George Washington, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about George Washington, Volume I.
to bear with and to overcome the dullness and inefficiency of the government he served.  Thus he was forced to practise self-control in order to attain his ends, and to acquire skill in the management of men.  There could have been no better training for the work he was to do in the after years, and the future showed how deeply he profited by it.  Let us turn now, for a moment, to the softer and pleasanter side of life, and having seen what Washington was, and what he did as a fighting man, let us try to know him in the equally important and far more attractive domain of private and domestic life.



Lewis Willis, of Fredericksburg, who was at school with Washington, used to speak of him as an unusually studious and industrious boy, but recalled one occasion when he distinguished himself and surprised his schoolmates by “romping with one of the largest girls."[1] Half a century later, when the days of romping were long over and gone, a gentleman writing of a Mrs. Hartley, whom Washington much admired, said that the general always liked a fine woman.[2] It is certain that from romping he passed rapidly to more serious forms of expressing regard, for by the time he was fourteen he had fallen deeply in love with Mary Bland of Westmoreland, whom he calls his “Lowland Beauty,” and to whom he wrote various copies of verses, preserved amid the notes of surveys, in his diary for 1747-48.  The old tradition identified the “Lowland Beauty” with Miss Lucy Grymes, perhaps correctly, and there are drafts of letters addressed to “Dear Sally,” which suggest that the mistake in identification might have arisen from the fact that there were several ladies who answered to that description.  In the following sentence from the draft of a letter to a masculine sympathizer, also preserved in the tell-tale diary of 1748, there is certainly an indication that the constancy of the lover was not perfect.  “Dear Friend Robin,” he wrote:  “My place of residence at present is at his Lordship’s, where I might, were my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleasantly, as there is a very agreeable young lady in the same house, Colonel George Fairfax’s wife’s sister.  But that only adds fuel to the fire, as being often and unavoidably in company with her revives my former passion for your Lowland Beauty; whereas were I to live more retired from young women, I might in some measure alleviate my sorrow by burying that chaste and troublesome passion in oblivion; I am very well assured that this will be the only antidote or remedy.”  Our gloomy young gentleman, however, did not take to solitude to cure the pangs of despised love, but preceded to calm his spirits by the society of this same sister-in-law of George Fairfax, Miss Mary Cary.  One “Lowland Beauty,” Lucy Grymes, married Henry Lee, and became the mother of “Legion Harry,” a favorite officer and friend of Washington in the Revolution,

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George Washington, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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