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supper-tables or had danced the gavotte at a Ranelagh ball. Yonder beetle-browed warrior in a voluminous wig was a general in Queen Anne's time, before he condescended to his present station above the sideboard. The beautiful youth in armor, slender and graceful, with the fiery eyes, fought for King Charles against the Roundheads, never dreaming that he would come across the seas to find his niche in a staid Virginia sitting-room! In this wainscoted parlor, where the light comes through small greenish panes of glass half veiled with ivy branching from stems knit in a fibrous mass upon the outer wall, had greatgrandmamma, dressed in her satin paduasoy ("you may see a piece of it upon your Aunt Prunella's pincushion, my dear!" the chronicler would add), her hose with silver clocks, stood to receive General Braddock, on the occasion of his first visit to the town. On the landing of yonder stairway little greataunt Nancy, the shy member of the family,
while taking flight to avoid a sudden arrival of guests, had come into violent collision with Colonel Aaron Burr, who met her apologies with a smile and a bow treasured in the stronghold of her maiden heart through many a year to come.
In these echoing rooms had, from time to time, gathered all the celebrities of the day, coming to visit the haunts of Washington and to taste Virginia courtesy. And here, at a much later date, upon the occasion of his second visit to America, in 1824, was domiciled the gallant Lafayette. The tale of a famous reception tendered to that fortunate Frenchman is still told in the town. Escorted by citizens and militiamen, freemasons and revolutionary survivors, the "Nation's Guest" passed over streets strewn with roses by the children of the place, beneath a triumphal arch the like of which in grandeur had never been seen. At the moment when the hero paused beneath the arch, a "real" eagle (politely fur
nished for the occasion by the proprietor of a museum) was seen to flap its wings, and heard to utter a scream of victory. This climax, it was afterwards ascertained, was secured by a boy who, at the critical moment, stuck a pin in the bird of liberty. Bands played, flags and handkerchiefs were waved, salutes were fired. In the evening a banquet was held at Clagett's Tavern, followed by a levee. The market-place and many private houses were illuminated. Nothing was heard but honor to Lafayette. The wave of popular enthusiasm, overflowing to the rural districts of the interior, left inscribed upon more than one baptismal register the name and title of "Marquis de Lafayette," bestowed in a blaze of patriotic fervor, and in all inno
cence, upon the latest arrival in the family! At this day "Marcus D. Lafayette" remains guilelessly prefixed to not a few Virginia patronymics.
Then it was that Lafayette, before passing southward upon his pious pilgrimage to the tomb of his illustrious brother in arms at Mount Vernon, offered the toast: "The city of Alexandria! May her prosperity and happiness more and more realize the fondest wishes of our venerated Washington."
Even so early in the century the good old town seems to have been overtaken by the spirit of drowsiness from which the march of national progress has not yet aroused her. Long years ago, before the coquetry of fortune began to push poor Alexandria to her place
tue of her natural position, her remarkable river-front, her dignity as one of the leading municipalities in Virginia, her connection with the most prominent families in the State, all eyes were turned upon the favored spot. From countries oversea, many settlers were tempted to cast in their lot with the future metropolis. Merchants of divers nationalities took up their abode and displayed their wares in her aristocratic thoroughfares. Every sign foretold that Alexandria would be quickly and substantially built up. Among the settlers was a company of canny Scotch traders; a band of Jacobite soldiers, scattered after the battle of Culloden, also became her active citizens. Soon, the wharves were crowded with shipping. Many a white-winged messenger sailed down the broad bosom of the Potomac to carry the products of bountiful Virginia to the mother-land, fetching, on the return voyage, bricks with which to construct the substantial mansions of the Alexandrian burghers, as well as carpets, porcelain, furniture, carriages, and wines. Inspired by the continual zeal and wisdom of her foremost citizen, George Washington, the prosperity of Alexandria did not flag until the war
to expect the distinction for herself. With this act of characteristic unselfishness on the part of the great Republican, her dream of greatness came abruptly to an end, and at Washington's death her mainspring seemed to snap. What growth there has been since has been like growth in sleep. To visit Alexandria, to-day, is to set a wholesome break upon the rushing wheels of nineteenth-century progress. Around her ancient homes and churches hangs a haze of dignified tradition. The cobblestones of her streets prate of figures famed in history.
In the treasure-house of the Washington. Lodge of Freemasons may be seen many carefully preserved relics of the greatest of Alexandrians; notably, the clock taken from his chamber at Mount Vernon, its hands still pointing to the hour when he breathed his last. Here, also, are displayed portraits of Washington, of Jefferson, of Lafayette, of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, the recluse of Greenway Courtthis latter being the only known picture of a most picturesque figure upon the canvas of early Virginian days. Of this venerable lodge, a chapter of exceptional interest to antiquarians might be separately written. Unfortunately,
the museum attached to the lodge and founded in 1811 was after sixty years of existence recently consumed by fire. Among the treasures it contained, then reduced to ashes or scattered to the four winds of heaven, were flags carried by local companies in the war of the Revolution; the flag of Washington's life-guard; a collection of Indian relics of authenticated history; a number of portraits, including one of Martha, wife of Washington, in her girlhood; sundry Washington letters; card-tables and a settee from Mount Vernon; and various objects of minor value. The bier upon which Washington was carried to his tomb, the crape that hung upon the door at Mount Vernon to announce his death, and the military saddle habitually used by the great commander, long carefully enshrined in the museum, also disappeared on the occasion of the fire, but are believed by the authorities to have been stolen. Of the
relics of Washington still remaining in possession of the lodge, now sealed behind glass, in a niche of the main hall, are seen an apron and sash" worked by the hands of the Fairly Fair" the Marquise de Lafayette-and worn by Washington at the laying of the southeast corner-stone of the United States Capitol in 1793; fragments of the tents he occupied at the time of the surrender of Yorktown, and of the one he used on Dorchester Heights; his field-compass, farm-spurs, and bits of clothing, etc., all regarded by faithful Virginians as intrinsically precious as the jewels of
Another landmark of old Alexandria is the Carlyle house on Fairfax street, occupied for a time, through the courtesy of its owner, John Carlyle, Esq., by the British general Braddock, and since popularly known as Braddock's Headquarters. This square and substantial stone house, once surrounded by a lawn
stretching to the river-bank, is full of associations with the historic past. In its paneled drawing-room, early in April of the year 1755, General Braddock and Admiral Keppel held conference with the executive representatives of various colonies concerning plans for the proposed hostilities of the English against the French and Indian allies along the Ohio and St. Lawrence rivers. There were present five governors: Dinwiddie of Virginia, De Lancey of New York, Morris of Pennsylvania, Sharpe of Maryland, Shirley of Massachusetts. To meet this honorable council, and to give them the benefit of his knowledge of Indian warfare, Major Washington was summoned from Mount Vernon. In spite of the marked impression made upon the council as a body by the young soldier's wise and moderate opinions, Braddock declined to act upon Washington's advice as to the best method of dealing with the Indians, and the expedition against Fort Duquesne (from which Washington did not withhold his own services as an aid on the staff of the commander) setting forth within the ensuing week, ended shortly in the fierce battle of Monongahela, when Braddock fell, and was buried near the field. It was in this bloody conflict, it may be recalled, that an Indian chief, pointing to Washington, cried to his braves, "Fire at him no more. See ye not that the Great Spirit protects that chief. He cannot die in battle!"
The Carlyle house, where the disastrous campaign was planned, stands to this day, although hemmed in and half lost to sight by the encompassing walls of a hotel. A more pleasant memory of that ancient mansion is of the frequent occasions when Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle received their good friends General and Mrs. Washington, who drove up from Mount Vernon intending to "dine and lie" at Alexandria. The writer retains, together with a bit of puce brocade resplendently flowered in crimson, green, and tarnished silver, representing the glories of "Grandmamma" Carlyle's gown assumed for a birthnight ball, a distinct impression of the scene described by a family chronicler. The group of ladies in the paneled parlor gather, splendid in trains carried over the arm, lappets and pinners of antique mechlin, powdered locks and superincumbent feathers. They laugh and chatter, rally the general as to who shall first claim him as her partner in the dance, and sip their coffee from cups of jasper spode. The general declares that his dancing days are over, but that he must have one minuet with little Sally
*" Alexandria has been honored with five governors in consultation; a favorable presage, I hope, not only of the success of this expedition, but of the future greatness of the town; for surely such a meeting must
Fairfax, who is to go to her first ball under her Aunt Carlyle's wing that night. Sally pirouettes, laughs, warns her beloved general that her comrade must be light of foot and tireless, then ends by challenging him to a trial of his skill. Somebody sits down to the spinet, and straightway the quaint measure of the oldtime dance is heard. The general lays his hand upon his heart and bows. Sally courtesies demurely, her eyes full of merriment. They dance; the others applaud-suddenly, Mr. Carlyle looks in to tell them that the hour has passed when everybody was expecting the guest of the occasion to make his entry into the rooms. Such is a story those walls, could they but speak, might tell!
All good Americans should have, as all good Alexandrians have, a warm sentiment of reverence for Old Christ Church. Ivy-clad and substantial, it stands, save for the addition of a bell-tower, pretty much as it was finished in 1773, at a cost of many thousands of pounds of tobacco to the pious burghers of the town, under a special contract guaranteeing to them the best of English brick, mortar reversing the proportion of meaner modern days, twothirds of lime, one-third of sand, with a roof of juniper shingles three-quarters of an inch in thickness. For so our fathers builded better than we know!
Among the first pews of Christ Church sold in perpetuity, was that for which George Washington paid the highest price given. Thereafter, this pew was a constant object of interest to the congregations of the place, as indeed it continues to be, being still carefully preserved, and inscribed with the name of its original owner. A great treat to early Christ Church goers was the arrival of the family from Mount Vernon, sometimes a little delayed beyond the opening of the service by the tenacity of Fairfax county mud. Seated near her husband in the square, high-backed pew was a gentle lady, still styled by the gossips of the congregation "the widow Custis that was." That same year of 1773 was made memorably sad by the death, at sixteen, of the pretty, frail creature the townspeople had been accustomed to see sitting on the front seat of the chariot from Mount Vernon, blushing like a rose in her coal-scuttle bonnet. and like a rose, too, destined to endure but the "space of a morning." Miss Custis, Mrs. Washington's daughter of her first marriage, died in June, 1773, a short time before the marriage of her brother John Parke Custis to Miss Nelly Calvert. When Washington attended service at Christ Church, in the pews around
have been occasioned by the commodious and pleasant situation of the place, which prognosticates population, and increase of a flourishing trade.”—[ Washington's letter to W. Fairfax, 23d April, 1755.]