I read, therefore I quote.
I’ve always admired Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams. She had moxy. She was spunky. And smart. So it was no surprise when I snapped up her biography when I saw it in a bargain stack for just a few dollars. I wasn’t sure if the period language would befuddle and frustrate me, but surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad. I actually laughed when I read the quoted passage below.
Let me set it up. Abigail and John have been “courting” for a few years and, at the time of the quoted letter, they were separated because John was quarantined after being inoculated for small pox. The book quotes one of John’s “love letters.”
“She can bear with it the more easily because he assures her ‘my affection for a certain Lady (you know who, my Dear) quickens my affection for every Body else that does not deserve my hatred.'”
“Every Body else that does not deserve my hatred.”
And he goes on:
“My soul and body have both been thrown into disorder by your absence,and a month or two more would make me the most insufferable cynic in the world. I see nothing but Faults, Follies, Frailties and Defects in anybody lately. People have lost all their good properties.”
Again with the sweetness. Here’s my paraphrase:
“Babe, since we’ve been apart I’ve become an irritable jerk and EVERY person I encounter has somehow been transformed into an idiot. Can’t wait to see you again!!
But he continues:
“But you, who have always softened and warmed my heart shall restore my Benevolence as well as my Health and Tranquility of mind. You shall polish and refine my Sentiments of Life and Manners, banish all the unsocial and ill-natured Particles in my composition and restore me to the happy Temper that can nourish a quick Discernment with a perfect Candour.”
okay. Now THAT’s a love letter.
“. . . therefore I quote” Thursday: If you have a quote to share from something you’ve read recently, feel free to comment and/or include a link to your own “quote” post.