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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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My father's employer sent him on business to a remote part of the country; upon his return he told me he had secured a home for me with a wealthy family who had but one child, and he married. He said I should be quite a little lady, and also told me they were good religious people. I was perfectly delighted with my prospects. The day upon which I was to start arrived; the place was about twenty miles distant. Julia Benson was to accompany me. My father placed us in the stage, then got in himself, saying he would ride part of the way with us. He bade me be a good girl, to love and obey the lady who was henceforth to be as a mother to me. I held a little basket in my hand, into which he put some money, and told me to look what he had given me. While examining the contents of my basket, my father vanished; upon looking up, I discovered he had gone; shortly after I saw him standing upon the steps of the hotel we had just left; years passed, and many changes transpired, ere I met him again. In my lonely hours of musing, I sometimes recall the scene when, shortly after my dear mother's death he gathered us all around him, and talked of our approaching separation; methinks I can plainly hear the expression still: "Children, you are all together now, but may never be again" Well and fitly spoken -- we never were altogether again an undivided family!


About noon of the same day we came in sight of my future home; it was one mile north of Homer, Michigan, and was a beautiful farm, well-cultured and picturesque, with commodious dwellings upon it. The stage, halted at the gate, and we were met by an elderly gentleman who lifted me to the ground, at the same time saying: "Is this my little girl?" When he had led me into the house, I looked around expecting to see Mrs. Ruthven; but my new friend told me my mamma (for such he wished me to call her) was sick, but that after dinner I should see her. Dinner over, I was conducted to her chamber. On entering the room, I stood perfecty -sic- stunned with disappointment. I had anticipated meeting a kind motherly person, instead of which I saw a cold, stern woman. As she bent her pitiless gaze upon me, I thought of my own gentle mother, and burst into tears. Upon leaving the room I heard her exclaim in an angry tone: "I wonder if I am always to be bothered with other people's children!"


Time passed more pleasantly than I might have expected, in my new home. Mr. Ruthven was very kind to me, and tried in every way to render me happy and contented. I did not visit his wife's room again. After a few days I was told she was coming down to dine with us. I can not portray the awful dread with which she inspired me. The day came upon which she was to join the family at dinner, and I think I never shall forget that dinner. I could not move without her halloaing at me in sharp, angry tones. I had never been spoken unkindly to before, and this treatment almost broke my heart. Her son, George, also treated me with the greatest disdain, appearing to regard me as something unworthy his notice. He did not like his parents to speak one kind word to me, and although he called himself a Christian and a gentleman, he would stand by and laugh when his mother would knock me down. At one time from one of her blows I became senseless; when I recovered, I was lying upon the sofa, and she bathing my temples.


If they are living, and should chance to read this simple narrative, they will from it learn that the child they treated with such scorn and disdain, has scores of kind and loving friends. Oh! what a pity it is Christianity should be so disgraced, and religion be a cloak to such hypocrisy! Mr. Ruthven always treated me with the greatest consideration; he never corrected me but twice, and then it was done in such a manner that I felt a high sense of his moral obligation to me had induced him to inflict the reprimand. The cause of George Ruthven's dislike to me was on account of the property; he was afraid, were I to gain the affections of his parents I would receive a share. He tried every means to increase his mother's dislike to me.


When I had been ten months with this family I heard from my father; he had been on business to Detroit for Mr. North. On his return, he tied his horse at the store-door, went in and settled with his employer, as was his custom, and left the house again. The horse was allowed to remain where my father had secured him, persons supposing he would return and attend to it; but after some time had elapsed, Mr. North was compelled to have the horse stabled, as my father did not again make his appearance.


It was from my friend Julia I learned my father's return to Jonesville, and of his sudden and unexplained departure therefrom. Julia, it will be remembered, accompanied me to Mrs. Ruthven's; after paying a visit of some length; she left me with my new acquaintances. Since that time she has married, and is now living in California, realizing golden dreams in that far-off pleasant land of precious ore. Cheering sunlight has shone o'er her way, while dark shadows have fallen upon mine; but 'twas His will "who doeth all things well." I will not murmur.

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