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.