Sally Hemings and Monticello
Inside my dear Monticello, an enslaved woman is sitting no more than a few inches from me. Her skin is most alluring. Reflecting in the sunshine of my personal quarters, the saucy, curved hips before me is particularly charming. My right crosses over my other leg, as I tilt my head just so, contemplating.
I observe in curious fascination as she stirs, ever directing her attention somewhere else, always moving about in her seat but never delivering to me her own eyes. I suppose it would only be natural. In Virginia, slaves are nearly on every estate so it seems. Perhaps, she thinks she is here to work. Of course, the notion may be reasonable but her purpose has a more defined element this ‘forenoon.
“Madam, how are you on this glorious day?” I ask politely.
The woman finally sets her vision upon myself but she is not so eager in expressions. “Well?” I probe with a less becoming tone as before.
“Is that all you will say?” I ask. The answer was too simplistic for my tastes. I had hoped for a more divine, diverse conversation.
“Your hand.” She points in an almost accusing fashion as if I had done a great sort of crime which I surely and clearly did not.
Uncrossing my leg, I switch positions and lean to the right, stroking my chin curiously. “Yes. I should hope I have a hand, Madam.”
I hear her sigh ever loudly. For a woman, if she is as young in appearance, ill-bred mannerisms shall be reproached if this conversation begins to exhaust itself and I further say rudeness shall not be abided.
“Stop calling me Madam – Sir,” she says displeasingly. “I do have a name, call me by it. And of course, I know you have a hand. I meant that your left is twitching. Why is your hand shaking anyway?”
“As you wish, Miss Hemings,” I nod. I decide to glance at it, to amuse her, and indeed my poor fingers, they splay apart so but curl into claws against the arm of my chair. I groan as I helplessly watch my left-hand wretch. “I suffer in the joints,” I say with honesty but I flinch too hearing my own sadness in my voice. “A paroxysm of the Rheumatism, which has now kept me for ten days in constant torment and presents no hope of abatement.”
“I’m sorry sir.” She pauses. “Your home is lovely.”
“I do have a name myself,” I smile politely. “The compliment is also reassuring of your civility.”
“Jefferson,” she nods, delivering not the same courtesy of a pleasant expression.
“Mister Jefferson,” I correct her. Then I reposition myself, warding off the discomfort in my limbs by sitting up straight in my chair. “Have you seen not the gardens at Monticello?”
I blink, taken aback by this revelation. “But not all?”
She shrugs. “It’s like asking why I am forced inside your home in the first place, Mister Jefferson. Why should I be forced to look at flowers?”
“You may depart at any point. However, an absurd notion of forcibility came to pass will be a mystery in itself but one of my servants shall escort you out if that is so your wish.”
“Your method of talking is peculiar.”
“Your tongue is not akin to my own, I agree,” I frown by the forwardness. Retorting in the precise manner, I ask her, “Miss Hemings, where is your family?”
“My brother is dead,” she deadpans. “Where is your own?”
I answer promptly without a single thought. “Your question stirs certain afflictions.”
“You sound very upset,” she says softly.
“Time and silence are the only medicines,” I retort and then cough.
“I want to stay by the way but you are a strange man.”
I smile regardless of the melancholy exchange we entered in too but perhaps the strings of the heart are meant to be pulled every so often. It is in which we remember those we can no longer speak or be spoken too.
“Nay. In the art of conversation, you excel not but there is a certain …”
“What?” she asks curiously and edges closer by pulling her chair forward. We are now less than three inches apart. I dare declare being so close is sexually exciting. Alas, the child lived but a short time. Fathering another, the future as try as we might, there is less a solution with a prognosis about predictions.
I pause myself. The word, seductive, lies on the tip of my tongue but though I am attracted to her, perhaps only to her beauty, I think of the best interest, I should not allow myself to open completely. I swallow, and smile, putting on a respectable but false expression. “Captivating.”
Miss Hemings rises. She is smiling too, for the first time. My heart, it beats too much for a proper count. There, in the fabric of my under breeches, is a squirt of dampness. I am forced to cup my groin area for the revelation would mortify me so. An erection was not on the agenda today. Still, in seclusion, I pray she may not detect rosy cheeks for I feel them growing warm.
She leans inwards and I feel her lips touch my right cheek. “I’m sorry for your loss,” she whispers in my ear.
Then, when I thought I might suffer failure to breathe, “I will let myself out,” Miss Hemings grins. “I enjoyed the visit,” then I despair as I am left alone shortly.