Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/530

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ON the 4th of September, 1876, Otto Schmidt, an industrious and thrifty German, reached his home after an absence of a week at the Centennial Fair at Philadelphia. How and where he lodged, and what he ate, during the five days he was at that city, we have no means of knowing, for, by the time he had exhausted the marvels of the exhibition in his voluble German tongue, he had lost all idea of unity of place, and was wandering mentally amid the busy wonders of Machinery Hall. The reason of his mental migration was a very simple matter. Otto was sick. On the 8th he complained of headache, bodily prostration, and mental lassitude. The next day the distress in his head was very severe, with pain in the back and limbs, and chilly sensations. The day following there was fever with loss of appetite, and toward evening he vomited the only food he had taken that day. On the 11th he thought he was better; but on the 12th the fever, both morning and evening, was marked. The next day he was seen by a physician, and the disease was recognized as typhoid fever. And here, having given in brief the history of the misfortune that had befallen Otto, let me describe the little segment of the world that held all that was dear to him in the way of family and friends. In order to appreciate what follows, every point and detail in this miniature survey must be understood and remembered.

No reader of history can follow the marching and countermarching of hostile armies without his map; and here also, upon a space of ground one hundred and sixty-five by five hundred feet, we have the invasion of an active, subtile, invisible foe after due declaration of war. To the reader and myself this narrow limit of ground is historical. Here was fought one of the most destructive battles ever recorded in the annals of human misery—a campaign between this imponderable invader and the vitality of a score of human beings. This conflict was waged unheeded by the dense population around, which seemed bent more on enjoying itself during the pleasant harvest weather than witnessing an unequal fight.

The —— ward of the city of Syracuse is bailt in its northern extension upon a series of parallel hills and valleys. These hills, with steep eastern and western flanks, govern in a measure the direction of the streets. There are three of these crests, with corresponding valleys. The locality indicated in the cut is situated in the central depression. Directly to the west it is commanded by the second ridge, the sides partly built up, partly terraced, and the summit is crowned by Lookout Park, a pleasure-ground of doubtful promise, its scanty verdure being checked in its growth by the stony soil and the violent winds that