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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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I had been with Mrs. Cook three years, when I received a letter from my sister in Chicago, stating she was married, and for some time had been trying to gain intelligence as to my whereabouts. She had found brother Charles, and he was living with her, and she wished me to join them. It seemed so singular I should receive a letter from my sister, not having heard from any of my family for so long a time. I was very desirous to see her, but felt as though I could not tear myself away from my dear friends who had so faithfully supplied the place of father, mother, brothers and sisters. We corresponded for two years, she urging me in every letter to come to her. Finally she sent me a paper containing the advertisement of a celebrated oculist, said to be performing almost miraculous cures in Chicago.


This decided me to attempt the journey. I had been with Mr. and Mrs. C. five years, and had had no opportunity of procuring skillful treatment of my eyes. Hope once more bid me anticipate a morrow, when should be removed the misty veil and I again see. I resolved to go to my sister and place myself under the advice of this famed oculist.




"I TRAVEL all the irksome night,
By ways to me unknown."


"FROM the sad years of life,
We sometimes do short hours, yea minutes, strike,
Keen, blissful, bright, never to be forgotten,
Which through the dreary gloom of time o'erpast,
Shine like fair sunny spots on a wild waste."


"AND whether we shall meet again, I know not;
Therefore, an everlasting farewell take:
If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;
If not, why, then this parting was well made."


By the second week in January, (a fortnight after my determination to go,) I was ready to start. The day of my departure Mrs. Cook took me into her room, where we were joined by Mr. C. Both gave me much good advice and counsel; their every word was carefully treasured in my memory, and has often been retrospected since that time.


They told me I had been a good girl, and had never done any thing to displease them; they also said, if they had ever spoken unkindly to me I must forget it. They thought it natural I should desire to be with my sister, but assured me if I needed a home their door would be open to me and a hearty welcome ready. If I at any time required assistance, I was to write and let them know, and it should be forthcoming.


The sleigh now made itself heard by the merry jingling of the bells; but they sounded not joyously as was their wont. They seemed the parting knell of the fond associations I had cherished. The final moment came; how can I describe what to me was so fraught with anguish? Mr. Cook accompanied me to the cars; before we were one mile from home the weather was so extremely cold, my cheeks were frost-bitten, and I had to hold snow to them to draw the frost out. "We soon reached the depot, and Mr. C. procured me a comfortable seat by the stove. He then bade me good-by and left me. Once again I was a lonely wanderer among strangers. How devious has been the way by which I have been led!


We travelled but slowly on account of the snow-banks that covered the track. No one spoke to me during the day except the conductor. Just as evening was setting in, the cars ran into a snow-bank eight feet high; they tried to force their way through it, but this attempt was about half-completed when they could get no farther. We were within a quarter of a mile of Kalamazoo. The conductor informed us it would be impossible for the ladies to get out, and that the gentlemen would have to crawl out and procure fuel and provision for us. He said they had sent to Marshall for another engine to extricate us from our difficulty, but it would not be there before morning. I was not alarmed, as I had learned there was no real danger. My seat by the stove was very comfortable, and my carpet-bag contained plenty of refreshment, thanks to my thoughtful friend, Mrs. C. While I was sitting thinking of the dear ones I had left, the pleasant home where they were, even then, doubtless, speaking kindly and tenderly of me, a gentleman came to me, and opened a conversation by inquiring how I liked the probability of being snow-bound till morning; also asking me if "I were near-sighted." I told him "so much so I could not see at all." He then offered to take me under his protection until we were removed from the snow-bank. I thanked him, and told him how glad I was to meet with a friend. He took a seat by me, and entertained me by narrating similar misfortunes during his travels. He thought we were very fortunate to be so near a town.


My friend told me he was on his way home to see his mother, whom he had not seen for seven years, and I in turn, informed him I was going to visit a sister and brother I had not seen since I was a very little child. We became quite sociable; it seemed as if I had always known him. Our attention was now drawn to a comical Yankee among the passengers, who was amusing them by relating various adventures he had had. His appearance was as grotesque as his conversation was ludicrous: his pants were of almost every color, his vest of variegated calico, and, besides a buckskin coat, a pair of nondescript boots, he wore an old slouched hat distorted into the most inconceivable kind of shape. After having entertained us for some time, he arose from his seat and exclaimed: "The rules say you must not put your feet on the cushions, but they say nothing about keeping a fellow all night in a snow-bank." Having made this speech, he so arranged two of the seats as to make a pretty comfortable couch, and throwing himself upon it was goon in the land of dreams; snoring most sonorously, no doubt in unison with the fancies flitting through his brain.

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