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have it to say that you have dined on the knee of General Washing, tub."
“As he passed along, often would mothers bring their children to look on the paternal Chief, yet not a word was heard of President of the United States; the little innocents were taught to lisp the name of Washington alone. He was rather partial to children; their infantine playfulness appeared to please him, and many are the parents who at this day rejoice that his patriarchal hands have touched their offspring."
Christopher and Fairfax Pompey, had occupied several hours in telling stories; it was now growing late, and Hail Columbia must therefore be sung at once, for the first time, by little Jack's choir. Cully's cottage, about one mile from the mansion of the Chief, was selected by the choir to elude the eye and ear of Miss Nelly, that fun-loving young lady, and musical critic, who would ramble in the groves of Mount Vernon. Little Jack therefore dreaded her presence, for, said he “Dat eye o'hern am too sharp, and she knows jes zactly too much for me."
At this party, wit and anecdote were to have the largest liberty, and Mose, the cow-boy, who boasted of having run the "human race” in chasing a pole-cat, was to have perfect freedom from restraint by the rigid philosophy of the home plantation.
“Move down dar, Dol,” said aunt Phillis, who occupied the same bench, "you scrouges me.”
"I scrouges you !” exclaimed Dolly, with surprise. “How's I gwine to scrouge you, down dar, I wonders ?"
“You scrouges me,” replied Phillis, earnestly biting a peach, "dat's all I has to say.”
"You spreads and spreads jes like de wiper when he's gwine to bite,” said Dolly, and up she sprang with a toss of the head, and found a seat on an opposite bench.
“Dat's reely rustycratic,” said Phillis. "Se how she puts on de nickletigram swagger.”
“O ladies!” said Peter, "you hurts my feelins.”
“Genblemen and ladies," said Pompey, "dat young man bab swal. lowed a hard-book.”
“His mouf bites at de philosophy o'Bacon," said the collector of
“Dat's a fac," said the schoolmaster, “I sced him eat 'bout free pounds for dinner.”
The mirth occasioned by the cow-boy's wit having subsided, and order having been restored, Hail Columbia was struck up, the first stanza was sung with great eclat, and a pause ensued.
“Dat's not sung right,” said a voice at some distance in the woods, imitating the voice of an African.
“You lies,” was the prompt reply of little Jack, understanding the voice to be that of some mischievous African girl.
Quite an earnest, though suppressed, laugh, proceeding froin some persons concealed behind trees in the dark, was now audible to little Jack and his musical satellites, and he dismounted from the stand and proceeded in the direction of the party. He had not proceeded far before he was brought to a halt and confronted by a lady, close behind whom stood two attendant gentlemen.
“Miss Nelly, I axes your pardon,” said little Jack, humbly removing his singing cap, and the lively laugh of Miss Custis rang through the woods. She had learned from some of the servants at the mansion, that a peach party was being held in the grove of Cully Jr. at which Hail Columbia was to be sung, and she had clandestinely appeared there with Mr. Lear and Mr. Lewis, to hear the music. A plate of fine peaches was soon handed to the uninvited guests, of which they partook and retired. Hail Columbia was soon finished, and the peach party was turned into a dancing party, which continued to a late hour.
This dancing party terminated in the following witticism between Fairfax Pompey and an African belle of Dogue Run. Pompey said,
"I vows, nay, I does swear,
I'll dance wid none but what am fair." The lady replied
“Den 'spose we ladies should dispense,
Our hands to none but men o' sense.” Pompey stammeringly replied —
“Den 'spose, well madam, and what den ?"
“Why, sar, you'd neber dance again," replied the belle, and Pompey took his departure from the famous peach party a wiser man.
Time swept by, like the restless waters of the ever-changing Potomac, that washes the foot of Mount Vernon, leveling the great Chief in its course, and after the lapse of more than sixty years, the turkey driver of '97 is found a slave for life, selling vegetables to the inhabitants of a small village iu Maryland. Every summer he appears in the village market, the same intelligent and polite old man, as seen in the picture. We were not willing that this old man should totter by us with his story of the past all untold, to the grave, where so many secrets lie buried, for we know that in some chamber of his memory, curtained and cob-webbed, were dust-covered relics of the past, just what the youth of to-day so eagerly seek.
Mount Vernon in ’99—Miss Nelly's Wedding—“Dat Greasy Meal”.
Uncle Hark-The Congress Dinner— The Wedding Ring and Magic Cake—“Down de Vale o' Life”—The Wren Song—"Chitter Litter Lee”—The Flag : Its History-Life-Guards—“Anacreon of '98”—July 4, '99—Scomberry's Great Speech on the Flag- Old Gobblers in Boston—The King's Huntsmen—Tarkeys all done gone—"Log-Chain 'in de Hellespont”—NeighborBucknazzar- Farewell to Mount Vernon.
We will next notice affairs at Mount Vernon in '99, the last year of the 18th century. It opens with sunshine on the home of Washington; but, as lengthening shadows proclaim its close, other premonitory shadows hurry by; clouds envelop the horizon, and hang the sacred Mount with a pall of gloom. It opens with joy, and the ancient halls “ecbo to the tread of lovers ;” but closes with a cutworm at the root of bliss, withering the fair plants of the Mount, and inclining them to kindred clay. At the beginning a new chain of love is formed, and “bride and bridegroom, pilgrims of life, henceforward to travel together," commenced their journey; but, near the end, a stronger chain, well tried by the force of time, is shattered by the desolator. The great Chief has read up the evento ful journal of his life, and is seen no more on the Mount.
At the opening of this year, the following extract of a.. letter, written to her by Washington in '95, was still fresh in the memory of Miss Nelly Custis : -"Hence it follows that love may and therefore ought to be under the guidance of reason; for, although we cannot avoid first impressions, we may assuredly place them under guard ; and my motives for treating on this subject are to show you, while you remain Eleanor Parke Custis, spinster, and retain the resolution to love with moderation, the propriety of adhering to the latter resolution, at least until you have secured your game. When the fire is beginning to kindle, and your heart growing warm, propound these questions to it: Who is this invader ? Have I a competent knowledge of him? Is he a man of good character ?—a man of sense ? For, be assured, a sensible woman can never be happy with a fool. What has been his walk in life? Is he a gambler, a spendthrift, or drunkard? Is his fortune sufficient to maintain me in the manner I have been accustomed to live, and my sisters do live? and is he one to whom my friends can have no reasonable objection ? If these interrogatories can be satisfactorily answered, there will remain but one more to be asked—that, however, is an important one: Have I sufficient ground to conclude that his affections are engaged by me ?"
Lawrence Lewis, Washington's favorite nephew, and Miss Eleanor Parke Custis, Mrs. Washington's grand-daughter, were married at Mount Vernon, the 22d February, 1799, Rev. Thomas Davis, of Alexandria, performing the ceremony. “Three days before, Washington, as her foster-father, wrote from Mount Vernon to the clerk of Fairfax County Court, saying: “Sir, you will please to grant a license for the marriage of Eleanor Parke Custis with Lawrence Lewis ; and this shall be your authority for so doing.'"
The marriage took place on Friday, "a bright and beautiful day. The early spring flowers were budding in the hedges, and the bluebird, making its way cautiously northward, gave a few joyous notes in the garden that morning. The occasion was one of great hilarity at Mount Vernon, for the bride was beloved by all, and Major Lewis, the bridegroom, had ever been near the heart of his uncle, since the death of his mother, who so much resembled her illustrious brother, that it was a matter of frolic to throw a cloak around her, and placing a military hat on her head, such was the amazing resemblance, that, on her appearance, battalions would have presented arms, and senates risen to do homage to the Chief.”
At the time of her marriage, Miss Nelly was one month less than twenty years of age. “She was considered one of the most beautifnl women of the day, to which her portrait at Arlington House, by Gilbert Stewart, bears testimony."
When Aunt Betty was informed that a wedding was about to come off at Mount Vernon, at which her cooking abilities would be severely taxed, she said to Aunt Phillis, her rival, “I bounds I'se gwine to hab dat greasy meal all right.”