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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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About two miles from Mr. Ruthven's was the old Methodist meeting-house. It was here I used to attend Sabbath-school and church. During the winter protracted meetings were held, ministers and members congregating from the different parts of the country, the house always being well filled during their continuance. One beautiful Sabbath morning the entire family went to church, leaving me to keep house and prepare dinner. Mrs. Ruthven said I should cook vegetables of various kinds, and gave me numerous other directions, for she seldom allowed me idle moments even upon God's appointed day of rest. I collected and prepared as many vegetables as I deemed necessary and obeyed her other behests as nearly as I could remember.


She returned from church accompanied by several ministers, and other persons; she looked so good, so sanctified from all sin, it seemed impossible she could ever treat me ill again. As she came into the parlor, placing her hand on my head, she said: "My daughter, have you been lonesome?" Oh! how this kindness from her made my heart palpitate. After having laid aside her bonnet and shawl, she passed out to see if I had done all she had ordered. I trembled lest something should have been left undone. In a few moments she opened the door, and called me in such sweet tones that I thought she was well pleased with the manner in which I had fulfilled my allotted task. She had scarcely closed the door upon her guests before her whole appearance changed; her sweet motherly smile gave place to a dark, foreboding frown; her voice that had been so kind and gentle became severe and sarcastic; she caught me by my hair and beat me, first on one side of my head, and then the other. To prevent my cries from being heard by the company in the parlor, she covered my mouth with her hand. After she had exhausted her anger upon me, she told me what had so incensed her: I had not prepared sufficient vegetables for dinner!


This was the usual manner in which I was treated by Mrs. Ruthven; yet the ministers who partook of her hospitality that Sabbath day regarded her as a pattern Christian. True, indeed, is the old saying: "You never know people till you live with them." Daily and hourly intercourse must either exalt or sink in our estimation those thrown athwart our way. Give to me for friends, not the loudly vaunting of good works, but the timid trusting Christian who "seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil."




"I LAY ill;
And the dark, hot flood, throbbing through and through me;"


"I swooned; and as I died,
Or seemed to die, a soft, sweet sadness fell
With a voluptuous weakness on my soul,
That made me feel all happy." BAILEY.


"Friend after friend departs:
Who hath not lost a friend?"


DURING the winter I walked two miles to school, often through the deep snow. From this and other exposures, when spring arrived my health was very delicate. No one believed me ill until one day I fainted and fell to the floor. It was several days before I knew any thing passing around me. When I did regain consciousness, I learned my life had been despaired of by four physicians. Mrs. Ruthven was sitting by my bedside, weeping; it was not love for me, or sympathy, which caused her tears, it was the recollection of her cruel treatment of a lonely, friendless child. They were tears of remorse and not of sorrow. Another person was watching by me, good Elder Staples, pastor of the little frame church, where it had been my wont to go to listen to his words of pious counsel.


He asked me if I was afraid to die. I told him no; I wanted to die and go to Heaven, where I might live forever with my mother. He thought I was dying, and asked if there was any friend I would like to see. I told him no one but my father, brothers, and sister; but this was impossible, for they were far away. Elder Staples then offered up a fervent prayer for the motherless child, prayed that her soul as it winged its flight might be united with that of the pure, sainted angel-mother who had gone before to that home "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest." He thought not then that I should outlive him. Dear departed friend! he has gone to reap the reward of his earthly labors, and to wear a crown of glory at God's right hand.


Mr. Lee at this time proposed sending for an old doctor with whom he was acquainted. His suggestion was acquiesced in, and Dr.--- was immediately sent for; by evening he came. I felt some one touch my hand; upon opening my eyes, I saw bending over me an old man with shaggy locks and stern visage; he was shaking his head, as if in doubt as to my case. He walked to the table, and taking his medicines from his saddle-bags, prepared a dose for me. He turned and handed it to Mrs. Ruthven, at the same time saying: "Give her this: it will either kill or make her better in one hour." The mixture was given me, the doctor took the newspaper and sat down to await the result. Mr. Lee also was by my bedside, my hand held in his. By the termination of the hour the desired effect had been produced; in a few days I was able to sit up.

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