Tales of the Chesapeake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 336 pages of information about Tales of the Chesapeake.

    And oft by night, they whisper, a phantom architect
    Lurks round the Cape of Havre, of ruined intellect,
    Who had designed a city upon this eminence,
    To cover all the headland and rule the land from hence.

    And sometimes men belated the phantom builder find,
    Lost on the darkened water and drifting with the wind;
    Then by his will a vision starts sudden on the night—­
    The city flashing splendor o’er all that barren height.

    Its dome of polished marble and tholus full of fire;
    The dying look of sunset just fading from the spire;
    The towers of its prisons, the spars and masts of fleets,
    And lines of lamps that clamber along the crowded streets.

    The ships of war at anchor in the indented ports,
    The thunder of the broadsides, the answer of the forts—­
    These by his invocation arise and flame and thrill,
    Raised on his faith tenacious and strengthened by his will.

    My soul! there is a city, set like a diadem,
    Beyond a crystal river:  the new Jerusalem. 
    The architect was lowly and walked with fishermen;
    But only He can open the blessed sight again.



The express train going south on the Northern Central Railroad, March 3d, 186-, carried perhaps a score of newly-elected Congressmen, prepared to take their seats on the first day of the term.  For every Congressman there were at least five followers, adventurers or clients, some distinguished by their tighter-fitting faces, signifying that they were men of commerce; others, by their unflagging and somewhat overstrained amiability, not to say sycophancy, signifying that out of the aforesaid Congressmen they expected something “fat.”  Of the former class the hardest type was unquestionably Jabel Blake, and the business which he had in hand with the freshly Honorable Arthur MacNair, who sat at his side reading the Pittsburg news-paper, was the establishment of a national bank at the town of Ross Valley, Pennsylvania.

Jabel Blake had as little the look of a bank president as had his representative the bearing of a politician.  MacNair was a thin, almost fragile young person, with light-red hair and a freckled face and clear blue eyes, which nearly made a parson of him—­a suggestion carried out by his plain guard and silver watch and his very sober, settled expression.  The Honorable Perkiomen Trappe, who had served three terms from the Apple-butter District, remarked of him, from the adjoining seat, “Made his canvass, I s’pose, by a colporterin’ Methodist books, and stans ready to go to his hivinly home by way of the Injin Ring!”

But, in reality, the Congressman belonged to the same faith with his constituent and client—­both Presbyterians like their great-grandfathers, who were Scotch pioneers among the spurs of the Alleghenies; and there still lived these twain, in fashion little changed—­MacNair a lawyer at the court-house town, and Jabel Blake the creator, reviver, and capitalist of the hamlet of Ross Valley.  Jabel was hard, large, bony, and dark, with pinched features and a whitish-gray eye, and a keen, thin, long voice high-pitched, every separate accent of which betrayed the love of money.

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Tales of the Chesapeake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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