Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX >> Page 131

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CHAPTER IX.

" To serve bravely is to come halting off you know."
King Henry IV.

" ONE lingers thoughtfully among the ruins of Jamestown. It
is, of course, the mere site which will now interest you in its con-
templation. There is little or nothing to be seen. It is the as-
sociation only, the genius loci, that offers provocation to the con-
templative spirit. You behold nothing but an empty and long-
abandoned nest ; but it is the nest of one of those maternal birds
whose prolific nature has filled the nations. The ruins which
remain of Jamestown consist only of a single tower of the old
church. In the dense coppice near it, you see the ancient piles
which cover the early dead of the settlement. The tower is a
somewhat picturesque object by itself, though it depends for its
charm chiefly on its historical associations. It is enough of the
ruin for the romantic, and, seen by moonlight, the arches and
the " rents of ruin," through which ivy and lichen, shrub and
creeper, make their appearance, are objects which fancy will
find precious to those even who never turn the pages of our
musty chronicles, and hear nothing of the mournful whispers of
the past. What stores of tradition, wild song and wilder story,
are yet to be turned up with the soil of this neighborhood, or
laid bare in the search among the ruins of this ancient tower.
Could it only speak, what a fascinating history would it reveal.
What glorious traditions ought to invest the locality. What
memories are awakened by its simple mention. What pictures
does it not paint to the fancy and the thought !"
Talking of traditions of the ' Old Dominion,' I am reminded
of one which was told me many years ago by a fellow traveller,
as we pursued our way up James river. Ile insisted that there
were good authorities for the story which I had rashly imputed
to his own invention. IIe was one of those persons who never