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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: 5141

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"The prayer of Ajax was for light;

Through all that dark and desperate fight,

The blackness of that noonday night,

He asked but the return of sight,

To see his foeman's face.

"Let our unceasing, earnest prayer

Be, too, for light-for strength to bear

Our portion of the weight of care,

That crushes into dumb despair

One half the human race."

From Baltimore I went to Westminster, Maryland, to visit my cousin, Charles Henniman, and my stay there was characterized by all the joy of sweet reunion and eager acceptance of hospitalities so lavishly bestowed. It was with mingled emotions of pleasure and pain I greeted my old friend, Carrie Fringer. In person she was of a peculiar type of beauty, a face regular in features as a Madonna, beaming with the soft, love-light of rare, sweet eyes, in whose depths were imprisoned not only an intense brightness, but the still deeper glow of a soul of love and truth. Curls of soft brown hair fell upon her symmetrical shoulders and softened the face they framed into an almost spiritual sweetness. From an affliction in her childhood she had almost ever since been unable to walk, and indeed none of the beautiful limbs were available for voluntary motion. Thus deprived of more than half of life's joy, its sweet activity, many would have lapsed into a morbid, nervous condition, over which we might justly have thrown the mantle of charity, but this dear friend was so lovely and chastened in her affliction, that she seemed almost a Deity in her attributes of tender love and patient self-abnegation, united to a heroic endurance of pain with which she was daily, hourly and momently tortured. Surely

"The good are better made by ill,

As odors crushed are sweeter still."

Going to Washington I accompanied an excursion down the Potomac to Mount Vernon, that sacred spot whose mention sends a thrill of patriotic pride through every American heart, hallowed as it is by memories of George Washington. So I became one of the zealous pilgrim throng who wended their way to this our Mecca, dear to us as that sacred place in the old world to the most devout worshiper of the Prophet Mahomet.

Reaching our destination we first repaired to the tomb, and with bowed and uncovered heads all reverently gazed upon the mausoleum of departed greatness, and turned to the mansion, each department of which had its own peculiar charm.

Prominent among other relics were his war-equipments, the paraphernalia of Revolutionary times; and as we ever associate him with his character as general, t

hese were especially significant from the sword so often wielded with masterly power, to the little canteen, from which, after long and weary marches, he refreshed his parched lips.

In his bed-chamber, with its antique air and quaint garniture, there stood a bedstead, the fac-simile of the one upon which he died. Here we lingered long and lovingly, and turned to another department, in one corner of which stood a harpsichord, once belonging to his niece, Miss Lewis. In fancy I could see her fairy fingers as they swept in "waves of grace" over its strings, and with the "concord of sweet sounds" ministered to a circle of distinguished listeners. I could not resist the impulse to pass my hands over the long neglected strings, and recalled the sentiment of the old song,

"As a sweet lute that lingers

In silence alone;

Unswept by light fingers.

Scarce murmurs a tone;

My own heart resembles,

This lute, light and free,

'Til o'er its chord trembles

Sweet memories of thee."

The garden still remained as arranged by his taste and dictation, and at one corner of the house the magnolia tree, planted by his own hand, still bloomed in fragrant beauty.

In the yard was the old well, with "its moss-covered, iron-bound bucket," and at the door the gray-haired negro, the inevitable servant of "Massa Washington," who will doubtless, like a wandering Jew, out live all time, and for centuries to come remain an attaché of our country's father.

Several gentlemen present evinced and expressed great surprise that a blind woman should go to see Mount Vernon, yet I very much doubt if any eyes really saw more than my own. When we reached the boat, each gentleman carried in his hand a cane cut from the woods of Mount Vernon, and one and all returned to Washington with the consciousness of having spent a pleasant and profitable day.

We soon left for Lynchburg, Virginia, after which we visited the towns en route to Knoxville, Tennessee. At the latter place we had a very enjoyable visit to the home of Parson Brownlow. He was absent in attendance upon the Legislature, but his daughter gracefully and cordially dispensed the hospitalities of their home, and did everything within the bounds of her warm, sympathetic intelligence to heighten the pleasure and interest of our visit.

Back again to Chicago, we were welcomed by Mr. Arms, whom we found engaged in erecting machinery in the Gowan Marble Works, the largest of the kind in the North-west. Resting in the sweet haven of home, we passed the winter in this sanctum.

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