The last sigh. And I was dead. Then I had picked up the quill.
The quill had never really been separate from me. My beloved wife Martha, a young widow and heiress when I married her in 1772 at her plantation home “The Forest” near Williamsburg, Virginia, was my muse when I had written the Declaration of Independence in 1776, urged by Ben Franklin, George Washington and John Adams to do so. It is providence to be wealthy and of high social-standing both because of my wife and my father from whom I had inherited 5,000 acres. When she died between May 20th and September 6th of 1782, as a mother and as a woman with a womb having barely borne my daughter, on the run from the invading British, she had left her anger and angst with me for her to finally rest in peace.
My peace was, therefore, not to be for sometime. That this would be so for a time far longer than I had expected was something I did not know until after 1826. I had bequeathed to myself, beginning at my funeral, calm and quiet, two serene environmental characteristics I treasure most, in Monticello, yet a restlessness.
I always liked farming. I liked Abby.
Abby, after I retired to my beloved Monticello from Washington in 1809, since her death in 1818 before her husband John’s on July 04, 1826, after he had lost The White House to me in the Fall of 1800 without a second term as president but after 8 years as George’s deputy, had kept me female company, if I can call it that in the ether dead people like me inhabit, for our passions had been unrequited while we lived.
My relationship with Abby in death but in spirit was, nevertheless, long distance, as they say, in this day and age, in the United States of America I had helped become independent on July 04, 1776, coincidentally also the day both John and I had died in 1826, exactly 50 years to the day the new republic since Rome was founded in the new world. She walks the grounds of The White House, perhaps dejected by her husband’s loss of the presidency to me, and I, Monticello.
That Abby and I are soul mates is certain. She has been friends with two men, me and John, who strived to make Ben and George, who won the republic from His Majesty King George III in peace and in war, proud. John was a Boston puritan who went to Harvard and I, a southern plantation lawyer, more like Ben and Abby in my views of the old world than George and John who governed the affairs of the country from 1789 to 1800.
Louis XVI, between 1789 and 1793, as I well know from my sojourn in France from 1784 to 1789, was not as lucky as George III. I always thought George III had saved monarchy in England, from within, by the skin of his teeth, clawing to remain a monarch amidst the tumult across the Atlantic of the American Revolution, we had so insolently wrought upon Britain, largely because of John’s Puritan fealty for his forefathers in England. This was also the difference in views between George, who had felt anointed as an elected quasi-monarch taking his oath of office with his right hand on the Bible, and me about England.
To me and Abby, and George, England was the oppressive past we had broken away from to begin anew in America as Americans. George, in 1796, did not want the new republic to become entangled in European conflicts much as Ben had conceived America to be.
Tranquility in the vast and rustic new land, over generations, has been so beguiling as Lewis, Clark had discovered, with the help of Sacagaewa, from sea to shining sea, that the hustle and bustle of the wealthy colonial European monarchies seemed disruptive. America was an eden away from the tumult, our lives and livelihoods coming off the lands of the part of the earth we had made our lives upon. George and John did not, however, let the blood bonds of Europe go despite their loyalties to the new country on the face of this earth they were a part of founding. Abby and I had.
Now there is no last sigh, for ghosts are not puffs of smoke.
I had been dead for sometime. In my second death I died for good.