Chapter VII. A Change of Circumstances
Although George Washington spent so much
of his time at Greenway Court,
he still called Mount Vernon his home.
Going down home in the autumn, just before he was twenty years
found matters in a sad state, and greatly changed.
His brother Lawrence was very ill--indeed,
he had been ill a long time.
He had tried a trip to England - he had spent a summer at the
springs - but all to no purpose. He was losing strength every
The sick man dreaded the coming of cold weather. If he could
only go to
the warm West Indies before winter set in, perhaps that would
his life. Would George go with him?
No loving brother could refuse a request like that.
The captain of a ship in the West India trade agreed to take
them - and
so, while it was still pleasant September, the two Washingtons
for Barbadoes, which, then as now, belonged to the English.
It was the first time that George had ever been outside of
land, and it proved to be also the last. He took careful notice
everything that he saw - and, in the little note-book which
he seems to
have always had with him, he wrote a brief account of the trip.
He had not been three weeks at Barbadoes before he was taken
the smallpox - and for a month he was very sick. And so his
winter in the
West Indies could not have been very pleasant.
In February the two brothers returned home to Mount Vernon.
health had not been bettered by the journey. He was now very
feeble - but
he lingered on until July, when he died.
By his will Lawrence Washington left his fine estate of Mount
and all the rest of his wealth, to his little daughter. But
to be the daughter's guardian - and in case of her death, all
property was to be his own.
And so, before he was quite twenty-one years old, George Washington
settled at Mount Vernon as the manager of one of the richest
Virginia. The death of his little niece not long afterward
made him the
owner of this estate, and, of course, a very wealthy man.
But within a brief time, events occurred which called him
away from his