Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/713

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SKETCH OF THOMAS NUTTALL. 695

ceived the naturalist at some distance, quietly examining a speci- men. He hailed him with signs to return quickly. "We are going to have a brush with the Indians," said his friend ; " is your gun in good order ? " Alas ! the gun had been freely used to up- root plants, and was filled with earth to the muzzle. Had Nuttall fired it in this condition it would inevitably have burst in his hands and killed or severely wounded him.

On his journey to the Pacific the caravan separated into two parties to cross the Rocky Mountains by different routes. One of the parties had the good fortune to meet with plenty of buffalo cows, upon whose meat they became fat. The other, to which Nuttall belonged, suffered much from fatigue, and found scarcely anything to eat except a few lean grizzly bears. When the parties reunited, Nuttall had lost so much flesh that his old companions could scarcely recognize him. Upon one of these expressing his surprise at the great change in his appearance, he heaved a sigh of inanition and retorted, " Yes, indeed, you would have been just as thin as myself if, like me, you had lived for two weeks upon old Ephraim (grizzly bear), and on short allowance of that too ! "

At Christmas, 1841, Nuttall returned to England, where he re- sided for the remaining seventeen years of his life. An uncle who had prospered in business, having no family of his own, be- queathed to him an estate called Nutgrove, in the neighborhood of Liverpool. A condition attached to the bequest was that Nut- tall should reside in England at least nine months of the year for the rest of his life. He had been thirty-four years in the United States and become much attached to this country, so that, although he had visited England in 1811 and 1822, returning to reside per- manently in the land of his birth seemed to him like going into exile. He therefore hesitated for some time to accept the inherit- ance, but consideration for his sisters and their families finally in- duced him to take it. Becoming a British landed proprietor did not make Mr. Nuttall wealthy. The Nutgrove estate was encum- bered with annuities, besides which there was a heavy income tax to pay. Dr. Pickering and other American friends who visited him found him living in the fashion of a plain farmer, working and eating with his men like one of them. But his interest in botany was not allowed to die out. He made use of the opportunity which the possession of ample grounds afforded for the cultivation of rare plants, especially rhododendrons, which his nephew, Mr. Thomas J. Booth, brought him from the mountains of Assam and Butan. Various new species of these were described by him in British scientific journals. . -, j

Shortly before leaving the United States Nuttall was mduced to write a supplement to Michaux's Sylva in three volumes. In the beautifully written preface to the work his own wanderings

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