Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/13

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remained truthful, courageous, and kind. In his childhood, he was noticeable for his tenderness towards his mother, and by his passion for physical exercise. This mother, who was a widow, and sick, and missing her two eldest sons who were following their studies far from home, was adopted by Robert if one dare use such a word in such a circumstance. Looking after his mother, helping her in all respects, even those daily home chores that boys usually hate, became the sacred concerns of his youth ; and the valiant hands which would, in ten battles grasp the sword of leadership, devoted themselves to handling the keys of a large household.

At the age of 15, he was strong enough to carry Mrs. Lee in his arms, and from there on, he never failed to render her this service. Nothing could distract him from it.[1]

When the baying of hounds, hunting deer or fox, would ring in the hills along the Potomac, the passionate instinct of the hunter would intoxicate that young head and would send tingles in those long, tireless legs ; and yet Robert Lee remained faithful to the task he had assigned to himself. Every single day, his mother took her walk with him. Now and then, she would protest against what she called his

sacrifices, but the young man never accepted to leave her to

  1. When she writes this book, Lucie Boissonnas is 35. She has TB already, from which she would die at the age of 37. She has 4 sons and 2 daughters.