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DEATH OF AN AMERICAN TRAVELLER
It was midnight when he died. Day after day, week after week, we had watched him with the sad fear that he was fading away. Daily his cheek had grown paler, his eye brighter, and yet the spirit which was consuming its frail prison. house, was unchanged save to grow stronger when the flush of fever was on his brow. His had been a strange life, and his death was like unto it. He came among us unknown, except as the famed traveller who was to make known the secret things of the upper Nile. His body was weak but his heart was strong, and he was looking forward to researches in that unknown country with all the enthusiasm his spirit was capable of. A few days, and we began to discover the treasures of that soul, rich in the stores of a bundred lessons in the school of life. He told of adventures in every clime, from sunny Greece to the islands of the Pacific. He had struggled long and surmounted many obstacles, fought many hard fights with poverty and scorn; and all for Fame. It was his dream when a school-boy, and it clung to him in life. It was not wealth, it was not pleasure, that had wooed him to our land rich in the lore of ages.
Had he sought antiquity? It was before him. Temples whose ruins had grown old, long before the Parthenon had whitened the Acropolis-Pyramids that were “baptized to immortality in the deluge”-Obelisks that had pointed their taper fingers upward to the God of Egypt when the Pharaohs shrank from his withering curse. Halls that in their labyrinthine wanderings so awed the sage Herodotus that he went to the grave bowed down with the weight of their awful mysteries.
But the young American looked not long on these. Awhile he paused on Elephantina; and awhile sat silent and thoughtful in Apollinopopolis. He held communion with the gathered ages, beholding their record on the pillars of Thebes and Carnac. But he turned from them; and lying beside the Nile, his heart went forth upon its waters. “ The Pyramids are timeworn and hoary,” said he, “but the Nile rolled here long before the shadows of the royal tombs lay on its waters. Kings have lived and died, and the heedless river rushed on. I have sought knowledge in the past, even where my faint call for light was lost in the roar of the deluge, and imagination itself, like the dove
from the ark, has found no resting-place save it be a writhed and broken limb thai has floated down, the only earthly record of the years before—but I found it not there more than my fel. low man had already. I sought it in myself, but was lost in the dark tide of passions in my own soul. I sought it in books—but I must know something new. I must add to the sum of human wisdom. Before me rolls the father of rivers, whose waves have been waked with the war-cry of the Shepherd Kings. I will know whence he comes, and over what sands he has passed in his wanderings. And when, ages hence, men stand beside the river of Egypt, they shall speak of me.” His ear caught the roar of the cataracts, and he was in haste to be gone.
It was then, in the spring of his hopes, that strength suddenly forsook his limbs, and the pilgrim lay down to rest. It is hard to die in youth. Hope has a fair face, and life's lessons come not yet harshly. Memory has become the sepulchre of few dead affections, and the living are very strong. The thoughts go not wearisomely through the mind; and the smile of joy has not yet withered. Yet, sustained by a high faith, and trusting in Him who died for him, the young American murmured not ; but yielding the hopes of his warm heart, lay down in a convent, once the palace of a noble, and there his pilgrimage ended.
How had that heart been bound by the spell of Fame? The island-home of his mother had been almost forgotten. Her voice sounded faintly in the ear of her wayward boy. The world had been his mother; and a bitter nursing was his. He had stood in palaces often since he left his mother's cottage. Often had his voice held princes in listening pleasure. But a few days before the sudden attack which brought him to his grave he had written a letter to his noble patrons expressive of the highest hopes and most daring ambition. Now came back to him dreams of his childhood, a thousand happy thoughts of innocent days on the banks of the Connecticut, or the shore of Nassau, mingled sadly with the crushed hopes of a high heart, His last sickness was brief, although he had long been feeble. A few days, and his time was spent. He would lie for hours in the intervals of his pain, his quick gaze wandering restlessly from pillar to pillar, tracing out the
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hieroglyphics on their carved shafts until his brain was maddened and he would break out eloquently, but wildly, in passionate exclamations. Sometimes a fitful frown appeared on his usually calm face, and he muttered some. thing of harshness and again among words of unknown import in strange tongues, that he used often when sleeping, a smile would steal over his face and the American dreamed of his own bright home.
It came at last. The hour of rest was drawing nigh to the weary spirit. It was ready.The sun went down gilding the top of Cheops, then fading for ever from the eye of the departing. A few, a very few gathered around to cheer him in his last convulsive struggle with the phantom that had wiled him, that soul-winning Ambition. The monks would have prayed beside him, but he trusted not in their faith ; and looked calmly upward, knowing that he was going home. Awhile his mind wandered, and it was evidently revelling in other lands and brighter scenes. Then again a gloom settled on his face, and he spoke sternly, but inaudibly. The faint gush of the river along its banks rous
ed him, and his spirit struggled bitterly within him. “It has come! The hour I have so dreaded, yet so longed for. I must die, but that were nothing. I must be forgotten! I could have died calmly a month hence had I but time to leave my name beside that spring I have fancied in the desert, that unknown source of the Nile. But it cannot be. I have grasped at a Phantom-I have pursued it, and it was always
Now hope is crushed--and I am nameless. It were mine to-morrow-but to-morrow is not mine. This is death. I shall never see you again, my mother. Never again feel your hand on my forehead, or hear your blessing on the wayward one. Never again hear the surf-roar of Long Island. But the soul may mount to its God as well in Egypt as in America; and I shall sleep quietly enough beside the Nile. Now, dream of my vain spirit-now, chain that has so long bound me, I am free ! Friends! Thanks for your love, and farewell. Mother! was that your voice? ( heard a church-bell then! It calls me to the house of God.” His eye closed, and silence was on the eloquent lip for ever.
W. C. P.
BY E. G. WHEELER, M. D.
Class, Polyandria---order, Monogynia. Natu- is derived from vrp sains, pertaining to nymphs, ral order of Linnæus, Succulentæ ; of Jussieu, who were supposed to inhabit pure, transparent Nymphæacea.
water. The plant is so called because it really Generic Character. Calyx, from four 10 exists where those ideal beings were supposed seven-leaved; corol monopetalous, equalling the 10; or, perhaps, from the circunstance of its length of the calyx, petals attached to the germ rising above the surface of the water in the below the stamens; stigma, broai, disk-like, day-lime, and sinking beneath it again at night. marked with radiated lines; pericarf, berry- This fact certainly renders the water-lily a culike, many-celled, many-seeded.
riosity. It grows in fresh water of considerable Specific Character. Leaves, round, heart
depth, generally a pond or lake; the roots are form, sub-emerginate; lobes, widely spread, very firmly fixed at the bottom ; the leaf and acuminate, obtuse. There is a variety, rosea, flower-stems mount upward 10 the surface, which has its petioles, peduncles and leaves, of where the broail, green leaves continually float. a purplish color on the under side; leaves with Early in the month of July the blossoms apdivaricate and acute lobes.
pear. In the morning, the flower-bud rises The Nymphaa minor has its leaves cordate upon the water—truly nymph-like--and graduand entire, with prominent veins and nerves ally opening its calyx and unfolling its petals, beneath ; peduncles and perioles rather hairy; is fully expanded at mid-day- but almost as stigma from sixteen to twenty rayed. Flowers soon as the sun begins to decline, the flower smaller than the preceding species-perhaps a also begins to close; and when the shadows of variety of it.
evening steal over the lake, the blossom beThe Nympliaa lutea, or, according to Prof. comes a bud again, and the coiling stem draws Eaton, the Nuphar ad vena, the yellow water it under water. This operation is performed lily, is only a little inferior to the white species for several successive days, till the stamens in point of elegance, but its flower is sinaller and pistil have had time to fulfil the task asand inodorous. Lindestolpe informs us that, in signed them—that of perfecting the seed. What some parts of Swedlen, the roots were used as adds greatly to the interest of these fairy-like food in times of scarcity, and proved both flowers is that their fragrance is aromatic and wholesome and nutritious.
exquisitely agreeable ; hence the specific name Some exotic lilies bear a striking resemblance odorata, from odoratus, sweet-smelling or perto our water lilies in their general appearance, fumed. The leaves of this species are of a rich, properties and some of their habits. The Nym- deep green color, and are larger than those of phaa lotus, Egyptian lotus, is an aquatic plant, any other American plant. and a native of both the Indies. The root is This plant is pretty common in ponds, and conical, firm, about as large as a middling sized lakes, and marshy pools in the United States, pear, and set round with fibres. It is sweet to and also throughout Great Britain and some the taste, and when roasted or boiled, the inside other parts of Europe. becomes yellow like the yolk of an egg. It Let the lovers of Nature, who in mid-sumgrows in abundance on the banks of the Nile,
mer visit Saratoga Springs in search of health where the poorer classes gather it for food, and and recreation, also visit the beautiful Saratoga they collect enough in a short time to supply Lake, whose broad patches of water, a quarter their families for several days. The Nymphæa of a mile or more in extent, are covered with nelumbo, Pontic, or Egyptian bean, grows on these lovely water-nymphs, with here and marshy grounds in Egypt and some of the there smaller portions of the gay and smiling neighboring countries. Its fruit is eaten by the yellow-lily tastefully interspersed, and they inhabitants, and is a tonic and astringent.
will almost believe the view to be one of enOur plate represents the White Water Lily, chantment. or Pond Lily. The generic name, Nymphæa, The celebrated Hooker, one of the most emi