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The Tomb of Washington.-ANONYMOUS.
We thought to gallop to Mount Vernon, but the chance of missing the way, and the tiresomeness of a gig, induced us to take a hackney coach. Accordingly we took possession, and ordered it on with all convenient 5 despatch. But haste was out of the question;—for never was worse road than that to Mount Vernon. Still, in the season of foliage, it may be a romantic route. As it was, we saw nothing to attract the eye, save a few seats, scattered among the hills, and occupying some pictur10 esque eminences. On we went-and yet onwardthrough all variety of riding; hill and vale, meadow and woodland, until a sheet of water began to glimmer through the dim trees, and announce our approach again to the Potomac. In a few moments, a turn in the wild and un15 even road brought us in view of the old mansion-house of Washington. We drove to the entrance of the old gateway, and alighted in the midst of what appeared to be a little village, so numerous and scattered were the buildings. About those which we first came upon, there 20 was an air of dilapidation and neglect that was rather unpromising. They were of brick and devoted to the lower menial purposes of the place. As we advanced, the houses that covered the grounds, had a neater appearance; and when we came in view of the edifice, of 25 which all these were the outworks or appendages, we were at once struck with the simple beauty of the structure, and the quiet and secluded loveliness of its situation. The roof is crowned with a little cupola or steeple, a common thing upon the old seats of rich pro30 prietors of Virginia, and the building itself is two stories in height. The portion nearest the river, and which is fronted with a light piazza, is an addition which was made to the mansion by the general. By this arrangement the beauty of the whole must have been much in35 creased. The style of the work, and the painting, have the effect of a freestone front; and though there is nothing imposing or grand in the appearance of the house, still there is an air of substance and comfort about it, that after all is far more satisfying than magnificence. Send40 ing in our cards, by an old servant, we were soon invit
ed to enter. Not having letters to Mr. W. the present proprietor, who is now very ill, we did not expect to see any of the family. A servant accordingly, at our request, merely accompanied us through the rooms made 45 interesting by the hallowed associations that came fast upon us as we traversed them. In the hall or entry, hangs, in a glass case, the key of the Bastile, which every body has heard of. It was presented to Washington by Lafayette. Under it is a picture of that re50 nowned fortress. This key is by no means formidable
for its size, being about as large as a bank key, and of a shape by no means mysterious enough for a dissertation. The only curious portion of it, is that grasped by the hand in turning. It is solid and of an oval shape, 55 and appeared to me, for I always love to be curious in these matters, to have been broken, on a time, and then soldered or brazed again. It probably had some hard wrenches in its day. On the whole it appeared to be a very amiable key, and by no means equal to all the turns 60 it must have seen in the Revolution.
We were first shown into a small room, which was set apart as the study of Washington. Here he was wont to transact all his business of State, in his retirement. It was hung with pictures and engravings of revolutionary 65 events; and among the miniatures was one of himself, said to be the best likeness ever taken. Another room was shown us, which had nothing remarkable about it, and we then passed into a larger one, finished with great taste, and containing a portrait of Judge Washington. 70 A beautiful organ stood in the corner, and the fire place was adorned by a mantel of most splendid workmanship, in bass-relief. It is of Italian marble, and was presented to Washington by Lafayette. This part of our visit was soon over. There was little to see in the house, and 75 the portions referred to were all to which we were admitted. I could not help admiring, however, the neatness and air of antiquity together, which distinguished the several rooms through which we passed. There was something, also, fanciful in their arrangement, that was 80 quite pleasing to my eye, far more so than the mathematical exactness of modern and more splendid mansions. Passing from the house, down a rude and neglected pathway, and then over a little broken, but already verdant ground, we came to an open space, and found ourselves 85 standing before the humble tomb of George Washington,
It was a happy moment to visit the spot. There was something in the time, fortunate for the feelings. The very elements seemed in accordance with the season. The day was beautiful-the sunlight was streaming full 90 upon the trees round about, and glowing with a mellow beam upon the grave;-the place was quiet and imbosomed, and the only sound that we heard, save that of our own hearts, was the voice of the wind through the pines, or of the waters as they broke upon the shore be95 low us. Who can analyze his feelings as he stands be
fore that sepulchre! Who can tell the story of his associations, or do any justice by his tongue or his pen to the emotions which the memories of the past awaken there! The history of a whole country is overpowering him at 100 once. Its struggle-its darkness-its despair-its victory rush upon him. Its gratitude, its glory, and its loss, pass before him-and in a few moments he lives through an age of interest and wonder. Strange power of human mind! What an intimation does this rapid communion 105 with the past, and with the spirits of the past, give, at once, of their immortality and our own! But it is vain to follow out these feelings here. They would fill volumes
There is no inscription upon the tomb. The simple words "WASHINGTON FAMILY," chiseled in granite, surmounts the plain brick work. The masonry was originally wretched, and the plaster is now falling from 5 it. The door is well secured, and of iron. There is a total absence of every thing like parade or circumstance about the resting-place of the Hero. He sleeps there in the midst of the very simplicities of nature. Laurel trees wave over his dust, on every side, and the pilgrim 10 who goes to stand by his grave, finds no careful enclosure to forbid his too near approach. In short, Washington rests in an obscurity-just that obscurity which he would have chosen, but which seems hardly compatible with the vast gratitude and deep reverence of a great country.
As we were standing upon this spot, a couple of spaniels came bounding along, and following close, was an old servant of the family, and formerly a slave of Washington. On examining him, we found he was born on the place, and recollected his master, and all he said, 20 with great distinctness. He was a very aged negro,
and quite gray.
I found there was something to be gathered from this ancient of the family-and accordingly, as I stood leaning upon the broken gate, which swung before the door 25 of the old tomb, put him in the train, by a few ques"In front of the new grave-place, yonder," said he, "lie buried a hundred people of colour." These, it seemed, were slaves of the plantation, who from time to time had died here. He spoke of the great kindness 30 of Washington, and his emancipating a hundred of his people. "His wife did the same," added he. There were now, he said, but about fifteen attached to the establishment. Passing from one thing to another without much connexion, he went on to say, referring to Wash35 ington-" I never see that man laugh to show his teethhe done all his laughing inside." This I thought worth a page of description. We then recurred to Lafayette's visit in 1825. "We were obliged to tote him all about, said he-by which I understood that the general was so 40 overcome, that he was literally supported by the arms of attendants. I inquired how he appeared at the tomb "He cried like a little infant." "Did he go in?" I asked. "O yes-he went in, sir-alone-and he made a mighty long talk there-but I don't know what it was 45 about." All these little things were jewels. I loved to hear such simple narrations, from such a source, and it was with reluctance I turned away, after gathering a relic or two, and followed our old guide up to the house again. But we had seen all we could see, and after 50 glancing at the garden and greenhouse, which appeared in all the coming beauty of spring, and turning one more melancholy gaze upon the cluster of buildings, which had once been improved by the great One who now slept in their shadow, we entered our carriage, and rode slowly 55 away from Mount Vernon.
Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, by fire, under Titus.-MILLMAN.
It was the 10th of August, the day already darkened in the Jewish calendar by the destruction of the former Temple, by the King of Babylon: it was almost passed. Titus withdrew again into Antonia; intending the next
5 morning to make a general assault. The quiet summer evening came on; the setting sun shone for the last time on the snow white walls, and glistening pinnacles of the Temple roof. Titus had retired to rest; when suddenly a wild and terrible cry was heard, and a man came 10 rushing in, announcing that the temple was on fire. Some of the besieged, notwithstanding the repulse in the morning, had sallied out to attack the men who were busily employed in extinguishing the fires about the cloisters. The Romans not merely drove them back, 15 but entering the sacred space with them, forced their way to the temple. A soldier, without orders, mounted on the shoulders of one of his comrades, threw a blazing brand into a gilded small door, on the north side of the chambers, in the outer building or porch. The flames 20 sprung up at once. The Jews uttered one simultaneous shriek and grasped their swords with a furious determination of revenging and perishing in the ruins of the temple. Titus rushed down with the utmost speed; he shouted, he made signs to his soldiers to quench the 25 fires; his voice was drowned, and his signs unnoticed, in the blind confusion. The legionaries either could not, or would not hear; they rushed on, trampling each other down in their furious haste, or stumbling over the crumbling ruins perished with the enemy. Each exhor30 ted the other, and each hurled his blazing brand into the inner part of the edifice; and then hurried to the work of carnage. The unarmed and defenceless people were slain in thousands; they lay heaped, like sacrifices, round the altar; the steps of the temple ran with streams 35 of blood, which washed down the bodies that lay about.
Titus found it impossible to check the rage of the soldiery; he entered with his officers, and surveyed the interior of the sacred edifice. The splendour filled them with wonder; and as the flames had not yet penetrated 40 to the holy place, he made a last effort to save it, and springing forth, again exhorted the soldiers to stay the progress of the conflagration. The centurion Liberalis endeavoured to force obedience with his staff of office; but even respect for the Emperor gave way to the furi45 ous animosity against the Jews, to the fierce excitement of battle, and to the insatiable hope of plunder. The soldiers saw every thing around them radiant with gold,