George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775

By James Thomas Flexner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
11
Commander in Chief of What

SICK, HIS MIND still aflame with the horrors he had experienced, Washington rode by slow and painful stages through an unbelievably quiet midsummer countryside towards Mount Vernon. At last he could look southeast across a long clearing to where the story-and-a-half wooden house smoked peacefully on its little rise. Then he moved left with the road, entered familiar groves, and, after a few minutes, came into the open again close to his front door. Surely, before he entered, he turned to glance across Dogue Run to where Belvoir beckoned. But he was too "weak and feeble." With a final push of dying energy, he made his way upstairs to fall on his bed. 1

A knock on the door: a letter from William Fairfax. It proved to contain affectionate congratulations on his return, but George undoubtedly did not read it until he had perused several times the postscript. The postscript was in Sally's elegant, upright hand: "Dear Sir: After thanking heaven for your safe return, I must accuse you of great unkindness in refusing us the pleasure of seeing you this night. I do assure you that nothing but our being satisfied that our company would be disagreeable should prevent us from trying if our legs would not carry us to Mount

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