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   Chapter 27 No.27

The World As I Have Found It / Sequel to Incidents in the Life of a Blind Girl By Mary L. Day Characters: 5867

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"The quality of mercy is not strained;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven

Upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed,

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown."

Leaving Ogden we followed the line of the Central Pacific Railroad, making no stops until we reached Elko, Nevada. It was the county seat of Elko county, and, although at that time a place of comparatively small size and population, it had an air of business activity known only to localities alive with the excitement of railroad traffic. The mammoth depot and freight-house gave it an air of importance; the pine trade, then so active, and the busy stage-line to the neighboring, warm, mineral springs and mines of purest silver, imparted to it an additional business activity.

We were delightfully entertained by Mr. Treet, the gentlemanly proprietor of the Railroad House, and were presented by him with a letter of introduction to Mrs. Van Every, of Sacramento. Thus did so many kind hands smooth down the inequalities incident to a life of travel, and pleasantly pave the way to so many warm friendships.

On arriving at Sacramento on August 5th, a day of intense, almost stifling heat, we went at once to Mrs. Van Every, who kept the most elegant boarding house in the city, whose spacious apartments seemed filled with the breath of Paradise, which added a grateful welcome to our travel-tired bodies. Mrs. Van Every's mien of pure and native dignity, her voice of silvery sweetness, gave the charm of a welcome and ease to her greeting; and without delay we presented our letter, which was the "open sesame" to her heart.

We were at once assigned to a nice, clean and even luxurious apartment, and after some real rest and quiet we sauntered out, as usual seeking the most prominent editors, and found two, both of whom did us full justice in the way of editorial notices of our presence and mission.

One day, almost at the close of a two weeks' canvassing tour, we entered the office of the Honorable N. Green Curtis, who, at the first glance, declined to give us his patronage, but after a short conversation, in which he learned that I was a native of Baltimore,

"A moment o'er his face

The tablet of unutterable thought was traced,

And then, it faded as it came,"

he instantly arose, and, as if impelled by some new and life-giving impulse, he took from my hand a book, and left in its stead a five dollar bill, saying in hurried words, I never refused to assist a Southerner.

Thus the memories of our native land are balmy with recollections of childhood, and cling to us through a lifetime of sorrow and change. The humblest Scottish shepherd boy can never forget that

"'Twas yonder on the Grampian hills

His father fed his flock."

Judge Curtis afterward revealed the fact that he was a native of South C

arolina, and the mere mention of the sunny land of his boyhood gave to each latent sympathy new life and power. It was also probable that he was not at first aware of my affliction, for he added the remark that he could not refuse a favor to a blind person. When we were leaving his office he arose and inquired if I needed aid in any other way; stated that he was a widower and without other ties, hence had no claims upon his purse, and hoped I would feel as free to ask as he was to give.

I replied that I was doing too well in my legitimate business to require direct pecuniary aid, and unless he could assist me in securing railroad passes I had no requests to make.

How kindly he did this was manifest from the fact that I afterward received from Ex-Governor Stanford, who was President of the Central Pacific Road, a yearly pass, and with this introduction the favor was readily extended by all the railroads on the coast.

A few evenings before I left Sacramento Mrs. Van Every, from her ever overflowing goodness, improvised an entertainment for my pleasure and benefit. It became necessary to initiate Hattie into the secret, but I remained in blissful ignorance until one evening I received a not unusual summons to go down to the drawing rooms, when I found myself the centre of a charmed circle of the elite of Sacramento, the easy flow of whose conversation was laden with love and sympathy for me, and then was revealed the fact that each invited guest had received a card, upon which Mrs. Van Every had traced the words "for the benefit of the blind lady."

"Music with its golden tongue was there," and the halls resounded with melody, which, with love's sacred inspiration, is sweet as Apollo's lute.

Among the gathered guests was Mr. Charles Cummings and lady, Mr. Cummings being one of the officers of the Central Pacific Railroad, of whom I shall speak hereafter. A most sumptuous supper was served, each choice viand being the result of Mrs. Van Every's culinary lore, which the most epicurean taste could not but relish.

The light-winged hours brought all unconsciously the time for parting, and the beauty and chivalry of Sacramento, left laden with books and baskets which had been spirited from my own room and tastefully disposed in the parlors; and each good night was blended with a kind wish and gentle benediction.

Mrs. Van Every, and her sister, Mrs. Fulger, who lived with her, were ladies of the noblest representative type of the Society of Friends, of which my life already held such blessed memories. In general society, with deferential etiquette, they adopted the usual form of speech, but in the privacy of the home circle they used the "plain language" of their own organization, hence it became to me doubly musical in its sacred character.

Before starting again upon our travels, we made Sacramento our home, to which we could turn for rest in our wanderings.

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