filled with sand, checked his breath; he had no water, and no fountain sprung along his path. But his eye was bright with courage, for he said, ‘When I reach the lonely palm, I will lie beneath its shade. I will refresh myself with its fruit. Allah has reared it to such a height, that it may encourage the wandering, and bless and sustain the faint and weary.’ But when he reached it, alas! it had grown too high to shade the weary man at its foot. On it he saw no clustering dates, and its one draught of wine was far beyond his reach. He saw at once that it was so. A child, a bird, a monkey, might have climbed to reach it. A rude hand might have felled the whole tree; but the full-grown man, the weary man, the gentle-hearted, religious man, was no nearer to its nourishment for being close to the root; yet he had not force to drag himself further, and leave at once the aim of so many fond hopes, so many beautiful thoughts. So he lay down amid the inhospitable sands. The night dews pierced his exhausted frame; the hyena laughed, the lion roared, in the distance; the stars smiled upon him satirically from their passionless peace; and he knew they were like the sun, as unfeeling, only more distant. He could not sleep for famine. With the dawn he arose. The palm stood as tall, as inaccessible, as ever; its leaves did not so much as rustle an answer to his farewell sigh. On and on he went, and came, at last, to a living spring. The spring was encircled by tender verdure, wild fruits ripened near, and the clear waters sparkled up to tempt his lip. The pilgrim rested, and refreshed himself, and looked back with less pain to the unsympathizing palm, which yet towered in the distance. But the wanderer had a mission to perform, which
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Table of Contents:
V. Conversations in Boston .
VI . Jamaica Plain .
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