Abigail was orphaned at the age of eight. Her father had died the year before, and, with no other male relatives and a lot of debt, her mother was forced to marry their neighbor, though he already had a family. When her mother died as well, Abigail was sold to Cleopas Visibullis, the prefect of the Tenth Legion. She was to serve as a handmaiden to his Hebrew wife, Ester, who made it clear from the get-go that she was more interested in having a daughter than a servant.
After 6 years in the Visibullis house, Abigail has been well educated, her sharp, inquisitive mind finely hewn. She loves her master and mistress, appreciates their loving treatment, but still feels strongly that Jehovah wills she be a slave, that this is her lot in life. She clings to that humility with determined pride, refusing all of Ester’s attempts to raise her above her station.
Abigail has grown into a lovely young woman. Her hair falls in a cascade of glossy, darkest brown to her waist, and her eyes are a warm sienna. She has a face that her master’s Roman friends liken unto sculptures of Venus, and a curvy figure that draws more attention than she would like.
Though Abigail thinks of herself as the lowest of people, she is best summed up by an observation a minor character makes, which others later repeat.
“She was born free, and a soul does not forget that feeling.”
When I picture Abigail, I think of a young Monica Bellucci. It’s kind of tough, because she’s very young in the story by modern definitions, but wouldn’t have been deemed so at the time. Still, I hesitate to find a photo of a 15-year-old, so I chose one of not-a-minor Monica and will just say, “Use your imagination to make her younger.”