Taken Alive eBook

Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about Taken Alive.
her children from the village of Kingston almost as the British entered it, and her home was soon in ashes.  Her husband, James Roe, was away in the army.  My mother died some years before I attained my majority, and I cannot remember when she was not an invalid.  Such literary tendencies as I have are derived from her, but I do not possess a tithe of her intellectual power.  Her story-books in her youth were the classics; and when she was but twelve years of age she knew “Paradise Lost” by heart.  In my recollections of her, the Bible and all works tending to elucidate its prophecies were her favorite themes of study.  The retentiveness of her memory was very remarkable.  If any one repeated a verse of the New Testament, she could go on and finish the chapter.  Indeed, she could quote the greater part of the Bible with the ease and accuracy of one reading from the printed page.  The works of Hugh Miller and the Arctic Explorations of Dr. Kane afforded her much pleasure.  Confined usually to her room, she took unfailing delight in wandering about the world with the great travellers of that day, her strong fancy reproducing the scenes they described.  A stirring bit of history moved her deeply.  Well do I remember, when a boy, of reading to her a chapter from Motley’s “Dutch Republic,” and of witnessing in her flushed cheeks and sparkling black eyes proof of an excitement all too great for one in her frail health.  She had the unusual gift of relating in an easy, simple way what she read; and many a book far too abstruse and dull for my boyish taste became an absorbing story from her lips.  One of her chief characteristics was the love of flowers.  I can scarcely recall her when a flower of some kind, usually a rose, was not within her reach; and only periods of great feebleness kept her from their daily care, winter and summer.  Many descendants of her floral pets are now blooming in my garden.

My father, on the other hand, was a sturdy man of action.  His love for the country was so strong that he retired from business in New York as soon as he had won a modest competence.  For forty-odd years he never wearied in the cultivation of his little valley farm, and the square, flower-bordered garden, at one side of which ran an unfailing brook.  In this garden and under his tuition I acquired my love of horticulture—­acquired it with many a backache—­heartache too, on days good for fishing or hunting; but, taking the bitter with the sweet, the sweet predominated.  I find now that I think only of the old-fashioned roses in the borders, and not of my hands bleeding from the thorns.  If I groaned over the culture of many vegetables, it was much compensation to a boy that the dinner-table groaned also under the succulent dishes thus provided.  I observed that my father’s interest in his garden and farm never flagged, thus proving that in them is to be found a pleasure which does not pall with age.  During the last summer of his life, when in his eighty-seventh year, he had the delight of a child in driving over to my home in the early morning, long before I was up, and in leaving a basket of sweet corn or some other vegetable which he knew would prove his garden to be ahead of mine.

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Taken Alive from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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