CHAPTER XV
FORMING THE LINES

MADISON was now thirty-four years old and was still a bachelor. His blood flowed temperately, but not coldly, and in 1786 he was so attentive to some lady whose identity has been lost that there were rumours that he was about to be married. General Henry Lee, who told him he "loved and respected" him, congratulated him with enthusiasm and expressed the hope that the condition on which he was about to enter would soften his political asperities. The report penetrated to Kentucky and Caleb Wallace also sent his felicitations.* How near consummation the affair was, or why it failed, there is now nothing to show.

As the statesman left youth behind him his health improved and his body filled out, but he was not robust and suffered often from digestive troubles. He still dressed soberly, but less like a parson than in the earlier days. He affected, we are told, a springing, rising step, probably to overcome his defects of stature; and the somewhat rustic bearing which had marred his manner in early manhood had disappeared. Blessed by Heaven with a ready sense of humour, which official cares did not destroy, he was a genial companion and enjoyed personal popularity. His social circle was large and the best in America, and in it his rank was high, with every promise of increasing importance in the future. In his county his neighbours and large family connection looked up to him with pride; but among the people at

____________________
*
Dept. of State MSS.
"Virginia Convention of 1788" ( Grigsby) Virginia Historical Collections, IX, 96.

-137-

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