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The Rose Of Dixie
When The Rose of Dixie magazine was started by a stock company in Toombs City,
Georgia, there was never but one candidate for its chief editorial position in the minds of
its owners. Col. Aquila Telfair was the man for the place. By all the rights of learning,
family, reputation, and Southern traditions, he was its foreordained, fit, and logical editor.
So, a committee of the patriotic Georgia citizens who had subscribed the founding fund
of $100,000 called upon Colonel Telfair at his residence, Cedar Heights, fearful lest the
enterprise and the South should suffer by his possible refusal.
The colonel received them in his great library, where he spent most of his days. The
library had descended to him from his father. It contained ten thousand volumes, some of
which had been published as late as the year 1861. When the deputation arrived, Colonel
Telfair was seated at his massive white-pine centre-table, reading Burton's Anatomy of
Melancholy. He arose and shook hands punctiliously with each member of the
committee. If you were familiar with The Rose of Dixie you will remember the colonel's
portrait, which appeared in it from time to time. You could not forget the long, carefully
brushed white hair; the hooked, high-bridged nose, slightly twisted to the left; the keen
eyes under the still black eyebrows; the classic mouth beneath the drooping white
mustache, slightly frazzled at the ends.
The committee solicitously offered him the position of managing editor, humbly
presenting an outline of the field that the publication was designed to cover and
mentioning a comfortable salary. The colonel's lands were growing poorer each year and
were much cut up by red gullies. Besides, the honor was not one to be refused.
In a forty-minute speech of acceptance, Colonel Telfair gave an outline of English
literature from Chaucer to Macaulay, re-fought the battle of Chancellorsville, and said
that, God helping him, he would so conduct The Rose of Dixie that its fragrance and
beauty would permeate the entire world, hurling back into the teeth of the Northern
minions their belief that no genius or good could exist in the brains and hearts of the
people whose property they had destroyed and whose rights they had curtailed.
Offices for the magazine were partitioned off and furnished in the second floor of the
First National Bank building; and it was for the colonel to cause The Rose of Dixie to
blossom and flourish or to wilt in the balmy air of the land of flowers.
The staff of assistants and contributors that Editor-Colonel Telfair drew about him was a
peach. It was a whole crate of Georgia peaches. The first assistant editor, Tolliver Lee
Fairfax, had had a father killed during Pickett's charge. The second assistant, Keats
Unthank, was the nephew of one of Morgan's Raiders. The book reviewer, Jackson
Rockingham, had been the youngest soldier in the Confederate army, having appeared on
the field of battle with a sword in one hand and a milk-bottle in the other. The art editor,
Roncesvalles Sykes, was a third cousin to a nephew of Jefferson Davis. Miss Lavinia