Friday 10th. Thermometer at 32 in the Morning—44 at Noon and 44 at Night.
Ground very hard froze in the Morning, which was cold—the wind being fresh all day at No. West. In the evening it became calm. The day was clear.
Lund Washington came here to Breakfast—after which he and Doctr. Jenifer both went away.
Between breakfast and Dinner, a Mr. Rollins, who has undertaken to finish my new Room came here settled a plan with my joiners & returned before dinner.
John Rawlins, a stucco worker, or plasterer, was originally from England. Recommended by GW’s former aide, Tench Tilghman, now a Baltimore merchant, Rawlins had come to Mount Vernon in Sept. 1785 to make an estimate of the cost of decorating the New Room and in November sent GW a drawing of his design for the room and an estimate of £168 Maryland currency plus traveling expenses for “Ornaments in Ceiling, Cove, Cornice & moulding at top of cove, with pannels on the walls plaine” (Rawlins to GW, 15 Nov. 1785, NjMoHP; GW to Tilghman, 14 Sept. 1785, Tilghman to GW, 31 Aug. 1785, DLC:GW). Although GW declared this price to be exorbitant, he let Tilghman make an agreement with Rawlins for the work (GW to Tilghman, 30 Nov. 1785, DLC:GW). Articles of agreement were signed by Rawlins and Tilghman on 25 Feb. 1786 and Rawlins was to start work by 15 April. GW was to provide food and lodging for Rawlins and his workers and transportation for them and for “such of the Stucco as it shall be necessary to mould at Baltimore” (DLC:GW). In order not to delay the work on the room, GW’s own joiners and carpenters were to do any work necessary to prepare for Rawlins’s arrival (GW to Tilghman, 30 Nov. 1785, DLC:GW).