Mansion Visit – Excerpt
25 August 1814, Arlington House, Virginia
Dolley startled awake and sat up. Anne’s house. Light outside. How long have I been asleep?
She’d watched the storm with Bobby, then returned to her room and removed her wet clothing. While waiting for Sukey to fetch something dry, she lay in bed a moment to rest her eyes, then had this insane dream of British soldiers cackling with glee as they looted the Mansion of valuables before setting it ablaze.
Just a silly dream. Nothing more! Worry gnawed her, and she reviewed the items she’d seen them steal:
Constitution and Declaration of Independence: We saved those.
Code books and troop deployments: Saved.
Presidential portraits: All saved except for that spooky one of John Adams.
Ball gowns: Mostly lost.
Cosmetics: All lost.
Jemmy’s wine: Thankfully lost.
Jemmy’s books: Saved.
My love letters to Jemmy: um . . . .
Where are my love letters to Jemmy?
Wait. Let’s see. They were in the blue hat box, in the closet, top shelf on the left. I remembered them and told Sukey to fetch the box. No. Was about to tell Sukey to fetch it when she interrupted and told me about Washington’s portrait being stuck. We freed the portrait, and I was standing beside the carriage when I remembered them again. I called Sukey over, told her to . . . wait . . . that’s when Mr. Smith arrived and we all rode off. Remembered them again later, as Sukey ran from the Mansion after spying on the British from the roof. Opened my mouth to tell her to run back inside and fetch the letters . . . then she handed me that wonderful roast beef sandwich, and all I could think about was how hungry I was and . . . .
. . . and then we rode away . . . and then . . . .
. . . um . . . .
My love letters to Jemmy were left behind!
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