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ject, whether a sound came from the right or left, from above or below, from a smaller or a greater distance. And this will appear the less surprising, when we remember, that the undulations of air are always changed from their original direction by the channels and the windings of the ear before they strike the tympanum. Abundant facts confirm this statement.
Dr. Reid mentions, that once, as he was lying in beil, having been put into a fright, he heard his own heart beat. He took it to be some one knocking at the door, and arose, and opened the door oftener than
once before he discovered that the sound was in his own breast. Some traveller has related, that when he first heard the roaring of a lion in a desert wilderness, not seeing the animal, he did not know on what side to apprehend danger, as the sound seemed to him to proceed from the ground, and to enclose a circle, of which he and his companions stood in the centre.
It is by custom or experience that we learn to distinguish the place of things, and, in some measure also, their nature, by means of their sound. It is thus that we learn that one noise is in a contiguous room, that another is above our heads, and another is in the street. And what seems to be an evidence of this is, that when we are in a strange place, after all our experience, we very frequently find ourselves mistaken in these respects.
If a man born deaf were suddenly made to hear, he would probably consider his first sensations of sound as originating wholly within himself. But, in process of time, we learn not only to refer the origin of sounds to a position above or below, to the right or left, but to connect each particular sound with a particular external cause, referring one to a bell as its appropriate external cause, another to a flute, another to a trumpet.
$ 67. Application of these views to the art of ventriloquism. We are naturally led to make a few remarks here in explanation of VENTRILOQUISM, a well-known art, by which persons can so modify their voice as to make it appear to their audience to proceed from different objects, distances, and directions. There is no neculiarity of structure in ventriloquists, as is often supposed; except that the capacity of the chest and the lungs is sometimes found to be greater than usual. It is also true, that the power and activity of the muscles, connected with the organs of speech and with the chest and lungs, is considerably increased by frequent exercise. Nevertheless, the great natural requisite on the part of the ventriloquist is to be able to mimic sounds; and he will be likely to succeed nearly in proportion to his skill in this particular. The secret, then, of his acoustic deceptions, supposing him to be capable of exact imitation, will be sufficiently understood by referring to the statement maintained in the preceding section, viz., That, previous to experience, we are unable to refer sounds to any particular external cause.
The sound itself never gives us any direct and immediate indication of the place, or distance, or direction of the sonorous body. It is only by experience, it is only by the association of place with sound, that the latter becomes an indication of the former. Now supposing the ventriloquist to possess a delicate ear, which is implied in his ability to mimic sounds, he soon learns, by careful observation, the difference which change of place causes in the same sound. Having in this way ascertained the particular modulations of sound, which, in accordance with the experience of men and the associations they have formed, are appropriate to any particular distances, direction, or object, it is evident, whenever he exactly or very nearly imitates such modulations, that the sounds must appear to his audience to come from such distance, object, or direction.
One part of the art, however, consists in controlling the attention of persons present, and in directing that attention to some particular place by a remark, motion, or some other method. If, for instance, the sound is to come from under a tumbler or hat, the performer finds it important to have their attention directed to that particular object, which affords him an opportunity for the exercise of all those associations which they have formed with any sound coming from a very confined place. All, then, that remains for him to do, is to give his voice a dull modulation and on a low key, which we know from our experience
to be the character of confined sounds. Then there seems to be a voice speaking under a tumbler or hat; and it any person should, either intentionally or unintentionally, lift these articles up, the ventriloquist immediately utters himself more distinctly and freely, like a person who has deen very much confined on being readmitted into the free and
air. It is also necessary, when his face is towards his auditors, that he should make use chiefly of the muscles of the throat; an outward and visible moving of the lips would much weaken the deception.
0 68. Uses of hearing and its connexion with oral language. Although, as in the cases just mentioned, the artifices of men may sometimes impose upon this organ and lead its decisions astray, it is one, in the ordinary calls for its exercise, of exceeding value. One of the distinguished enefits of the sense of hearing is, that, in consequence of it, we are enabled to hold intercourse with each other by means of spoken language, without which the advancement of the human mind must have inevitably been very limited. It is by means of speech that we express our feelings to the little company of our neighbours and our own family; and without it this pleasant and cheering intercourse must be almost entirely suspended. Not limited in its beneficial results to families and neighbourhoods, it has been the medium of the transmission of thought from age to age, from generation to generation. So that in one age has been concentrated the result of all the researches, the combination of the wisdom of all the preceding
“There is, without all doubt,” it has been observed,"a chain of the thoughts of human kind, from the origin of the world down to the moment at which we exist, a chain not less universal than that of the generation of every being that lives. Ages have exerted their influence on ages; nations on nations; truths on errors ; errors on truths.”
Whether oral language was an original invention of man, or whether, in the first instance, it was a power bestowed upon him by his Creator and coeval with the human race, the ear must, in either case, have been the pri
mary recipient.—The faculty of speech, so necessary and so beneficial, could not have existed, either by invention or by communication, without the sense of hearing. And hence it happens, that all those who are born deaf are without speech. Their inability to speak is not in general the result of a defect in the organs of speech, but because they cannot hear others, and thus imitate the sounds they utter.
$ 69. Or the sense of touch and its sensations in general We are next to consider the sense of TOUCH. cipal organ of this sense is the hand, although it is not limited to that part of our frame, but is diffused over the whole body. The hanel principally arrests our attention as the organ of this sense, because, being furnished with various articulations, it is easily moveable by the muscles, and can readily adapt itself to the various changes of form in the objects to which it is applied.
The senses which have hitherto been examined, are more simple and uniform in their results than that of the touch. By the ear we merely possess that sensation which we denominate hearing; we have the knowledge of sounds, and that is all. By the palate we acquire a knowledge of tastes; and by the sense of smelling we become acquainted with the odours of bodies. The knowledge which is directly acquired by all these senses, is limited to the qualities which have been mentioned. By the sense of touch, on the contrary, we become acquainted, not with one merely, but with a variety of qualities or attributes, such as the following: heat and cold, hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, resistance, extension, and figure; and, in particular, it is in the application of this sense that we find an occasion furnished for the origin of the antecedent and more general no tion of externality.