Innumerable as the Starrs of Night,
Or Starrs of Morning,
Dew-drops, which the Sun
on every leaf and every flouer
NGC3132 ©
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
— that is all
Ye know on earth, and all
ye need to know.

E = M

Energy is eternal delight.
William Blake

Impearls: GWAC: Martha Dandridge Custis

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Earthdate 2009-12-15

Martha Dandridge Custis   by Hendrik Willem van Loon

Charles Willson Peale's George Washington in 1776 at the age of 44

Charles Willson Peale's Martha Washington in 1776 at the age of 45


Charles Willson Peale's George and Martha Washington
in 1776 when they were ages 44 and 45 respectively

Of course, one could not very well administer a plantation without a wife.  But suitable wives were hard to find, and furthermore, George Washington had never been very successful with the ladies.  This, in spite of his six feet and his perfect willingness to adapt himself completely to the customs and habits of the society into which he happened to have been born and to partake of all the fashionable pleasures of that day, such as dancing, hunting, riding, drinking, and going to Sunday service in the nearest Episcopal church.

But, as most of us six-footers know only too well, women, being what they are, prefer the little fellows whom they can pick up when they fall and hurt themselves and whom they can carry away in their arms and fondle until they smile again and are able to say, “I am feeling much better, and now I will go and pluck you a daisy.”

George Washington was no daisy plucker.  A young man who before his twenty-fourth year had gone through a couple of wilderness campaigns, who had fought in half a dozen battles, and who had experienced a great deal of sickness was apt to be a rather serious person, and that, of course, did not help him very much either while trying to win the favor of some Virginia belle.  Finally, in sheer exasperation he decided to be practical rather than romantic, and he married the widow of a fellow planter, one Colonel Daniel Parke Custis.  Martha Dandridge Custis was the mother of two children and the owner of fifteen thousand acres of land near Williamsburg, sixty-five thousand dollars in cash in the bank, and one hundred and fifty slaves.  Martha Custis also was (and was to prove herself even more so in the years to come) a very kindhearted and understanding companion, an excellent housekeeper, and a discreet and faithful wife to a man who was to occupy the highest position in the land.  Best of all (the only real consideration in such matters), she gave her husband everything he most cared for.  She provided him with a well-run home, where at any time he could entertain all the friends he wanted to bring, and she saved him from all those fussy details which are so exasperating to a man who has got a real job to do.

Fifteen years after their marriage, George Washington came at last into his own.  For he was given the task of reorganizing the new England on our side of the ocean into a nation that would be able to take over when the older England overseas should have failed.

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