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A Mighty Change: Chapter Six

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When a few years older, my parents removed from Detroit to Grass Lake, on the Central Railroad. There I found myself among strangers, and longed for the friends of my other home. It seemed as if no one would ever understand me as Lottie did, and I missed her sadly. But I was not long left to pine in solitude. Dear Polly Ann Osgood, I soon learned to love her as well. We grew up together like sisters. How many delightful rambles we had about the fields and forest, gathering berries and other fruits, and weaving the sweet wild flowers into garlands to crown our heads; and although I could not hear the warbling of birds, my little friend did, and she tried to make me understand it. . . .

My young mind was filled with thoughts all unexpressed and inexpressible. Deep, fervent and glowing, I longed to worship something, I knew not who or what. My dear mother was constantly importuned with questions, who made the grass and the flowers and all the living creatures that throng the earth? . . .

Oh how I yearned for the knowledge to illumine my darkened mind. My mother, as well as she was able, explained to me that One who dwells above made them all; and that I must kneel and raised my eyes, hands and heart in adoration. Oh, I thought “If I could only see him.” But since I have been able to read His Holy Word, I have learned more of Him. I have learned to worship Him in spirit and in truth. . . .

While dwelling in Grass Lake an event took place that I shall never forget, the remembrance of it even now fills me with horror. My father used sometimes to pour powder upon the hearth to make it flash for my amusement. I think he did not know what a mad-cap I was, or he would hardly have thought it prudent to set me such an example.

One day I was left at home alone, and I got the powder, and sprinkling it about the floor set it on fire. It flashed in earnest, setting fire to everything. I had on a flannel dress, fortunately, or I might have flashed with the rest. But I caught my little dog in my arms, and drew my father’s trunk to the door. It was very heavy, and I could not lift it over the sill. So I was obliged to leave it and run more than a quarter of a mile to the house of the nearest neighbor to give the alarm.

When they reached the house the roof had fallen in, and the house with all its contents was consumed. When my mother and father came home, there was no home to receive them. My dear father had taught his foolish little dumb girl a trick that had robbed him of it; though they did not know it then. I could not explain the cause of the fire, and they were so happy to find that I had not also perished in the flames, they thought little of their great loss in the house, though many valuable papers and other articles were destroyed which were never replaced. After I learned to write, however, I gave my mother a faithful account of my part in the affair.

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