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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: 8283

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"Visions come and go;

Shapes of resplendent beauty round me throng;

From angels' lips I seem to hear the flow

Of soft and holy song."

"'Tis nothing now-

When heaven is opening on my sightless eyes,

When airs from paradise refresh my brow,

That earth in darkness lies."

Leaving Chicago I traveled via Michigan Southern Railroad to the little town of Jonesville, Michigan, the home of my childhood and the scene of so many fond and sad recollections.

Stopping at the village hotel for some preparation, I wended my way to the little cemetery. There was a picture in memory of a green hill-side slope, which, whenever the dark funeral day was recalled, formed a vivid and prominent feature of the scene; and so, upon that day, I found within the little "city of the silent" the identical hill-side, but, with the most scrutinizing search, failed to find the sacred mound holding the most hallowed form of the home group, and over which were shed the bitter tears of childhood's grief, more poignant and more lasting than we usually attribute to that period of life.

In the hope of eliciting some information I entered a cottage near by, which I found inhabited by aged people; but as they had been residents only seven years, and twenty-four years had elapsed since my mother was laid to rest, they could give me no light or aid, save the simple suggestion that there were a number of graves covered by the undergrowth of shrubbery, and perchance hers might be one of them. Accepting the possibility I found the one I sought, which could not fail to be recognized, for strange to say, time had dealt so gently that the slender picket fence was undecayed by his "effacing; lingers," and the name painted upon the little wooden head-board was distinctly visible. Grouped in quadrangular growth were four little trees, gracefully arching in a bowery drapery over the grave, as if nature in strange sympathy with the mourners left behind had offered this tribute to the noble mother. How vividly came back again the long lost childhood home, and as the wind sighed through the leafy boughs, seemed to sob a sad requiem for the dead. There was a little song I had learned in the Institution, and had so often sang, when unknown to those around me every chord in my sad heart seemed

"As harp-strings broken asunder,

By music they throbbed to express."

Then the sweet, sad words come back in memory,

"I hear the soft winds sighing,

Through every bush and tree;

Where my dear mother's lying,

Away from love and me.

Tears from mine eyes are weeping,

And sorrow shades my brow;

Long time has she been sleeping-

I have no mother now."

After a long, lingering look, I turned sadly away, going to the little marble yard in the vicinity, and seeking the proper person, I communicated to him the desire for a head and foot-stone for the grave, together with marble corner stones to support an iron chain for an enclosure, asking him for an estimate of the cost.

Looking at me with almost tearful emotion, he said, when the blind girl, after the lapse of twenty-four years, comes back to offer a tribute to the memory of her mother, the result of her own unaided earnings, I can but be generous, and offered to do all for half the usual price. Knowing instinctively that I could trust him, I left all in his hands, and have never had occasion to feel that I had misplaced my confidence.

Before leaving the village I visited a clothing store which had formerly been the tin shop in which my father worked; and again I was a child, my little form perched upon the wooden work-bench, and my ears soothed by the melody of my father's song, for ever as he sat at his daily labor he lent it the charm of his sweet voice.

Strange to say, there was no one there who knew the "blind girl." All my mother's friends had vanished, and "they were all gone, the dear familiar faces." I fondly bade adieu to Jonesville with the consciousness of having performed a sad duty, and proceeded with my avocation, with my wonted success, until we reached Toledo, Ohio, where Miss Weaver was attacked with a s

erious illness which kept me in constant attendance upon her for several weeks.

Her physician assuring me that she would be unable to resume her duties for some time longer, we decided it best for all to send her East. Procuring her a ticket, and placing her under kind protection, I sent her to her friends in New York.

I supplied her place with a lady I found in my boarding house, and who I regret to record was in strange contrast with my former companions. Going to Pittsburg we stopped at the Merchants' Hotel, near the depot, where, after a singularly short time, she was visited by a gentleman whom she represented to be a cousin, and while their whispered conversation in my room (a place where I deemed it expedient for them to meet) aroused some suspicion in my mind, I hushed all thought of wrong and hoped for the best.

She further stated that she had an uncle in Alleghany city, and thither she went to spend the Sunday, leaving me in the hotel unattended; and from subsequent revelations I must fain believe the time was devoted to the so-called cousin.

Upon her return on Monday she suddenly declared her intention of leaving me, adding that she cared not what became of me. I calmly awaited a lull in the excitement of this announcement, and told her kindly that if she would remain with, me another week I would take her to her mother in Ohio, and leave her in her hands, but she haughtily and peremptorily declined, and so left me alone, and, as she supposed, uncared for.

But I was so confident of protection that I felt not even a rankling pang at the cruel injustice she had done me, but quietly waited until assured she was gone, when I left my room, groped my way through the unfamiliar hall and knocked at the first door I found, which fortunately proved to be that of a lady named Harris. In as few words as possible I told her the story of my desertion, and had sympathy and congratulation from all in the house at my escape from one who had seemed to them so coarse and unsympathetic.

The clerk of the hotel, being a brother of Mr. Loughery, my old time teacher, it was thought best to appeal to him. He met me with an unmistakable expression of sorrow on his face, and as soon as he could command language to do so, communicated the tidings of the sudden demise of his brother in Greensburg, Pa., he having fallen dead in the street. As he was about leaving, assistance from that source became impossible; yet, overwhelmed as he was with this crushing sorrow, he urged me to accompany him to the funeral, an invitation I could not accept, for a renewal of the sad memories of my instructor and friend would have been more than I could bear, so I bade him adieu, and committed myself to the tender mercy of Mrs. Harris, who kindly accompanied me to the post office and depot, and started me safely toward Chicago, a letter being received which I knew to be from Mr. Arms, from whom I had been awaiting tidings for three, anxious, weary weeks.

With a consciousness of some impending cloud, yet unable to read the dear pen tracery, I never before so deeply felt the blight of blindness, for the contents were too sacred for the desecration of stranger's sight.

So all through that weary journey, softened as it was by the unremitting kindness of all the railroad officials and attendants, I carried a crushing weight of anxiety and suspense, until I reached Chicago, and dear Mrs. Dean, who at once revealed to my waiting heart the contents of the letter.

Mr. Arms was in Indiana, and very ill at the time of writing (three weeks previous) and earnestly desired my presence. The weary hours of night dragged their slow lengths away, and the morning found me speeding on as fast as steam could carry me, toward Indiana, yet all too slow for my fears and forebodings.

I found him scarcely able to be carried to the post of duty, where, at the mill being built under his superintendence, he watched the progress of the work.

'Tis needless to say how joyous was my welcome and how soon the invalid gave signs of convalescence, under the influence of my long hoped for presence.

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