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W. J. Calabrese
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"Lordâ€ Timothy Dexter, eighteenth century inhabitant of Newburyport, Massachusetts, was one of the most outrageous eccentrics this nation has ever produced. He sold warming pans, mittens, and house cats in the West Indies, He wrote a book filled with far-out philosophy and bizarre spelling, and with absolutely no punctuation. He filled the grounds of his mansion with statues of the most famous men of all time, including two of himself. He claimed that he was "First in the East, first in the West, and the greatest philosopher in the known world.â€
First in the East fictionalizes the life of this remarkable gentleman and records his adventures and those of some of his fellow citizens of eighteenth century Newburyport.
Friday, October 30, 1789
In compact Newburyport, only two miles long and half a mile wide, it was a rare holiday. Commerce, only beginning to quicken after a long and costly war, had yielded for this one day and the farthest corners of the town had emptied in honor of the occasion. From the ships at the docks and from those nodding at anchor in the muddy Merrimac, the sailors came, climbing down from the masts like some long-legged tribe of monkeys. Their captains followed at a dignified distance, carefully brushing the snuff spots from their blue coats. From dusty counting houses the merchants emerged, certain trade would suffer in their absence, but obliged to take their rightful places, regardless of the cost. The sundry forges, boatyards, ropewalks, sail lofts, cooperages, and other places of productive and sweaty labor gave up artisans and apprentices, faces new scrubbed.
The sun shone down like a newly struck gold coin from a cloudless sky. It was a fine day as if, mindful of the expected coming of the President, it did not dare to be otherwise.
Without a doubt, the entire town was assembled along the borders of High Street. It was up this avenue he would come, from the lower green in Newbury, and heads kept inclining that way, eager to claim the first sight of him. But all that could be seen at that moment was an old, sway-backed donkey, almost too thin to cast a shadow, nibbling stray blades of grass out of the hard-packed dust of the road. Certainly not one of the Presidentâ€™s company but--as a dour farmer with anti-Federalist leanings observed--possibly a member of Congress.
The scholars of Newburyport and Newbury, rivalries put aside for this one day, stood in disorderly ranks, using the quill pens they carried as a badge of their station to jab each other when the attention of their schoolmasters was elsewhere.
Patrick Tracy stood in the midst of the scholars and wished he were someplace else. Nervously, he brushed at the hank of black hair that defied combings to drape itself across his brow.
He glanced at his cousin, Hal Jackson, who stood beside him, regarding the horseplay of the other boys with a mocking half smile. Patrick Tracy admired his cousin more than he would ever admit. Hal had all the characteristics Patrick would wish for himself. Hal was fair; Patrick was dark. Hal was tall and slim; Patrick was solid and short; Hal was cool and controlled; Patrick was quick tempered and impulsive. Hal never seemed to have a moment of self-doubt, which was certainly not true of Patrick. Most of all Patrick envied the fact that on his fifteenth birthday, only a few days away, Hal would be apprenticed to William Bartlet, Newburyportâ€™s richest merchant and shipowner.
Patrick shuffled his feet and squinted up at the sun, which had reached its zenith more than two hours ago and was now descending. "How much longer do we have to wait?"
Hal shrugged. "Not much longer. Father said they should be at the Parker River Bridge by three oâ€™clock."
Halâ€™s father, Jonathan Jackson, was part of the delegation that had gone to meet the new president at Ipswich. The Jacksons, Patrick reflected with annoyance, were quick to remind people of his recent appointment as United States Marshall for Essex County, regarding it as a bit of face-saving after the long decline of their fortunes since the war. Not so long and not so deep as the decline in his own familyâ€™s fortunes, Patrick reflected bitterly.
"Too bad your father couldnâ€™t be here."
Patrick glanced up sharply, prepared to be offended if there was a hint of mockery in his cousinâ€™s expression. But this time he could detect none.
Although Nathaniel Tracy had been in poor health for the last few months, Patrick wondered if something more than ill health kept him at home today in his farmhouse in Newbury. Was it pride, perhaps? Or shame?
The Offering is Bill Calabreseâ€™s seventh published book since he retired seven years ago from the information services field. All seven have been published by Wings ePress. Bill promises to pick the pace in the next few years. He presently has five novels at various stages of completion. He vows to keep on writing until Somebody in Authority tells him to stop. In his spare time, he produces a regular column, titled "Just Faith, a Hunger for Justiceâ€, for the quarterly magazine From the Heart published by his church Sacred Heart of Southbury, Connecticut. He lives in Southbury with his wife, Roberta, and their Tortoiseshell cat, Scheherazade.
Like a story to chill, to tantalize, and to make you look over your shoulder at least twice during your reading of it? Then youâ€™ve come to the right place! William J Calabrese takes us back to those tales that chill, with the expertise of a connoisseur of Weird Tales.
So sit back, get comfortable, and be ready to be unnerved in the way we should be--when atmosphere and imagination packs enough of a wallop to leave you with goose bumps, and things that go bump in the night have you wondering exactly what is out there! -- Angela Verdenius, Heart of the Forsaken
This collection of smartly written vignettes slyly seduces the reader into other realms made believable by this crafty storyteller. Told with perfect timing and ironic humor, TALES FROM SOMEPLACE ELSE is not to be missed by those who enjoy intelligent and unique horror. -- Rayne Forrest, The Skies of Mahdis, When the Night Comes
Bill Calabrese introduces his readers to many strange and ghostly lives in this fantastic collection of eerie stories. From android runaways to apparitions with an appetite for love, Tales From Someplace Else grabs its readers and refuses to let them leave.-- Stephen Gambuti, Center Moon: Stone of Cordova
"I must say that The Amazing Adventures of Nicholas Noodle is fantastic! It is very adventurous and different from many other books that I have read. Some of the characters that Nicholas meets are odd but friendly and others are gruesome and mean. There were many cliff hanging moments where I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. This book was really exciting and fun to read because there is a lot of action and adventure!â€ --John James Brindisi, Age 10, Middlebrook School, Trumbull CT
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 496
Paper Weight (lb): 20.6
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