To John Cochran
West-point Augt 16th 79
It is needless to premise that my table is large enough to hold the ladies—of this they had occular proof yesterday—To say how it is usually covered is rather more essential, & this, shall be the purport of my Letter.
Since our arrival at this happy spot, we have had a Ham (sometimes a shoulder) of Bacon, to grace the head of the table—a piece of roast Beef adorns the foot—and, a small dish of Greens or Beans (almost imperceptable) decorates the center. When the Cook has a mind to cut a figure (and this I presume he will attempt to do to morrow) we have two Beef-stake Pyes, or dishes of Crabs in addition, one on each side the center dish, dividing the space, & reducing the distance between dish & dish to about Six feet, which without them, would be near twelve a part—Of late, he has had the surprizing luck3 to discover, that apples will make pyes; and its a question if, amidst the violence of his efforts, we do not get one of apples instead of having both of Beef.4
If the ladies can put up with such entertainment, and will submit to partake of it on plates—once tin but now Iron—(not become so by the labor of scowering) I shall be happy to see them. I am Dr D[octo]r Yr Most Obedt Sert
ALS, NHi: George and Martha Washington Papers; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Cochran’s wife was Gertrude Schuyler, sister of Philip Schuyler. Cornelia Schuyler Livingston (1746–1822), Gertrude’s daughter by her first marriage, married Walter Livingston in 1767. Gertrude and Cornelia were living at Cornelia’s home at Teviotdale, one of several large estates in Livingston Manor, New York.
2. On the draft, GW began this phrase, “but am I not in honor bound.”
3. On the draft, GW wrote “luck” then crossed that word out and wrote “segacity” above it.
4. On the draft, GW wrote “Beef-stakes.”