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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: 6892

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


"Light, warmth, and sprouting greenness,

And o'er all

Blue, stainless, steel-bright ether

Raining down

Tranquility upon the deep hushed town

The freshening meadow and the hillside brown."

We went from San Antonio to Austin, the capital of Texas, where I had a delightful interview with Governor Hubbard, who, although much engrossed with the cares of State, seemed for the time to lay them all aside, and gave me his undivided attention. Certainly if "all the world's a stage, and men and women merely players," this versatile gentleman appeared as well in the role of courtier as in that of the statesman.

The Government Buildings are of finished architectural art, and stand amid cultivated grounds, upon a commanding eminence. At the State House door is a monument to the memory of Colonel David Crockett and the brave companions who foil with him at St. Alamo.

The public Institutions of Austin are a credit to "The Lone Star" State, especially that for the Blind, at which I spent a day, and was charmingly entertained by Dr. Raney and his accomplished wife. The matron also dispensed hospitalities with so much true dignity and grace, and I never visited an institution in which the inmates were so pre-eminently refined, its sixty-five pupils numbering so many accomplishments.

In response to a solicitation from Dr. Raney I addressed the school. This was done through a social chat, in which the little group circled close around me, and while I never so longed for "the poetry of speech" to render the deep emotion of my heart, I really believe no elocutionist, with all "the charm of delivery," could have had a more attentive audience.

Waco is known as the Athens of Texas, and among its many Institutions of Learning is the Baptist University, open to both sexes. It is under the charge of Doctor Burlison, who extended to me an invitation to meet the school at their chapel exercises.

The "sweet hour of prayer" being over, he disposed of many of my books and baskets among the pupils. This gentleman was deeply engrossed with the educational interests of the State, and had traveled over its length and breadth to enhance its prosperity, being more especially engaged in the public school system. The next day twenty-five of the young lady pupils, chaperoned by their teachers, called upon me at the McLennan House. They were all characterized by discreet and lady-like deportment, and as there was a fine toned piano in the parlor, there was no lack of artistic music. We had also an equally kind reception from the Reverend Mr. Wright and lady of the Methodist College.

Waco is on the Brazos River, which is spanned by a graceful suspension bridge, the pride of the town. During my visit they held their celebrated fete known as "The Maifest," which lasted two days, and the gay and fantastic procession in which all professions and trades were represented made it almost as gorgeous as a carnival.

From Waco we went to Dallas, which is located upon Trinity River, and is the Metropolis of Northern Texas. There was little to note in my stay there, except the amusingly antagonistic reasons assigned by two men for not giving me their patronage. Their business houses were upon the same side of one street, and not very remote from each other. One refused because my book was not sufficiently religious in its tone, and the other because he saw the name of the Lord upon one of its pages. It

was plainly evident in both cases that the name of the "Almighty Dollar" as its price was the most probable impediment.

It was now the last of May, and the intense heat induced me to go northward; indeed those who hope to enjoy a visit in that part of Texas must go at some time between the months of September and May, for during the remainder of the year the inhabitants do nothing but "try to keep cool."

We stopped over one train at the beautiful town of Sherman, and then hurried on to St. Louis, where I found my old friend Mrs. Anderson, who, having visited Baltimore the previous summer, had learned all the particulars of the death of the beloved Superintendant of our Institution during my life there.

Mr. Charles H. Keener was the son of Christian Keener, the founder of Greenmount Cemetery of Baltimore, a sweet resting place which could fitly receive the appellation given their cemeteries by the Turks-"A City of the Living." He was the brother of Bishop J.C. Keener, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, who is quite celebrated as a Divine. His life was characterized by a succession of shining acts of self-sacrifice and affection, and his nature, so quiet and unobtrusive, shrunk so sensitively from ostentation, that greatness must have been "thrust upon him" ere he held a name emblazoned upon the roll of fame. His character in contrast with publicly great men has been most graphically told by the German poet, who sang-

"One on earth in silence wrought,

And his grave in silence sought;

But the younger, brighter form,

Passed in battle, and in storm."

As the Superintendent of our Institution, he held the hearts of every inmate. His younger brother, in a letter of response to some queries, said-"He was an Engineer in the United States Navy during the War of the Rebellion, a devoted son, a true patriot, and an earnest Christian man." He was afterward stationed on the "Island of Navassa," one of the West India Group, within one hundred miles of Cuba, and was acting as Superintendent of a Phosphate Company which owned, and worked the Island. He had been there during eighteen months, when, in September, 1872, the yellow fever broke out in the Island. After several weeks' resistance he, too, succumbed to this terrible scourge, and, after a six days' illness, died on the 9th of November, 1872.

His brother also feelingly makes mention of his last letter, written upon the day of his attack, as "a marvel of calm resignation." It runs thus: "I am fast getting ready to be counted among the sick. When you know I am really dead write to-(here follow the names of many friends) and tell them to meet me in Heaven. One by one we are passing over, why should we hesitate? why should I with no one to care for? Surely I have seen trouble enough in this life! May I feel as little dread of dying at the last moment as I do now."

His last words were addressed to his second officer, who had been addicted to dissipation, but who had pledged himself to reform. As he was carried out to look upon the sea which he loved so well, he said: "Mawson, remember your pledge," when his head immediately dropped and he entered into the life eternal.

So did the life of this good man pass gently away while he was still in the prime of manhood. He was carried to beautiful Greenmount for burial, near the city in which his name will be coupled with loving memories for long years to come.

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