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that I will do my best to deserve her good opin- | ion. Mother, I really wish you would write a suitable letter for me to the old lady, a happy compound of gratitude, affection, worldly wisdom, family pride, such as you know she will approve, and let me copy it."
"I may perchance give you a few hints," said Mrs. Selden, smiling, "if you conduct yourself to my satisfaction: take this to Mary and when you have talked it over together for half an hour, for that is quite as long as I can spare you, you must return, as I want you to go with me this morning to the Cedar Creek estate."
"I am your obedient servant," said Arthur, aud he left the room with the open letter in his hand and his face beaming with joy.
Mr. Selden followed at a much more quiet pace to have a talk with old Cato.
[The Conclusion of the "Seldens of Sherwood" will be given in our next number.]
"He Does Well who Does his Best."
BY WILLIAM PEMBROKE MULCHINOCK.
"He does well who does his best,"
Though my brightest hopes be gone,
Summer's heat or winter's cold,
On the sea of life once more
Life is not an idle dream
In justice to a gallant officer of the Army, we most cheerfully lay the following letter before our readers. We had no design of reflecting upon him in permitting the sentence, to which he objects, to go before the public, in the able article on the "Military Establishment of the United States" in our February Number. We invariably allow our correspondents to speak for themselves on such matters, being ever willing of course to admit a defence from the injured party.-[Ed. Mess.
FORT DELAWAre, March 22, 1851. Jno. R. Thompson, Esq., Editor of the Southern Literary Messenger.
SIR-My attention has been drawn to an article, "on the Military Establishment of the United States, by an officer of the Army," published in the February number of your popular and valuable magazine. The following extract from it, viz. "Fort Brown was a simple work and indeed well constructed. Fort Polk, at Point Isabel, was, however, the laughing stock of the army, and famous for the absurdity of its plans," must be my excuse for claiming the indulgence
of presenting through your columus a short state-detail much exceeding thirty soldiers for labor on
ment, which may the better enable your intelli- the works.
It is quite evident, that the unaided labor of
ment, fixing the fate of an army, at the next, a
Field fortifications are the creations of an
The defences made at Point Isabel in April, 1846, and subsequently styled Fort Polk, were neither devised nor intended as a regular work, calculated to occupy a military point, so as to be capable of sustaining an investment by troops of all arms, but were in the first place, merely rough intrenchments made of waggons and other suitable objects at hand, embracing all existing and natural obstacles, which could be brought into the line of defence, covering the large extent of ground, which was unavoidably taken up in storing the munitions of war for the army, and the supplies upon which it had solely to rely for its maintenance. This position was, however, at the time, only threatened with an attack by a guerrilla force of Mounted Rancheros, for the army itself, being only a day's forced march in advance, where it could watch the enemy's main body posted on the opposite bank of an intervening river, was ready to anticipate the movements of any large detachment, which he might make of his infantry and artillery. The intrenchments were, consequently, commenced with the intention of keeping, from the start, in the best possible state of defence against the sudden assault of such a force.
But one small company of Artillery, out of the whole of our regular forces, was left at Point Isabel, to protect these stores and to construct these defences, when the mass of the army moved on to the Rio Grande, and took up its position opposite Metamoras. And this slender force was only afterwards increased about the middle of April by the arrival, by sea, of another artillery company. These two companies, constituting the entire force of regular troops, which were on duty at Point Isabel, until the arrival of a detachment of recruits from New York about the last of the month, did not, at any time, turn out al
into such a condition by the first of May, as to
in the construction of Fort Brown, a work
built, as was proved, to stand the investment of
an army with a park of artillery.
O Kossuth, noble Kossuth! could the tears
Would once more turn to thy dear Hungary
Her mountain's rugged rim the sunsets die.
Inspire the mailed breasts of serried hosts,
L. I. L.
The Church was but dimly lighted by a few flickering candles, and the faces of the company were strange to me. But I thought I had never seen such intellectual looking men before. Pallid they seemed, and venerable, like a convocation of the heroes that have been carved out of Carrara. Yet fleshly withal, only etherialized.
A REVELATION OF THE SPIRITS.
Mr. Thompson,-I am not, nor have I ever beeu, a believer in ghosts, and I read with satisfaction, in a recent number of your excellent periodical, the review of Mrs. Crowe's "NightSide of Nature," wherein that modern Pythoness And they moved about, though noiselessly, as Canova's creatures would find it extremely difficult to do. I ventured to ask one of them the nature and objects of the meeting, but he made no recognition of me whatever, as if wholly unaware of my presence. I therefore seated myself, and awaited the action of the assembly.
For some minutes nothing occurred from which
is somewhat severely handled. But one cannot disbelieve the evidence of his own senses, and I must therefore beg your indulgence for a short space in your Messenger, to describe a very remarkable apparition, or rather assembly of apparitions, that I have recently witnessed. "Seeing is believing," has grown into an aphorism, but seeing and hearing admit of no doubt what I could divine the why and wherefore of so mysever. And while I draw for your benefit a picture terious a gathering, but then a tall and impresof the phenomenon in question, I shall endeavor sive figure advanced towards the pulpit, whose to recount what my ears heard. In this I will majestic countenance was familiar to me. Many own I somewhat despair of success, for I am years had flown since I had seen it, but the feaequally unskilled in Mnemonics and the Phonetic tures were the same, except that they seemed system of reporting, and can neither recollect a glorified by some wondrous transfiguration. One whole discourse like the guardsman of Frederick look satisfied me that the person was none other the Great, who repeated an entire play of Vol- than the shade of a former illustrious Chief Justaire, after hearing it read from a place of con- tice of the United States. cealment behind the arras.-nor could I put one down upon paper in those curious little arbitrary characters, like flies' legs, with which Mr. Bishop pleasantly beguiles his mornings in our State Convention.
Upon this I began to examine a little more curiously into the faces of the rest of the company. Here and there I recognized others that I had seen in days past, and a few whose lineaments are preserved to us on canvas among the Patres conscripti. I marvelled more and more, as I came to the conclusion, that the body in whose august and ghostly presence I was seated, could be none other than the Virginia Convention of 1829-30.
Yet for what purpose had these canonized men burst the cerements of the tomb and revisited the scene of their former labours? Why had they come together by the "glimpses of the moon" to hold their ghostly counsel ? I was weary of conjectures, long before there was a word spoken to end them.
I will premise what I have to say, however, with stating that I am a teetotaller, lest my sketch may be set down as "a vision of the over-heated brain" after an indulgence in a bottle or so of best Amontillado. It may be well enough to say, also, that I reject the faith of Mesmerism and hold Mr. Spencer and all his kidney in disrepute. Skeptical to this extent, I think I may appeal with confidence to your readers for their entire belief in the following narration.
Some two weeks since, I was quietly walking down Broad street, at a somewhat late hour of the night, when my attention was arrested by the It did not escape my attention, held as I was unusual appearance of lights, though faint ones, in agitated suspense by the novel scene before in the old African Church. As I drew nearer, me, that none of those members of the old Conthere seemed to be a group of persons entering vention who yet survive, were among the figures the front door of the building, and I could not present. Each individual was a goblin, and yet, but conclude that some matter of special interest as I said before, not absolutely impalpable. The had called the citizens together. The hour was assembly was of course smaller than it had been past midnight-the last gas-lamp had been ex- aforetime, yet more than a quorum were in attinguished as the moon showed her waning disk tendance. over Church Hill, and the most slumberous stillness reigned around. I walked up to the main entrance, with some little curiosity, not at all lessened by the silence that seemed to pervade the building itself. There was neither sound of human voices nor of human footsteps within. By this time, my desire to solve the mystery became eager, and I at once entered.
By and by, I began to perceive that disquietude rested upon their spirits, for the expression of their countenances was very sorrowful. Such an aspect wore Hamlet the Dane, as he appeared to his irresolute son upon the ramparts of Elsinore, or the wo-begone messenger that pulled Priam's curtain at the dead of night.
At last, the Convention was called to order by
the sepulchral voice of a phantom-like chairman, | would be composed of such material as we have
"I could not choose but hear."
There was something, too, in the tones of the speaker's voice that exerted a powerful charm. At one time shrill almost to a painful extent, then suddenly relapsing into a strain of unearthly sweetness, it rau the whole gamut of articulate music, with an ease and brilliancy that I never heard from mortal lips. The effect was such as we might fancy from an orator combining the better elements of Whitfield and Patrick Henry.
This figure was clad in a ridiculous garment of white flannel, which swayed to and fro with every gesture, and gave him still more the look of a wanderer from the "ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."
66 Alas, sir, what sins of omission and commission are there of which these men have not been guilty? I shall not here enter upon the catalogue. Time, sir, would fail me—the crowing of the cock would disperse us, before I could narrate the half of them. The great changes which these radicals would effect in the organic law-the stains they would cast upon the ancient escutcheon, must pass unnoticed. I must use, here, more than Spartan brevity, although I am too apt to run into the garrulity of threescore, and without the aid of an Epaminondas to lengthen my nonosyllables. It may suffice to recount the injuries they have inflicted on our hapless memories, whereby we stalk abroad at midnight and caunot rest.
Sir, the first and chief of these injuries is a flagrant violation of an old commandment, which says thou shalt not steal.' If any grand jury in this commonwealth should take in hand the larcenies that have been committed, to our wroug and detrimeut, by the small sages of this new Convention, its session could be protracted to as great a length as that of the Convention itself. It was but yesterday that a certain learned The
But I must proceed, in accordance with my promise, to give you, as far as I can, the remarks of this singular orator.
“Mr. President," said he, "it is a grievance of no ordinary character that can call from the tomb, spirits that have long enjoyed its repose. But, sir. the evil times upon which our good old Commonwealth has fallen, have surely enough of alarm in them to vex the shades of the departed. It ban there did wilfully and feloniously steal and is not therefore remarkable that we are here to appropriate to himself many parts of an arguconfer together in our ghostly perturbation. How meut or speech, the rightful property of a distinindeed, sir, could we lie quietly in our graves, guished gentleman formerly, (during his life-time,) while such scenes are enacting in the halls of our of this city. Another had previously stolen the former triumphs, while the iconoclasts are shat- entire train of reasoning which had been elabotering the idols of our former veneration? rated with much thought by the great orator of the West. Nor have there been wanting those who have descended to the petty-larcenies of purloining tropes and appropriating figures, tricky fellows indeed, who having possessed themselves
Sir, I remember to have predicted when this body was convened in flesh and blood, that it would not be twenty years before another Convention was called. But it had not then entered my mind, no foreshadowing of the future had of a rhetorical ruby or a poetical pearl belonging given me an inkling, that this new assembly to somebody else, forthwith, like the pickpockets
of Cheapside, tear it from its original setting and | his crime, I would hand him over to the execuparade it as their own.
tioner to be cut off without benefit of clergy. But they have offended sorely in another "Out of this villainous plan of reporting, Mr. respect. There be those, Mr. President, who President, has grown the most extraordinary evil have sought to imitate us in that assembly-who, of the day-a huge sheet called the 'Suppleas my lord Hamlet said of players he had seen, ment,' which has overspread Virginia, as the lo⚫ neither having the accent of Christians, nor the custs overran Egypt of old. It appears every gait of Christian, Pagau, nor mau,' have endeav-third day, and, sir, the third-day ague and fever ored to play the parts which some of you, my is a trifle to it. It must inevitably weaken the compeers, so heroically sustained. I know not, treasury by depletion if not shortly arrested, and, sir, if there be one among them that imitates me, alas, what styptic, what eau brocchieri shall we if indeed there was anything in my career worthy find of adequate virtue to staunch the flow ? of imitation, but should there be such a person. What in such a case shall be the methodus meI trust that he will have better success than those dendi? bungling copyists I have noticed, who have succeeded only in reproducing the blemishes of their models and exaggerating them into faults. It has been some time, sir, since I read my Virgil, but I have not forgotten the little Iulus following from the flaming city, non passibus æquis, the footsteps of his sire.
'Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.'
"Mr. President, let me ask, what is a 'Supplement?' What is the proper definition of the word? I find it, by reference to as good an edition of Johnson's Dictionary as can be printed in the city of London, to be given thus- SUPPLEMENT, an addition to any thing by which its defects may be supplied.' Applying this definition These things have been distressing enough to the Supplement of which we speak, we may to me, harassed as my spirit has been, with other regard it as an addition to the Convention, by causes of vexation. Sir, the shade of Samuel which its defects may be supplied. Sir, if this Johnson is said to have appeared to the remorse- Supplement is to be continued until it supplies ful Boswell, irate and unappeasable, by reason the defects of the Convention, in the name of of that wonderful biography which we have all Heaven when will it stop? Will it be during the read so frequently; how much more should I present century? Shall not the printer hand not be moved with anger on account of that dis-down his contract to his remotest posterity? Can torted likeness of me which au insatiate book it be hoped for before the end of all things, or maker has recently put forth? The book is shall it be only coeval with the Greek Kalends? called a Life; it should rather be styled a death. Sir, if it is to supply the defects of the Convensir. I am ignorant of the number of editions tion, it will continue forever, through which the thing has passed, but if they attempt another, I will haunt author and publisher through the residue of their natural lives; Why, here is a copy of this Supplement"-and there shall be peace of mind for them never again; the tall, thin figure drew from the pocket of its Macbeth shall sleep no more! white flannel gown a number of the precious "I have not yet done, however, with these publication. But the cause which had been poconstitution-mongers. Not satisfied with taking tent enough to vex the departed, and call up other people's ideas and drawing them out to an spirits from the grave, had its usual effect upon interminable length, they have resorted to a new-the living. No sooner had the fatal sheet been fangled system of reporting by which they be produced, than a lethargic influence seemed to stow all their tediousness upon an already afflict-pervade the atmosphere-I fell into a state of ed and suffering people. By this system not one coma,-a sleep so profound, so overpowering, syllable of nonsense escapes. It is called, I be- that lieve, the Fonetic system, and it aims also at a new method of spelling, by which the good old English of our fathers is to be twisted out of all manner of shape. Sir, the new orthographers publish a journal called the Fonetic Nuz,' in which their mode of mutilating the language is carried out. If I were autocrat for a day, I should so settle the law as to make short work of them. The first offence of this character against the integrity of our mother tongue, I would visit with the knout, the thumb-screw, the bastinado; the second I would make punishable by the peine forte et dure; and if the culprit still persisted in
"poppy, nor mandragora, Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world," could ever have produced it. How long I slept, I know not. It could not have been very long, for when I awaked it was yet dark. But the assembly had vanished into thin air and left behind no trace of their singular meeting. Slowly I walked to my home, pondering much on the ghostly oration I had heard, and of which I have here given you so meagre and unsatisfactory a sketch.
X. Y. Z.