« PreviousContinue »
objection raised, and said, "Go home, Defrees, and see if you can better it.”
The next day Mr, Dufrees took into him his amendMr. Lincoln met him by saying:
"Seward found the same fault that you did, and he has been rewriting the paragraph, also." Then, reading Mr. Defrees' version, he said, "I believe you have beaten Seward; but, 'I jings,' I think I can beat you both." Then, taking up his pen, he wrote the sentence as it was finally printed.
Lincoln's Advice to a Prominent Bachelor.
Upon the bethrothal of the Prince of Wales to the Princess Alexandra, Queen Victoria sent a letter to each of the European sovereigns, and also to President Lincoln, announcing the fact. Lord Lyons, her ambassador at Washington, -a "bachelor," by the way,-requested an audience of Mr. Lincoln, that he might present this important document in person. At the time appointed he was received at the White House, in company with Mr. Seward.
"May it please your Excellency," said Lord Lyons, "I hold in my hand an autograph letter from my royal mistress, Queen Victoria, which I have been commanded to present to your Excellency. In it she informs your Excellency that her son, his Royal Highness tbe Prince of Wales, is about to contract a matrimonial alliance with her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Denmark."
After continuing in this strain for a few minutes, Lord Lyons tendered the letter to the President and awaited
his reply. It was short, simple, and expressive, and consisted simply of the words:
"Lord Lyons, go thou and do likewise."
It is doubtful if an English embassador was ever addressed in this manner before, and it would be interesting to learn what success he met with in putting the reply in diplomatic language when he reported it to her Majesty.
Mr. Lincoln and the Bashful Boys.
The President and a friend were standing upon the threshold of the door under the portico of the White
House, awaiting the coachman, when a letter was put into his hand. While he was reading this, people were passing, as is customary, up and down the promenade, which leads through the grounds of the War Department, crossing, of course, the portico. Attention was attracted to an approaching party. apparently a countryman, plainly
dressed, with his wife and two little boys, who had evidently been straying about, looking at the places of public interest in the city. As they reached the portico the father, who was in advance, caught sight of the tall figure of Mr. Lincoln, absorbed in his letter. and the little boys were ascending the steps.
The man stopped suddenly, put out his hand with a "hush" to his family, and, after a moment's gaze, he bent down and whispered to them, "There is the President!" Then leaving them, he slowly made a circuit around Mr. Lincoln, watching him intently all the while.
At this point, having finished his letter, the President turned and said: "Well, we will not wait any longer for the carriage; it won't hurt you and me to walk down."
The countryman here approached very diffidently, and asked if he might be allowed to take the President by the hand; after which, "Would he extend the same privilege to his wife and little boys?"
Mr. Lincoln, good-naturedly, approached the latter, who had remained where they were stopped, and, reaching down, said a kind word to the bashful little fellows, who shrank close up to their mother, and did not reply. This simple act filled the father's cup full.
"The Lord is with you, Mr. President," he said, reverently; and then, hesitating a moment, he added, with strong emphasis, "and the people, too, sir; and the people, too!"
A few moments later Mr. Lincoln remarked to his friend: "Great men have various estimates. When Daniel Webster made his tour throgh the West years ago, he visited Springfield among other places, where great preparations had been made to receive him. As
the procession was going through the town, a barefooted little darkey boy pulled the sleeve of a man named T., and asked:
What the folks were all doing down the street?'
'Why, Jack,' was the reply, the biggest man in the world is coming.'
"Now, there lived in Springfield a man by the name of G-, a very corpulent man. Jack darted off down the street, but presently returned, with a very disappointed air.
'Well, did you see him?' inquired T.
• 'Yees,' returned Jack; 'but laws he ain't half as big as old G.','
An Irish Soldier Who Wanted Something Stronger Than Soda Water.
Upon Mr. Lincoln's return to Washington, after the capture of Richmond, a member of the Cabinet asked him if it would be proper to permit Jacob Thompson to slip through Maine in disguise, and embark from Portland. The President, as usual, was disposed to be merciful, and to permit the arch-rebel to pass unmolested, but the Secretary urged that he should be arrested as a traitor. "By permitting him to escape the penalties of treason," persistently remarked the Secretary, "you sanction it." "Well," replied Mr. Liucoln, "let me tell you a story.
"There was an Irish soldier here last summer, who wanted something to drink stronger than water, and stopped at a drug-shop, where he espied a sodafountain.
"Mr. Doctor' said he, 'give me, plase, a glass of soda wather, an' if yees can put in a few drops of whisky unbeknown to any one, I'll be obleeged.'
"Now," said Mr. Lincoln, if Jake Thompson is permitted to go through Maine unbeknown to any one, what's the harm? So don't have him arrested."
Looking Out for Breakers.
In a time of despondency, some visitors were telling the President of the "breakers" so often seen ahead- "this time surely coming." "That," said he, "suggests the story of the school-boy, who never could pronounoe the names 'Shadrach,' 'Meshach,' and 'Abednego.' He had been repeatedly whipped for it without effect. Some times afterwards he saw the names of the regular lesson for the day. Putting his finger upon the place, he turned to his next neighbor, an older boy, and whispered, 'Here comes those "tormented Hebrews" again!"
A Story About Jack Chase.
A farmer from one of the border counties went to the President on a certain occasion with the complaint that the Union soldiers in passing his farm had helped themselves not only to hay but to his horse; and he hoped the proper officer would be required to consider his claim immediately.
"Why, my good sir," replied Mr. Lincoln, "if I should attempt to consider every such individual case, I should find work enough for twenty Presidents!
"In my early days I knew one Jack Chase who was a lumberman on the Illinois, and when steady and sober