John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 25 December 1786


Grosvenor Square [London], 25 December, 1786.


THIS moment, returning from Mr. Bridgen's, where I had been to deliver him a letter to you, written this morning, I found your very acceptable favor of the 23d. I am very glad you are so well situated, so much pleased with your journey and present accommodations. Don t be solicitous about me. I shall do very well. If I am cold in the night, and an additional quantity of bed clothes will not answer the purpose of warming me, I will take a virgin to bed with me. Ay ! a virgin.

What ? Oh ! Awful ! what do I read ?

Don t be surprised. Do you know what a virgin is ? Mr. Bridgen brought me acquainted with it this morning. It is a stone bottle, such as you buy with spruce beer and spa water, filled with boiling water, covered over or wrapped up in flannel, and laid at a man's feet in bed. An old man, you see, may com fort himself with such a virgin as much as David did with Abishag, and not give the least jealousy even to his wife, the smallest grief to his children, or any scandal to the world. Tell Mr. Bridgen, when you see him, that I am indebted to him for this important piece of knowledge, which I would not sell for a great deal of money.

Tell Colonel Smith I am half disposed to be almost miffed with him, for going off without giving me his letter about the Indians ; and what completes the mis chief is, that he has all the books locked up in his room. Pray him to write me if it is possible to get at the letter or the books ; both are what I want. My love to Abby Smith and her knight, and to all the party. Mr. Shippen is with you ere now. He was so good as to pick a bone with me once, and Mr. Cutting is very good. We now talk politics all alone, and are much cooler and more rational than when we

dispute in company.

Yours forever,


John Adams

Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841