Historians seem to be divided on the question of whether George Washington was in love with Martha when he proposed marriage. My question is: if he was, then why did he still seem so infatuated with Sally Fairfax?
Sally was two years older than George and married to another George (George William Fairfax). The Fairfaxes were wealthy and very well connected. George Fairfax's father was a cousin to Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord of Fairfax of Cameron, who owned vast Virginia acreage. Part of the land eventually became Fairfax County, Virginia where Mount Vernon is located. In another twist of history, eventually George Washington and his stepson, Jackie Custis, represented Fairfax County in the General Assembly. The two Georges were best friends and neighbors.
Sally was very attractive, childless and good at keeping George Washington off balance with her off and on again flirtations with him. When George W. was fighting in the French and Indian War he and Sally exchanged letters, but when George revealed his plans to marry Martha, Sally nixed any further correspondence. However, in the fall of 1758, less than 6 months before he was to marry Martha, Sally initiated a letter to George Washington to which he responded in part: "how joyfully I catch at the happy occasion of renewing Corrispondance which I feard was disrelished on your part...In silence I now express my joy." And he goes on: "Tis true, I profess myself a Votary to Love--I acknowledge that a Lady is in the Case--and further I confess, that this Lady is known to you.--Yes Madam, as well as she is to one, who is too sensible of her Charms to deny the force of her amiable beauties in the recollection of a thousand tender passages that I could wish to obliterate, till I am bid to revive them.--but experience alas! sadly reminds me how Impossible this is." (Wilson Miles Cary, Sally Cary: A Long Hidden Romance of Washington's Life, New York: The DeVine Press, 1916).
Pretty heavy stuff! I don't think those passage were about singing Martha's praises, but I'll let you be the judge.