Taken Alive eBook

Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about Taken Alive.

“Oh, Gertrude, my wife, my wife!  Oh, my children!” he groaned.

His breast heaved with a great sigh; the blood welled afresh from his wound; what seemed a mortal weakness crept over him; and he thought he died.

* * * * * * *

“Say, Eb, is he done gone?”

“’Clar to grashus if I know.  ’Pears mighty like it.”  These words were spoken by two stout negroes, who had stolen to the battlefield as the sounds of conflict died away.

“I’m doggoned if I tink dat he’s dead.  He’s only swoonded,” asserted the man addressed as Eb. “’Twon’t do to lebe ’im here to die, Zack.”

“Sartin not; we’d hab bad luck all our days.”

“I reckon ole man Pearson will keep him; and his wife’s a po’ful nuss.”

“Pearson orter; he’s a Unioner.”

“S’pose we try him; ’tain’t so bery fur off.”

* * * * * * *

On the morning of the 24th of December, Mrs. Anson Marlow sat in the living-room of her cottage, that stood well out in the suburbs of a Northern town.  Her eyes were hollow and full of trouble that seemed almost beyond tears, and the bare room, that had been stripped of nearly every appliance and suggestion of comfort, but too plainly indicated one of the causes.  Want was stamped on her thin face, that once had been so full and pretty; poverty in its bitter extremity was unmistakably shown by the uncarpeted floor, the meagre fire, and scanty furniture.  It was a period of depression; work had been scarce, and much of the time she had been too ill and feeble to do more than care for her children.  Away back in August her resources had been running low; but she had daily expected the long arrears of pay which her husband would receive as soon as the exigencies of the campaign permitted.  Instead of these funds, so greatly needed, came the tidings of a Union defeat, with her husband’s name down among the missing.  Beyond that brief mention, so horrible in its vagueness, she had never heard a word from the one who not only sustained her home, but also her heart.  Was he languishing in a Southern prison, or, mortally wounded, had he lingered out some terrible hours on that wild battlefield, a brief description of which had been so dwelt upon by her morbid fancy that it had become like one of the scenes in Dante’s “Inferno”?  For a long time she could not and would not believe that such an overwhelming disaster had befallen her and her children, although she knew that similar losses had come to thousands of others.  Events that the world regards as not only possible but probable are often so terrible in their personal consequences that we shrink from even the bare thought of their occurrence.

If Mrs. Marlow had been told from the first that her husband was dead, the shock resulting would not have been so injurious as the suspense that robbed her of rest for days, weeks, and months.  She haunted the post-office, and if a stranger was seen coming up the street toward her cottage she watched feverishly for his turning in at her gate with the tidings of her husband’s safety.  Night after night she Jay awake, hoping, praying that she might hear his step returning on a furlough to which wounds or sickness had entitled him.  The natural and inevitable result was illness and nervous prostration.

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Taken Alive from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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