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- Taken Alive - 1/66 -


The Works of E. P. Roe

VOLUME ELEVEN

TAKEN ALIVE AND OTHER STORIES WITH AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

ILLUSTRATED

CONTENTS

"A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

TAKEN ALIVE: I. SOMETHING BEFORE UNKNOWN II. A VISITOR AT THE MINE III. THWARTED IV. TAKEN ALIVE V. WHAT BRANDT SAW CHRISTMAS EVE

FOUND YET LOST: I. LOVE IN THE WILDERNESS II. LOVE AT HOME III. "DISABLED" IV. MARTINE SEEKS AN ANTIDOTE V. SECOND BLOOM VI. MORE THAN REWARD VII. YANKEE BLANK VIII. "HOW CAN I?" IX. SHADOWS OF COMING EVENTS X. "YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND" XI. MR. KEMBLE'S APPEAL XII. "YOU MUST REMEMBER" XIII. "I'M HELEN" XIV. "FORWARD! COMPANY A"

QUEEN OF SPADES

AN UNEXPECTED RESULT

A CHRISTMAS-EVE SUIT

THREE THANKSGIVING KISSES

SUSIE ROLLIFFE'S CHRISTMAS

JEFF'S TREASURE: I. ITS DISCOVERY II. ITS INFLUENCE

CAUGHT ON THE EBB-TIDE

CHRISTMAS EVE IN WAR TIMES

A BRAVE LITTLE QUAKERESS

"A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

Au Autobiography

Two or three years ago the editor of "Lippincott's Magazine" asked me, with many others, to take part in the very interesting "experience meeting" begun in the pages of that enterprising periodical. I gave my consent without much thought of the effort involved, but as time passed, felt slight inclination to comply with the request. There seemed little to say of interest to the general public, and I was distinctly conscious of a certain sense of awkwardness in writing about myself at all. The question, Why should I? always confronted me.

When this request was again repeated early in the current year, I resolved at least to keep my promise. This is done with less reluctance now, for the reason that floating through the press I meet with paragraphs concerning myself that are incorrect, and often absurdly untrue. These literary and personal notes, together with many questioning letters, indicate a certain amount of public interest, and I have concluded that it may be well to give the facts to those who care to know them.

It has been made more clear to me that there are many who honestly do care. One of the most prized rewards of my literary work is the ever-present consciousness that my writings have drawn around me a circle of unknown yet stanch friends, who have stood by me unfalteringly for a number of years. I should indeed be lacking if my heart did not go out to them in responsive friendliness and goodwill. If I looked upon them merely as an aggregation of customers, they would find me out speedily. A popular mood is a very different thing from an abiding popular interest. If one could address this circle of friends only, the embarrassment attendant on a certain amount of egotism would be banished by the assurance of sympathetic regard. Since, from the nature of circumstances, this is impossible, it seems to me in better taste to consider the "author called Roe" in an objective, rather than in a friendly and subjective sense. In other words, I shall try to look at him from the public point of view, and free myself from some predisposition in his favor shared by his friends. I suppose I shall not succeed in giving a colorless statement of fact, but I may avoid much special pleading in his behalf.

Like so many other people, I came from a very old family, one from which there is good proof of an unbroken line through the Dark Ages, and all ages, to the first man. I have never given any time to tracing ancestry, but have a sort of quiet satisfaction that mine is certainly American as far as it well can be. My forefathers (not "rude," to my knowledge) were among the first settlers on the Atlantic seaboard. My paternal and maternal grandfathers were stanch Whigs during the Revolution, and had the courage of their convictions. My grandmother escaped with 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.

My father was very simple and positive in his beliefs, always openly foremost in the reform movements of his day and in his neighborhood, yet never, to my knowledge, seeking or taking any office. His house often became a station of the "underground railroad" in slavery times, and on one night in the depth of winter he took a hotly-pursued fugitive in his sleigh and drove him five miles on the ice, diagonally across the Hudson, to Fishkill, thence putting the brave aspirant for freedom on the way to other friends. He incurred several risks in this act. It is rarely safe to drive on the river off the beaten tracks at night, for there are usually air-holes, and the strong tides are continually making changes in the ice. When told that he might be sent to jail for his defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law, he quietly answered, "I can go to jail." The thing he could not do was to deny the man's appeal to him for help. Before the war he was known as an Abolitionist--after it, as a Conservative, his sympathy with and for the South being very strong. During the draft riots in 1863 the spirit of lawlessness was on the point of breaking out in the river towns. I happened to be home from Virginia, and learned that my father's house was among those marked for burning on a certain night. During this night the horde gathered; but one of their leaders had received such empathetic warning of what would happen the following day should outrages be perpetrated, that he persuaded his associates to desist. I sat up that night at my father's door with a double-barrelled gun, more impressed with a sense of danger than at any other time in my experience; he, on the contrary, slept as quietly as a child.


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