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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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Sister and I were sitting in the nursery; Mr. B came in and told us a gentleman in the parlor wished to see us. We went down immediately; on entering, Mr. B. asked sister if she had ever seen his friend before. To which she answered that "she thought not." The stranger then said:


"Have you forgotten your brother William?" We both ran to him, and were most fondly held to his heart. He seated me upon his knee, and gazing into my face discovered I was blind! Oh! the anguish of that moment. Large tears of sympathy rolled down his manly cheeks, and in speechless agony he pressed me to his bosom.


When his emotion had sufficiently subsided to allow him to speak, he bent over me and in low soft tones whispered: "Sister, it is the will of God, it is all right." This calmed my wildly throbbing heart, and I felt I could submit to my affliction, although forever shut out from me was the face of him I so dearly loved, save as memory had portrayed it years ago. I could say: "Thy will and not mine be done, O Lord!"


Four of our long-separated family were now reunited. Where were the remaining two? Father and brother Howard? Where had they wandered? Unchecked the wish arose that they ere long might be added to our group.


Until a late hour that night we were recapitulating the various scenes of our lives. We found each had suffered, but mine had been the most heavily clouded, and was too sorrowful to shadow our first evening together. Nor will my father, brothers or sister know all it fell to my lot to endure, till they scan the simple story contained in these pages.


Brother William told us he had been living in Racine, Wisconsin, the last nine years, with the same persons with whom father had left him. He had always been treated by them with great kindness; indeed they had been like parents to him. In a few days he departed from us to return home, promising to make every inquiry concerning Howard, our younger brother.


Upon bidding me farewell he placed in my hand twenty-five dollars, telling me to give it to my doctor, it might encourage him to do his utmost to restore my sight.


Fall and winter passed; my sight was in no way improved, and my health was declining. My sister was now keeping a large boarding-house, and I must not forget to mention the many kindnesses of the boarders to me. There was one in particular, whose attention and friendly offices I shall ever remember. He made constant sacrifices of his leisure to sit by me and read or write for me. He also frequently entertained me by playing on the flute, in which he was quite skilled: his favorite melody too was the one my dear departed mother so much loved, "Home, sweet, sweet Home." Often have I been soothed listening to the plaintive strains, for they recalled her angel presence, yet ever as the dulcet notes would die away "would come the sad truth, she had left me, never to return. Oh!


"I miss thee, my mother! thy image is still
The deepest impressed on my heart,
And the tablet so faithful, in death must be chill,
Ere a line of that image depart."


One bright day during that spring, while brother Charles was walking down Randolph street, he met a youth who inquired of him where Mr. Barton, a carriage manufacturer, could be found. He told him he was then on his way there, and if he would accompany him he would conduct him to the gentleman's establishment.


As they walked along, the stranger informed Charles he had just arrived, in the Michigan cars, and was entirely unacquainted in the city. On reaching the shop, and brother indicating to him which was Mr. Barton, he stepped up to him and said: "Do not think me impertinent if I ask the name of the lady you married." Mr. B. told him. Virginia Day. To which the stranger replied: "She is my sister." There was a second affectionate greeting in that shop between brothers, after which they came to the house. Sister was in the parlor; on hearing the door open, she looked around. Her eye rested a moment on the stranger, when with an eager cry of joy she sprang towards him, exclaiming: "O Howard! Howard! my darling brother!" She brushed the hair back from his forehead, and gazed with pride upon his noble countenance.


At this time I was confined to my bed, and sister in speaking of me narrated to him my great affliction. With extreme caution they informed me of his arrival. He came to my room, and when clasped in those manly arms I could scarce believe it was the little brother I had parted from years before.


In a few days I was able to sit up; we sent for brother William. He came, and the hour we had so longed for had at last arrived. We were once again a united family save the presence of our father. All thought him dead except myself. I always felt we should meet again. Brother William after spending a few days with us returned home, brother Howard remaining to learn a trade with Mr. Barton.


Like myself, he had met with much unkind treatment. The persons with whom father placed him after a short time elapsed, cast him off, not caring what became of him. He was anxious to acquire knowledge. As soon as he was large enough to work, he toiled early and late to earn sufficient to purchase clothing, pay his board, and during the winter season attend school. In this way he received a fair education, and is now in Iowa, engaged in business for himself.

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