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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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Father then had an offer made him to go to the far West, which he promptly accepted. We were soon ready to start; it was with delight my mother left New-York, for the closeness of its atmosphere had greatly impaired the health of her children as well as herself. A long time elapsed ere we reached our journey's end, the conveniences for travel being then widely different to what they now are; railroads were the appliances of a later day.


Our first stopping-place was White Pigeon, Michigan. The person who made father the offer failed to meet his agreement, consequently our little family were forced to depend upon his labor as journeyman, and this in a newly-settled country. We lived in White Pigeon six months, when my father obtaining employment in Shermantown, we removed thither. Here we were rather more comfortably situated than previously. Mother, being unaccustomed to hard or laborious work, felt greatly the loss of faithful Aunt Patty, our servant, whom she had been obliged to leave behind on account of her being a slave.


After living in Shermantown six months, another brother was added to our number. About this time father received some money from Baltimore, with which he purchased a tract of land about thirty miles from Shermantown, beautifully situated on the sloping bank of Silver Lake. The nearest town was six miles distant. Our land was located on the main road. About a hundred yards from the lake was a most romantic spot -- a hill covered with noble forest trees, sweet birds caroling joyously their lays, flitting through the graceful foliage, every variety of wild flower bespangling the gentle ascent, with winding paths leading to the summit, where grew a gigantic oak, bowing its lofty head as though in reverence to Him "who touched with beauty the cheek of the tiniest blossom blooming in Earth's garden bower. The limbs of this majestic oak bending low, took root again, and like the famed Banyan tree in India's far-off sunny clime, formed a beautiful arbor.


Our house was situated at the foot of this hill. With your permission, indulgent reader, I will outline the home of the early settler in the far West. It is built of logs, two rooms below and two above, a large open fire-place, the chimney of which is composed of sticks.


Our dwelling was rather better than that of most of the settlers. The logs were hewn and well chinked in with clay. When ready for our occupancy, mother left Shermantown with a light heart, for she felt she was going to a home of her own.


My first recollection is this removal. The Indians had set fire to the surrounding wood and prairie, and though very young, I distinctly remember covering my face with my mother's shawl to keep the smoke from my eyes. It was a frightful though a brilliant scene to behold the trees and underbrush in flames, with groups of red faces peering about in every direction. But they were friendly disposed, and insisted we should stop at their wigwams and eat some roast venison with them, to which father assented, thinking it best to keep on good terms with them. They danced with delight that the "pale face," his "squaw" and "pappooses," should sit by their fire and eat of their venison. They tried to caress and fondle me, but being very timid, I kept close to mother's side. This created much amusement among them; my fear, however, vanished ere we left them.


The next day we reached our new home, to the joy and pleasure of all. After the arrangement of our little furniture with care, we were really quite comfortable, more so than we had been since we left Baltimore. It was now November; the beauty of our home in summer was fast disappearing, giving place to autumn's deeper, richer tints. The trees had changed their verdant leafage for a reddened hue, and, though still very beautiful, touched by the early frost they seemed dreary and desolate, while the waters of the lake beating against the shore seemed mourning and wailing the departure of summer and the approach of sturdy, ice-clad winter.


My mother often sang the touching lines of "Home, sweet Home," her thoughts wandering back to the sunny South, the land of her birth, earth's most treasured spot. The very name of Baltimore was melody to her heart.




"DARK lowers our fate,
And terrible the storm that gathers o'er us." JOANNA BAILLIE.


"SWEET bud of the wilderness, emblem of all
That is left to this desolate heart."


MY father's work being in the village, he was unable to come home more than three times a week, this made it rather lonely for us. After night we could see the lights from the Indian wigwams, scattered here and there through the woods. To you, perhaps, gentle reader, who have not travelled very far from home, this will seem a fearful sight; but it was not so to us; far pleasanter was it than to have looked out upon that dark forest with no vestige of living human beings near. When we had retired for the night we could distinctly hear the wolves howling; terrifying indeed was the sound -- I think I shall never forget it!

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