“Jabel,” said General MacNair, “take with our full hearts this money. It has been honestly earned with the capital of your bank. We return it that you may fulfil the dream of your life!”
Jabel Blake took the money, and a smile overspread his face. His hard lineaments were soft and fatherly now, and their tears attested how well he was esteemed. He drew Elk MacNair’s ear to his lips, and said feebly, and with his latest articulate breath,
“General, you owe me two years’ interest!”
They laid Jabel Blake away by his fathers, and on the day of the funeral Ross Valley was crowded like a shrine.
Brave river in the mountains
And broadening on thy way,
So stately that thy stretches seem
The bosom of the bay!
Thy growth is like the nation’s life,
Through which thy current flows—
Already past the cataracts
And widening to repose.
Thy springs are at the Fairfax
Thy great arms northward course,
They join and break the mountain bars
With ever rallying force;
But in thy nature is such peace,
The beaten mountains yield,
And lie their riven battlements
Within thy silver shield.
Through battle-fields thy
In fame thy ferries shine;
Thy ripples lave the ancient stones
On Freedom’s boundary line;
Where every slave the border crossed,
A living host repass’d,
And of the sentries of thy fords,
John Brown shall be the last!
Yet, O Potomac! of thy peace
Somewhat let faction feel,
And Northern Pilgrims patient hear
Of Mosby and MacNeill.
The long trees bloom where Stuart cross’d,
And weep where Ashby bled,
And every echo in thy hills
Seems Stonewall Jackson’s tread.
The love we bore in other
No difference can bar,
And truce was kept at Vernon’s grave
However rolled the war.
Like thee, oh river! human states
By many a rapid rage,
Before they reach the deeper tides
And glass the perfect age.
Brief is the span since Calvert’s
Were still the Indian’s sport,
And Braddock’s columns stumbled on
The borderer Cresap’s fort,
Till now the tinted hills grow fond
Around yon marble height,
Where Freedom calmly rules a realm
That tires her eagle’s flight.
And still the wild deer sip
The wild duck haunt thy coves,
And all the year the fisher fleets
Bask o’er thine oyster groves;
The strange new bass thy trout pursue.
And where the herring spawn,
The blue sky opens to let through
Thine own majestic swan.