“You can’t help but say hats off to them”

David McCullough:

When I read Abigail’s letters, I wonder how she ever hat time to write them.  She was raising a family with four children, running the farm without her husband there; it was nip and tuck whether she could make a go of it financially; she had sickness to contend with, plagues, waves of smallpox and epidemic dysentery that swept through Braintree.  How did John Adams have time to write his letters and keep the diaries?  If they’d done nothing else, you’d say to yourself, how did they do it?  And remember, they were writing by candlelight with a quill pen, they probably had their teeth hurting because there was no dentistry as we know it.  They were probably getting over some recent attack of jaundice or whatever else was epidemic at the time.  It’s very humbling.  You can’t help but say hats off to them.

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