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The banner of the South. (Augusta, Ga.) 1868-1870, October 31, 1868, Image 1

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VOL. I. [Fruui tlie Macon Journal and Messenger.] A Petition. BY E. 13. C. My little boy, about six years of age, brought me, yesterday, a “ reward of merit” from his Teacher aU(j gaid “ Little Mamma, keep my ticket for me, and if I ask (kxl every night to make me good, I’ll get’ sm other next week, won't I?” Oh, Mamma! (and he gently came and nestled at my eide), p ea r Mamma, keep my ticket, and be very sure you hide If where no old naughty finger can find it to destroy, And his arms were clasped around me—My gentle, noble, Boy! And Mamma, little Mamma, (.and his voice to whispers grewj, If I’ll be good to Johnnie, to my Papa, and to you ; If I’ll “ notice little Sister” and 'member ’bout my bat, < M'ill I get another ticket, say Mamina, just like that ? If I’ll say “ now I’ll lay me down” slow, and always tot My Brother have the nicest place, and kiss you ’fore I get In my trundle, near the cradle where little Sister lies, Will I get another ticket if I’m good ? You kuow I tries I As I clasped him to my bosom, the tears my eyelids wet, 1 told my Boy of Jesus, and I bade him ne’er forget That He loves good little children. Pray, Darling, while Tit is near, Ask him to make you “good,” my child ; He turns no deafniog ear. Father, I tremble often, as I meet these earnest eyes, Though the burthen’s “sweet,” ’tis “heavy,” to nurture such a prize A“ this fair, pure, spotless child, I must pure and spotless be, H' lp me, Father, that I bring it, unpolluted, unto Thee! Gol, who gavest to my guiding hand this wand’rer” to lead Through paths that oft’ arc lone and dark, where teet so often blood, Bruised and pierced by cruel thorns, O! leave me not alone To guide him to those gates ol pearl. Thou, he must lean upon! Macon, April, 1868. From the Galaxy for October. waesi mm ? A Chemico Ghost Story* My name, is Carl Van Wyck, and I shall l>egin this narration with the assertion that I do not believe in ghosts. Indeed, as indicated by my cognomen, I am of German descent, and considered from an abstract point of view, I would not swear that I believe in anything. But, like people of the na- Uon whence came my progeni tors, I am ’ouch given to the habit of seeking for thy reason of things; hence the inter s 'gatory which I have placed at the head of this page. As I have never been able to give a odistuctory reply to the question, and as there is something mysterious withal ' u j tlie natter, I trust I may bo ex -7 , for laying it before the public. - 1f * I will now proceed as if I were on , ( witness stand, and bad been directed Me attorney to “go on and tell all I hnow about it ’» n . I . ier ?. 1 is . an antiquated, and now dilapidated building at Yorktown, , f ,Jato 0 * irginia, wbich belonged, p om ™t nceui °nt of tbe lat e war, to ihls decayed old dwelling, i,": £ l at al] v ast in its dimensions, i ;; s os the chlef glories of the village. < st i anger, there would appear no- about the house, except 'deniable antiquity ; and it is on this .3 account that it will continue to be townol ° Ut the anti York renvl ’ as a vesti g G of it shall tl .' 1’ • Y IR d old burghers will tell {{. ln ‘l. ui » n g tourists that this house and ,j uT & / ,acent lands have been handed *] ess ' ironi to son through count touri JW™ 8 ; aR d the aforesaid " Gu ld imagine from theiir ani ot description, that old Mr. P., the father of all the P.’s, was a per son who had escaped at the time of the Hood, in a little private ark of his own, and that the “ Ararat” upon which ho cast anchor, was the identical bluff upon which this old town now stands. There is, or was, when I was there, a clever, garrulqim old female man at Yorktown, who convinced me for a short, period (that is, during the time required for telling the story,)* that this had been the abode of the P.’s for thousands of years ; and that every; particle of the material of which it was constructed had been im ported from England. No army, however—neither a friendly nor a hostile one—has any sentimental regard for antiquity, especially when the antiquity in question presents itself in the shape of a number of comfortable rooms that may be used as some of the offices required about military headquar ters. Such, at all events, was the feel ing—or no feeling, rather—exhibited by the “ Army of the Peninsula,” which, until the abandonment of that portion of Virginia, was commanded by General Ma^ruder. Consequently, as the necessities of the service required, all available dwelling’s were soon impressed: and it was not a great while before the staff-quarter-mas ter called upon Mr. P., and entered into the usual arrangements with him for the relinquishment of his house to the use of the armyn This building was taken up by the medical department. The mansion was a brick one, and the main portion of it com prised four comfortable, medium-sized, square rooms; two being below and two above. These, with a small L-attach ment, containing three rooms, which were used by our “mess” as a kitchen, dining room, <fcc , formed the entire structure. The two lower rooms were used as offices by the Medical Director; or, to speak more correctly, one of them was used as an office by that functionary, while the other was occupied as a sleeping apart ment by the clerk. The same arrange ment obtained with the upper chambers, except that this story was under the con trol of the medical purveyor. I was the clerk of the last named offi cer.; and, from the partial description which I have attempted to give, you will observe that I was an occupant, there fore, of one of the upper rooms. Yes, it was in the right-hand second story room that I saw the apparition which I will now attempt to describe, and about which I should like to receive some additional enlightenment. I had been sick, and was now conval escing. Born and'reared in one of the mountain towns of western Carolina, I had scarce expected to be transferred to this marshy locality, in such proximity to tjie sea-coast, without some impression being made on my health. Consequent ly, on arriving at Yorktown in the early part of the summer of 1861; and, on being assigned to duty with Dr. D., the Medi cal Purveyor, as soon as I learned from the village vEsculapius that I was in a malarial district, I endeavored to pre pare my system for the incursion of dis ease. Having at my command uDy of the pharmaceutical preparations stored in the medical depot, I used to take a daily matutinal decoction, which, in the cabalistic hieroglyphs of the Faculty may be .represented as follows : R.—Quia, sulph., gr. xii. Spts. Frumcnt, z ii. Aq. pura, q. s. Solve. S. Take every morning before breakfast. The dose thus represented, may be better understood by being expressed in good old English phraseology, thus : A whis key cock-tail made by sprinkling a few grains of quinine in a glass of “ pure old Bourbon.” The treatment was not difficult to ffil !° w , if the entire truth must be con fessed, not.a great while elapsed before my morning “bitters” and I became AUGUSTA, GA, OCTOBER 31, 1868. This nebulous hand, when I first saw it, was groping about the knob of the door.. The fingers were outstretched, and it seemed to be doing* as a person would do who wished to escape from the room without making a noise. My win duw was closed, and there being no key to the door, I had habitually bolted it on retiring to bed; “consequently,” so I reasoned, “ no one has entered the apart ment since I retired.” Composing myself to as great a degree as possible, I kept perfectly quiet; scarcely breathing—and observed the movements ot this illumined wonder. Occasionally, the fingers and thumb would close, as if .grasping: the door knob, and from tiie agitation of the very fast friends. And, when visited some nights by my brother clerks, and other associates, we would take numer ous doses of this preparation, substituting in the evening, however, sacchar. alb, for the quin mlph., which was only to be used in the morning. This medicine was of a very exhilarating nature, and it soon became quite popular throughout the entire army—from the General, down. But this is digressing. Notwithstanding these prophylactic doses, and in spite "of my caution against exposure to the night air, I was, at length, obliged to succumb to the insidiousness of the malarial poison. I was taken ill in Spetember, and did hot entirely re* cover until aboutthe 12th or 14th of the next month. It was during my conval escence that I saw the mysterious hand. Near the midnight honr, on the 7th of October, 1 was lying on my bed in that restless, semi-feverish condition which is such a frequent accompaniment of re covery’ from the disease with which I had been affected. I was not delirious, but was in a high state of nervousness ; my senses were all about me, no matter* in what condition they were huddled. This was not an optical illusion produced by the erethi.stie condition of my braiD. *1 was mentally cool, notwithstanding my nervousness ; and even sick as I was, I had a desire to come at the reason for the mystery. It was a thing, not a myth: but whose hand it was, aud why it was only a hand and not an entire body, I am unable to conceive. My bed was placed against that wall of the* chamber which formed part of the end of the house, and, when lying on my light side, the door which opened upon the stair-lauding was immediately in front of me on the other wide of the room. I had been lying for some time on my back, my mind tilled with a thousand of those thick coming vagaries which can only find lodgment in the disordered brain of an invalid, when wearied by the posi tion in which 1 had so long lain. I turned upen my right side, and now, for tire first time, saw this—thing. It was a luminous baud, the delicately tapering lingers of which indicated that it had, at one time, belonged to a person —a lemale—ot gentle blood. This shining spectacle was enveloped about the wrist in a flowing, cloud-like kind of drapery. The hand, it is true, was some what vague and misty; but, still, the lingers, thumb, wrist and gauzy cover ing appeared to be sufficiently well de fined to make one think that they would be perceptible to the sense of touch. M lien I first saw this appearance, I was in that nervous and paitially feverish con dition, which was well calculated to al low my senses to he easily perturbed; and I will confess it—the sight of the mysterious phenomenon did produce within me some degree of fright. But I am trom a reflective nation, as you are aware, and I was not long in bringing reason to my succor. Sick and weak as 1 was, I was not to be terrified by a ghost. 1 assumed a bold air, and said to myself, There are no such tilings as ghosts ; and, even if there are, they have never been known to do an injury.” But, I was puzzled. What could it be ? . . , drapery which formed the sleeve, I could see that it was endeavoring to turn the handle. Failing in this, it elevated it self an inch or two, and seemed to be feeling about the key-hole. Closing all but the index finger, it attempted to in sert that into the space that should have been occupied by f the key. It now groped along the crevice left between the door and the post—slow and cautious in ijs movements—when, coming to the bolt, it stopped and seemed to be trying to forc« it backward from the staple which completed the fastening. I could stand it no longer. The mys tery was becoming too much for me. A cold perspiration broke out over my face and body-, aud turning over to the wall, I closed my eyes Tins change of posi tion, however, brought no relief, but seemed rather to produce a concentration of iny T nervousness. Turning again to ward the door, I observed that the hand was still endeavoring to make its exit. Knowing it to be characteristic of the ghost family to abhor the light, I jumped out of bed as boldly and os noiselessly as possible, and went to the mantel to light my candle. Just as my feet touched the floor, the apparition fell, as a hand would fall by one’s side, and, gliding across the room between the place where I stood and my bed, it disappeared in a corner that had once been occupied by a large wardrobe. I was greatly terrified by these move ments, and if any one had been in the house, I would have shouted for help. To-night, however, I was alone. The Medical Director’s clerk had gone several miles down the Peninsula on a visit to some of his comrades. And, to add to my horror, I now remembered that 1 had used the last match before retiring to bed. Summing up a degree of courage, I began to feel about in the dark, with a hope that I might make some discovery. I went to the corner where the luminous hand had disappeared, but could neither feel, see, Dor hear anything unusual. Watching for some ten or fifteen minutes, I became wearied, and returned to my couch. I again reclined, and endeavored to compose myself in order that I might solve this great mystery. I continued to lie perfectly still, looking in the direc tion where I had last seen' the hand of flame—turning occasionally to examine the door—until I became tired and sleepy. I had nearly fallen into a doze, when I was again thrown into a tremor by the reap pearance of what I must now call the ghost. When I saw it this tiint, it was passing the foot of my bed and homing from the direction whence I had seen it disappear. r. <i I was now much frightened, or rather, I should say perplexed ; for, although I did not anticipate any bodily harm, the inexplicability of the was getting to be troublesome. If it had been daylight, and I had seen this hand at tached to the person of a delicate lady, it would have occasioned mo no unusual thought. But to see a mysterious, lumin ous hand, groping about my room at this witching hour of midnight, was to see something that made me disagreeably nervous. The movoments of the nebulous enigma were now* more cautious than before. From the foot of the bed it went slowly again to the door, where, in a more gen tle manner, it weut through the same evo lutions as when 1 had first seen it. Stay ing a few minutes, and feeling- about the knob and key-hole of the door, it left and came near to where I was reclining I felt very much disposed to strike at it, hut repressed the desire, and stopped, as well as I could, my breathing. Linger ing about the head of my cot for some minutes, it returned to the door. Grasp ing at the knob, it seemed to be the hand of an angry person, and I could see, from the sudden movements of the sleeve, that it was trying to jork down that barrier. For some time, I was completely non plussed. But, afjpr observing these motions for several moments, I con cluded to arise, open the door, and see if the troublesome spirit would not de part. Getting up this time without making the least noise, I began to ap proach the doorway. Apparently, as if it saw me, the hand fell as before, and seemed about to return to its old re treat. I stood still for several seconds, apd it moved two or three feet to the right ot the door. It was with the greatest difficulty that I, now mastered the inclination to grasp at it. As if in terpreting my secret desire, the palm of the hand seemed to be presented to ward me, with fingers outstretched, as if it were about to ward oft a blow. My fright now was terrible. What could this hobgoblin mean? Was it the hand of a murderess, or was it some supernatural warning ? In my terror, I jumped against the door with nearly suf ficient force to burst it from its hinges. I tried to open it, but in iny confusion I could not find the latch. I would have rushed from the room and left the entire house, but I had been too hasty. When I first jarred against the door, the apparition retreated two or three feet; but, while I was engaged in trying to find the bolt, it began to approach. My original determination again presented itself. I came to the conclusion that the spectre wished to get cut of the room, and that if I would open the door, it would disappear and cease to trouble me, | except, of course, in the shape of its un accountability. Deciding to act upon this suggestion. I continued to feel for the knob, and finding this in a few minutes, I drew back the bolt and began to open the door. The apparition was all this time slowly drawing nearer, and the door was not opened wider than was sufficient to admit the passage of a grown person, when the ghostly hand, at one bound rushed by me and disappeared around the partition made by the top of the staircase. Returning to bed. I lay awake nearly the remainder of the night, endeavoring' to find a solution for this frightful riddle. In my weak and nervous condition, I do not feel it to be a confession of coward ice to say that some of the positions as sumed by the hand hud produced in me a certain degree of fright. I was fright ened, for instance, when it came to my pillow and acted as if it belonged to a person who was listening to my treat!i iug; and, again, when I had arisen to open the door, as it assumed the posture of one about to protect itself from appre hended blows, I almost felt that the whole person must be present, and that I was only permitted to see the luminous hand and wrist. I entertain, to this day, great regret that I was unable to bring a candle to my aid. I never allowed myself to speak of the apparition, and I never again slept in the room where it had appeared. I would not have this confession, however, to un determine the assertion I began with, re lative to my disbelief in ghosts; nor would I have it thought that fear caused me to abandon my sleeping apartment. The clerk, who occupied the room below, had frequently complained of its unsocial appearance after the departure of his friends, and I, having felt a similar de gree of lonesomeness, we agreed to use his room as a sleeping chamber in com mon. On the next day these arrange ments were carried into effect. One of the theories by which, for my own satisfaction, 1 attempted to explain my spectral visitor, is as follows ; “ When I first saw the luminous body, resembling a hand on the knob, and wa vering up and down near the edge of the door, between the lock and bolt, I sail to myself that it must be owing to some peculiar condition of the atmosphere of the close sick room. The vitiated air in the confined apartment, I thought was acted upon by the fresh breeze entering at the key-hole, and the result of the coin- IsTo. 33.