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OING! GOING! GONE ! This world is a sort of auction-room ; we do not
know that we are buyers; we are, in fact, more like The other day, as I beggars; we have brought no money to exchange was walking through for precious minutes, hours, days, or years; they a side street in one are given to us. There is no calling out of terms, of our large cities, I no noisy auctioneer, no hammer; but, nevertheheard these words less, the time is "going! going! gone!” ringing out from a The more I thought of it, the more solemn room so crowded with did the words sound, and the more did they seem people that I could but to me a good motto to remind one of the value just see the auction- of time.
eer's face and uplifted When we are young we think old people are hammer above the heads of the crowd.
preaching and prosing when they say so much “Going! Going! Go-ing! Gone !” and about it, — when they declare so often that days, down came the hammer with a sharp rap.
weeks, even years, are short. I can remember I do not know how or why it was, but the words when a holiday, a whole day long, appeared to me struck me with a new force and significance. I an almost inexhaustible play-spell ; when one afterhad heard them hundreds of times before, with noon, even, seemed an endless round of pleasure, only a sense of amusement. This time they and the week that was to come seemed longer sounded solemn.
than does a whole year now. “Going! Going! Gone !”
One needs to live many years before one learns “That is the way it is with life," I said to my- how little time there is in a year,— how little, inself; — “with time."
deed, there will be even in the longest possible
life,- how many things one will still be obliged No hammer, no crowd, no noise, no push of to leave undone.
women and men But there is one thing, boys and girls, that And yet the chance that is passing now will you can realize, if you will try — if you will stop never come back again ! and think about it a little; and that is, how fast and how steadily the present time is slipping away. Going! going! gone! Here is a morn of June,However long life may seem to you, as you look Dew, and fragrance, and color, and light, and forward to the whole of it, the present hour has
a million sounds a-tune. only sixty minutes, and minute by minute, second Oh, look! Oh, listen ! Be wise, and take this by second, it is “ going ! going ! gone !” If you wonderful thing, gather nothing from it as it passes, it is “ gone A jewel such as you will not find in the treasforever. Nothing is so utterly, hopelessly lost as ury of a king ! "lost time.” It makes me unhappy when I look back and see how much time I have wasted; how Going! going! gone! What is next on the list? much I might have learned and done if I had but An afternoon of purple and gold, fair as understood how short is the longest hour.
amethyst, All the men and women who have made the And large enough to hold all good things under world better, happier, or wiser for their having lived
the sun. in it, have done so by working diligently and persist- Bid it in now, and crowd it full with lessons, ently. Yet, I am certain that not even one of these, and work, and fun ! when “looking backward from his manhood's prime, saw not the specter of his mis-spent time.” Going! going! gone! Here is a year to be Now, don't suppose I am so foolish as to think
had ! that all the preaching in the world can make any- A whole magnificent year held out to every lass thing look to young eyes as it looks to old eyes;
and lad ! not a bit of it.
Days, and weeks, and months ! Joys, and labors, But think about it a little; don't let time slip away and pains ! by the minute, hour, day, without getting some- Take it, spend it, buy with it, lend it, and prething out of it! Look at the clock now and then, sently count your gains. and listen to the pendulum, saying of every minute, as it Aies,—“Going! going ! gone!”
Going! going! gone! The largest lot comes last;
Here, with its infinite unknown wealth is offered GOING! GOING! GONE!
a life-time vast !
Out of it may be wrought the deeds of hero and GOING! going! gone! Is this an auction, here, sage, -Where nobody bids, and nobody buys, and there Come, bid ! Come, bid ! lest a brave bright is no auctioneer?
youth fade out to a useless age !
(A Historical Biography. ]
BY HORACE E. SCUDDER.
Washington's exercise-books have many pages
of these forms, written out carefully by the boy. SCHOOL-DAYS.
Sometimes he made ornamental letters such as
clerks were wont to use in drawing up such papers. The story of George Washington's struggle This was not merely exercise in penmanship; it with the colt must belong to his older boyhood, was practice work in all that careful keeping of when he was at home on a vacation ; for we have accounts and those business methods which were seen that he had to have his pony led when he was sure to be needed by one who had to manage a great nine years old; and after his father's death, which plantation. George Washington was to manage occurred when he was eleven, he went away to something greater, though he did not then know it; school. When Augustine Washington died, he and the habits which he formed at this time were divided his several estates among his children; of inestimable value to him in his manhood. but his widow was to have the oversight of the The manuscript book which contains these exportions left to the younger children until they ercises has also a list of a hundred and ten “ Rules should come of age. Lawrence Washington re- of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and ceived an estate called Hunting Creek, located near Conversation.” They were probably not made a stream of the same name which flowed into the up by the boy, but copied from some book or Potomac; and Augustine, his brother, received the taken down from the lips of his mother or teacher. old homestead near Bridge's Creek; the mother They sound rather stiff to us, and we should be and younger children continued to live near Fred- likely to think the boy a prig who attempted to be ericksburg.
governed by them; but it was a common thing in Both Lawrence and Augustine Washington those days to set such rules before children, and married soon after their father's death, and as George Washington, with his liking for regular, there chanced to be a good school near Bridge's orderly ways — which is evident in his handwritCreek, George Washington now made his home ing-probably used the rules and perhaps comwith his brother Augustine, staying with him till mitted them to memory, to secure an even temper he was nearly sixteen years old.
and self-control. Here are a few of them: He was to be, like his father, a Virginian planter; and I suppose that had something to do “Every action in company ought to be with with the kind of training which Mr. Williams, the some sign of respect to those present. school-master at Bridge's Creek, gave him. At any " When you meet with one of greater quality rate, it is easy to see what he studied. Most boys' than yourself, stop and retire, especially if it be at copy-books and exercise-books are early destroyed, a door or any strait place, to give way for him to but it chances that those of George Washington pass. have been kept, and they are very interesting. “ They that are in dignity or in office have in The handwriting in them is the first thing to be all places precedency; but whilst they are young, noticed, - round, fair, and bold, the letters large they ought to respect those that are their equals like the hand that formed them, and the lines in birth or other qualities, though they have no running straight and even. In the arithmetics public charge. and book-keeping manuals which we study at “ Strive not with your superiors in argument, school, there are printed forms of receipts, bills, but always submit your judgment to others with and other ordinary business papers; but in Wash- modesty. ington's school days, the teacher probably showed “Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the the boys how to draw these up, and gave them, disparagement of any. also, copies of longer papers, like leases, deeds, and “ Take all admonitions thankfully, in what time wills. There were few lawyers in the colony, and or place soever given ; but afterwards, not being every gentleman was expected to know many culpable, take a time or place convenient to let forms of documents which in these days are left him know it that gave them. to our lawyers.
“ Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, on board a man-of-war anchored in the Potomac, but orderly and distinctly.
when Madam Washington, who had all along been "Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust. reluctant to have her son go to sea, now declared
“Make no show of taking great delight in your finally that she could not give her consent to the victuals; feed not with greediness; cut your bread scheme. He was still young and at school ; perwith a knife; lean not on the table; neither find haps, also, this Virginian lady, living in a country fault with what you eat.
where the people were not much used to the sea, “Be not angry at table, whatever happens, and if looked with concern at a profession which would you have reason to be so, show it not; put on a cheer- take her oldest boy into all the perils of the ocean. ful countenance, especially if there be strangers, The influence which finally decided her to refuse for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast. her consent is said to have been this letter, which
Let your recreations be manful, not sinful. she received from her brother, then in England: “ Labor to keep alive in your breast that little
“I understand that you are advised, and have some thoughts of spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
putting your son George to sea. I think he had better be put appren
tice to a tinker, for a common sailor before the mast has by no means These are not unwise rules; they touch on
the common liberty of the subject; for they will press him from a ship
where he has fifty shillings a month, and make him take twentythings great and small. The difficulty with most three, and cut and slash, and use him like a negro, or rather like a boys would be to follow a hundred and ten of dog. And, as to any considerable preferment in the navy, it is not them. They serve, however, to show what was
to be expected, as there are always so many gaping for it here who
have interest, and he has none. And if he should get to be master the standard of good manners and morals among of a Virginia ship (which it is very difficult to do), a planter that has those who had the training of George Washington. three or four hundred acres of land, and three or four slaves, if he be But, after all, the best of rules would have done industrious, may live more comfortably, and leave his family in
better bread, than such a master of a ship can." little with poor stuff; it was because this boy had a manly and honorable spirit that he could be It seems possible from this letter that the plan was trained in manly and honorable ways.
He was a
to put George into the navy that he might come passionate but not a vicious boy, and so, since his to command a merchant ship; but however that passion was kept under control, he was all the may be, the plan was given up, and the boy went stronger for it. The boy that could throw a stone back to school for another year. During that time across the Rappahannock was taught to be gentle, he applied himself especially to the study of surand not violent; the tamer of the blooded sorrel veying. In a country of great estates, and with a colt controlled himself, and that was the reason he new, almost unexplored territory coming into the could control his horse.
hands of planters, surveying was a very important
occupation. George Washington, with his love With all his strength and agility, George Wash- of exactness and regularity, his orderly ways and ington was generous and fair-minded boy; his liking for outdoor life, was greatly attracted by otherwise he would not have been chosen, as he the art. Five or six years must elapse before he often was, to settle the disputes of his companions. could come into possession of the property which He was a natural leader. In his boyhood there his father had left him ; his mother was living on was plenty of talk of war. What is known as it and managing it. Meanwhile, the work of surKing George's War had just broken out between veying land would give him plenty of occupation, the English and the French ; and there were al- and bring him in money; so he studied geometry ways stories of fights with the Indians in the back and trigonometry; he made calculations, and he settlements. It was natural, therefore, that boys surveyed all the fields about the school-house, should play at fighting, and George Washington plotting them and setting down everything with had his small military company, which he drilled great exactness. and maneuvered.
I wonder if his sudden diligence in study and Besides, his brother Lawrence had been a sol- outdoor work was due at all to an affair which dier, and he must have heard many tales of war happened about this time. He was a tall, largewhen he visited him. Thus it came about that he limbed, shy boy of fifteen when he fell in love with was for throwing his books aside and entering His a girl whom he seems to have met when living Majesty's service. He was, however, too young with his brother Augustine. He calls her, in one for the army – he was only fifteen : but Lawrence of his letters afterward, a "lowland beauty," and Washington encouraged him, and as he knew tradition makes her to have been a Miss Grimes, many officers in the navy, he had no difficulty in who later married, and was the mother of one of obtaining for his young brother a warrant as the young soldiers who served under Washington midshipman in the navy.
in the War for Independence. Whatever may have It is said that the young middy's luggage was been the exact reason that his love affair did not
prosper whether he was too shy to make his rate, he laid aside his sword, but he kept up his mind known, or so silent as not to show himself to friendship with officers of the army and the navy; advantage, or so discreet with grave demeanor as and out of admiration for the admiral under whom to hold himself too long in reserve, it is impos- he had served, he changed the name of his estate sible now to say; but I suspect that one effect was from Hunting Creek to Mount Vernon. to make him work the harder. Sensible people The house which Lawrence Washington built was do not expect boys of fifteen to be playing the after the pattern of many Virginian houses of the lover; and George Washington was old for his day,- two stories in height, with a porch running years, and not likely to appear like a spooney. along the front, but with its two chimneys, one at
each end, built inside instead of outside. Possibly
this was a notion which Lawrence Washington CHAPTER V.
brought with him from England ; perhaps he MOUNT VERNON AND BELVOIR.
did it to please his English bride. The site which
he chose was a pleasant one, upon a swelling ridge, ALTHOUGH, after his father's death, George wooded in many places, and high above the PotoWashington went to live with his brother Augustine mac, which swept in great curves above and below, for the sake of going to Mr. Williams's school, he almost as far as the eye could see. Beyond, on the was especially under the care of his eldest brother. other side, were the Maryland fields and woods. Lawrence Washington, like other oldest sons of A few miles below Mount Vernon was another Virginia planters, was sent to England to be edu- plantation, named Belvoir, and it was here that cated. After his return to America, there was war William Fairfax lived, whose daughter Anne had between England and Spain, and Admiral Vernon married Lawrence Washington. Fairfax also had of the English navy captured one of the Spanish been an officer in the English army, and at one towns in the West Indies. The people in the time had been governor of one of the Bahama American colonies looked upon the West Indies islands. Now he had settled in Virginia, where his somewhat differently from the way in which we family had large landed possessions. regard them at present. Not only were some of He was a man of education and wealth, and he the islands on the map of America, but like the had been accustomed to plenty of society. He colonies, they were actually a part of the British had no mind to bury himself in the backwoods possessions. A brisk trade was kept up between of Virginia, and with his grown-up sons and them and the mainland; and indeed, the Bermudas daughters about him, he made his house the cenwere once within the bounds of Virginia.
ter of gayety.
It was more richly furnished than So, when Admiral Vernon needed reënforce- most of the houses of the Virginia planters. The ments, he very naturally looked to the colonies floors were covered with carpets, a great luxury close at hand. A regiment was to be raised and in those days; the rooms were lighted with wax sent out to Jamaica as part of the British forces. candles; and he had costly wines in his cellars. Lawrence Washington, who was a spirited young Servants in livery moved about to wait on the fellow, obtained a commission as captain in a guests, and Virginia gentlemen and ladies flocked company of this regiment, and went to the West to Belvoir. The master of the house was an offiIndies, where he fought bravely in the engage- cer of the King, for he was collector of customs for ments which followed. When the war was over the colony, and president of the governor's council. he returned to Virginia, so in love with his new British men-of-war sailed up the Potomac and profession that he determined to go to England, anchored in the stream, and the officers came with the regiment to which his company was at- ashore to be entertained by the Honorable William tached, and to continue as a soldier in His Majesty's Fairfax. service.
The nearness of Mount Vernon and the close Just then there happened two events which connection between the two families led to conchanged his plans and perhaps prevented him from stant passage between the places. The guests of some day fighting against an army commanded one were the guests of the other, and George by his younger brother. He fell in love with Anne Washington, coming to visit his brother Lawrence, Fairfax, and before they were married, his father was made at home at Belvoir also. He was a died. This left his mother alone with the care of reserved, shy, awkward schoolboy. He was only a young family, and made him also at once the fifteen when he was thrown into the gay society owner of a larger estate. His father, as I have said, there, but he was tall, large-limbed, and altogether bequeathed to him Hunting Creek, and there, much older and graver than his years would seem after his marriage, he went to live, as a planter, to indicate. He took his place among the men in like his father before him. For the time, at any sports and hunting, and though he was silent and