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the morning of the 10th he was closeted with his manager, and before dinner he wrote to Lafayette the first letter that he had dated at Mount Vernon since early in May, 1775, saying, “We are thus far on our way to you. The Count de Rochambeau has just arrived. General Chastellux will be here, and we propose, after resting to-morrow, to be at Fredericksburg on the night of the 12th. The 13th we shall reach New Castle; and, the next day, we expect to have the pleasure of seeing you at your encampment." These calculations were correct; they arrived at the camp of Lafayette, at Williamsburg, on the evening of the 14th.
Rochambeau and Chastellux were guests worthy of such a host. The former was of a noble Vendôme family. He was
of mediuin height, slender in form, and then fifty-six years of age. He had been aide-de-camp to the Duke of Orleans, fiveand-thirty years before, and had gained many laurels on the fields of battle, especially on that of Minden, which occurred a few months after Washington had taken his bride to Mount Vernon. A fine picture of that battle hung upon the walls at Mount Vernon for many years, and is now at Arlington House. Whether it was there to delight the eyes of Rochambeau on this occasion is a question that may not now be solved.
Rochambeau had come to America at the head of a large army, to assist the struggling colonists to cast off the British yoke. He came with the title of lieutenant-general, but, according to previous arrangement by the French court, he was to be second to Washington in command. He assisted nobly at the siege of Yorktown, where, little more than a month after this visit at Mount Vernon, Cornwallis and a large army surrendered to the allied forces. He returned to France, was made a field-marshal by the king, but was called to much suffering during the French Revolution. Bonaparte granted him a pension and the cross of grand officer of the legion of honor, in 1803. Four years afterward he died at the age of eighty-two.
De Chastellux was a much younger man than Rochambeau, heavier in person, very vivacious, fond of company, and exhibited all the elegances of manner of the older French nobility, to which class he belonged. He came to America with Rochambeau, but seems not to have been confined to the army, though bearing the title of major-general; for during the two years he was here, he travelled very extensively, and made notes and observations. These he printed on board the French
fleet-only twenty-four copies-for distribution among his friends; but a few years afterward they were translated and published in two volumes, by an English traveller.
MARQUIS DE CHASTELLUX.
De Chastellux was the life of every company into which he was introduced, while in this country, and he left a very pleasant impression at Mount Vernon. In the library there, where he was entertained in the autumn of 1781, Washington wrote to him a playful letter in the spring of 1787, after receiving from the marquis an account of his marriage to an accomplished lady, a relative of the Duke of Orleans. "I saw," wrote Washington, "by the eulogium you often made
on the happiness of domestic life in America, that you had swallowed the bait, and that you would as surely be taken, one day or another, as that you were a philosopher and soldier. So your day has at length come. I am glad of it, with all my heart and soul. It is quite good enough for you. Now you are well served for coming to fight in favor of the American rebels, all the way across the Atlantic ocean, by catching that terrible contagion-domestic felicity—which, like the smallpox or plague, a man can have only once in his life.”
De Chastellux died in 1793, in the midst of the terrible storm of the French Revolution, and by it the fortunes of himself and wife seem to have been swept away, for his widow applied to Washington, two years afterward, for an allowance from our government, on account of the services of her husband, who was in active military duty near New York, and was in the siege at Yorktown. Her application was unsuccessful.
On the second day after Washington's arrival at Mount Vernon-the eleventh of September-the fourth anniversary of the battle of Brandywine-the mansion, then not nearly so large as now, was crowded with guests; and at dinner were met gentlemen and ladies from the country for miles around, who had not been at the festive board with the master of the feast since the war broke out. And there were children, tootiny children, whom the master loved as his own, for they were the grandchildren of his wife. There were four of these. The eldest was a beautiful girl, five years old, who afterward married a nephew of Lord Ellenborough; and the youngest was a boy-baby, only six months old, who was afterward adopted as the child of Washington, became one of the
executors of his will, and lived until 1857. These were the children of John Parke Custis and his fair young wife, Eleanor Calvert, and had all been born during the absence of the master from his home at Mount Vernon.
Here let us pause a moment and look with the eye of faith in the words of a fellow man, upon the person of the great patriot who sat at the head of the feast on that day. The year before, a writer in the London Chronicle (an anti-ministerial paper), who had seen Washington, thus vividly described him: "General Washington is now in the forty-seventh year of his age. He is a tall, well-made man, rather large-boned, and has a genteel address. His features are manly and bold; his eyes of a bluish cast and very lively; his hair a deep brown; his face rather long, and marked with the smallpox; his complexion sunburnt, and without much color. His countenance sensible, composed, and thoughtful. There is a remarkable air of dignity about him, with a striking degree of gracefulness. He has an excellent understanding, without much quickness; is strictly just, vigilant, and generous; an affectionate husband, a faithful friend, a father to the deserving soldier; gentle in his manners, in temper reserved; a total stranger to religious prejudices; in morals irreproachable; and never known to exceed the bounds of the most rigid temperance. In a word, all his friends and acquaintances allow that no man ever united in his own person a more perfect alliance of the virtues of a philosopher with the talents of a general. Candor, sincerity, affability, and simplicity seem to be the striking features of his character; and, when occasion offers, the power of displaying the most determined bravery and independence of spirit." Domestic felicity and social enjoyment were, at that time,