Alexander Hamilton finished writing his paragraph, drained his water glass, donned his top hat, and stepped out of the door. He checked his watch – he’d be late to the gala, even if he hurried. He walked quickly, resisting the urge to run. He wished to show up composed and if he went too fast, he’d sweat through his finery. And he was wearing his best summer suit.
Halfway there, all the water he’d gulped while immersed in writing caught up with him. He stepped to the side of the road and gingerly waded through the bushes, only going far enough off the path to attain the privacy required for a gentleman to relieve himself. He carefully picked his way back out to the road and brushed himself off, as to leave no trace of this errand.
Much relieved indeed, Hamilton picked up his pace and arrived at the ball only a little later than was fashionable. He had flushed cheeks and rapid breathing, but was pleased not to have made a scene by being any later.
Thomas Jefferson spotted him: “Mr. Hamilton!” Jefferson walked over to shake his hand. Hamilton apologized for being late, admitting that it was hard for him to take a break from writing. Jefferson looked him over and winked, remarking “oh? It looks to me like you were enjoying a walk through the woods on the way here. Perhaps you had more urgent business to attend to?”
Hamilton was aghast. He’d stepped with such care! He blurted out, “whatever gave me away?”
Jefferson chuckled and pointed to Hamilton’s ankle: “Your undoing? Why, an errant burr, sir!“