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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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"LET there be no noise made, my gentle friends,
Unless some dull and favorable hand
Will whisper music to my weary spirit." SHAKSPEARE.


"THE over-curious are not over wise." MASSINGER.


"You cram these words into mine ear, against
The stomach of my sense." SHAKSPEARE.


I HAD now been in the Institution six months, and had made greater progress in my studies than I had at first anticipated. The Board of Managers were extremely kind and attentive to us. Two of them were particular favorites with us -- Messrs. J. Trust and B. F. Newcomer. Whenever they visited the Institution they would come to our sitting-room, and laugh and joke, greatly to our amusement and entertainment. Mr. T. frequently sent out for ices for us, which we deemed a great treat coming from him.


The pupils all loved and respected Mr. Loughery, and although he was blind, there was not one who would take the least advantage of him. Their love almost amounted to worship; indeed, he was idolized by many, and one and all took pleasure in refraining from aught that he might disapprove. I never have known more perfect government than he maintained. Very intelligent and of affable manners, he won not only the hearts of all his pupils, but also of every one with whom he met. No sacrifice seemed too great for him to make, if it in any way contributed to our gratification or enjoyment.


To our great sorrow, during the spring he was taken ill, and confined to his bed three months. This was a season of painful suspense to us, for it was not thought he would recover. The dawn of each day brought the fearful anxiety lest it should be his last. As time sped, however, he partially recovered, and we were most thankful to have him once more restored to us.


During his illness every instrument of music was hushed and silent, for no one felt any inclination to indulge in this recreation and he so ill. While upon his sick-bed he composed the following beautiful and touching lines, which were set to music by Professor Magruder, who also is blind.



(1) Published by George Willig, Charles street, Baltimore, and by his kind permission here inserted.


"When far away from home and friends,
A slave to fortune's will,
My heart oft turns to other days,
And her who loves me still.
I see the last fond look she gave,
Of mingled hope and fear,
And still I see as though 'twere now,
My mother's parting tear.


"When tossed upon a weary bed,
Of sickness and of pain,
No friend to cool my fevered brow,
I see her face again.
When friendship seems to be a name,
And all the world is drear,
I know there's one who loves me still,
I see her parting tear.


"Sweet visions of my early home,
Steal nightly through my sleep,
And fancy soars on dreamy wings,
High o'er each mountain steep.
Soon may I see my good old home,
And childhood's friends so dear;
I long to glad my mother's heart,
And wipe away her tear."


Miss Alcorn left at this time, and her place as matron was supplied, by Mrs. Sawyer. Professor Loughery had been our teacher in music, but he was now relieved of this duty by Prof. Magruder, whom we soon learned to cherish as a dear friend, each day revealing some new trait to be admired. Being himself blind, he could bear patiently with us, also could from this fact the better appreciate the obstacles under which we labored in acquiring facility in this most delightful accomplishment.


Vacation had now arrived. I could not have realized how attached I should become to those with whom I had been thrown so short a time. It seemed like one harmonious loving family, and I felt loth to leave them for even a brief space. The autumn following, our public concerts held in the hall of the Institution, began. It was at first a great trial to me to perform in public, but gradually I became accustomed to it.


Remarks made by strangers would sometimes greatly amuse us. On the regular visiting-day there was generally a fund of after-merriment laid by at the expense of a few anxious inquirers after information as to what they supposed were the peculiarities of the blind. They appeared to regard us as a race distinct from themselves. Some would ask: "If we closed our eyes when we slept as did seeing persons?" Others would inquire: "Do you not have great difficulty in finding the way to your mouth when you eat?" Some would even go so far as to express a desire to see for themselves how we ate. There were those who seemed to consider us frightful objects, of whom they were afraid; and again, I have known persons to put their mouths to our ears and scream as though they thought we were deaf as well as blind. They would also stand close beside us and pass remarks upon us, as though they thought we were as unthinking and unfeeling as might be a breathing statue. I have known them to say aloud and immediately by our side, "We were the ugliest people they had ever seen," or "that we were pretty and interesting." These and similar comments were constantly being made in our presence as though they thought because we were blind we had also been deprived of reason, and were but moving automata, walking stocks of wood or stone!

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