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A Mighty Change: Chapter Six

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Part Second

Dear Reader:

Let me add a few more pages to the brief sketch you have just read of my life, which was written over four years ago. It was a great undertaking for me to publish for perusal by the public a history of my life, and then offer it for sale. I shrunk from it, and could never have done so, had it not been really necessary for me to do something for my own maintenance. But though sometimes chilled by averted looks and want of sympathy, I have found many ready and willing to extend the helping hand; many earnest, true friends who have aided and encouraged me. The son of Mr. Barns, my former publisher (who is a true gentleman, has also been afflicted with deafness, though not mute), and the printers in the Tribune office, made me a present of the first thousand copies of my little book and a few dollars in money to help me on. Words fail to express my gratitude for this kindness, but I shall ever cherish for them the most grateful remembrance. By this means I was enabled to secure a home for myself and mother. . . .

And now I will tell you what I have seen in my travels. . . . Thank Heaven for sight, precious sight! To the deaf it is both hearing and speech. I have only the full enjoyment of one eye葉he other is still so dim that I cannot distinguish objects with it. But the sight I do have is invaluable to me. Some of my blind friends seem very cheerful, and even happy. Yet pleasures which sight secures can never be theirs. The faces of beloved friends, beaming with smiles of affection葉he green fields葉he beautiful flowers葉he trees waving in the summer winds, white with blossoms or laden with ripe fruits葉he broad, winding river sparkling in the sun, while boats of every shape and size glide over its bosom. . . . The most wonderful sight I ever beheld, a sight that made me tremble and worship God, was the Falls of Niagara. Such a great river, pouring over such a descent! It made me dizzy to look at it; and it shook the earth far and near. . . .

At the Suspension Bridge we found an Asylum for the deaf, dumb, and blind. It was a private school kept by Dr. Skinner and his wife. The Doctor had been blind two years揺is wife, though she could see, was a mute. This worthy couple, though white themselves, were deeply interested in the poor colored children afflicted like themselves, and their pupils are all colored. Those who could see had bright sparkling eyes, and were quiet and respectful. The blind were very tidy and attentive. They all seemed very contented and happy, and it was interesting to see the dumb scholars converse with their blind associates.


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