ABIGAIL AND MARTHA
Written by Warren Sager
(As the scene begins, two women enter dressed in colonial dresses. One is Abigail Adams and the other her friend, Martha Washington. They sit and Abigail reaches for the tea and pours more in Martha’s cup.)
ABIGAIL: How do you take your tea, Mrs. Washington?
MARTHA: That is fine, just the way it is…and please…call me Martha…and I will call you Abigail. I see no need to stand on ceremony. We are becoming friends, are we not?
ABIGAIL: It seems only right for us to spend some time together since our husbands are both working for the improvement of our situation here in this land.
MARTHA: I dare say Mr. Adams has his hands full with that Continental Congress.
ABIGAIL: He seems to spend hours and hours talking with those men, and I wonder just how much progress is really being made! In the meantime, General Washington is out there fighting and risking his life daily.
MARTHA: A position that he feels far more fitted to, I will say. George is a man of few words and would not fit well in that group of learned men.
ABIGAIL: An education is not always a prerequisite for greatness. Your husband is a great leader and I would say a popular one with the people. You appear to me as a very dutiful wife and one of those unassuming characters which create love and esteem.
MARTHA: My! What gracious words! I do not live up to them.
ABIGAIL: We have much in common my dear. Our husbands are away from us for very long periods of time. I find letter writing as a major function of my existence during this time.
MARTHA: And have you heard from Mr. Adams of late?
ABIGAIL: I am so glad that you are here today, because the most recent letter that came describes events that sound to be momentous and breathtaking… changing the course of history.
MARTHA: Oh! All of that talk has finally led to a good decision I hope!
ABIGAIL: I have the letter right here. Would you like to hear it? I will be happy to read it to you. (Reading the letter she just pulled from her dress or the desk) Dear Abigail, yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, find as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which other States may rightfully do.” You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. A plan of confederation will be taken up in a few days. When I look back…and run through the…series of political events, the chain of causes and effects, I am surprised at the suddenness as well as greatness of this revolution. Britain has been filled with folly, and America with wisdom. At least, this is my judgment. Time must determine. It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting, and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues, which we have not, and correct many errors, follies and vices which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in States as well as individuals….
MARTHA: Such beautiful words that say so much! I wish to hear more of this declaration!
ABIGAIL: He wrote more. Dear Abigail, I write to you again on this same day. The second day of July, 1776, the day on which the Declaration was passed, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. But the day is past. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. …I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means. I miss you terribly. Your loving John Adams.
MARTHA: Thank you for sharing that letter with me. What a time we live in. The fighting will indeed continue and will not soon end as we declare our independence from the British. You and I, Abigail, must stand by our men and support them with our love and our prayers to the unknown future that lies before us. I am certain that this friendship of ours has only just begun. Thank you for the tea.
ABIGAIL: You are very welcome. (Lights out…end of scene)
Copyright 2005 Warren Sager