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Incidents In The Life Of A Blind Girl

Creator: Mary L. Day (author)
Date: 1859
Publisher: James Young, Baltimore
Source: Available at selected libraries
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 2

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Page 12:


A physician being called in, he pronounced my disease congestion of the brain, caused by some great shock to my nervous system.


My new friends, as may be supposed, were anxious to learn my name and history, which, when recovered, I narrated to them, not omitting Mrs. P.'s treatment; at this they were greatly surprised, for knowing her well, they had not thought her capable of so much harshness. They had believed her a Christian, one who revered and kept the holy injunctions laid down upon the sacred pages of the book of books. Mrs. Downly said I should remain with her until I was eighteen, at which time I would be better able to take care of and provide for myself.


The rest of the summer passed very pleasantly. Mr. and Mrs. D. were kind, and I felt a guiding Providence had instructed my steps towards their door. But a greater trial than any I had as yet endured was in store for me. It was now the last day of August. I was sitting at the front window admiring the beautiful sky, so clear, so apparently transparent, one might have fancied they could have gazed through it into the far-beyond. So pleasant was it I turned from the window and thought to enjoy a walk in the garden. Upon opening the door, I was greatly astonished to see rising rapidly in the distance, one of the blackest clouds I had ever beheld. While watching its approach and heavy gathering masses, I called Mrs. Downly to come and look at it; she said there would be a violent thunderstorm, and we hastened to close the windows and doors securely.


I still stood watching the heavens, changed as they were; there was no sound of thunder, no flash of lightning. Little thought I that dark portentous cloud would be the last my vision would rest upon. Like a thing of power, it stalked through the sky and then disappeared. Contrary to our expectations no rain followed. I am not superstitious, but I have sometimes thought that mighty moving shadow was a premonition of the terrible cloud about to settle down upon the horizon of my life -- burying all things in thick darkness.


Towards evening of that long to be remembered day, I was attacked with severe pain in my eyes, yet I could not discover that they looked differently from what they usually had. The light of the candle caused, me great pain, and before retiring I observed the lids were very much swollen. I suffered intensely with them that night, and by the morning they were painfully inflamed. I had constantly to be wiping them to be able to see at all. They continued in this way until noon. I went to the looking-glass, and after wiping them about five minutes I could see distinctly. They then closed, and in less than twenty-four hours I was blind! forever blind!


The doctor was sent for; he prescribed a lotion, the application of which caused acute pain, and seemed to afford little or no relief -- indeed, it did more harm than good.


Every neighbor far and near advised a remedy, a number of which were tried during the following two weeks, my eyes still continuing to grow worse. Finally, a lady who in riding out was caught in a storm, and came into our house for protection, offered to effect a cure if I would return home with her. Mrs. D. informed her of my friendless situation. Mrs. Weller said she would take me with her and make every effort to have my sight restored; and that I should remain with her as long as I desired. We started; a seven miles' drive brought us to Marshall. It was here Mrs. Palmer had sent me out alone and unprotected six months previous. How great a misfortune had befallen me in that time! Mrs. W. treated me with every kindness, and employed all the means in her power to effect the restoration of my sight, but in vain; the inflammation instead of abating continued to increase.


When I had been with Mrs. W. a month, the whole family was taken sick with the ague and fever; so ill were they, one could not wait upon the other, and worse than all, we had no means of support, for we depended upon Mr. W.'s labor, and he was prostrated with the chills. Their parents lived about twenty miles in the country, and they were compelled to go home to them to be taken care of. Mrs. W. said she would take me with them, and we all set out for Clarence. It was now the last of October.


We had not travelled many miles before Mr. and Mrs. Weller were attacked with chills; the jolting of the carriage and the heat of the sun had given me a violent nervous headache. Mr. W. was so ill he could scarcely drive. It was quite dark when we reached his mother's door. The old lady came out and helped one after another from the carriage. Upon seeing me she asked: "Who is this you have with you?" Mrs. W. told her I was a little blind girl who had been living with them, to which information her mother replied: "Well, I think you had enough of your own to bring home sick without other people's." At the same time she was as kind to me as to her own children, and lifted me as tenderly from the carriage. I did not wonder at her expression after I had entered the house; her daughter and husband and child were lying sick, having arrived the day before.

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