It was typical of newspapers in the 1920s, including The Post, to make stories as melodramatic as possible. Not even George Washington was immune to the treatment. Also, below the picture, an early skirmish about a girl's right to wear pants. An excerpt from The Post of Oct. 14, 1926:

George Washington as a young man who was unlucky at cards, love, war and politics is the figure pictured by Rupert Hughes in "George Washington, the Human Being and the Hero," a new biography out today.

"The father of his country was a swell from the sixteenth year on," says Hughes. "He rode to hounds, learned to love foppery and all the elegancies, became a past master of dancing, gambling, polite drinking and exquisite flirtation."

The loves of Washington form a large part of the volume. "No youth of such after-fame ever took his puppy loves more seriously, or was more inconsistent or more unlucky than George Washington," writes Hughes.

It began, says Hughes, with a girl he romped with at school. By early manhood Washington had loved and lost with consistent regularity. There was the girl known only as "The Lowland Beauty," then came 14-year-old Mary Cary, next followed her sister, Sally Fairfax, wife of his best friend and said to have been the great love of Washington's life, and still later followed an infatuation for Mary Philipse, of Yonkers.

Washington's love affair with Sally Fairfax was the most serious and longest. She was two years his senior, wife of George William Fairfax, who gave Washington his first opportunity as a surveyor when they went together into the unknown lands of the Shenandoah valley.

Washington was 22 years old and had just returned from his disastrous expedition to the Ohio river, in which he had surrendered Fort Necessity to the French and also was being accused by the French of the "assassination" of a "party of ambassadors," who, Washington claimed, were members of an armed spying expedition.

"If ever a man had need of a woman's kindness, Washington needed it now," writes Hughes. "He was disgusted with the world of men. He had finished with `the art military.'

"It is no longer questionable that at this time Washington began to yield his heart to the love of his life, who was the wife of his best friend -- unless she herself had been his best friend ..."

This series is available at www.washingtonpost.com