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that from my first perusal of Lavinia's tale, which was in my boyhood, I have been more enamoured of the idea my fancy formed of her attractions and virtues, than I ever was with those of any other woman; and until-"
'He was here interrupted by the arrival of his party.' Vol. I. pp. 221-223.
We must pass over Mr Washington's expedition to Fort Le Boeuf, his numerous hairbreadth scapes by flood and field, his political discussions with the Frenchmen, his wise talks with the Indians, and his amatory dialogues with Maria; who, heroine like, takes the best possible care to throw no discouragement in the way of a pure and disinterested passion, although she had no idea whatever of returning it. We hasten to the parting scene, in which our readers may see with what sort of baggage Washington usually provided himself when he travelled among the Indians.
'Just before Washington set off, he seized a favorable occasion for a short private interview with Maria.
""Miss Frazier!" said he, "I must now bid you farewell for a time. Permit me, before I depart, to present you with a small volume of poems, one of which is with me, next to some of the passages of your admired Thomson, the most favorite piece of poetry in our language. This copy has for many months past been my constant companion. Its author was one who was greatly enamoured of that sylvan seclusion which you here enjoy in such perfection. He was also one who keenly felt, and sweetly described the tenderest and sweetest of all passions. I have marked with a pencil those passages of my favorite poem, which I shall often recall to mind when at a distance from you; and oh! may I request that, for my sake, you will frequently read them. They will depict to you the feelings which, until I see you again, will strongly agitate this bosom. Farewell! and may heaven protect you from all dangers!" So saying, he pressed her hand gently, and departed.' Vol. I. p. 277.
In the next page the author tells us, that
'The book which Washington left with our heroine was a handsomely bound copy of Shenstone's poems; and the passages he had marked for her attention, she found in that most tender and simple of all poetical effusions the Pastoral Ballad !' Quod vide.
Mr Charles Adderly revisits the wilderness with a new party of settlers; is again made prisoner; again rescued by the sage Tonnaleuka, and secreted in a cave, which seems to
have been contrived on purpose, with a moveable tree for a trap door, in the neighborhood of Frazier's cottage. During his concealment, a wedding takes place at the cottage, not, as our readers might imagine, between him and the heroine, but between Miss Nancy and Dr Kilbreath, one of Adderly's followers, whose perilous adventures we had wholly forgotten to relate, and whom we are now induced to notice not so much for his own merits, as for the sake of introducing our readers once more to the agreeable society of Mr Washington. A priest had been procured at the neighboring fort to perform the ceremony; the French officers and their ladies were invited guests; and Mr Washington having again strolled across the wilderness fortunately happened to come in at the same juncture. This enables our author to exhibit him in a new attitude. The marriage party being mightily exhilirated by all the good cheer of the wilderness,
'An inclination for dancing soon became the consequence of this overflowing of the spirits; and, as Paddy possessed a violin, and both Vanbraam and he were tolerable performers, the strings were soon screwed to their proper pitch, and away went the merry Frenchmen to the regions of airiness and joy.
'After becoming somewhat relieved and composed by this first irregular and rather violent explosion of their bounding spirits, they proposed a more civilized and rational set of dances, in which the ladies should bear a part. A regular cotillon was soon got up, for which Mr Washington had the good fortune to secure Maria as his partner!' Vol. II. pp. 57, 58.
As there is nothing our author hits off with such a happy coup de pinceau as the prominent traits of Washington's character, we are sure we cannot do him, or our readers, better justice, than by giving them a sample of that great man's talent at light and elegant conversation, during the intervals of the cotillons; which, by the way, seem to have been introduced into Ohio much earlier than we were aware of.
"I think, Mr Washington," said he, "that it is in your power to afford us another agreeable day like this, by giving Monsieur d'Abbeville another job. Suppose you detain us for tomorrow. By my faith, we will take it as a great kindness."
"There is nothing more remote from my power at present, I assure you, sir,” replied Washington. "I cannot see how you could have fallen upon such a conjecture."
"No conjecture," returned Joncaire, "could be more natural. Who could look at that young lady without admiration? By heavens! if I were a young fellow like you, I could not-nay, pardon me as it is, I cannot-and my wife says that she feels the same sentiment towards you. Upon honor, Mr Washington, if I did not see that you are otherwise engaged, I should become jealous of you. See that leering dame of a wife of mine, she cannot keep her eyes off you."
"It is yourself, sir, I perceive, that she is looking at," observed Washington, following the direction of the lady's eyes. "But will you not hurt her feelings by the levity of these observations?"
"No, no," returned the other, "she's too cunning a puss for that. Besides, you may be easy, sir, and speak freely; for curse the word of what we say will she understand."
An idea of retorting upon Joncaire, at least of diverting the conversation from its original topic, now occurred to Washington. "If she is so partial to me," said he, " as you mention, you may really bless your stars that you secured her before I saw her, for positively, if she were not the property of another, I should try to make her my own."
""Ha! ha!" exclaimed the lighthearted Frenchman, "there for you now! I knew she had hit you with her sharp glances, Mr Washington, although you alleged that she had cast them at me. By heavens! sir, you perceive that her eyes are like the quills of a porcupine."
"That is a strange comparison," returned Washington. "I rather think they are like the stars in the firmament."
"Ha! sir, you are too sublime for me." Here they were interrupted by De Vamploise, who wished them to engage in another dance.' Vol. II. pp. 59, 60.
The next morning poor Washington seems to have found himself in much the same state of feeling with the unfortunate Frenchman, who, being in strange water, was determined that he would drown, and nobody should help him.
"Alas!" thought he, as he walked out on the margin of Turtlecreek, "if this most lovely of created beings refuses my love, how wretched I shall be ! My heart destitute and forlorn, shall bleed at the desolation of its hopes; but it shall be still more miserable at the thought of the troubles and dangers with which, if she will not leave this Wilderness, she will soon be surrounded. War! shocking and barbarous war with savages, will ere long penetrate to these wilds; and Maria, oh, Maria! how I delight to name thee !-Oh, how wilt thou escape its fury! But I will urge, I will entreat, I will implore thee to fly with me while there is yet time,
while thou art yet safe, and before the coming tempest bursts around thee. Oh, with what eagerness I should march in the ranks of those brave men who shall be sent here to drive the enemies of my country from their usurped fastnesses, if I were sure that she who is dearer to me than life, would not suffer in the conflict. But I will prevail on her-O heaven! grant that she may consent to become my own, that I may lodge her in a place of safety.'
"In such contemplations this ardent and illustrious lover spent upwards of an hour.' Vol. II. pp. 60, 61.
It is certainly useful to know in what employments great men are accustomed to pass their leisure time.
Our readers cannot regret more than our author, and neither of them certainly more than ourselves, the necessity which forbids us to extract the passage in which Washington makes his formal declaration, and receives his formal coup de grace from the lady, managed with such admirable dexterity on her part, as not to excite in his mind the slightest suspicion, that she was all the while betrothed to another. We pass it however only to make room for scenes of yet deeper interest.
Washington, on his return to Virginia, finds a lieutenant colonel's commission, and a small body of troops raised by the colony, awaiting him. With these he marches into the wilderness, and takes up a military position at such a convenient distance from Fort Du Quesne, and also from Frazier's cottage, as enables him to carry on love and war uno ictu in the most soldierlike manner. Adderly comes out of his hiding place to fill a vacant captaincy. But after various fortune the colonial forces are compelled to capitulate on honorable terms, and return to their own homes. Anon, General Braddock's expedition carries Washington and Adderly once more to the wars; and the famous battle of Braddock's Field is opportunely fought within sight of Frazier's cottage. Never did knight of romance, under the influence of peerless dame, perform more unheard of prodigies of valor against Saracen or Turk, than did Washington this day, under the eye of the beloved of his soul,' among the red warriors of the west. His men, however, were cut to pieces, his general killed, and Adderly a third time captured. But even this was not the worst consummation of that fatal hour. Monsieur de Villiers, the French commander, got sight of the
VOL. XIX.-NO. 44.
heroine, and forthwith resolved, per fas aut nefas, to make her his. Being unable to prevail on better terms, he finally sends a file of soldiers, who forcibly bear her off to his quarters at the fort. We cannot make up our minds to sit down tamely, and recount the numberless temptations and distresses of this fair damsel during her imprisonment, but, inspired rather with the chivalrous spirit of Washington himself, hasten to the rescue.
'She was occupied with these thoughts' [the reader will excuse us for omitting the thoughts] when Halmanna,' [the squaw who attended her,]' entering the room, informed her that she had been commanded by the Mingo prophet to conduct a chief of the Piantia tribe into her apartment, but not to reveal the circumstance to any other person in the garrison.
"What can this chief want of me?" thought Maria. "But he can want nothing but good, since his errand is sanctioned by Tonnaleuka." She therefore desired Halmanna to admit him. Her heart beat violently as she heard his steps advancing. She rose to meet him, and beckoned the squaw, who was entering before him, to retire. He was dressed in an elk skin robe, the long skirts of which reached below the calves of his legs. This robe was closely wrapped round, his waist, so as to show the well formed configuration of his person, and fastened securely there with a broad belt, fantastically, but rather handsomely, ornamented with porcupine's quills, dyed of various colors. His arms were covered with a kind of roller, made of stripes of the soft fur skins of the smaller animals, neatly enough attached to each other with thongs of half tanned deer skin, and wound round the arms from the shoulders to the wrists. At the shoulders, the elbows, and the wrists, these rollers were kept in their places by leathern bands, also ornamented with variegated porcupine's quills. His cap was of a very showy description, made of beaver skin, with a high plume formed of feathers of different dyes, which, glittering in the sun as he moved along the fortress-yard, produced to the eye of the spectator a very striking and brilliant effect. Tassels, made of small feathers, also of various colors, hung in abundance, eight or nine being on each side, over his ears and down his cheeks, so as to shade and partly conceal them; forming, on the whole, a singularly beautiful and gaudy costume. His feet and legs were covered with moccasins and leggins, in the usual manner of the Indians.
This chief, so majestic in his person and splendid in his apparel, on entering the chamber of Maria, approached her evidently with much emotion, and, to her great astonishment, addressed her in English.