pupils at the job. One made the back cupboards, another the pay counter with its desk, and the other the shop window front. I had experts to see the work; I had a regular show, and got people connected with the large furniture shops to see it, and they told me that if that work had been produced at Maple's or Waring's, or at some regular shop, it could not have been better done. (Applause.) I think that, from the workmanship point of view, is the great triumph of St. Dunstan's. We have many of those fellows coming back to England; and people coming across their work will be quite amazed at how they do it and the quality of it when it is done.
In the paper this morning, in the report, of what I said yesterday, I read that we taught knitting at St. Dunstan's. We do not teach knitting at St. Dunstan's. We teach them netting, which may be looked upon as a paying hobby and not an industry, and it helps the fellows to follow up. We do--not teach knitting for two reasons. First, the machine knitting done by the aid of a Swiss machine is not a very manly job; secondly it is one of the things I prefer to ear-mark for blind girls.. (Applause.)
May I digress for a moment from St. Dunstan's to say something about blind girls. When the last blinded soldier has been cared for, indeed before that, I and my colleagues are going to turn our attention very seriously to the blind girl,, who, on the whole, is a very neglected and after all very sad type, I think in practically all countries. I am very glad to see that that splendid body of women, the Ladies' Association connected with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, is taking the blind girl problem seriously in this city and throughout Canada, and I have worked in the closest co-operation with them. In the National Institute for the Blind, in London, of which I have the honor to be President, we are extremely interested in blind girls. We are the only printers of Braille literature in the British Empire, and produce it in very large quantities. You must not run away with the idea that they only have the Bible; they have an abundance of literature of the present and past. Thirty-eight girls are engaged in making those Braille books. They live in a very happy community, near by, in a hostel where they' have every comfort at a very low price. They are paid good wages, just the same as girls who can see are paid for the same work, and they are the brightest, cheeriest body of young women you could see. We hear them talk about the color of the hats they are going to wear; their dress is cut in the latest fashion, and they are dear little feminine creatures. Very many people have thought that when you lose your sight, you lose most of your other senses, and they seem to think that in regard to girls much more than men. I had an amusing little instance of that a few months ago. A lady wrote me and asked if she might bring her daughter to me, and she brought to me a charming girl, sixteen years old, who had been blind since earliest childhood. I found that this little girl did absolutely nothing. I asked her about Braille, about typewriting, and her mother kept going on saying, "Oh, but she can dress herself"-as if that were the foundation and the ending of everything. Well, we talked and talked, and when the time came I took the little girl by the hand and said, "Now, Miss North, listen carefully to what I am going to say; and you, Mrs. North, listen." I said, "Fight mother! Fight mother! Fight mother!" From letters which I got from her quite regularly I do not mind telling you there is a good healthy scrap going on in the North house. (Laughter.)
While on the subject of blind women, I recall a very remarkable old lady. She is about sixty, and has been blind for about 20 years. She knits a great deal with her hands. I was very much surprised to find that she knew the color of five different sorts of wool. She knew white, black, red, green, and blue wool. I asked her how in the world she did it. She said, "It is quite simple; it is only a matter of using one's other senses and intelligence a little bit. White wool is much softer than any other; it is undyed and very soft. Black is much harsher than any other. Red wool comes just between those two, as you can again see for yourself, (Laughter.) then green wool has a funny little smell of its own, I suppose with the dye"-and I noticed it had. Then she 'stopped, and I said, "What about the blue?" She stopped and said, "Oh, you are not very bright; it is not one of the others." (Great Laughter.)
My blinded soldiers learn to play as well as work. The ideal we have before us at St. Dunstan's all the time is normality. The first thing I say to a fellow when I meet him is this, "You are not coming to an Institution for the Blind; we have not any blind people at St. Dunstan's; you are coming to a place full of normal men who don't see." When the fellow gets that in his soul it is all well with him. Play is just as normal as work. The fellows learn to row with quite remarkable skill. Many of them who have never been in a bigger piece of water than a bath tub learn to be efficient swimmers. They go into the tug-of-war, three-legged races, sack races, and all that, and the spirit of emulation runs as keenly among them as it does among your good Canadian sportsmen. They learn to play lacrosse; still that doesn't make any difference to the game, (Laughter.); and should any of you come across a St. Dunstan's graduate who plays a good game of bridge, all that will happen will be that when dummy is laid down the cards will be called for and each-player as he places his card will announce it as it is put down; and with these trifling differences the game will go on exactly the same as it does among full-sighted players. Domino tournaments are a regular feature. Some fellows play chess. That is a little beyond me. I always thought chess was too much like work, but some of the officers are particularly keen on it. They play quite a variety of other indoor games they pick up. Dancing is extremely popular; it teaches a man balance and control; it teaches him nearness of obstacles-not by the sense of hearing, as appeared in the paper this morning, because you do not make an awful lot of noise when you dance. That curious "sense of obstacle" that comes to blind people more or less rapidly, and enables you quite unfailingly to tell whether you are more than a foot or two within the sweep of the object, does more than is generally considered, and there are no more collisions in the ball room at St. Dunstan's than in any other, especially with the finished pupils.
I should like to tell you about the system. We do not shake the fellow by the hand, and say "Good bye, old chap, good luck." We look after him with completeness and thorough care. The head of the Vocational Department is a young officer who was blinded at the Somme in 1916, and who has 13 people under him, and is conducting the rather complicated business of looking after the 800 men we have among us with business-like aptitude. We provide those fellows with 'a home, we supervise their work for the first two months, and we generally care for them from the point of view of their wives, families, holidays, etc. It is a very complete system. The country is divided into districts, and it is all done on a business-like basis.
I am pleased to tell you that the men of St. Dunstan's are not the only competent blind men. You have Mr. Johnston, the publisher of this town; Mr. Lindsay, the musical publisher of Montreal, Mr. Tom Foster, a lawyer in Montreal; and there are plenty of blind men who made good before St. Dunstan's started, but I think in all probability that most of those who lost their sight in adult life had a very hard row to hoe for some years. Our fellows are spared that, and they get right into it. The causes of our success at St. Dunstan's are, first, the acceptance of that standard of normality to which I have referred; secondly,though I ought to put it first-that splendid spirit of courage, independence and determination. I have about sixty of your Canadian blinded soldiers with me at St. Dunstan's now, and those fellows show the same spirit that carried them up Vimy Ridge, and I know what that meant, because last year I was up at Vimy Ridge myself, and how in the world that ridge could have been stormed by human beings is one of the mysteries that always confronted me. The same determination that took your gallant fellows up Vimy Ridge will enable them to gain the even harder victory which they are securing over the grim foe who sought to destroy spirit as well as sight. (Applause.)
I could talk to you for quite a long time about examples, but I do not need to talk to you in Toronto about examples at St. Dunstan's, because you have plenty of them-Capt. Edwin Baker, perhaps the most proficient boy I ever had to live with me. (Applause.) He returned first to the Hydro Electric Power Commission in Toronto, and has now been appointed by Sir James Lougheed's Department to look after the blinded soldiers who have already returned, and who are returning, and those who have not been to St. Dunstan's. No better examples of resolute, self-reliant blind men could be found than Capt. Baker, and those of his other colleagues here. (Applause.) Mr. Viets represents the Imperial Insurance Company; he may have hit some of you already, and if he has not, I hope he will. He is doing splendidly. I think the officials of that company will tell you that he counts for a good deal in their proceedings. Sgt. Malone, masseur, is doing excellently in private practice, and I hope all of you will remember him, and here I am going to make a little digression. If there are any medical men in this audience, I hope they will bear with me when I ask them to give a show to the blind masseur. Massage is the one thing which a blind man can do not only as well as, but better than the other fellow. There is no doubt about that. It has been a first-rate success in England. A great deal of prejudice had to be overcome, but it was overcome, owing to the fact that I sent my fellows, when they were trained, to the great military hospitals where the doctors had an opportunity of seeing their work and how they did it. I have some most amazing testimonials from the greatest orthopedic man of the day, Sir Arthur Jones, who has a wonderful hospital near Liverpool, and he wrote me a testimonial of the four men who had been with him a year and more, and if I had dictated it and sent it to him to sign, I should not have dared to put the case as strongly as he did. Some splendid soldier masseurs are coming back to Canada, and I hope you gentlemen will bear them in mind and communicate with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind if you are in need of a man of that kind, and that any medical men present will believe in the honesty of what I have told them and give the blinded masseur the inestimable benefit of their support and of their faith in the quality of his work. (Applause.) Private McDougall, another masseur, who under Government auspices is now instructing both blinded and sighted people at Hart House, who passed third out of 243 at graduation, is another splendid example in Toronto of the men of St. Dunstan's, such as Bill Dies, of whom your Chairman has spoken. Dies is one of the considerable number of fellows we have who suffer from the double handicap of loss of sight and loss of one hand, but that has not made any difference to Dies, and it is not going to. (Applause.) He has the right spirit, and I hope he will, as we talked matters over yesterday, shortly find himself established in some business at which I know he will succeed. We set up our one handed fellows in England as news agents, tobacconists, general stores and things of that sort, and they are doing amazingly well. It happens, curiously, that taking the average earnings, the men who are blind and one handed are the highest of all. (Applause.) Of course, it is owing the difference in the business.
In England we have a very great number of wonderful examples of success. I will just name three to you, two non-commissioned officers, and a private soldier. I spoke of some others yesterday. The father of the officer, Lieut. Ross, was a babbitt manufacturer in Leicester; he had been a very few months in business when the war broke out. His father died while he was fighting in France; he went back to find his brother, who had also been invalided out of the service, and had come back to business, and those fellows have gone into business now, and have done a great deal better than they had ever done before; and Lieut. Ross secured entirely on his own initiative, a contract for an entirely new branch of business, which in the first twelve months brought a profit of 12,500 additional to the firm. (Applause.) Sgt. Pettit, one of the joiners I have been telling you of, is a photo frame maker at Harrow. You remember we just set a fellow up at Eton. Outside of every big English public school I have these men, and I have shops waiting outside for us where they are not at present. The reason is that little boys at school have a way of wanting photographs of their football teams, and their own photographs. Three times a. year along comes a fresh crop of customers, and as long as the work is right you will keep such customers. This man Pettit was a game-keeper earning 22 shillings a week before he went to the front. He specialized on photo frames, and is now outside the Harrow School, and the last I heard of him was that he was earning a steady 18 a week. (Applause.) The last instance I will tell, will probably strike you as the most notable of all, Private Jackson, of Birkenhead. He had' been a barber, and took to making light fancy baskets, pretty little ornamental work-baskets, and things of that kind. He became extremely practical, and a thoroughly good fellow all round. When I had my good-bye with him, I said "Well, Jackson, I was thinking about you when I was getting up this morning, and as I was shaving myself it occurred to me, why can't you go on shaving people?" Jackson said, "Well, I really don't know why I shouldn't, but I don't know if I could get anyone to trust me." I said, "Oh, yes, you will." Well, Jackson got someone to trust him, and with an ordinary old-fashioned, open-bladed razor, Jackson is today shaving more people than he ever did in his life. (Laughter and applause.) The last I heard from him he said he hadn't drawn blood yet. (Laughter.) That is a very remarkable instance as showing the manner in which a man is able to adapt himself to do work which almost any human being would say was absolutely and hopelessly beyond his capacity.
Drummer Deans is one of the features at St. Dunstan's. I call him the drummer because he came back with eight years service. He joined the army as a drummer boy at the age of 12. He is blind, his right hand is off, and all the fingers of his left hand are off, except the little finger. He typewrites quite nicely at about two-thirds of ordinary speed. He is the cheeriest boy in the world. I came across him in the hall the other day. He had been there about three years, and I said, "Well, Drummer, when are you going to go?" He said, "Whenever you chuck me out." He is not going to go, because whenever a fellow feels in the dumps we turn the drummer on him. He ties his own tie, and he is enormously annoyed because he cannot button his collar; however, he has to put up with that. I want to tell you a story about him as illustrating the cheery spirit of St. Dunstan's. He was in the shop, and somebody in the shop noticed his blind eyes and his arm, and asked, "Lord, did you get that in the war?" "War? War?" said Drummer Deans; "What are you talking about? I got that in a bicycle accident in the Old Kent Road." (Laughter.) One of the young officers was asked to spend a week-end with some friends a week ago, and when he got to the house he found that owing to illness they were unable to give him a bedroom, and asked him if he would mind sleeping in the Porter's Lodge about sixty yards away from the house. To which he agreed. He went down there at bedtime, and they told him the gatekeeper was away at the war, but his wife would look after him all right. He went into the house, and he was received by two women,, and one of them introduced herself, and explained her presence thus: "You see here my daughter. I am an old woman and my daughter being a respectable young married woman, I thought it was best that I should come along to bath you in the morning." (Great laughter.)
I will give you one case in which rather an awkward situation sometimes arises when one does not see as well as one used to. A few months ago I was going to dine at a friend's house, who lives at Portland Place in London, and I was . a little late and was bustling along there as quickly as I could, and I met one of those individuals you know-the kind of fellow, I mean, who expects people to get out of his way. This time he was disappointed, and we came into somewhat violent collision, and he said, "Why the devil don't you look where you are going?" I said, "Well, if it comes to that, why the devil don't you?" He replied, "I asked the question first; what is your answer?" I said,--"I am blind." He said, "Rats!"-and away he went. (Laughter.)
At the risk of appearing egotistic I wish t tell you another story about myself, because it illustrates the very simple way in which one manages to get along, and to do what to people who can see, seems incomprehensible. I was alone one morning on the street, and coming back there was a side street to cross, and I heard a cart coming, the cart stopped exactly in front of me, I made a detour across the street and went on, a friend of mine happened to be coming down the street behind me and said, "It was very wonderful how you avoided that cart." I said, "I don't quite see why; it was such a long one." I said, "Think for yourself a minute; the cart stopped, I could hear the horse breathing, so I knew he was exactly in front of me; I smelt the smell of coal, therefore I knew it was a coal cart, and therefore a long cart, and I took the right detour and here I am." (Laughter.) He said, "You were wonderful." I said, "Nothing of the kind; it simply means that I arrived at the conclusion by the combined use of my senses of hearing and smell, while you arrive at it with all your senses, including sight. Nothing wonderful at all"-and neither it was. Just before I left London I had a letter from one of my fellows who settled down in Taunton, Somersetshire. He was quite amusing. He was telling me that he was out shopping with the wife and she left him in the Market Square, and an old gentleman came up and said, "Excuse me, do you mind telling me the time? My sight is failing, and I can't make it out any longer by the town clock." My fellow said, "I slipped my hand in my pocket and felt the time, and said, it is five minutes past three." The old gentleman said, "Thank you very much, it is very sad when one's sight fails and one can no longer see the time by the town clock!" (Laughter:)
The pleasantest thing I can think of in connection with St. Dunstan's is the fact that the ideals which have been carried out there are going to be most far-reaching, and I hope immensely important to blind people all over the world, and very particularly, I believe, here in Canada. The fellows who have returned from St. Dunstan's here have the- benefit of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and the co-operation of its able President, Mr. L. M. Wood, and some very leading business men of Canada, who have become Vice-Presidents or members of the Committee; and they are going to make a whole wide-world of difference to the blind people of Canada. Though the results of St. Dunstan's, so far as the blinded soldier is concerned, are very wonderful-and I am not at all modest about it, you will observe-yet I think the results reaching far into the future will inevitably be more wonderful still.
the other evening when I left New York I read a paragraph in a paper to the effect that they were just starting a train service from Paris to Athens which was going to be continued to Bagdad, and the word Bagdad reminded me of Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, whom you probably all remember from your childhood days. Aladdin, you recall, went through Bagdad calling, "Old Lamps for New!" At St. Dunstan's we exchange old lamps for new. For the old battered, bandaged, and broken lamps of life which come in to us we exchange bright, new, shining lamps. These lamps are kept full with the oil of contentment; the wick of faith is kept trimmed, and the light which is beaming from those lamps is, I believe, going to illumine the whole world of the blind in such a way as it has never been illumined before. (Prolonged applause.)
The thanks of the club were extended to the speaker for his wonderfully instructive and interesting address.