The Forbidden Trail (Chapter 2, page 1 of 19)


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Chapter 2

Although John Moore never became reconciled to the failure of his factory, still he was not really unhappy on the farm. There is something too normal, something too entirely natural about a return to the soil after middle age, to permit a man broken and worn, as was Roger's father, really to be discontented when working in his own fields.

The farm never paid very well. After the first year or so they were obliged to mortgage it, and sometimes the interest was hard to meet. But after the stormy factory years, these anxieties seemed innocuous enough and Roger and his mother, anyway, were deeply happy.

Roger made an old corn crib over into a laboratory. During his High School period, with his faithful henchman, Ernest, he spent all his free moments on various and mysterious experiments in the patched-up little shack. Many were the vile smells and the outrageous noises that floated out over the farm, but nobody complained, except Roger's mother, and she only mildly. No startling results were forthcoming from these experiments, but John Moore encouraged the boys in their attempts.

"Chemistry was my weak point," he would say. "Get all you can of it, Rog. Perhaps you'll succeed where I failed."

"All the chemistry in the world couldn't have run Ole Oleson for you," Roger would reply.

"No, but it would have made a real engineer of me," his father would say thoughtfully.

When Roger was a freshman and sophomore in college, he suffered a complete relapse from his interest in experimental work, and his father was very much depressed, but both his mother and Dean Erskine laughed at Mr. Moore's fuming.

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