June 13, 2013

I have to confess, between "time traveling" yesterday back to my daughter's birth day, plus a nasty bronchitis/pneumonia chest thing that is wiping me out, Ireally felt like staying in bed this morning.  But since I couldn't stay snuggled in my own comfy bed, why don't we take a peek at another bed that looks downright inviting!
Tucked in between his study and his bedroom 'proper', Jefferson redesigned parts of Monticello after his return from France.  He introduced the alcove style bed and wrote to James Madison:   "Indeed I varied my plan by shewing what it would be with alcove bedrooms, to which I am much attached." He included recesses in the interior walls of all the new bedrooms, however, in his own bedroom which was located in the older portion of the house; it was necessary to augment an already existing wall in order to accommodate a bed alcove. He chose the interior wall separating what would become his bed chamber and study, centered the alcove on an existing doorway, and built out into the larger of the two rooms to create the alcove. He placed a new doorway at the foot of the alcove.

This alcove bed, open on both sides, joins the Bedroom with Jefferson's cabinet (or office) -- a hinged, double-door screen (not shown) separated the two rooms when shut; a privy was located near one end of the bed, an early example of indoor bathroom facilities in America; the room features one of the house's thirteen skylights; and the circular openings over the bed was his closet, which utilized space efficiently and was accessible via ladder.

This is the area where Jefferson spent a lot of his time, reading and writing in his study/office, and this is the bed where he took his last breath, after inquiring whether it was indeed the fourth of July.  Here is the only surviving poem of definite authorship by Jefferson, written in 1826 at the approach of his death. Confined to bed by illness, Jefferson wrote "A death-bed Adieu" for his daughter, Martha Randolph. On July 2, two days before he died, Jefferson told Martha that he'd composed a farewell in her honor; following his instructions, she found the verse in a small box after his death.
"A death-bed Adieu. Th:J to MR."
Life's visions are vanished, it's dreams are no more.
Dear friends of my bosom, why bathed in tears?
I go to my fathers; I welcome the shore,
which crowns all my hopes, or which buries my cares.
Then farewell my dear, my lov'd daughter, Adieu!
The last pang in life is in parting from you.
Two Seraphs await me, long shrouded in death;
I will bear them your love on my last parting breath

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