Amazon.com: Jefferson’s Demons : Portrait of a Restless Mind: Books: Michael K by Michael Knox Beran
I left the bloodsucking book home yesterday and since I had to have something to read at the doctor’s office, I started Jefferson’s Demons– it was in my car. I’ve been fascinated by Thomas Jefferson since I read that quote by John F. Kennedy when he had a group of Nobel laureates gathered at the White House. He said it was probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius there except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.
So, I’m waiting on test results– the ones they can get back quickly anyway– not the ones that involve needles since those take DAYS, but the weird breathing ones, etc… and I suppose I should have been feeling serious (don’t worry– it’s nothing serious), but I couldn’t help chuckling when I read this:
Jefferson frowned upon the idleness of the gentry; and we may guess — it is a fair bet — that he was disturbed, too, by the amount of loose wenching that went on.
(Okay, most of us know that Thomas Jefferson believed in fidelity but possibly made a few mistakes here and there… and that does come up in this book.)
It goes on:
And there was a sordidness in the peccadilloes of the Virginia master class; they might have provoked even a less fastidious man. The cavalieros could romp and roister like animals in rutting. When not engaged in the manage of his horses, or enchanted by the prospect of killing a fox, the Virginia chevalier could always be tempted into an indulgence of the pleasures of the flesh.
(Uh. Duh? When there’s nothing better to do, it’s eat or er, indulge, right? But wait, it gets better!)
This next part is an example of the “decay of society” that bothered Jefferson. (Isn’t it ironic that people today talk about the decay of society? Does no one realize there always was and always will be an element of decay to any society???)
These are actual diary entries from a member of the gentry at that time, William Byrd II:
October 20, 1711. “Jenny, an Indian girl, had got drunk and made us good sport.”
October 21, 1711. “At night I asked a negro girl to kiss me. Then came Mrs. Johnson with whom I supped and ate some fricasse of rabbit and about ten went to bed with her and lay all night and rogered her twice.”
(I’m chuckling at this point and I’m sure the medical staff now thinks I’m not only a hypochondriac but nuts as well. But wait! Mr. Byrd wasn’t done.)
A few days later: “Went to Mrs. FitzHerbert’s where I ate some boiled pork and drank some ale. About nine I walked away and picked up a girl whom I carried to the bagnio (bathhouse or brothel) and “rogered” her twice very well. It rained abundance in the night.”
(Very well. ROFL!! Oh, but this last one…)
Oct. 16. “Picked up a woman and went to the tavern where we had a broiled fowl and afterwards I committed uncleanness for which God will forgive me. About eleven I went home and neglected my prayers.”
There’s more but I should probably stop. This is priceless. Now, I’m going to have to find some old diaries. I bet my friend, Ammanda (hint, hint), who writes historical fiction might have some goodies. These entries are so matter of fact, yet you can almost taste the incredible boredom between the lines.
Does it have a greasy, game-flavored taste to you, too?
Unfortunately, I’ll have to set one of these books aside. I’ve got too many going right now. Knowing me, I’ll probably have a nightmare tonight about eating broiled fowl with Thomas Jefferson and a vampire then sending both of them to my insurance company– one to try and reason with them and one to just go ahead and bite them.