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Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about Taken Alive.

“He did believe in you, Ralph, and he always spoke well of you.  Oh, you can’t know how much I lost in him!  After mother died he did not leave me to the care of strangers, but gave me most of his time when off duty.  He sent me to the best schools, bought me books to read, and took me out evenings instead of going off by himself, as so many men do.  He was so kind and so brave; oh, oh! you know he lost his life by trying to do his duty when another man would have given up.  Bute and two others broke jail.  Father saw one of his assistants stabbed, and he was knocked down himself.  He might have remained quiet and escaped with a few bruises; but he caught Bute’s foot, and then the wretch turned and stabbed him.  He told me all with his poor pale lips before he died.  Oh, oh! when shall I forget?”

“You can never forget, dear; I don’t ask anything contrary to nature.  You were a good daughter, and so I believe you will be a good wife.  But if I bring the murderer to justice, you will feel that a great wrong has been righted—­that all has been done that can be done.  Then you’ll begin to think that your father wouldn’t wish you to grieve yourself to death, and that as he tried to make you happy while he was living, so he will wish you to be happy now he’s gone.”

“It isn’t a question of happiness.  I don’t feel as if I could ever be happy again; and so I don’t see how I can make you or any one else happy.”

“That’s my lookout, Clara.  I’d be only too glad to take you as you are.  Come, now, this is December.  If I bring Bute in by Christmas, what will you give me?”

She silently and eloquently gave him her hand; but her lips quivered so she could not speak.  He kissed her hand as gallantly as any olden-time knight, then added a little brusquely: 

“See here, little girl, I’m not going to bind you by anything that looks like a bargain.  I shall attempt all I’ve said; and then on Christmas, or whenever I get back, I’ll speak my heart to you again just as I have spoken now.”

“When a man acts as you do, Ralph, any girl would find it hard to keep free.  I shall follow you night and day with my thoughts and prayers.”

“Well, I’m superstitious enough to believe that I shall be safer and more successful on account of them.  Clara, look me in the eyes before I go.”

She looked up to his clear gray eyes as requested.

“I don’t ask you to forget one who is dead; but don’t you see how much you are to one who is living?  Don’t you see that in spite of all your sorrow you can still give happiness?  Now, be as generous and kind as you can.  Don’t grieve hopelessly while I’m gone.  That’s what is killing you; and the thought of it fills me with dread.  Try to think that you still have something and some one to live for.  Perhaps you can learn to love me a little if you try, and then everything won’t look so black.  If you find you can’t love me, I won’t blame you—­, and if I lose you as my wife, you won’t lose a true, honest friend.”

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