Imágenes de páginas

cated was uncertain. A formidable rival to Lewis appeared in the person of young Carroll of Carrollton, who had just returned from Europe, adorned with the graces of foreign travel, and whose suit was countenanced by Mrs. Washington. These were among the poetic days of Mount Vernon, when its halls echoed to the tread of lovers. They were halcyon days with Miss Nelly, as she herself declared in after years, to a lady from whom we have the story : “ I was young and romantic then,” said she," and fond of wa

“and fond of wandering alone by moonlight in the woods of Mount Vernon. Grandmamma thought it wrong and unsafe, and scolded and coaxed me into a promise that I would not wander in the woods again unaccompanied. But I was missing one evening, and was brought home from the interdicted woods to the drawing-room, where the general was walking up and down with his hands behind him, as was his wont. Grandmamma, seated in her great arm-chair, opened a severe reproof.''

Poor Miss Nelly was reminded of her promise, and taxed with her delinquency. She knew that she had done wrong-admitted her fault, and essayed no excuse ; but, when there

: was a slight pause, moved to retire from the

She was just shutting the door when


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

she overheard the general attempting, in a low voice, to intercede in her behalf. “My dear," observed he, “I would say no more-perhaps she was not alone.”

His intercession stopped Miss Nelly in her retreat. She reopened the door and advanced up to the general with a firm step. “Sir,"

” said she, "you brought me up to speak the truth, and when I told grandmamma I was alone, I hope you believed I was alone."

The general made one of his most magnanimous bows. “My child,” replied he, “I beg your pardon.”

We will anticipate dates, and observe that the romantic episode of Miss Nelly Custis terminated to the general's satisfaction ; she became the happy wife of Lawrence Lewis, as will be recorded on a future page.

Early in the autumn, Washington had been relieved from his constant solicitude about the fortunes of Lafayette. Letters received by George W. Lafayette from friends in Hamburg, informed the youth that his father and family had been liberated froin Olmutz and were on their way to Paris with the intention of embarking for America. George was disposed to sail for France immediately, eager to embrace his parents and sisters in the first moments of their release. Washington urged him to defer

[ocr errors]

his departure until he should receive letters from the prisoners themselves, lest they should cross the ocean in different directions at the same time, and pass each other, which would be a great shock to both parties. George, however, was not to be persuaded, and “I could not withhold my assent," writes Washington, “to the gratification of his wishes, to fly to the arms of those whom he holds most dear."

George and his tutor, Mr. Frestel, sailed from New York on the 26th of October. Washington writes from Mount Vernon to Lafayette : “ This letter, I hope and expect, will be presented to you by your son, who is highly deserving of such parents as you and your amiable lady.

“He can relate better than I can describe, my participation in your sufferings, my solicitude for your relief, the measures I adopted, though ineffectual, to facilitate your liberation from an unjust and cruel imprisonment, and the joy I experienced at the news of its accomplishment. I shall hasten, therefore, to congratulate you, and be assured that no one can do it with more cordiality, with more sincerity, or with greater affection on the restoration of that liberty which every act of your life entitles you to the enjoyment of; and I hope I may add, to the uninterrupted possession of your estates, and the confidence of your country.

The account which George W. Lafayette had received of the liberation of the prisoners of Olmutz was premature. It did not take place until the 19th of September, nor was it until the following month of February that the happy meeting took place between George and his family, whom he found residing in the chateau of a relative in Holstein.


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Parting Address of the French Directory to Mr. Mon

roe—The New American Minister Ordered to Leave
the Republic-Congress Convened - Measures of
Defense Recommended—Washington's Concern-
Appointment of Three Envoys Extraordinary-
Doubts their Success—Hears of an Old Companion
in Arms—The Three Ministers and Talleyrand-
Their Degrading Treatment—Threatened War with
France — Washington Appointed Commander-in-
Chief-Arrauges for Three Major-Generals--Knox

[ocr errors]


ASHINGTON had been but a few

months at Mount Vernon, when he
received intelligence that his suc-

cessor in office had issued a proc-
lamation for a special session of Congress.
He was not long in doubt as to its object. The
French governnent had declared, on the recall
of Mr. Monroe, that it would not receive any
new minister plenipotentiary from the United
States until that power should have redressed

« AnteriorContinuar »