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fields, driving a cow and a flock of sheep. Many of the latter are seen going into a fold for the night, and beyond the enclosure is seen the setting sun. On the left of the central tablet is represented a boy, harnessing a span of horses, to be attached to a plough. On the right is a cottage. The housewife, having just drawn a bucket of water from the well, is pouring it into a tub for the cleansing of vegetables, which are seen lying by the side of it. Her little girl has her apron full,
and is eating a turnip, while a pig is coming out of a rickety sty near by.
The fireplace is an enormous iron grate, capable of containing several bushels of coal; and the hearth is of white marble, inlaid with ornaments of polished maroon-colored marble, or encaustic tile. Upon the shelf are two small dark-blue vases, covered with flowers, delicately painted; and between these are two bronze candelabra. The whole present a most pleasing picture to the eye; and the interest is increased by the associations which cluster around these objects, for they were there sixty years ago, when Washington received his guests in the spacious drawing-room, of which that chimney-piece is the greatest ornament.
With the elegant chimney-piece Mr. Vaughan sent three larger and more beautiful porcelain vases, than those which now stand
upon the shelf. They were made in India, and ornamented in London. The ground is a dark blue, with delicate gilt scroll and leaf ornaments, with landscapes painted upon one side and animals upon the other. These are now at Arlington House.
Washington appears to have received other presents from Mr. Vaughan. On the 30th of November, 1785, he wrote to his London friend, saying: "I have lately received a letter from Mr. Vaughan (your son), of Jamaica, accompanied by a puncheon of rum, which he informs me was sent by your order as a present for me. Indeed, my dear sir, you overwhelm me with your favors, and lay me under too many obligations to leave a hope remaining of discharging them." He had attempted to do so in a degree, for in the same letter, he says: "Hearing of the distress in which that island, with others in the West Indies, is involved by the late hurricane, I have taken the liberty of requesting Mr. Vaughan's acceptance, for his own use, of a few barrels of superfine flour of my own manufacturing.”
Two or three months later than the date of this letter, an other present for Washington reached Mount Vernon, of more intrinsic value than all that he had received since his retirement from the army. It consisted of three asses, a jack and two jennies, selected from the royal stud at Madrid, and sent to him as a compliment from the king of Spain. His "Catholic Majesty” having been informed that Washington was endeav oring to procure these animals of the best breed in Europe, for the purpose of rearing mules on his estates, made him this present, and sent over with them a person acquainted with the mode of treating them, who arrived at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, and journeyed to Mount Vernon by land.
According to a statement of the late Mr. Custis, the jack, called the Royal Gift, was sixteen hands high, of a gray color, heavily made, and of a sluggish disposition. "At the same time," says Mr. Custis, "the Marquis de Lafayette sent out a jack and jennies from the island of Malta. This jack, called the Knight of Malta, was a suberb animal, black color, with the form of a stag and the ferocity of a tiger. Washington availed himself of the best qualities of the two jacks by crossing the breeds, and hence obtained a favorite jack, called Compound, which animal united the size and strength of the Gift with the high courage and activity of the Knight. The General bred some very superior mules from his coach mares. In a few years the estate of Mount Vernon became stocked with mules of a superior order, some of them rising to the height of sixteen hands, and of great power and usefulness. One wagon team of four mules sold at the sale of the General's effects for eight hundred dollars."
Washington, through Florida Bianca, the prime minister of Spain, most sincerely thanked his majesty for a present so truly valuable, in connection with his country's industriai operations; and in answer, that functionary replied, "It will give pleasure to his majesty, that opportunities of a higher nature may offer, to prove the great esteem he entertains for your Excellency's personal merit, singular virtues, and char
At the close of 1785, Washington had completed the enlargement of his house, and was prepared for the accommodation of the increasing number of his visitors. He found his time so much occupied with these, and his equally increasing corre spondence, that he resolved to employ a secretary, who should,