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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: 5057

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"There is a special Providence

In the fall of a sparrow."

"There is a Divinity that shapes our ends,

Rough-hew them as we will."

I have never had occasion so especially to note the over-ruling majesty of a supreme power as in my next journey, the circumstances of which I am about to relate.

I went via Indianapolis, Ind., and Louisville, Ky., to Memphis, Tenn. The latter place rivals its sister cities in generous patronage, for, although the whole southern country was so thoroughly devastated, I met with success throughout its length and breadth.

I was luxuriously entertained at the Southern Hotel of Memphis and, as I had been over most of the railroad routes, I felt anxious to go to New Orleans by water, and for that purpose sought the general agent of the river line of steamers, anticipating the same liberality which had characterized the railroads in granting passes.

I was most haughtily received by this official, rudely addressed, and decidedly and irrevocably denied a pass.

Nothing daunted, I walked to the levee, where lay the steamer Platte Valley, almost ready to leave, and besought Hattie, who was ever my counselor, to pay our passage, and, in spite of repulse, enjoy the river scenery. In her judgment it seemed better not to do so, but to use our railroad passes, as usual. I cheerfully accepted her decision. The Platte Valley started on her trip with brilliant prospects for a safe and successful passage, but seven miles below Memphis she sank in the deep waters of the Mississippi. Many of her passengers, especially the female portion, were taking supper in the lower cabin, and, having no means of escape, perished. Hence I had reason to be thankful to Hattie's decision, to the agent's rude rebuff, and to that over ruling power which ofttimes, in our blindness, we fail to discern.

At Chattanooga I, of course, visited the National Cemetery, where lie the ashes of so many fallen heroes. Ascended Lookout Mountain to the scene of the "Battle in the Clouds," and I could almost evoke the presence of General Joe Hooker, with his once grand proportions and noble mien, so deservedly famed as The Hero of Lookout Mountain. I afterward ascended another hill, which, although a pigmy in comparison with the Leviathan Lookout, would, in the monotony of our prairie country, be ranked as a mountain. It was upon its top were constructed the government water works, and upon which my brother William was employed for two years, occupying as a residence during that time a li

ttle cabin on the height, which was plainly perceptible from the window of my hotel quarters, but which I desired to visit in person, a source of real pleasure, perhaps enhanced by the obstacles I had to surmount in the ascent.

At Vicksburg, Miss., I was followed by the same tidal wave of success, in spite of the sad stringency of the times and the cruel effects of war.

While there a gentleman took us in his carriage to the earthworks constructed by the soldiers as a fortification, taking great pains to explain all to me, and allowed me to use the usual sense of feeling, which so often served in lieu of sight.

At Jackson, Miss., I was a guest of the same hotel in which lived General Beauregard, who was Superintendent of the Jackson and New Orleans Railway, and who, aside from other acts of kindness and civility, freely tendered me a pass over his road.

My stay at the "Crescent City" was not only marked by great business success, but the three weeks of sight-seeing was a "continued feast."

Although it was now the middle of January, flowery spring "seemed lingering in the lap of winter." The perfume of the violet, the scent of the rose, the gladness of the sun-beam and the brightness of the skies will ever linger in memory, while the geniality and goodness of its people will, in the "dimness of distance," glimmer like a soft love-light in the life of the blind girl.

I visited the French market, and drank a cup of the famed and fragrant Mocha; went to its cemeteries, which, in their flowery beauty, robbed death of its terrors; took a drive upon the shell road to Lake Pontchartrain; walked in Jackson Square; and, indeed, visited all localities of note in and around the city.

Should my curious readers wish to know how I could enjoy and describe all these, the answer will be found in my companion and friend, Hattie, who, with her wonderful adaptation and ingenuity, added to her remarkable descriptive powers, vividly pictured all to me, and, through an unwritten, indescribable language known only to ourselves, it became a system of mental telegraphy and soul language.

There is in Europe a blind man, whose name I cannot recall, who is led from Court to Court and from palace to palace by a frail young girl, and between these there exists the same mystic yet unerring language. What this little fairy is to him such was Hattie Hudson to me, or, to use the language of another:

"She was my sight;

The ocean to the river of my thoughts,

Which terminated all."

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