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These “lustres," as they were sometimes called, were imported from France, and formed a strong contrast to the ancient dingy iron lantern which hung in the great passage. That lantern, first hung up in the original cottage upon
Mount Vernon by Lawrence Washington, continued its services there until the death of the general. It had then cast its dim light upon the entrance door full eighty years. It is still in service, having for more than fifty years lighted the great passage at Arlington House, illuminating pictures by Vandyke and Sir Godfrey Kneller.
In the dining-room at Mount Vernon was another relic of the household of Lawrence Washington. It was a sideboard, handsomely wrought of black walnut, and is an excellent specimen of the quality of furniture in Virginia a hundred years ago. Its edges and legs are ornamented with delicate leaf-carving, and the wood is as perfect as when it was first used. It is about five feet in length, two and a half feet in width, and three feet in height, and quite heavy. It is used by the family at Arlington House, and is prized as one of the most precious mementos of Mount Vernon, because of its antiquity
There are also a tea-table and punch-bowl at Arlington House that belonged to Washington. The former is quite small, elliptical in shape, about three feet in length, and made of mahogany. It was manufactured in New York for use in the executive mansion there, as a tea-table only, for the little private family of Washington, which consisted of only four persons. Food was not often set upon it. Washington seldom ate any thing after dinner until eight o'clock in the evening, when, with his family, he partook of a cup of tea served from this table, and a small slice of buttered bread.
The great porcelain punch-bowl delineated in the engraving, has a deep blue border at the rim, spangled with gilt stars and dots. It was made expressly for Washington, but when, where, and by whom is not known. In the bottom is a picture of a frigate, and on the side are the initials G. W., in gold, upon a shield with ornamental surroundings. It is supposed to have been presented to Washington by the French naval officers. If so, it was doubtless manufactured and
sent over at the time when the Cin
cinnati china was forwarded.
There are two massive silver can
dlesticks, with extinguishers and snuffers of the same metal, at Arlington House, that once belonged to Washington. These formed a part of his furniture after his retirement from the army, in
WASHINGTON'S SILVER CANDLESTICK.
1783, and are a portion of his plate not remodelled afterward in New York.
How many interesting associations are made to cluster around these simple utensils of domestic use, at the snggestions of fancy and conjecture! Perhaps almost every distinguished European-Lafayette, Rochambeau, Chastellux, Houdon, Pine, Moustier, Brissot, D'Yrujo, Graham—as well as equally distinguished Americans who have spent a night at Mount Vernon-bore one of them to the bedchamber.
Perhaps they were used by Washington himself at his writing-table or by the fireside, or to light the conjugal chamber. And it is quite possible that the master bore one of them on the occasion mentioned in the following paragraph from the pen of Elkanah Watson, when describing his visit at Mount Vernon :
“The first evening I spent under the wing of Washington's hospitality, we sat a full hour at table by ourselves, without the least interruption. After the family had retired, I was extremely oppressed by a severe cold and excessive coughing, contracted by the exposure of a harsh winter journey. He pressed me to use some remedies, but I declined doing so. As usual after retiring, my coughing increased. When some time had elapsed, the door of my room was gently opened, and on drawing my bed-curtains, to my utter astonishment I beheld Washington himself standing at my bedside, with a bowl of hot tea in his hand. I was mortified and distressed beyond expression. This little incident occurring in common life with an ordinary man, would not have been noticed; but as a trait of the benevolence and private virtue of Washington, deserves to be recorded.”
MORNINGA LANDSCAPE BY WINSTANLEY.
While residing in Philadelphia, Washington became acquainted with the merits of William Winstanley, an English
man, and landscape painter, who came to America in 1796. He was spoken of as “ani artist of genius and reputation, whose landscapes in oil are greatly admired by the connoisseurs." Washington, pleased with some specimens of his skill which were brought to his notice, gave him a commission to paint six medium-sized pictures, representing scenery on the Hudson River. These were afterward taken to Mount Vernon, and adorned the walls of the drawing-room there. Two of these, called respectively Morning and Evening, are now at Arlington House. Two others are in the family of the late Mrs. Lewis (Nelly Custis); of the remaining two we have no intelligence.
Washington was again awakened from his sweet dream of peace and quietness in his home on the Potomac, by the call of his country to lend to it once more his voice and his arm. There were signs of war in the political firmament. France, once the ally of the United States, assumed the attitude of an enemy. The king and queen of that unhappy country had been murdered at the command of a popular tribunal. Out of the anarchy that ensued, had been evolved a government, in which supreme power was vested in five men called a Directory, who ruled in connection with two chambers the Council of Ancients and the Council of Five Hundred. It was installed at the Little Luxembourg, at Paris, on the 1st of November, 1795, and held the executive power four
That Directory was a most despotic tyrant, and ruled with an iron hand. Its pride disgusted the nations, and every true friend of man rejoiced when it quailed before the genius and the bayonets of Napoleon.
Before Washington had left the chair of state, the friendly