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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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There is very generally, I think, a false impression as to the life of the blind. Many suppose they spend much of their time mourning over their one great affliction; this is quite a mistaken idea. They are as cheerful as seeing persons; and indeed, take an equal number of either, and it would, I am sure, be found the majority of those contented with their lot, and disposed to take the events of life resignedly, would be those who saw not external things, save as their fancy might depict, and who would give to all the sunny or the shady hue with which their spirit might imbue scenes and persons with whom they are thrown.


There are many who are of opinion it is impossible for the blind to be educated; this, however, is erroneous. During my connection with the Institution, I think I have acquired quite as much practical information as I could possibly have done had I had my sight. The educated blind in their own home are as useful and industrious as are those who have not been deprived of their sight. They are handy and ingenious. Generally speaking, they are cheerful and happy in disposition, social in their feelings, cherishing the most delicate sympathy for each other. Their conversation is less of earthly realizations than of heavenly anticipations. They talk with delight of that land where night cometh not, and where no sorrow entereth.


Persons are but faintly appreciative of the sensitiveness of the blind to acts of kindness. Though trifling in themselves, little acts or little words breathing tenderness will endear a stranger to them at once. Nor are they aware how keenly alive these unfortunate ones are to harshness or neglect. A tone will affect them more deeply than a volume of severe expressions would those whose pathway has been unshadowed.


Though the enjoyment of earth's manifold beauties has been denied them, though veiled from them is the delicate blush of early morn, or the fading sunset glow, yet there are chords in their souls that vibrate as do the strings of the Aeolian to the gentlest zephyr, making sweet though plaintive melody.


Because God has seen fit in his infinite wisdom to hide from us the face of friends, he has none the less implanted within us kindred sympathies, a yearning to love and be loved again. Sweet Friendship, with her fond endearments, is as necessary to the happiness of the blind as to those who can recall glances of fond affection expressed by


"Tones and looks that dart
An instant sunshine through the heart,
As if the soul that minute caught
Some treasure it through life had sought,"




"THE banquet waits our presence." BROWN.


"THEN all was jollity,
Till life fled from us like a pleasant dream" ROWE.


"AROUND her shone
The light of love, the purity of grace." BYRON.


"HER gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed
As from her lord, her governor, her king."


THE Maryland Institution for the Blind, opened in December, 1854, with two pupils, Miss Mary Vernon and Samuel B. Stewart. It was established through the energy and perseverance of Professor Loughery, who had been educated in the Philadelphia Institution for the Blind; also was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. It had been his intention while pursuing his studies, at some future day to establish in Maryland an Institution for the Blind, similar to the one in Philadelphia; to Mr. Magruder, a fellow-pupil, he frequently expressed himself as being resolved to make every effort to accomplish so desirable an end. He on one occasion remarked to Mr. M.: "Jim, when I have founded such an Institution, you shall be my music teacher." How fully was this plan fulfilled! A few years elapsed, an Institution was established, Mr. Loughery appointed its Superintendent, and Mr. Magruder Professor of Music.


Mr. McHenry, the President of the Board of Managers, has always shown effective interest in the welfare of the undertaking. He had an addition to the house built, thereby rendering it more commodious; also contributed a furnace heating every room; independent of these accessories to our comfort, he with several other gentlemen of the Board have made liberal donations. Mr. Trust presented a beautiful organ, which afforded the pupils much pleasure, as they were anxious to learn to perform upon this instrument. Dr. Fisher provided a piano, besides liberal donations. This gentleman also evinces great interest in our improvement.


During January, Prof. Loughery's health very perceptibly failed, so much so it was thought advisable to appoint some one to assist him in his labors. Dr. McKenney came as Superintendent. In the spring, Mrs. Sawyer left us, and her post was supplied by Miss R. Bond. There is one other inmate of the Institution to whom I would make a passing allusion. I refer to "Biddy," our faithful waiting-maid; she was the first attendant employed, and proved herself at all times a noble-hearted woman. No matter how busily engaged, upon hearing any one of us express a wish, she would lay every thing aside and render the desired assistance.

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