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The History of Henry Esmond


friend of their childhood, the noble gentleman who bred them from their
infancy in the practice and knowledge of Truth, and Love and Honor.
My children will never forget the appearance and figure of their
revered grandfather; and I wish I possessed the art of drawing (which
my papa had in perfection), so that I could leave to our descendants a
portrait of one who was so good and so respected. My father was of a
dark complexion, with a very great forehead and dark hazel eyes, over-
hung by eyebrows which remained black long after his hair was white.
His nose was aquiline, his smile extraordinary sweet. How well I remem-
ber it, and how little any description I can write can recall his image! He
was of rather low stature, not being above five feet seven inches in
height; he used to laugh at my sons, whom he called his crutches, and
say they were grown too tall for him to lean upon. But small as he was,
he had a perfect grace and majesty of deportment, such as I have never
seen in this country, except perhaps in our friend Mr. Washington, and
commanded respect wherever he appeared.
In all bodily exercises he excelled, and showed an extraordinary quick-
ness and agility. Of fencing he was especially fond, and made my two
boys proficient in that art; so much so, that when the French came to this
country with Monsieur Rochambeau, not one of his officers was superior
to my Henry, and he was not the equal of my poor George, who had
taken the King's side in our lamentable but glorious war of
independence.
Neither my father nor my mother ever wore powder in their hair; both
their heads were as white as silver, as I can remember them. My dear
mother possessed to the last an extraordinary brightness and freshness
of complexion; nor would people believe that she did not wear rouge. At
sixty years of age she still looked young, and was quite agile. It was not
until after that dreadful siege of our house by the Indians, which left me
a widow ere I was a mother, that my dear mother's health broke. She
never recovered her terror and anxiety of those days which ended so
fatally for me, then a bride scarce six months married, and died in my
father's arms ere my own year of widowhood was over.
From that day, until the last of his dear and honored life, it was my de-
light and consolation to remain with him as his comforter and compan-
ion; and from those little notes which my mother hath made here and
there in the volume in which my father describes his adventures in
Europe, I can well understand the extreme devotion with which she re-
garded himÑa devotion so passionate and exclusive as to prevent her, I
think, from loving any other person except with an inferior regard; her
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