“Make a dish of tea, then, you old coward, and I’ll take it to him so soon as I get these slops off me. ’Fore George! How small-clothes stick when they’re wet!”
The make-shift meal was still unfinished when the general’s body-servant appeared with the tea. Taking it, Brereton marched boldly to the council door, and, giving a knock, he went in without awaiting a reply.
The group of anxious-faced men about the table looked up, and Washington, with a frown, demanded, “For what do you interrupt us, sir?”
The young officer put the tea down on the map lying in front of the general. “Billy didn’t dare take this to your Excellency, so I made bold to e’en bring it myself.”
“This is no time for tea, Colonel Brereton.”
“’Tis no time for the army to lose their general,” replied the aide. “I pray you drink it, sir, for our sake, if you won’t for your own.”
A kindly look supplanted the sternness of the previous moment on the general’s face. “I thank you for your thoughtfulness, Brereton,” he said, raising the cup and pouring some of the steaming drink into the saucer.
 From “Janice Meredith.” Dodd, Mead & Co.
SELECTIONS FROM WASHINGTON’S SPEECHES AND WRITINGS
[Copied by Washington at the age of fourteen from an old translation of a French book of 1595. “Washington was entirely aware,” writes Owen Wister, “of the great influence for good exerted upon his own character by the Rules of Civility. It is a misfortune for all American boys in all our schools to-day, that they should be told the untrue and foolish story of the hatchet and the cherry tree, and denied the immense benefit of instruction from George Washington’s authentic copy-book.”]
Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.
When you see a crime punished you may be inwardly pleased; but always show pity to the suffering offender.
Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremony are to be avoided, yet, where due, they are not to be neglected.
Do not express joy before one sick or in pain, for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery.
When a man does all he can, though it succeed not well, blame not him that did it.
Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
In your apparel be modest, and endeavor to accommodate Nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals.
Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.
Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor in earnest; scoff at none, although they give occasion.