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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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"Sow; and look onward, upward,
Where the starry light appears --
Where, in spite of the coward's doubting,
Or your own heart's trembling fears,
You shall reap in joy the harvest
You have sown to-day in tears." PROCTOR.


"WE must part awhile; and our love will be
The fonder after parting -- it will grow
Intenser in our absence, and again
Burn with a tender glow when I return."


THE ride, though a short one, exhausted me very much, and it was many days before I recovered from the extreme weakness and prostration consequent upon it. Contrary to my expectations, however, as well as to my physician's and friends', I did again rally, indeed sufficient to undertake the journey back with sister. All were delighted to see me, for they had not thought to do so again. Two or three days after our return, sister came into my room bringing with her a missive from Baltimore. Uncle Jacob Day had received my letter, which he had handed to my cousin William Henry, and the letter sister had brought me was from him. He said he had shown my letter to all my friends, and they deeply sympathized with me; that he would have sent me money immediately, but not knowing me he was afraid of imposture; but if I could borrow the amount necessary to defray my expenses to Baltimore, he would repay it with interest and I should never want for friends. He also said, if any thing could be done to restore my sight, expense should not be spared.


I was so delighted on receipt of this letter, that I was quite an invalid for two days. In about a fortnight I was ready to start for Baltimore, my mother's native place. A day or two before leaving Chicago, sister gave me a party, inviting all my intimate friends and associates, many of whom I shall never meet again; a number of them died that fall with the cholera. My chief regret in parting with my sister and brothers, was the delicate health of brother Howard; when I parted from him I feared it was forever, but God has seen fit to spare him to us and restore his health.


Monday was the day fixed for my departure on Sunday we were all together, and the time sped rapidly away. The next evening at nine-o'clock I went to the cars, accompanied by my brothers and sister. They were very unwilling to have me travel such a distance alone; but so anxious was I to go, I would not wait for company. As the cars were not to start for half an hour, sister said she would take the seat opposite me, and when she saw some person whose appearance pleased her, she would offer it to them; for she rather prided herself upon her powers of discrimination, in this particular.


She had not long remained on the look-out, before, observing a lady and gentleman enter the car, she arose and transferred the seat to them; Mr. Barton inquired how far they purposed travelling. The gentleman said as far as Toledo. He then asked if they would take me in charge while our route continued the same? This they promised to do. After procuring me a through-ticket and placing me in charge of the conductor, when my new friends should have left me, my brothers and dear sister bade me adieu; most affectionately telling me they should expect me to return to them again in a few months.


When alone and the cars were moving off, I began to realize the extent of my undertaking and the loneliness of my situation. As we whizzed past the city limits, I felt I was leaving every one I knew on earth to seek the protection and friendship of strangers. Would they be kind to me? I would repeatedly question myself. I tried to banish these feelings, and place implicit trust in Providence.


My companions did not converse much, and of this I was glad, for I preferred communing with my own thoughts. We travelled on in this way till twelve o'clock, when I was aroused from my reverie by a sudden crash, which I learned was occasioned by a train from an opposite direction having come in collision with us. It threw our train off the track, and entirely demolished both engines, but fortunately no one was injured. The conductor came in and told us he had sent back to Milwaukee for an engine, and we would not be able to start before morning. After the accident one of the passengers went about the car stamping his foot, and declaring the collision had wakened him up all except one foot. This created a laugh among the passengers.


It was seven in the morning before we were on our way again. At twelve that day we reached Toledo. When the cars stopped, the gentleman and lady of whom Mr. B. had asked some attention to me, arose to leave. I handed my carpet-sack to the gentleman, when he refused it, saying: "The conductor will come and see to you after awhile." They then left, and in a few minutes every passenger had gone. One of the workmen put his head into the window and said: "Young lady, you had better leave the car, for the train is going to start back in a very little while." I asked him if he would not come to me, I wished to speak to him. I. then told him I would like to be conducted to the parlor of the hotel. Placing my sack on his arm, he took me by the hand, and literally dragged me over the seats until I began to think my life was in danger. He meant kindly, I'm satisfied; he was good-hearted, only rather rough. He led me in this way to the parlor, where were other of the passengers, to whom he said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to take good care of this young lady, for she is in the dark sure." While saying this, he held a tight and firm hold of my arm, seeming to apprehend some intention on my part to run away from him.

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