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Burl   By: (1829-1915)

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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1884,


in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


Some one has said that inasmuch as the Preface to a book is the last thing that is written, it ought to be the last that is read. I suppose that some readers prefer to omit the Preface until they have read the book, for many writers, Lord Lytton among the number, really destroy the illusion of a work of fiction by specifying the conditions under which it was written. A certain amount of faith in the reality of the things recorded is, to many minds, essential to true enjoyment of the story.

However the case may be, I prefer that the reader of this volume should read these lines of mine before he proceeds farther. The author of this little book is both blind and deaf ! For many years he has been absolutely blind. He has utterly lost the sense of hearing also; and whilst he speaks with singular clearness, and with some modulation of voice, he can receive no communication from his fellow creatures except through an alphabet which he carries upon his hand! Every word must be spelled letter by letter.

Thus deprived of two of his senses, it is a marvel that he is able to write at all. That he has written a book of more than ordinary interest I am sure the reader will decide when he has read it. There are passages of true poetry scattered here and there, and some descriptive scenes that will not suffer by comparison with those of the best of living authors. Under other circumstances, I would exercise my editorial prerogative, and change the form of some of his expressions; but the style of Mr. Heady is peculiar: it is his own, and the merit of originality should not be denied to him, even in those rare instances in which he breaks away from the trammels of recognized laws of language.

I am sure that the knowledge of the infirmities under which this author writes will secure to him a lenient spirit of criticism, whilst it inspires admiration in view of the great excellence of his work. Not a line, not a word of complaint against the Providence that has afflicted him not the slightest allusion to his personal disabilities will be found anywhere in this volume. The spirit of the writer is cheerful, to the verge of gayety itself. He has a keen sense of the ridiculous, and exhibits a quiet humor which is couched in quaint and striking phrases.

How thankful ought we to be, to whom the gracious God has given the use of all our senses! Should we not stand reproved in the presence of this blind and deaf man, who uses for the benefit of others the means that he possesses, whilst we, enjoying all of God's bounties, have made so little use of them? This work is a sermon to the despondent, complaining spirit, and a word of vigorous exhortation to the slothful man. May this moral of the book leave its record for good in the heart of every reader!


Book Editor, M.E. Church, South.

NASHVILLE, Dec., 1883.


Nearly twenty years had now elapsed since Daniel Boone had spent that memorable twelve month all alone in the depths of the boundless wilderness; yet was Kentucky still the Hunter's Paradise, or the land of the Dark and Bloody Ground, just as the wild adventurer or peaceful laborer might happen to view it. In the more central regions, it is true, a number of thriving settlements had already sprung up, and by this time 1789, or thereabout were quite too populous and strong to apprehend any further serious molestation from their Indian neighbors. But between these points and the Ohio River lay a wide border of debatable land, where the restless savages still kept up their hostile demonstrations, which, though less bloody and wasting than at an earlier period, were yet sufficiently frequent and harassing to keep the white settlers in perpetual disquietude and fear... Continue reading book >>

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