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Fairfax, about twenty-two years of age, the eldest son of the proprietor. He had been educated in England, and since his return had married a daughter of Colonel Carey, of Hampton, on James River. He had recently brought home his bride and her sister to his father's house.
The merits of Washington were known and appreciated by the Fairfax family. Though not quite sixteen years of age, he no longer seemed a boy, nor was he treated as such. Tall, athletic, and manly for his years, his early self-training, and the code of conduct he had devised, gave a gravity and decision te his conduct; his frankness and modesty inspired cordial regard, and the melancholy, of which he speaks, may have produced a softness in his manner calculated to win favor in ladies' eyes. According to his own account, the female society by which he was surrounded had a soothing effect on that melancholy. The charms of Miss Carey, the sister of the bride, seem even to have caused a slight fluttering in his bosom; which, however, was constantly rebuked by the remembrance of his former passion—so at least we judge from letters to his youthful confidants, rough drafts of which are still to be seen in his tell-tale journal.
To one whom he addresses 'as his dear friend Robin, he writes : “My residence is at present at his lordship's, where I might, was my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleasantly, as there's a very agreeable young lady lives in the same houso (Col. George Fairfax's wife's sister); but as that's only adding fuel to fire, it makes me the more uneasy, for by often and unavoidably being in company with her, revives my former passion for your Lowland Beauty; whereas was I to live more retired from young women, I might in some measure alleviate my sor. 1748.]
THE LOWLAND BEAUTY.
rows, by burying that chaste and troublesome passion in the grave of oblivion,” &c.
Similar avowals he makes to another of his young correspondents, whom he styles, “ Dear friend John;" as also to a female confidant, styled “Dear Sally," to whom he acknowledges that the company of the “ very agreeable young lady, sister-in-law of Col. George Fairfax,” in a great measure cheers his sorrow and dejectedness.
The object of this early passion is not positively known. Tradition states that the “ lowland beauty" was a Miss Grimes, of Westmoreland, afterwards Mrs. Lee, and mother of Gereral Henry Lee, who figured in revolutionary history as Light Horse Harry, and was always a favorite with Washington, probably from the recollections of his early tenderness for the mother.
w batever may have been the soothing effect of the female society by which he was surrounded at Belvoir, the youth found a more effectual remedy for his love melancholy in the company of Lord Fairfax. His lordshin was a staunch fox-hunter, and
v norses and hounds in the English style. The hunting season had arrived. The neighborhood abounded with sport; but
ounting in Virginia required bold and skilful horsemanship. und Washington as bold as himself in the saddle, and as eager
the hounds. He forthwith took him into peculiar made him his hunting companion; and it was probably un
buition of this hard-riding old Dobleman that the youth bed that fondness for the chose for which he was afterwards
" at Belte: Oct of the
V for his
kept horen airfas.
to follow the hounds.
Their fox-hunting intercourse was tant results. His lordship's possess had never been regularly settled no
s attended with more impor.
sions beyond the Blue Ridge u regularly settled nor surveyed. Lawless intrud.
ers—squatters, as they were called—were planting themselves along the finest streams and in the richest valleys, and virtually taking possession of the country. It was the anxious desire of Lord Fairfax to have these lands examined, surveyed, and portioned out into lots, preparatory to ejecting these interlopers or bringing them to reasonable terms. In Washington, not with. standing his youth, he beheld one fit for the task-having noticed the exercises in surveying which he kept up while at Mount Vernon, and the aptness and exactness with which every process was exccuted. He was well calculated, too, by bis vigor and activity, his courage and hardihood, to cope with the wild country to be burveyed, and with its still wilder inhabitants. The proposition had only to be offered to Washington to be eagerly accepted. It was the very kind of occupation for which he had been diligently training himself. All the preparations required by one of his simple habits were soon made, and in a very few days he was ready for his first expedition into the wilderness.
EXPEDITION BETOND THE BLUE RIDGE-THE VALLEY OF THE SHINANDOA
LORD FAIRFAX-LODGE IN THE WILDERNESS-SURVEYING-LIFE IN THB BACK WOODS-IXDIANS-WAR DANCE-GERMAN SETTLERS-RETURN HOMEWASHINGTON AS PUBLIC SURVEYOR — SOJOURN AT GREENWAY COURT HORSES, HOUNDS, AND BOOKS-RUGGED EXPERIENCE AMONG THE MOUNTAINS
It was in the month of March (1748), and just after he had completed his sixteenth year, that Washington set out on horseback on this surveying expedition, in company with George Wil. liam Fairfax. Their route lay by Ashley's Gap, a pass through the Blue Ridge, that beautiful line of mountains which, as yet, almost formed the western frontier of inhabited Virginia. Winter still lingered on the tops of the mountains, whence melting snows sent down torrents, which swelled the rivers and occasionally rendered them almost impassable. Spring, however, was softening the lower parts of the landscape and smiling in the valleys.
They entered the great valley of Virginia, where it is about twenty-five miles wide; a lovely and temperate region, diversified by gentle swells and slopes, admirably adapted to cultivation. The Blue Ridge bounds it on one side, the North Mountain, a ridge of the Alleganies, on the other; while throug!ı it flows that bright and abounding river, which, on account of its sur. passing beauty, was named by the Indians the Shenandoah—that is to say, "the daughter of the stars."
The first station of the travellers was at a kind of lodge in the wilderness, where the steward or land-bailiff of Lord Fairfas resided, with such negroes as were required for farming purposes, and which Washington terms “his lordship’s quarter.” It was situated not far from the Shenandoah, and about twelve miles from the site of the present town ot' Winchester.
In a diary kept with his usual minuteness, Washington speaks with delight of the beauty of the trees and the richness of the land in the neighborhood, and of his riding through a noble grove of sugar maples on the banks of the Shenandoah; and at the present day, the magnificence of the forests which still exist in this favored region justifies his eulogium.
He looked around, however, with an eye to the profitable rather than the poetical. The gleam of poetry and romance, in. spired by his “ lowland beauty,” occurs no more. The real busi. ness of life has commenced with him. His diary affords no food for fancy. Every thing is practical. The qualities of the soil, the relative value of sites and localities, are faithfully recorded. In these his early babits of observation and his exercises in surveying had already made him a proficient.
His surveys commenced in the lower part of the valley, some distance above the junction of the Shenandoah with the Potomac, and extended for many miles along the former river. Here and there partial “clearings” had been made by squatters and hardy pioneers, and their rude husbandry had produced abundant crops of grain, hemp, and tobacco; civilization, however, had hardly