by Chrysa Smith
My Dearest Friend,
…should I draw you the picture of my Heart, it would be what I hope you still would Love; tho it contained nothing new; the early possession you obtained there; and the absolute power you have ever maintained over it; leaves not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance; and Friendship, as to the days of Love and Innocence; and with an indescribable pleasure I have seen near a score of years roll over our Heads, with an affection heightened and improved by time — nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the Image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my Heart.
This woman has obviously not been tainted by raising kids, sharing bathrooms, picking up clothes. Perhaps it’s because she spent so much time apart from the love of her life. It wasn’t easy being a Colonial woman, especially one married to a politician (the more things change the more they stay the same, eh?). And it wasn’t easy being a woman’s rights advocate several centuries ago. Add to this the fact that she was a mother of five with a travelling husband and no microwave, washing machine or cell phone. How did she handle it all and still have time for romance? Maybe there were servants. I suspect there may have been.
This is an excerpt from one of the more than thousand letters that traveled to and from Abigail and John Adams. Language was more formal, but just so beautiful, wasn’t it? And did their frequent absences truly make the heart grow fonder? Whatever the case, it is said that they adopted pen names and maintained their deep love for each other throughout their lifetimes.
There’s the history. As a starry-eyed romantic, I find it fabulous. What wouldn’t I give to get a love letter from hubby? Ain’t happening. Sure there’s strong bonds, loving feelings and expressions of fondness (including the affectionate adjective ‘sexy’). Occasionally flowers. But for a writer, I suppose there’s nothing like capturing emotions in words. A simple note? A text? A tweet?
For a 17 year old girl, Abby’s emotional maturity made her a renaissance woman or completely out of her gourd. But I say indescribable pleasure? An affection heightened and improved by time? The picture of a heart possessed? Even if a figment of the imagination—-priceless.
The story of John and Abigail Adams is so sweet. I first read about it and other American love & marital stories in ‘From This Day Forward” by Cokie (political correspondent) and her husband Steve Roberts, which outlines marriage in America throughout the centuries.