“My dear, Dolly, you know I love you and certainly our friends shall understand, but we must cancel your latest soiree.” James Madison leaned against the doorway of her ornate bedroom.
She turned from a mirror, curls askew, with a jeweled headband in hand.
“What? It was to be a birthday surprise, Jimmy. White House staff can’t keep a secret. I ordered my gown from France and I’ve got that harpsichord player you heard at the Adams’ last year lined up to play.”
“Sorry darling, but I top you with the U.S.S. Constitution geared up to fire broadsides at our friends overseas. Sweetheart, our sea trade’s been limited and unless we go to battle here in 1812, America is bullied. You’ll never get pretty gowns from France or British bon-bons again.”
“Tis man’s traits of nature to constantly bicker and fight war. Are you sure you, Mr. President, can’t defuse the situation and I can host my party for you?” Her eyes twinkled as James reached out to pinch a rosy cheek.
“Nay. This grave matter must be dealt with. I never kept a secret from you and shan’t now. However, you must be discreet in missives to friends. The war will not be popular, though once it is over, and I pray for rapid success, it will have been deemed necessary.”
At her writing table, the First Lady shooed James from her room and sighed, “Takes far longer to cancel a party than start a war.”
First published: February, 2008
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