A Brave Mother Saves Her Child
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
RIDING on the train from Washington to New York, a gentleman who got on the car at Baltimore said to me, " Is this seat engaged? " " No, sir," I replied, and moved to make room for him. His big valise and mine, and the two owners, more than filled the space allowed. As I was deeply interested in a book, I did not stop reading to engage in conversation. As we approached Philadelphia, the gentleman asked me how far it was to Wayne Junction. I told him only a little distance. He said he was going to Buffalo and did not wish to miss the connection. I said, " You are going to the Pan-American Exposition, I presume." " Yes," he answered, " and I have come a long way to attend it." " From where?" I inquired. He replied, " From Galveston, Texas." In appearance he was not a typical Texan, but his Southern brogue was pronounced. I said, " Were you in Galveston during the storm?" He said, Yes, I was." I told him I was sorry that I had not known the fact before, as I should have liked to have him tell me some incidents connected with the disaster. I suggested that, as he would not reach his station for at least twenty minutes, he might take the time to relate two or three. He said, " I will gladly do so; this is one: There was a gay young girl, fond of society, living in our city, who became the wife of Dr. Longena, the surgeon of the United States Post. When the storm began he went to help the fellow-officers who were down closer to the gulf, not dreaming that there would be any danger to his own home. He found that the water had covered the quarters close to the gulf, and it was learned afterwards that twenty-eight of the soldiers there had been drowned. When he turned to go back to his own home he found that the flood had cut off his retreat, and he took refuge in the home of an officer near by, little dreaming that his own home was already in danger.
His wife, thus left alone, informed her father, who is the cashier in a hank, of her peril, and he sent a message telling her to put on her bathing suit and hasten with her three-months-old baby to a house which he thought would be secure, a half mile further from the beach. She started, but had gotten only a little distance from her home when she found places where the water was too deep for her to wade, and so she swam across them, breasting the fearful current and clinging to her child. At last she reached the house, in which twenty-two others had taken refuge. Soon after she had entered it the house came down. She crawled up on the roof, where, in her bathing suit and her child in one arm, she clung till morning. She was so afraid that her child would die from exposure and for want of food that she got off the roof and started for shelter and food. Through the water and the debris she made her way a distance of three miles to a hotel, which had stood the storm, and the two were saved. The husband was also saved.
I said to my companion " I thank you very much for that incident. It is a good one. Opportunities call out the best qualities of the individual. You would hardly have suspected that this society girl, this soft-handed child of ease, would have displayed such courage in fighting the storm, or such heroism in saving the babe. It is the tragic events that give rise to the sublimest heroism. The young mother was bent on saving the life of her child, and in doing so she saved herself. What a shelter true motherhood gives to helpless infancy! From how many material and spiritual storms imperiled childhood is saved by brave, true, consecrated Christian motherhood ! "