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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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She died loved and lamented by all who had known her. That same week her husband and father experienced religion, the sanctifying effects of their bereavement.


A few lines occurred to me which, humble though they be, I offer as affection's tribute to one whose gentleness and true worth still casts a halo of beauty around her memory:


Our loved one hath gone to her home in the skies,
Where suffering no entrance hath found,
Where sighs are all hushed in a gladsome surprise,
And the pure brow with glory is crowned.


She clasped to her bosom the dear little one
She so willingly gave to her God:
"My darling, we'll meet, when life's journey is done,
In yon beauteous, blissful abode."


Look up, stricken mourner, weep not thy dead,
Her memory lingereth yet;
Like the fragrance which flowers at evening shed,
It softens the pang of regret.


As sadly we lay her in the cold silent tomb,
And the heart throbs with fullness of grief,
We turn from the pall and the sepulchre's gloom
To the teachings of Christ for relief.


We see through the dimness of tears as they rise,
The crucified Saviour of men,
Who speaks, as he bends from his throne in the skies,
"Ye shall meet the departed again."


Thus it is ever. We love, and what we love, or bird or tree or flower or dear familiar friend, they vanish from our midst like the morning's early dew. Truly, "Man's days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth: for the wind passeth over it and it is gone; and the place thereof knoweth it no more." What a lesson should this teach us! Life's brevity and the unknown hereafter awaiting us beyond Death's shadowy portals. Day after day to the lonely graveyard we follow our loved, then return to the busy bustling world again, and, mingling in its anxious strife for gold or pleasure, forget the touchings of the voiceless lip or the eloquence of the form motionless in death.


The morning of the twenty-second of February dawned bright and beautiful, fitting type of him whose natal day was to be commemorated by a virtue-loving people. But not in unison with the day were my feelings; a presentiment of ill hung over me. I can not define the indescribable dread with which the slightest sound fell on my ear. After breakfast I repaired to my cousin B.'s, to pass the day. It was nearly night, and nothing had occurred in answer to my nervous apprehensions. Suddenly the doorbell was rung violently; I nearly fainted, and yet I knew not why.


The new arrival was Cousin Maria, who had come to walk home with me, also informing me uncle Jacob was there, waiting to see me. Her voice in communicating this to me sounded strangely, and the manner of the rest of the family after we reached home struck me as unusual. I felt something had happened, and I anxiously awaited being informed as to what it might be.


Uncle Jacob spoke of the weather, and made an effort to introduce other topics of the day; in doing so he made an apparently casual and incidental reference to my father; inquiring if I would receive him kindly if he were to come to Baltimore. The truth flashed upon my mind in an instant. Springing to my feet and catching him by the arm, I exclaimed, "O uncle, has my father come?" to which he replied with a forced lightness of tone and manner: "I did not tell you he had."


He then told me to put on my bonnet and go home with him, and I could ascertain for myself if he were there. When ready to start, he suggested I should take my brothers' and sister's likenesses with me. This made positive my impression that he was there.


The walk to Uncle's seemed much longer than it had ever done before, so anxious was I to see -- nay, to meet my father, and once more hear his voice.


Aunt received us at the door, and as soon as I was in commenced removing my bonnet and shawl. Uncle Jacob led me to the sofa and said: "Mary, here is your long lost-father." In an instant I was clasped to his bosom. It was several minutes before he could command himself to speak. When the first intensity of feeling had subsided, he said: "Is this my little Mary?" He groaned aloud with very anguish, "Oh! can it be that you are blind forever; oh! no, we must get you cured!"


Every one in the room was weeping, but I could not shed a tear. At that moment my heart seemed turned to stone; my past trials and sufferings rose before me as vividly as though but a day or an hour had elapsed since I endured them. Mrs. Ruthven's harsh, severe tones were again ringing in my ears. Again I was homeless and friendless. I could not realize it was my father sitting by me. He appeared a stranger to me.


Although fifty years of age, he could have well passed for thirty-five. His kind and affectionate manner soon won my heart, and I freely forgave him for what had appeared to me like neglect, during the long years that had intervened since he left me in the stage on my way to the home he had thought would be so pleasant and desirable.


When I would move about the room, he would earnestly watch me and refer sadly to my blindness. It made him very unhappy, and he would weep like a child. I showed him the likenesses, and he kissed them several times with much affection.

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