Thursday, May 26, 2011

may 26, 1811 (sun.)

Today Mr. Jefferson is sending his married granddaughter, Anne, a novel she wanted to read, The Modern Griselda, by Maria Edgeworth. In general, he doesn't approve of girls or young women reading novels, but Mrs. Edgeworth's books teach important moral lessons.

He and Anne have long shared a love of flowers, and he reports on which ones have been and are now blooming at Monticello, "the hyacinths and tulips are off the stage, the Irises giving place to the Belladonnas ...." He writes whimsically, showing a side which would surprise those who know him only as a writer of grand political prose. (And, yes, he writes without using capital letters at the beginning of sentences.) "the flowers come forth like the belles of the day, have their short reign of beauty and splendor, & retire like them to the more interesting office of reproducing their like."

Friday, May 6, 2011

may 5, 1811 (sun.)

"... [S]ober interest tells me I should leave off buying books," Mr. Jefferson wrote a few days ago in response to a friend suggesting another title to add to his library of thousands.

Yeah. Right. This has all the credibility of a drunkard swearing off rum.

Well, today's mail brought yet another offer, this time a subscription to the Edinburgh Encyclopedia. He has declined, graciously, citing a surfeit of encyclopedias on his shelves already.

He's being responsible. For now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

may 1, 1811 (wed.)

Moving is never simple. It seems that one always leaves something or other behind. When Mr. Jefferson moved out of the President's house in Washington, D. C. two years ago, he left a some pictures on the wall of the sitting room -- an easy to understand oversight. His friend, Mr. Latrobe, the artist who made one of the prints, rescued them at that time, and now they're finally on their way to Monticello via another friend, Mr. Coles.