Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemming met as lovers in Paris, when she was fourteen and he thirty-five. They returned to Virginia and Sally never again left Monticello until after Jefferson's death. Thomas and Sally loved each other as man and wife throughout their life together although they passed through many tribulations. Often other women tried to woo him and Sally threatened to break from Jefferson's love upon numberous occasions. Imagine the anguish, the love, the passions that played out in their private quarters, deeply hidden from the world in that seraglio of one. The only way Jefferson could have both Sally's love and his public life was to prevent the tiniest inkling of his forbidden liason to come out...even though their relationship was an open secret within the family and in the neighborhood. Sally had iron in her soul and that was one of the characteristics which kept Jefferson forever with her or forever pining for her when they were apart. Theirs was an amazing and sometimes painful story, which is told here in Sally's point of view.
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Peggy Fielding, a native Oklahoman, spent several years outside the U.S.A. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she is a fulltime writer of both fiction and nonfiction. Fielding teaches writing part time at Tulsa Community College.
Fielding has published hundreds of articles and short stories, several nonfiction books and has sold both contemporary and historical romance novels. She often speaks at Writers Conferences and Seminars across the United States.
She is a member of Tulsa NightWriters, Oklahoma Mystery Writers, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, OK-RWA-the Oklahoma City Chapter of RWA, Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., and the National Authors Guild, Inc.
To learn more about the author go to her web site www.peggyfielding.com
"SALLY is an enjoyable read. I wish that, as Sally was portrayed to be intelligent and ahead of her time, she would not have fallen so hard for such a man as the author has made Thomas Jefferson out to be. But the ending, while leaving things somewhat ambiguous, leads the reader to draw the likely conclusion of what happened upon the return to Monticello."Conny Bryceland Scribes World Reviews -- (http://www.scribesworld.com/reviews/)
At the window of the small rented house, Sally Hemings stood transfixed, staring out across the field as if watching a scene being played out for her and for her alone.
Madison Hemings looked intently at his mother's preoccupied stance. When it became clear that she wasn't going to notice that he was in the room he moved to stand behind her. He put his hand on her shoulder and felt her start of surprise. Through one of the squares of glass above her head he could see a slightly distorted vista of the green rolling hills of Albemarle County, Virginia. Beautiful, of course, but certainly nothing new to a woman who had lived in the area almost all her life.
"What are you looking for, Mother?"
His mother continued to stare out but she murmured a few words toward the glass.
"He died eight years ago today."
He! Madison didn't have to ask who she was speaking of. He! Ready to shout with anger, he reminded himself of his own ambivalence toward the man who had been his father, the man who had kept him listed on the plantation roles as a slave until he was 21. He made an effort to keep his voice from betraying his rage.
"Mother, that was a long time ago. You're not still mourning the old man, are you?" He looked down into his mother's face.
She put up her hand and smiled up at his freckled visage as if by smiling she could cut off any further examination. He returned her protective ploy with a smile of his own and a probing question.
"Tell me, Mistress Sally, would you really rather be a slave again?"
The sadness he read in Sally Heming's brown eyes and even more in her smile caused Madison to take pity. He let his voice soften in sympathy.
"Oh, I know. Sometimes I get hungry to see home again, too. But Mother, nothing is the same. It's been three years since they sold the place."
"I know you don't understand this, Madison, but I want to see our old home once more before I die. It's the place where you were born. I should think you and your brother would wish to see it also."
Madison Hemings glanced again at the green Virginia countryside.
"Some tell me that all is dilapidation and ruin on the little mountain, Mother." He placed his arm about her shoulders and turned her away from the window.
"Perhaps so. I suppose I've heard the same stories you've heard. That's one of the reasons I will visit Monticello once more. Can we not go there together, son?"
The tall young man sighed and bent to touch his lips to the still smooth cheek of his sixty-two-year-old mother.
"You're a woman who cannot be denied. We will go together, madam. When did you wish to set out upon this long tour?"
"Is the trip to Monticello such a chore for you, my son?"
"My life at Monticello was not all sunshine and happiness, Mother. As you know well. A slave is a slave, no matter how light his duties." Madison again felt the old bleakness, the old longing to be "accepted" again invade his soul. "None of us ever really knew our father, you know. Not really." He shook her calico-clad shoulder lightly, "Maybe not even you. I'm willing to wager that not even his white family really knew that old man."
In that instant he saw his own despair mirrored in his mother's dark eyes and he tried to take back his words.
"At least Mother, we do know that the 'Emperor of Monticello' loved you. Or, if not that, he desired you, at any rate."
Sally Hemings turned away from her son and back to the window. His hands opened wide in an apologetic gesture and he spoke with a combination of sorrow and bitterness.
"Excuse me, Mother, for speaking so plainly, but I am ample living proof of that man's desire, not to mention my five brothers and sisters as well."
"Seven," she murmured.
"Oh, nothing, Madison. Let us put all that aside. When can we prepare for a trip to the old homeplace?"
"Whenever you say, Mother. Let's get the curricle out and we'll go tomorrow if you really are determined to make the pilgramage."
"I am." She turned away from him again and traced a pattern on the flawed window glass. "We loved each other, Madison. And he was a great man. A statesman. Your father was world renowned."
"Mama, we've been over that whole old story hundreds of times." He tried to swallow his bitterness at her usual defense. She can't change now, he reminded himself, she'd invested her life in loving the man. She really couldn't change now. "Let's not argue."
"This 'same old story' you're talking about was my life, young man, and yours!"
"I've said I would take you now." He smoothed the silky curls of salt and pepper hair back from her brow.
"I'll tell Eston to ready himself and on the morrow, Dashing Sally will once again see Monticello in the company of her two sons. I'm just afraid that the trip will make you sorrowful rather than happy."