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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: 6679

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"While, O, my heart! as white sails shiver,

And crowds are passing, and banks stretch wide;

How hard to follow with lips that quiver,

That moving speck on the far-off side!

Farther, farther-I see it-I know it-

My eyes brim over, it melts away,

Only my heart, to my heart shall show it,

As I walk desolate day by day."

At home for the winter, I was joined by my husband, who had entered into business, and constant tidings of Hattie's convalescence cheered me. Ida being obliged to visit home, I was left in entire charge of my house, daily bewailing the fatal effects of inexperience, when, as ever, a friend was furnished me in the hour of need. Mrs. Leavitt, my neighbor "over the way," was a lady of great personal attraction, whose beautiful head was crowned with the glory of prematurely white hair. She ministered to me in so many ways. In reading or conversation her melodious voice lent a charm to the most ordinary theme. Nor did she deem it degrading to enter the domestic realm, and there as everywhere she reigned a queen.

The flutter of a handkerchief at the window blind was my "signal of distress," and when my "Ship of State" seemed sinking amid the breakers of domestic storms, her strong arm ever saved. When, the dread emergency of dinner demanded more skill than my amateur art supplied, she came to the rescue, and as she presided in the kitchen, teaching to compound some savoury sauce or delicate dish, the process was interlarded with some sage sentiment from Bacon and other profound philosophers; while, like Joe's practical sermon over the "plum pudding" came her comments "My dear! knowledge is power," thus deeply impressing me with the potency of her presence even in the culinary department.

Hence from this dear friend I received not only the "fullness of knowledge," but the richness of affection also. She finally drifted away from me to the sunny, flowery land of Florida, whence sweet memories are wafted to me through her love-laden letters, under whose sentiment there flows the same deep under-current of thought.

In the dreary month of January, Hattie came with the snow drifts, bringing with her presence a bright sun-ray, for she was buoyant with the hope of health, and I rejoicing that her life could be lengthened, perhaps saved, hence the winter passed in mapping out plans for the future. But, with the early spring, the dread disease reappeared with such intensity that I felt her doom to be irrevocably sealed, while "hope fled and mercy sighed." Prompted by a hope of enhancing her interest, I accompanied her to Morrison, Illinois, where she was awaited by two loving sisters, who, together with their noble husbands, so tenderly cared for her that it in some degree appeased the sad reluctance of giving her into other hands.

Mr. Arms' health had now become so seriously impaired that he had determined to seek the benefit of the Hot Springs of Arkansas, and, after he left, I secured the services of Miss Josie Tyson as traveling companion, and started for the lead mining regions of Wisconsin, making Mineral Point my headquarters. This town is the shipping-place for the ore, and I was surprised to find it with several thousand inhabitants-abounding in wealth and greatly advanced in culture, while it became afterward endeared to me by the extreme

kindness of its people. My little jaunts from this place by private conveyance made a pleasant variety in the monotony of travel, after which we visited Mendota and South Western Iowa, where we spent a delightful summer.

We returned to Morrison the day before Thanksgiving, and I lingered two weeks with Hattie. Surely "blessings brighten as they take their flight," and with us the sadly, blissful moments flew all too fast, both silently impressed that it might be our last communion. In my absence her delicate and refined taste had designed a gold ring which she had made as a parting gift. As she placed it upon my finger she leaned her head upon my shoulder and wept bitterly, telling me in tenderest tones her sorrow at leaving one who so much needed her, pleading with me to have patience to bear the separation. These tears from fountains deep and pure must have been as potent at the throne of grace as the one so graphically described by Sterne; even that of the Recording Angel, who, in the bright Empyrean, dropped a tear upon the word left by the Accusing Spirit "and blotted it out forever."

Physicians agreeing that she might live at least a year, I yielded to her persuasion to go South for the benefit of my own health, and-

"In silence we parted, for neither could speak;

But the trembling lip and the fast fading cheek

To both were betraying what neither could tell;

How deep was the pang of that silent farewell."

After a short season devoted to the arrangement of home matters, I started South via the Chicago and Alton Railroad. At Dwight, Illinois, we stopped at the McPherson House, where we had a delightful suite of rooms. The proprietor had attained to the years allotted to man, yet was so wonderfully preserved that he seemed a stalwart man of fifty. He spent an evening in our parlor, feasting us with the richness of his reminiscence. He had served in both the regular army and navy, his travels leading him to lands afar, and his naval service landing him at almost every port in the world, yet he had never carried a more dangerous weapon than a penknife, always having been unharmed and unmolested. His creed consisted of six words, viz.: "Deal mercifully, walk humbly before God." These "articles of faith," simple as the "new commandment" which Christ gave to his disciples, I give unto you, and beautiful as the "Golden Rule" of Confucius, were certainly in my own case carried out both "in the letter and the spirit;" for he at first peremptorily refused any remuneration for our elegant accommodations, but, finding me inexorable, very reluctantly consented to accept half pay.

The weather grew so cold, and the times so dull, we did not halt again until we reached St. Louis, where we both had relatives and friends who helped us to while away the holiday hours. While there we visited the Institution for the Blind, our pleasure being much enhanced by the rare music we heard and the polite attention of Professor Workman, the Superintendent.

The Superintendent of the Iron Mountain Railway presented us with a pass, jocularly remarking that it was equal to an eighty dollar New Year's gift.

Mr. C.C. Anderson, of Adams' express, upon the strength of our old Baltimore acquaintance, gave me letters of introduction, which afterward proved of infinite value.

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