George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 18 April 1770]

18. The above Gentlemen went away after breakfast. Patsy Custis, & Milly Posey went to Colo. Mason’s to the Dancing School. Mr. Magowan who I found here yesterday stayed. Mr. Ball & one of his People set in to Work today—as did the Mason’s to raising stone yesterday.

GW today paid Francis Christian £2 to admit Patsy and Milly to his school (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 314). Christian’s dancing classes often lasted several days in each home, and the days were usually long. In a class which he held in Westmoreland County in 1773, “the Scholars” began soon after breakfast by having “their Lesson singly round.” Then, “there were several Minuets danced with great ease and propriety; after which the whole company Joined in country-dances.” The class continued until 7:30 P.M. with breaks for dinner and candle lighting. Christian was observed to be “punctual, and rigid in his discipline, so strict indeed that he struck two of the young Misses for a fault in the course of their performance” (fithian description begins Hunter Dickinson Farish, ed. Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773–1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion. Williamsburg, Va., 1943. description ends , 44–45).

mr. ball: see “Remarks” for 16 and 18 April 1770.

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