In 1896, the Atlantic published an article entitled “Reminiscences of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton” as part of its Contributors’ Club series. The author recalled a childhood summer spent with Mrs. Hamilton when the author was 13 years old. The whole piece is worth reading, and was quoted by Ron Chernow in his biography of Hamilton. I’ve included a few excerpts below that I found particularly moving.
In the first excerpt, the author describes the tour that Mrs. Hamilton gave visitors to her Washington, D.C. home.
“I remember nothing more distinctly than a sofa and chairs with spindle legs, upholstered in black broadcloth, embroidered in flowery wreaths by Mrs. Hamilton herself, and a marble bust of Hamilton standing on its pedestal in a draped corner. That bust I can never forget, for the old lady always paused before it in her tour of the rooms, and leaning on her cane, gazed and gazed, as if she could never be satisfied.”
The bust referenced was designed by Giuseppe Ceracchi, and was one of Mrs. Hamilton’s favorite images of her husband.
In another excerpt, the author describes Mrs. Hamilton’s longing to see her husband at the end of her life:
“…she leaned back in her chair a long time with closed eyes, as if lost to all around her. I never heard her complain, and I loved her with a reverent love that made me feel awed as the long silence was broken by the murmured words, ‘I am so tired– it is so long. I want to see Hamilton.'”
“When Mrs. Hamilton died, at the age of ninety-seven, although an internment in Trinity Church had been for years a forbidden thing, her last request was granted. Quietly, at night, the frail little form was laid to rest there by the side of her beloved and illustrious husband.”
2 thoughts on “Never Be Satisfied: Reminiscences of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton”
I love her story about learning how to play backgammon from Benjamin Franklin.
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