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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: 7844

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"But if chains are woven shining,

Firm as gold and fine as hair,

Twisting round the heart, and twining.

Binding all that centres there

In a knot that, like the olden,

May be cut, but ne'er unfolden;

Would not something sharp remain

In the breaking of the chain?"

Spring came with its "ethereal mildness" and budding beauty, and the ties which bound me to the Monumental City must, although with convulsive effort, be broken.

Miss Chase was but "a treasure lent," her sweet, loving nature having won the heart of one who made her his life companion; hence it became necessary for me to find another to fill her place. She came in the person of Miss Kate Fowler, a lovely young girl of seventeen years, who possessed great charms of person, mind and soul, as the sequel will show.

We traveled together throughout Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, meeting with greater success than we could have hoped for while the din of war was raging, always making sufficient for our support.

At Hollidaysburgh, Penn., I learned of the presence of General Anderson, and resolved that I would offer a tangible evidence of my appreciation of the "Hero of Fort Sumter." Entwining one of my little books with red, white and blue ribbons, I sent it to him with a little note, asking its acceptance from the authoress, a Baltimore lady, in behalf of her native city, then under a cloud, the Massachusetts troops having been stoned by a mob collected from various points, and for which she bore the undeserved odium. These I sent in their tri-colored dress, expecting only a silent reception. But, as I sat at dinner in my hotel, there came a singular and unexpected response in the person of the General himself. He was introduced by the landlord, and was accompanied by his little daughter, holding in her hand my token, as she smilingly approached me in her fairy-like beauty. A delightful chat ensued, and an urgent request upon his part that I should visit Cresson Springs, to which he had resorted with his family in order to recuperate his health, shattered by the protracted and gallant defense of one of our national citadels.

With a kind "good bye" he left, and as I passed out of the dining-room door I received an evidence of his great delicacy in a token he would not publicly tender. The landlord handed me a box from him containing a handsome plain gold ring, ever since cherished as a memento; and, although worn by time, there is still legible the name engraved within this shining circlet, even that of General Anderson.

After canvassing Altoona I went to Cresson Springs and was no sooner registered than I received a card from the General. Meeting me in the parlor, he gave me a cordial welcome, after which he said: "Now I am going to assist you in your sales." He drew together three of the parlor tables, and, taking one hundred of my books, he placed them thereon, together with specimens of my bead work, which he artistically arranged in the national colors. It needed but a wave of the magician's wand, for such he seemed, to evoke the spirits of generosity and love, and through these all of my volumes vanished, as well as much of the bead work. At General Anderson's request I took my work to the parlor, and amid a group of wondering ones, many of whom were members of his own family, I showed them how the blind could deftly weave these little trinkets, the fashioning of the "bijou" baskets needing no sight to arrange the colors, with celerity and skill. I was also, at his request, seated at his family table, and time will never erase the memory of words which fell from the lips of the warrior, as gently, as lovingly, as if a woman's voice were breathing words of comfort and affection. In after time, when tidings of his death were borne from a foreign land, when the perfumed breath of sunny France received the last sigh of our hero, I dropped many a tear, wh

ich truly welled up from the depths of a sorrowing heart.

In the winter I made Philadelphia my head-quarters, stopping at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mack, both of whom were blind when married, and who both possess great musical talent, which they utilized by teaching piano music, thus earning a handsome support and purchasing the home they then occupied, a tasteful, comfortable domicile. It was well for me I selected this spot, for it afterward proved "a City of Refuge." I was soon prostrated with a severe typhoid fever, and was so kindly cared for by this dear family, who, by tender ministration, nursed the little spark of hope, and brought me from death unto life. Their two sweet children and their musical prattle will ever be recalled as illuminated pictures upon the red-lettered page of life's history.

Of the tender care of Miss Fowler too much cannot be said. It was to her assiduous attention I was also, in a great degree, indebted for my recovery.

During this illness I could also number two other ministering spirits, Dr. Seiss, a Lutheran minister, who constantly visited me, and gave me many a word of comforting support, and Professor Brooks, who was called to my bedside as medical attendant.

He had been for many years an eminent allopathic physician, and was then a professor in the Homeopathic College of Philadelphia.

He also faithfully and unremittingly ministered to me during the many weeks of fever and prostration.

When I was almost well I one day said to him: "Doctor, what do I owe you?" The sweet serenity of his face merged into a benevolent beam, and in the vernacular of the Society of Friends, of which he was a member, he said: "Mary, Rachel and I have been talking it over, and we have concluded that thee will be too delicate to travel this winter, and will need all thy money; so thee does not owe me anything."

Choking with grateful emotion, as soon as I could command control I said: "Doctor, I could not expect you to give me such kind attention without remuneration, but since you have so willed it, I can only say I thank you for having saved my life." Whereupon there came the same luminous look, and the gentle voice said: "Mary, it was not I that saved thy life; it was thy Heavenly Father."

As soon as I was well enough to ride he made arrangements for me to visit his house. I took the street car, but by pre-arranged plan, he met me at his door, lifted me from the car, and carried me in his arms into a luxurious bed-chamber, where I was met by the sweet-voiced Rachel, who gave me a reviving draught of rare old wine, and in every way studied my wants during the day's visit, after which the Doctor drove me home in his carriage.

How do our hearts go out in gratitude to such true and loving natures, and how fondly do we recall in after years the sweet sounds of sympathy, whose melody pervades life's measured music.

Once again I found myself in Baltimore, where I received a letter from my brother William, urging me to spend the winter at his home in Pecatonica, Ill. This, together with a meeting with my cousin Sammy Heald, determined me to go West. My cousin was about to visit Iowa City, Iowa, where dwelt his betrothed, and he offered to pay all my traveling expenses if I would accompany him. The temptation of seeing one from whom there had been an eight years separation made my cousin's entreaties irresistible, and I yielded, receiving from him all the devoted attendance his kind nature could dictate. So, after the lapse of so many eventful years, I turned my face westward. I spent the winter at the home of my brother, and shall never forget his kindness and that of his family, as well as other residents of Pecatonica, who did so much to lighten the leaden-winged hours, which, in a little hamlet, drag so slowly in comparison with the din and bustle of city life, and the excitement of business and travel.

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