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LAST ILLNESS AND DEATH.
WHILE Mr. Righter was making the entry in his note-book with which the preceding chapter closes, he was suffering from the attack of disease which terminated his valuable life. No account of this last illness could be given in such fitting and expressive language as that which is contained in the letters of his travelling companion, Rev. Mr. Jones, and of the missionaries at Diarbekir, where it pleased God, in the great kindness of his providence, that his life should be terminated. Nowhere upon the face of the earth, save in the home of his parents, could he have breathed out his life with more tender evidences of the loving-kindness of his heavenly Father, into whose home he was taken. He died literally in the midst of brethren and sisters, and all the offices which long love could have performed were bestowed upon him. The letter of Dr. Nutting, at whose house he died, gives a full account of his last illness, and this is first quoted:
LETTER FROM REV. DAVID H. NUTTING, M.D.
“DIARBEKIR, ASSYRIA, December 16th, 1856. "To the Parents, Brothers, and Sisters of
"the late Rev. C. N. RIGHTER.
“ DEAR FRIENDS—A sad duty now devolves upon me: I am to undertake to give you an account of the last sickness of your son and brother. You will have learned from the letter of Rev. Mr. Jones, his companion in travel, that Mr. R. did not consider himself sick until the 6th instant, the day they left Mardin, a city about fifty miles south of this, although he had for two or three weeks prévious had little appetite, and sometimes complained of chilliness. At their noon lunch that day, when he made his last entry in his journal, he complained of being very chilly, although he had three coats on, and was sitting in the sun, and had his servant hold an umbrella to protect him from the wind. From that place they had ridden on only about two hours, when, as Mr. R. still felt cold and somewhat ill, it was thought best that they turn aside to a village, called Zahnkir, to spend the night and Sabbath. They hoped that by taking some thoroughwort or sage tea to induce perspiration that night, and resting the next day, he would be well and able to proceed to Diarbekir on Monday the 8th. But Monday
came, and he was not well: had suffered much pain in right side and shoulder, and had some. feverishness. Mr. Jones administered some medicine to him (very suitable to his condition, I think), and it operated favorably, and the next morning he was much better. It was decided that Mr. Jones go on with one servant and zabtier to Diar bekir that day (and inform me of Mr. R.'s sickness, so that I could go down to meet him), leaving Mr. R., with the other servant, and zabtier, and carterjees, to start on two or three hours after sunrise, when the morning frost would have disappeared. IIe hoped to be able to proceed five or six hours that day, and the following to reach this city. That evening Mr. Jones came, and to our great surprise Mr. R. came not with him. He immediately told us that he left Mr. R. ill a few hours out, but that he was much better that morning, and hoped he would be able to come easily the one day's journey in two.
“In the morning, after breakfast, with our good Deacon Shimas, I rode down the river on the road to Mardin, hoping to meet Mr. Righter three or four hours from the city. It was a clear, lovely day, like pleasant October days in N. E., and the road was excellent. We had proceeded about three and one half hours, when we met Mr. Righter's servant, carterjees, and baggage. We asked where Mr. R. was. They said he had
gone on before with the cavass or zabtier, and were surprised that we had not met him. We concluded he had taken another road, and turning, followed on after him. At the village of *Cahby-kir' we overtook him. He had stopped to rest a few moments, and was standing before a house with a crowd of natives around him. As I rode up I was struck with his unusual slowness in greeting me.
He did not seem particularly weak, but spoke and moved like a man benumbed with cold. He said he had come very easily, and was not much fatigued. He was sipping a little brandy and water, which he said he found much to refresh him. I asked him if he would not go into a house and lie down awhile before proceeding. He thought it unnecessary and not desirable, particularly as it might make us late in reaching the city. Soon we mounted and rode quietly on. He was on an Arab horse, which he bought in Mosul, and which he said carried him with
very little motion and jar. He was very glad to be informed that several letters for him had arrived since he went to Mosul, and said he had anticipated having a feast of letters when he reached Diarbekir. When we were about a mile and a half from the city we were met by Mr. Walker and Mr. Jones, whom he was much pleased to see, and thanked for coming to meet him.
"It was nearly four o'clock when we reached
my house. We took him immediately up into our parlor, and he sat for awhile by the stove in the rocking chair, before having his overcoats, riding boots, and hat taken off, fearing he might take cold if his outer clothing was removed too suddenly. He then walked about the room a minute or two, and, at my request, laid down upon a lounge. Soon I brought the letters to him, and he looked them all over, and said he knew from whom each one came, by the handwriting and postmarks. He then laid them aside saying he was then too much fatigued to read them. Mrs. N. then brought him a cup of tea and soda crackers, and he sat up by the table. I had brought to him also a wash-bowl, etc., but he seemed not to have resolution sufficient either to wash, or take the tea even; and requested me to allow them to stand by him a little while. After sitting awhile he seemed to revive, washed, drank his tea, and proposed to go down to dine with us, but did not go, as I thought it would be too much for him in his exhausted state. Soon I asked him to the bed-room adjoining the parlor, and he laid down saying he felt very grateful for such a comfortable bed and pleasant room. I was with him all the evening, and though he did not sleep, he seemed to be resting. He had considerable fever, as he said he had had for three or four nights previous. At 11 o'clock he thought