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An Irish surgeon who had couched a cataract and restored the sight of a poor woman in Dublin, observed in her case what he deemed a phenomenon in optics; on which he called together his professional brethren, declaring himself unequal to the solution.

He stated to them that the sight of his patient was so perfectly restored, that she could see to thread the smallest needle, or to perform any other operation, which required particular accuracy of vision; but that when he presented her with a book, she was not capable of distinguishing one letter from another!

This very singular case excited the ingenuity of all the gentlemen present, and various solutions were offered, but none could command the general assent. Doubt crowded on doubt, and the problem grew darker from every explanation, when at length, by a question put by the servant who attended, it was discovered that the woman never learned to read!

(The United States Almanac for 1798)




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