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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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Page 39:


We heard occasionally from Mr. L., but unwelcome the intelligence, for every letter but confirmed the melancholy fact that he was rapidly declining, and that ere many moons had waned, his earthly pilgrimage would have ended, his sands of life quite run out.


One afternoon, while assembled in our parlor, Biddy entered, holding a letter sealed in black. I can not describe the feeling that came over me; in an instant every voice was hushed, and a deathlike stillness reigned. Miss McGinley broke the seal, yet spoke no word. The suspense became painful, and we implored her to let us know the worst. In a husky whisper she replied: "Girls, he is gone!" Every heart was bowed in grief -- these words had sped like barbed arrows. Sobs and groans were heard through every part of the building. Such sorrow I never wish to witness again. Each inmate seemed to feel they had lost their best friend. We could scarce realize that a few months previous he had been so well, cheerful, and happy, and was now beneath the burial sod, the cold turf above him.


His words and actions arose to our memory, and were lovingly treasured by us. And well might we recall the past when he was with us and of us, for even in his dying moments we were near unto him. Just before his spirit took its heavenward flight, even when delirium was raging high, he talked of our stricken band; imagined himself again in the school-room, or whiling the hours away in discoursing sweet melodies to us. But he has gone, and we are left to sigh and weep that earth knoweth him no more.


He would sometimes say, could he have his two homes together, he should get well faster. But he was not to be restored to health; the fiat had gone forth, and it became our duty to say, "Thy will be done, O Lord!" and strive to subdue the sorrow surging in our hearts. Sweet friend,


"Light be the turf of thy tomb!
May its verdure like emeralds be;
There should not be the shadow of gloom,
In aught that reminds us of thee.


"Young flowers and an evergreen tree,
May spring from the spot of thy rest;
But nor cypress nor yew let there be,
For why should we mourn for the blest?"


In two weeks after Mr. Loughery's death, one of our pupils, Summerfield Bassford, a young man of fine promise, aged twenty years, exchanged this world for a brighter and far happier one. Death had entered our band and stolen from it two shining marks, transplanting them to bloom in heaven.


Again vacation was drawing near. I was glad to obtain release from duty, for the sorrow of the last two months had greatly impaired my health, and I sadly needed surcease from toil.


Cousin Charles Harriman kindly invited me to pass my vacation with his family. This invitation I readily availed myself of, for I felt sure it would recruit both my health and spirits. Accordingly the day-school closed; I left for Westminster. You may, gentle reader, fancy my pleasure in again greeting my cousin's family, not having seen them for two years. They tried every means to divert my thoughts from the sad past, and at the close of my hours of idleness I returned to my duties, feeling much improved physically, and more cheerful than when I had laid them aside to seek the invigorating influence of country air and healthful exercise.


During my absence Dr. McKenney had resigned the superintendence of the Institution, and the Board of Directors were about supplying his place. As may be supposed, the inmates were very solicitous as to who might be elected to the post. Much of their comfort and improvement depended upon this decision. Would it be some one who would sympathize with them as Mr. Loughery had done? Or would he deem his office not one of tender friendship, and loving, Christian counsel, but as hat of mentor, whose word was a law irrevocable? .


At length the day arrived upon which the important decision was to be made. After the adjournment of the Board, Mr. McHenry, its worthy President, came and informed us Mr. Charles Keener had been elected. Though a stranger to us all, yet the appointment pleased; we felt he would prove all we could possibly desire.


We were now daily expecting his arrival. It was quite as much a matter of debate among the pupils as had been that of other expected officers. As in previous instances, his voice was anticipated as likely to be indicative of his disposition towards us. We did not fancy it would be harsh or severe, but a sort of internal consciousness seemed to inform us it would be kind and gentle. Yet prepossessed as we were disposed to be in the stranger's favor, still we thought he could not possibly be just like our loved and lamented friend and teacher.


Four weeks elapsed ere Mr. K. came; when one morning all assembled in the school-room to receive the new arrival, which was to us of so much moment. How eagerly we listened for the first sound his lips should utter; it was to be the index of our future. He spoke a few pleasant words of greeting, and the magic tone of kindness was not wanting. A smile flitted over each countenance. He would prove as we had thought he would. Mr. K. ever referred in a kind and sympathetic manner to our bereavement in the death of Professor L., saying he felt for us and with us in losing so dear a friend. This appreciation of our sorrow made him at once seem very near to us, and from each heart went up a prayer that his life be long spared, that he may tread the paths of usefulness, dispensing light and cheer to all whose sun is darkened here below.

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