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But in relation to such portions of the despatches of her visitors as contained eulogistic allusions to her Son, she simply remarked, that "George appeared to have deserved well of his country for such signal services," and added :—
"But, my good Sirs, here is too much flattery! —still, George will not forget the lessons I have taught him—he will not forget himself, though he is the subject of so much praise."
And when, after the lapse of long, dark years of national gloom and suffering, Mrs. Washington was, at last, informed* of the crowning event of the great conflict—the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, she raised her hands with profound reverence and gratitude towards Heaven, and fervently exclaimed, "Thank God !—war will now be ended, and peace, independence and happiness bless our country!"
An interval of nearly seven perilous and adventurous years had passed, when this illustrious American matron enjoyed the happiness again to behold her victor-crowned and illustrious Son.
Upon the return of the combined armies from Yorktown, the Commander-in-chief repaired im* To whose thoughtful care Mrs. W. owed the Express despatched to her with this grateful news, may easily be surmised.
mediately to Fredericksburg, attended by a numerous and splendid suite, composed of the most distinguished European and American officers who had shared his protracted toils and his final triumph.
No sooner had Washington dismounted than he sent a messenger to apprize his Mother of his arrival, with a request to be informed when it would be her pleasure to receive him.
Then, dismissing for a time the attributes and attendants of greatness, he repaired, unaccompanied and on foot, to the modest mansion where his venerable parent awaited his coming.
Mrs. Washington was alone and occupied in some ordinary domestic avocation, when the gladdening intelligence of her Son's approaching visit was communicated to her.
She met him on the threshold with a cordial embrace, her face beaming with unmingled pleasure, and welcomed him by the endearing and ^ well-remembered appellation associated with the pleasing memories of early years.
The quick eye of maternal tenderness readily discerned the furrowed traces of the ceaseless and wearing responsibilities that had for years been the burden of his thoughts, and in the unforgotten tones and with the simple affectionateness of other days, Mrs. Washington immediately and earnestly adverted to the subject of her son's health.
At length, turning the conversation to scenes and themes hallowed to each by the most cherished remembrances, these deeply-attached and happily reunited relatives talked long of mutual friends and former times. But to the peerless fame of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of America, there was not the most remote allusion!
Yet, as the immortal Savior Op His Country gazed upon the beloved and expressive countenance turned approvingly and affectionately upon him, his happiness was unalloyed and exalted as earth can bestow.
There fell a moment's thrilling- silence round,—
A breathless pause!—the hush of hearts that bea*
And limbs that quiver :— Hemans.
And blessed was her presence there-
Why then should witless man so much misweene
That nothing is but that which he hath seen. Spenser,
The unexpected arrival of Washington and his Suite, created the most enthusiastic delight among the citizens of Fredericksburg.
Not only the inhabitants of the town, but numbers of gentlemen from its vicinity, hastened to welcome the deliverers of their country with every demonstration of respect and hospitality: happiness irradiated every face, and all were soon engrossed by the eager preparations for festive pleasure.
It was determined to celebrate the joyful occa sion by a splendid Ball.
Mas. Washington received a special invitation. She answered, that "although her dancing days were pretty well over, she should feel happy in contributing to the general festivity."
The company assembled at a much earlier hour than modern fashion would sanction. Gay belles and dignified matrons graced the occasion arrayed in rich laces and bright brocades,—the well-preserved relics of scenes when neither national misfortune nor private calamity forbade their use.
Numerous foreign officers were present, in the brilliant uniforms of their respective corps, glittering with the dazzling insignia of royal favor and successful courage.
Thither came veteran heroes, the blessed and honored of after times, whose war-scathed visages bespoke the unflinching bravery and persevering devotion with which they had served their country, through long years of hardship and danger.
There, too, now swayed only by the light breath of pleasure, waved in billowy folds, the dear-won banners of the " tented field." Music poured its spirit-stirring strains upon the soldier's ear, not to summon him to deeds of arms, but, by its gen