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The World As I Have Found It / Sequel to Incidents in the Life of a Blind Girl By Mary L. Day Characters: 5351

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"Let us then be up and doing

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait."

Deeming it proper to inaugurate my work in our nation's capital, I left my "Alma Mater" with all the trepidation of a child going out from the home-roof, and rushed into the exciting and excited vortex, where centralize our national interests, and where, as it were, throbs the great national heart, the city of Washington. I was kindly received at the house of my cousin, Mrs. Reese, in which sanctum my heart took fresh hope and courage. This was during the administration of Mr. Buchanan, and I first repaired to the bachelor President, who received me in his private audience-room with all of his characteristic and chivalrous courtesy. Taking both my hands in his, he said, with deep emotion-"I am so sorry for your deep affliction, but so glad that you have had the energy to write a book and the courage to make it a resource for support. I pray that God may bless and prosper you, and I know he will."

After this expression of his faith he showed his works by buying a book, for which he paid me two dollars and a half, more than double its price. So spoke, so did, the noble man, in whose heart was enshrined the memory of one cherished love, the idolized object of which precluded the possibility of a second affection, while the grand heart of the statesman went out in kindness and sympathy to all.

My second call was at one of the government offices, where my nervous excitement rendered me so nearly speechless that I could only silently and tremblingly tender a book to a young man who was one of the clerks. Seeing the movement, he asked:

"Do you wish, to sell the book?" to which I nodded an affirmative.

He turned jocularly toward me, and asked: "Were you ever in love?"

Speech suddenly followed in the wake of offended dignity, and I promptly replied: "Sir, I try to love every one."

"But," said he, in soaring strain, "suppose a young man should say to you-'You are the cherished idol of my worship, the one sweet flower blooming in my pathway, etc., etc.' what would you think?"

I quickly responded: "Sir, I should think he had more poetry than good sense in his composition."

Pleased, and apparently thoughtful, he turned from me, and going among the other employees, returned with the money for a dozen copies of my book in his hand, and on his lips a penitent and evidently heartfelt assurance that he meant no harm or insult by his words, humbly craved my pardon for the offense, and closed by wishing me many God speeds.

My next effort was in the Treasury Department, where the first person I

approached exclaimed:

"Mary Day! where did you come from?" This exclamation was followed by many other expressions of joy and surprise. Suddenly the loving arm of a young girl encircled me. Kisses fell upon my forehead, cheek and lips, and words of endearment came in copious pearly showers. At the first lull in the sweet confusion I asked: "Who are you all?"

The first proved to be a brother of Mrs. Cook, of Michigan, who had been so kind to me in the past, and the second was her daughter, who rapidly recounted by-gone scenes, and lovingly lingered upon the many cherished memories my presence had evoked. They took me to their home in the city, and lavished upon me all the kindness and attention love could suggest. Among the many reminiscences came the one sad story of the father's death. In one of the darkest, sternest hours of my childhood he had held out to me the kind, paternal hand, and welcomed me to the protection of his own roof, and the story of his death deeply interested me. It was in substance this:

The family had returned from some festive scene on Christmas eve, and the father, leaving them to stable his horses, was so long absent as to arouse anxiety. They sought him everywhere, but found him not. After a night of untold suspense the morning revealed to them the shocking sight of his dead body lying in the corner of an adjoining lot, his face smiling and peaceful in death, his arms folded and limbs outstretched. He had been cruelly gored by a creature he had fed and fostered, cherishing it as a pet among his domestic animals, and it had turned upon him as many so-called human creatures repay those who have protected and loved them!

They knew not whether his wounds or the intense cold had been the final cause of death, but such was the sad dawning of their Christmas day, and so, amid the joy of my reunion with those dear friends, came the sad thought that-

Ever amid life's roses

Will the sombre cypress be twined,

And wherever a joy reposes,

A dream of sorrow we find.

I feel it due to the various government officials at Washington to give them an expression of gratitude for the great facilities afforded me in the way of permits to canvass in the many public departments, knowing their strict rules and rigid restrictions in this regard.

I was volunteered an entrée everywhere, from the humblest government office to the Capitol and White House, and in each and all was courteously received. In subsequent years I had also great reason for gratitude to Mr. Colfax, who not only gave his own patronage, but presented me to Congress, the members of which vied with each other in liberality.

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