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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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Different physicians had examined Mr. Lee's eyes, and their opinion was, that the optic nerve was affected; and if operated upon skillfully his sight might be restored. Accordingly he made preparation to start for New-York, and place himself under treatment of the famed oculist, Dr. ---. The day of his departure arrived. It was a great trial to me; I felt as though I were losing my only friend. They moved my chair into the porch, so that I could watch him while in sight. After bidding me an affectionate adieu, and giving me some good advice, he was assisted to the carriage. I gazed earnestly at the vehicle as it was borne swiftly over the hills. I never saw my blind friend again; shortly after his arrival in New-York intelligence was received of his death. By God's will earthly visions had been shut out from his gaze, but in yon heaven he looketh ever on beauty "it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive."


My health was now perfectly restored. About this time Government sent the Indians to the Rocky Mountains. Near where I lived was an elevation called Black Hawk Hill, on the summit of which was an Indian trading-house, where the swarthy savages used to assemble by hundreds. The people came from the surrounding country to see them dance and hear them sing their war-songs. One day Evelyn and I, accompanied by her nurse, went to witness their performances; we had not been there long before I was attacked with a severe headache, and proposed returning home; but Eva wished to remain longer, so I said I would go alone. As I hastened down the hill, not looking upon the ground, I stumbled over a drunken Indian, lying across the path. He instantly sprang from his prostrate position, caught me by the hair, pulled me to the ground; then placing his knee upon my breast, he raised his tomahawk, and was in the very act of striking when his arm was arrested by an Indian from the thicket close at hand. After releasing me, he led the drunken fellow off to the trading-house.


It was several minutes before I recovered my strength sufficiently to walk home, so terribly was I frightened. Oh! how often have I wished when I have encountered severe trials, the Indian's weapon had done its fatal work. How much pain, sorrow, and affliction I should have been spared! But then my Heavenly Father preserved me, and his judgment is unerring.


Nothing of importance happened the following summer and winter. I went to school as I had done previously; Mrs. Ruthven and George treated me with their usual unkindness. It was now four years since my mother's death, and I determined I would leave my uncomfortable and unhappy home. I formed several plans, none of which seemed available. I thought no one would believe my simple story, for the Ruthvens had many friends, and were highly respected; but I was resolved to make my escape the following week. I knew I should have difficulty in attempting this, for I should have to complete all my arrangements, without advice or assistance, and without the family having the slightest knowledge of my intention.


I visited all my favorite haunts, to take a parting look. Near the house was a beautiful creek, where I had often strayed when weary and unhappy; its gentle murmurings and the beauty of its water seemed to soothe me. It was a branch of Great Grand River, which has always been celebrated for the blueness of its waters. The scenery about the creek was romantic and enticing. About a quarter of a mile from the house was a beautiful wood, approached by a path through the lane, bordered with wild flowers. The house was surrounded by a garden and a large orchard -- indeed, a very Eden in the wilderness was the spot, yet the serpent had coiled himself amid the flowers, and his poisoning breath mingled with the fragrant odors borne from the varied tinted blossoms.


A little way down the creek on its bank was a plum tree. I called it mine; it seemed so like myself, so lonely, so desolate; there it bloomed and yielded fruitage with no other tree near. I used to think, beneath its branches should be my burial-place, that I might share its solitude. My kind friend Mr. Lee and myself, how often had we wandered to this spot, passing many pleasant hours. The tree was now covered with blossoms. Who would gather the plums when ripened? and where should I be by the time they lusciously depended from its branches?


After visiting several other dear and familiar places, I returned to the house almost sorry I had thought of leaving. But as soon as I met Mrs. Ruthven, my regret vanished and my determination became firmer than before.


The next day was the Sabbath; I went to school as usual in the morning. As I sat in my class I looked in the face of my kind teacher and was almost on the eve of opening my heart to her, and, telling her all, ask her protection. I thought of the rich and influential Ruthvens, and feared she would inform them and thus defeat my plans. No! I would keep my secret. I was now ten years old, and could do almost any kind of work. I would make my own living and be happy, which would surely be preferable to living miserably, as I now did. While indulging in these thoughts school was dismissed. After kissing my teacher good-by, I strolled through the graveyard with many a longing sigh that my head were pillowed beneath the grassy sod. I went into church, and listened to Elder Staples for the last time. It seemed the best sermon I had ever heard him preach. How true is it, "blessings brighten as they take their flight."

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