Get local news delivered straight to your phone

TUESDAY

We can't make City Paper without you

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

From the private diary of Mary Ball Washington: “Divine Providence has surely blessed us, and my heart would be at peace if it were not for constant worry about young George. While a Gentleman should be learning the Hunt and management of domestic Animals and Negroes, he did today present me with a most peculiar Accomplishment: a written account of 110 ‘Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior.’ His brother Lawrence and I have long feared that the passage of my Husband to his Lord would hamper George’s Fortunes. With Dread, I report we now fear for his Masculine Destiny. I quote from his Rule 16: ‘Do not puff up the cheeks, loll not out the tongue with the hands or beard, thrust not out the lips or bite them, or keep the lips too open or too close.’ That, I fear, is simple mockery of his late Father, who before his passing, suffered from several bouts of Apoplexy. Rule 100 says: ‘Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork, or knife.’ If I but had a Shilling for each occasion on which I have chastised George for failing to clean his teeth with a Tablecloth! And he but laughs at my admonition that his time on Earth will exceed that of his faire white chompers. If he does not repent of these Follies, I see no alternative but to accede to Baron Fairfax’s wish to make a surveyor of him. September 22, 1747; Ferry Farm, Colony of Virginia.” Steven Michael Selzer (pictured) will enlighten further when he reads from and signs copies of his book By George: Mr. Washington’s Guide to Civility at noon and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the National Archives Theater, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 208-7345. (Janet Hopf)