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redolent of fame, and with a form on which “every god did seem to set his seal, to give the world assur. ance of a man.” The morning passed pleasantly away; evening came, with Bishop, true to his orders and firm at his post, holding the favorite charger with the one hand, while the other was waiting to offer the ready stirrup. The sun sank in the horizon, and yet the Colonel appeared not, and then the old soldier wondered at his chief's delay. “'Twas strange; 'twas passing strange.” Surely he was not wont to be a single moment behind his appointments, for he was the most punctual of all punctual men. Meantime, the host enjoyed the scene of the veteran on duty at the gate, while the Colonel was so agreeably em. ployed in the parlor; and proclaiming that no guest ever left his house after sunset, his military visitor was, without much difficulty, persuaded to order Bishop to put up the horses for the night. The sun rode high in the heavens the ensuing day when the enamored soldier pressed with his spur his charger's sides and sped on his way to the seat of government, when, having despatched his public business, he retraced his steps, and at the “White House the engagement took place, with arrangements for the marriage.” It is pleasant to remember that, with all the privations and hardships endured by both in after years, they never encountered poverty. When Colonel Washington married Mrs. Custis, the ceremony was performed under the roof of her own home, and the broad lands connected to it were but a part of her large estate. Immediately after their wedding, which has been described repeatedly as a most joyous and happy affair, in which every belle and beau for miles around took part, they repaired at once to Mount Vernon. This property, a gift to Colonel Washing. ton from his elder brother, Lawrence, was situated on the southern side of the Potomac, about fifteen miles from Washington City, and remarkable for the mag. nificent view of the river in front, as well as the cultivation and adornment of the vast estate. Here for seventeen bright and beautiful years they enjoyed the society of relatives and friends, and the constant companionship of each other. During those years of prosperity, Mrs. Washington had ample opportunity to manifest that elegance of manner for which she was remarkable. In her girlhood, as Miss Dandridge, she had enjoyed the best society of Williamsburg, and during Gov. Dinwiddie's residence there, she had been one of the most popular and admired of the many blooming girls who had rendered the court of the Governor attractive. Married when very young to Colonel Custis, she had lived in comparative seclusion on his farm, devoting her time to her husband and children. Endeared to each other by the warmest affection, her life spent in dispensing that hospitality ..which was deemed a duty and a virtue, it seemed as if no trouble could ever mar her happiness. Colonel Custis was a gifted and refined gentleman, of eminently agreeable and cultivated sentiments, and the possessor by nature of a generous liberality which rendered him popular and respected. Here, on their plantation home, the congenial couple planned for their infant boy, “whose unusual mental develop. ments gave only too delusive and fleeting promise of the future.” But even as they dwelt upon his manly sports and coming school-days, death came for the rare treasure. He died, and with him went out the light and brightness of his sensitive parent, who sank prematurely into the grave ere he had yet scarcely passed the years of maturity. Thus, in a little while, was taken the boy whose existence first called into being all the deathless love of a mother, and the companion and loving guide whose affection was in keeping with his pure and elevated mind. His romantic attention never diminished, and on his death-bed he bade her take charge of his estate and manage for herself and her two children. Nothing remains to us of her childhood save an indistinct tradition; * perhaps her infant years were spent at her father's country home, unmarked but by the gradual change of the little one into the shy young girl. That she was educated after the exigency of her time, at home, is likewise a truth gathered from the echoes of the past generation. Vir. ginia, in those early days—for she was born in May, 1732—possessed no educational facilities, and the children of the wealthy were either sent abroad for accomplishments unattainable in their native land, or put under the care of a tutor or governess at home. Such knowledge as she possessed of the world was gleaned from the few books she read, and the society * She was a descendant of the Rev. Orlando Jones, a clergyman of Wales. o
of her father's friends, for she had never been farther from home than Williamsburg. She is first mentioned as a rustic beauty and belle at the British Governor's residence, and was there addressed by Colonel Custis. After her marriage, she returned to a country life, and for several years lived in that old baronial style, the custom of the wealthy in the Colony. Her home was not far dis. tant from her father's plantation, and these fleeting years were so fraught with every conceivable blessing that her young heart asked no other boon. The deaths of husband and child were the mysteries of the inscrutable will of Providence, whereby she was to accomplish her destiny. The war with the French and Indians in the West, and the defeat and death of Braddock, was the first incident of public note which had occurred in her life, and was followed by deaths in her family which so materially changed the even tenor of her way. Time soothed the wounds naught else could heal, and the young widow serenely discharged the duties of her position. While she had vindicated the trust reposed in her by the success with which she controlled her large estate, she nevertheless yielded to the persuasions of her friends, and again accepted the protection of a husband. She was twenty-six years old when she first saw Colonel Washington at Mr. Chamberlayne's, and was remarkably youthful and handsome. “She had ever been the fortunate object of warm and disinterested affection,” and from her first entrance into the society of Williamsburg, down to the last hour of her life, it was eminently illustrated. Few had been her sor. rows, and for each and every one endured she could count a twofold blessing. There was nothing in her life to foster the faults incident to human nature, for the rank weeds of poverty and bitterness which cramp and deform so many earth-lives, were unfelt and unknown to her. Subsequent to her marriage to Colonel Washing. ton she resided at his home, now for the first time graced by the presence of a mistress. It had been the pleasant retreat of, Colonel Lawrence Washing. ton's bachelor friends, and the occasional residence of his younger brother, but never a congenial place of abode until he established his young wife there, whose happiness was to be in future his peculiar care. Her life was similar to her former position as Mrs. Custis, for she was again the wife of a wealthy, prosperous planter, accustomed to the most refined society of the country, and occasionally accompanying her husband to Williamsburg, where he was for fifteen successive years a member of the Legislature.
“How noiseless falls the foot of time
Engaged in fascinating pleasures and congenial pursuits, it did not occur to Mrs. Washington how many summers of fragrantly blooming flowers and ripening fruits had sunk into the unreturning past; nor did she consider that the long lapse of time in
which she had been so happy had meted to others