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“I find myself in the situation nearly of a new beginner; for, although I have not houses to build (except one, which I must erect for the accommodation and security of my military, civil, and private papers, which are voluminous and may be interesting), yet I have scarcely anything else about me that does not require considerable repairs. In a word, I am already surrounded by joiners, masons, and painters; and such is my anxiety to get out of their hands, that I have scarcely a room to put a friend into or to sit in myself without the music of hammers or the odoriferous scent of paint.” He easily dropped back into the round of country duties and pleasures, and the care of farms and plantations, which had always had for him so much attraction. “To make and sell a little flour annually,” he wrote to Wolcott, “to repair houses going fast to ruin, to build one for the security of my papers of a public nature, will constitute employment for the few years I have to remain on this terrestrial globe.” Again he said to McHenry : “You are at the source of information, and can find many things to relate, while I have nothing to say that would either inform or amuse a secretary of war at Philadelphia. I might tell him that I begin my diurnal course with the sun; that if my hirelings are not in their places by that time I send them messages of sorrow for their indisposition; that having put these wheels in motion I examine the state of things further; that the more they are probed the deeper I find the wounds which

buildings have sustained by an absence and neglect of eight years; that by the time I have accomplished these matters breakfast (a little after seven o'clock, about the time I presume that you are taking leave of Mrs. McHenry) is ready ; that this being over I mount my horse and ride round my farms, which employs me until it is time to dress for dinner, at which I rarely miss seeing strange faces, come, as they say, out of respect for me. Pray, would not the word curiosity answer as well? And how different this from having a few social friends at a cheerful board. The usual time of sitting at table, a walk, and tea bring me within the dawn of candlelight; previous to which, if not prevented by company, I resolve that as soon as the glimmering taper supplies the place of the great luminary I will retire to my writing-table and acknowledge the letters I have received; that when the lights are brought I feel tired and disinclined to engage in this work, conceiving that the next night will do as well. The next night comes and with it the same causes for postponement, and so on. Having given you the history of a day, it will serve for a year, and I am persuaded you will not require a second edition of it. But it may strike you that in this detail no mention is made of any portion of time allotted for reading. The remark would be just, for I have not looked into a book since I came home; nor shall I be able to do it until I have discharged my workmen; probably not before the nights grow longer,

when possibly I may be looking in Doomsday book.”

There is not much that can be added to his own concise description of the simple life he led at home. The rest and quiet were very pleasant, but still there was a touch of sadness in his words. The long interval of absence made the changes that time had wrought stand out more vividly than if they had come one by one in the course of daily life at home. Washington looked on the ruins of Belvoir, and sighed to think of the many happy hours he had passed with the Fairfaxes, now gone from the land forever. Other old friends had been taken away by death, and the gaps were not filled by the new faces of which he speaks to McHenry. Indeed, the crowd of visitors coming to Mount Vernon from all parts of his own country and of the world, whether they came from respect or curiosity, brought a good deal of weariness to a man tired with the cares of state and longing for absolute repose. Yet he would not close his doors to any one, for the Virginian sense of hospitality, always peculiarly strong in him, forbade such action. To relieve himself, therefore, in this respect, he sent for his nephew Lawrence Lewis, who took the social burden from his shoulders. But although the visitors tired him when he felt responsible for their pleasure, he did not shut himself up now any more than at any other time in self-contemplation. He was constantly thinking of others; and the education of his nephews, the care of young Lafayette until he should return to France, as well as the happy lovematch of Nellie Custis and his nephew, supplied the human interest without which he was nevel. happy. Before we trace his connection with public affairs in these closing years, let us take one look at him, through the eyes of a disinterested but keen observer. John Bernard, an English actor, who had come to this country in the year when Washington left the presidency, was playing an engagement with his company at Annapolis, in 1798. One day he mounted his horse and rode down below Alexandria, to pay a visit to an acquaintance who lived on the banks of the Potomac. When he was returning, a chaise in front of him, containing a man and a young woman, was overturned, and the occupants were thrown out. As Bernard rode to the scene of the accident, another horseman galloped up from the opposite direction. The two riders dismounted, found that the driver was not hurt, and succeeded in restoring the young woman to consciousness; an event which was marked, Bernard tells us, by a volley of invectives addressed to her unfortunate husband. “The horse,” continues Bernard, “was now on his legs, but the vehicle still prostrate, heavy in its frame, and laden with at least half a ton of luggage. My fellow-helper set me an example of activity in relieving it of the internal weight; and when all was clear, we grasped the wheel between us, and to the peril of our spinal columns righted the conveyance. The horse was then put in, and we lent a hand to help up the luggage. All this helping, hauling, and lifting occupied at least half an hour, under a meridian sun, in the middle of July, which fairly boiled the perspiration out of our foreheads.” The possessor of the chaise beguiled the labor by a full personal history of himself and his wife, and when the work was done invited the two Samaritans to go with him to Alexandria, and take a drop of “something sociable.” This being declined, the couple mounted into the chaise and drove on. Then, says Bernard, “my companion, after an exclamation at the heat, offered very courteously to dust my coat, a favor the return of which enabled me to take deliberate survey of his person. He was a tall, erect, wellmade man, evidently advanced in years, but who appeared to have retained all the vigor and elasticity resulting from a life of temperance and exercise. His dress was a blue coat buttoned to his chin, and buckskin breeches. Though the instant he took off his hat I could not avoid the recognition of familiar lineaments, which indeed I was in the habit of seeing on every sign-post and over every fireplace, still I failed to identify him, and to my surprise I found that I was an object of equal speculation in his eyes.” The actor evidently did not have the royal gift of remembering faces, but the stranger possessed that quality, for after a moment's pause he said, “Mr. Bernard, I believe,” and mentioned the occasion on which he had seen him play in Philadelphia. He then asked Bernard to go home with him for a couple of hours' rest, and pointed out the house in the distance. At last

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